Dog Trainer Salary: How Much Do Dog Trainers Make?

Future dog trainers are curious about how much their salary is going to be.

But this amount depends on a variety of factors.

For instance, getting an education and training increases your potential earnings.

Not to mention the job security you’ll receive, either from employers or private practice.

But most of all, you should at least acquire certification to secure a good job and, ultimately, a salary.

Salary Overview of Animal Trainers

Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, animal trainers earn an average of $31,520 per year in May 2020.

Those in the lower salary spectrum earn less than $21,550, while those in the peak spectrum earn more than $62,040.

But these figures don’t show the distinction between the different trainers available in the market.

So we research further on how much a dog trainer really earns.

Average Salary of a Dog Trainer

teaching a dog how to fetch

According to ZipRecruiter, a dog trainer has an annual average salary of about $34,246, or $16.46 an hour as of January 2022.

In fact, the average salary can reach as low as $14,000 and as high as $69,000 per year.

But this is just the range.

Most dog trainers normally earn between $25,000 to $39,000.

And those creams of the crop make about $52,000 per year.

Average Annual Salary by State

State Avg. Annual Salary
Alabama $31,640
Alaska $42,592
Arizona $40,790
Arkansas $27,240
California $39,700
Colorado $29,770
Connecticut $30,848
Delaware $32,050
Florida $36,710
Georgia $30,610
Hawaii $31,500
Idaho $32,444
Illinois $38,860
Indiana $31,940
Iowa $29,843
Kansas $31,632
Kentucky $42,130
Louisiana $28,950
Maine $32,640
Maryland $29,850
Massachusetts $38,000
Michigan $34,450
Minnesota $29,890
Mississippi $33,672
Missouri $35,270
Montana $33,215
Nebraska $32,480
Nevada $27,350
New Hampshire $32,480
New Jersey $37,800
New Mexico $36,170
New York $36,870
North Carolina $26,780
North Dakota $30,290
Ohio $29,300
Oklahoma $26,560
Oregon $27,130
Pennsylvania $32,680
Rhode Island $35,469
South Carolina $33,730
South Dakota $32,147
Tennessee $28,020
Texas $33,900
Utah $28,820
Vermont $38,951
Virginia $40,185
Washington $40,280
West Virginia $27,660
Wisconsin $29,250
Wyoming $29,473

Factors Affecting a Dog Trainer’s Salary

As you can see, the salary range varies.

This indicates that several factors affect the pay grade of a dog trainer, such as:

  • Location
  • Training and experience
  • Skill level

Local Variances

Location affects salaries as researched by the Economic Research Institute.

According to them, dog trainers in Los Angeles, California had the highest earnings.

Trainers here receive an average of $61,590 per year.

New Yorkers also have better salaries, averaging $45,617.

However, the same can’t be said to places like Chicago, Illinois and Phoenix, Arizona.

Trainers here receive an average salary of $29,990 and $25,000 annually, respectively.

Skills and Competencies

There are many skills that a dog trainer should have, and these three are the most important:

  • Decision-making
  • Creative thinking
  • Problem-solving

You’ll use these to apply appropriate techniques to train dogs in basic tricks and aptitudes.

For instance, you’ll create and apply a specialized training plan for service dogs, intended to help people with disabilities.

You also have to tap into your soft skills, like good communication, to work well with your clients.

Training and Experience

Dog trainers train depending on the type of education they take.

If you choose to enroll in a training program, then it’ll take at least two weeks to more than six months.

If you do apprenticeships instead, then six months up to a year.

The training and experience you had let you learn techniques and use them properly.

You’re able to keenly observe a dog’s behavior, as well as monitor their progress on the training.

For example, the work of obedience dog trainers.

They’ll train dogs to respond to movement and vocal commands, such as how well they’ll follow orders.

dog trainer

Additional Income

It’s not uncommon for dog trainers to earn commissions or bonuses.

In fact, Petropolis, an academy for animal training and grooming, said that they should receive:

  • Up to $10,304 per year as bonuses
  • About $2,150 to $9,000 as commissions

But of course, it’s important to understand that this will entirely depend on the employer or client.


Dog trainers may earn an annual average of $34,246, true.

But this doesn’t mean that they’ll remain on this pay scale throughout their careers.

With the right attitude and hard work, they’d earn more than the set average.

The more sought-after they are by clients, the more money they’ll receive.

And in turn, making them part of the top dog trainers in the industry.

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