Companion Animal Biology and Humane Education


Certified Pet Dog Trainer

o   Brief Description: Pet dog trainers help pet owners train their pets in obedience and sometimes in other more specific areas of interest (agility, flyball, guarding, herding, hunting, etc.).  This career involves an understanding of animal behavior, but is ultimately focused on teaching dogs specific skills, and understanding animal learning.  If you are more interested in behavior modification, please look into a career in applied animal behavior.  Becoming a certified pet dog trainer is done through the Association of Pet Dog Trainers or the Certification Counsel for Professional Dog Trainers (see additional resources). 

o   Approximate Annual Salary:  This can vary based on where you are located, your experience level, your client base, and whether you are self-employed or work for a company or organization.  Individuals who are self-employed tend to make more than those individuals who work for another trainer or a company.  Average salary is close to $30,000 per year.

o   Education Requirements:  There is no need for a Bachelor’s degree for this, but an understanding of animal behavior and learning is essential.  Having a degree could help give you more credibility if you are looking to start your own business.  A dog trainer will need to take additional courses in addition to earning their certification before they can be considered a “certified” pet dog trainer.

o   Course Suggestions: Consider taking an ANSC 499 behavior course that is offered.  ANSC 471 (ANSC Leaders and Entrepreneurship) is useful if you are considering being a self-employed trainer.

o   Internship and Volunteer Opportunities: Summer internships with Jodi Vee’s Fun Dog Training are available.  You may also want to consider the animal behavior internship through the Champaign County Humane Society.  It is also a good idea to see if you can help or shadow other pet trainers on your own to gain more experience.

o   Additional Resources: