Wannabe dog trainer handlers

night watch

New Member
I cant be the only one here that wonders if they could make a living as a professional trainer handler. Go to a serious school learn deep theroy and do everything from basic obedience to personal protection training narcotics and service work. I understand it isnt all sunshine and roses but I do love working w/ dogs. (more than people thats for sure lol) So Im just curious how many have thought about it, considered it, begun the road to doing it and who here is a trainer/handler. Any random thoughts etc.. welcome


Experienced Member
i wondered the same thing id kinda like to be a trainer but an all round animal trainer, working with horses mainly, i do work with horses now but id like to raise and train one from scratch too, i think it would be a fun job being an animal trainer, but also a hard one with dogs with problems and that,

we had a horse once that didnt trust humans he was so badly abused, he was very timid and then he just lost his mind but we did get about a month (honestly only a month) of him showing he could be a real horse (i.e he would call out to the other horses, he accepted us being round and apart of his herd) then just one day he was blank, he didnt know where he was, didnt know how to go through the gate, we had a vet look at him he was healthy but had just lost his mind, it was sad but he had been through so much you could understand why he lost it

but getting back to the subject (i tend to go off lolz) even though there can be ups and downs, like to work with animals and would be a trainer if i could


Experienced Member
I'm on that road already - studying "canine behaviour and psychology". Who wants to look back in a few years saying "If only I'd tried.....". Go for it.


Well-Known Member
I've briefly considered it...mostly when people suggest to me I train dogs full-time and make a living from it. I decided against it. I've felt I'd rather keep on a relatively stable career path and train dogs as a hobby. I do want to run my own dog school when I have more experience, and to keep training my own dogs, but I would not want to feel I needed to make money from it. I'm worried being a professional might take some of the enjoyment away from it if the pressure to make money became too great. Plus, hardly anyone can earn sufficient money from training dogs to live a comfortable life in the UK.


New Member
I said kinda cause people ask me if I am one all the time... lord knows with my 3 rescues in the last 2 years I have been in enough classes and done enough "homework"!!

So I FEEL like one... but I also know that given a QUESTION about some OTHER dog, I'd have no clue (and sometimes "professionals" probably don't either!)... but I would NOT want the hassle of finding business...

OTOH, those who are hooked up with facilities that have training space at least have a "feeder" of clients... even if you can't "make a living" that way...

I'll keep it as a hobby, thanks... god knows what I will do 10 years from now when I have to "roll in" a new dog!


Jean Cote

Staff member
Probably a nice business once your name is established. But I voted "Not Really", because I don't want to deal with behavioral or aggression issues which is usually why people hire "Professional Trainers".

I'd rather spend time training my dogs and do stuff that we both enjoy. And of course, sharing my knowledge with you guys is always a pleasure. I guess I do it mostly to develop a good relationship with my dogs and to have fun.


Experienced Member
I voted "i am," but I wouldn't consider myself to really be one yet. I've been teaching basic obedience classes at the local petsmart for the past year, but obviously it's not where I want to be in the long term. I actually want to become a behaviorist to work with aggressive dogs, etc.

I'm just really glad I found this website to encourage myself to train my own dog more with tricks. I don't have that much time at all to train Lance so I've been focusing on getting ready for novice obedience, but I think we both need to cut loose with some more tricks!



Well-Known Member
I voted "I am". I never planned to become one, it just sort of happend. I got more and mor into it a few years ago, now I give lessons in trick training, clicker, and similar stuff and I'm studying "canine psychology" which I will finish sometimes next year.
I wrote two books about tricktraining now... yes, well, maybe Tricktrainer would fit better ;)


Well-Known Member
I voted I will be soon, assuming I have clients sign up :D

I run a boarding/day care/grooming and training facility, but my business only started a few months ago so I'm building my client base. I will soon start offering drop-in classes for basic manners and probably clicker/lure combo for trick training.

I have been to school for, and have recently started, a service dog program too. Harmony is the first dog in the program but I will be training dogs to assist people with mobility impairment.

night watch

New Member
Nice to have met you

Well that was an effective way to meet and learn a bit about a few members! Skip the intro page and ask a question that most people have thought about lol. It was great to hear others thoughts on the subject.


New Member
I have considered it but only part time for now and not really dog training but dog agility training to start. I do like to help people with training though so maybe some day.... only time will tell but I'd like to start my own dog related business someday, just not sure just yet what exactly it will be :)


New Member
I would like to be a dog trainer, or a trainer of people who want to train dogs. Unfortunately, I am very put off by the poor money received from this. ;)

I am currently at university studying to health science and education.

I want to undertake a course on dog training on completion of this course.

In the meantime, I work at a dog shelter. This shelter is going to offer classes soon, and I will be involved in these classes SOMEHOW. Not sure yet how, but either as an instructor or sub-instructor. Hopefully a good experience at the very least!

I also have an interest in becoming a customs detector dog handler... Didn't apply the year just gone because of Clover! But will again for 2010 positions at the latest. :)


New Member
We've been seriously considering this as a career change. Our disability and it's progression prevents me from returning to work in my previous career as a behavioural specialist providing behavioural interventions for children with severe behavioural, communication and sensory integrative disorders ... and specifically with children having Autism Spectrum Disorders. All of my education, experience and training lends itself easily to the transition between my first career to a ..... change in clientel ( perhaps the dogs won't be calling all those colourful names ... and I'm bound to get bit less often!). Our trainer who assisted in Bailey's obedience training, and training for service dog and therapy dog certification has encouraged me to try this. So once my medical/physical needs become more balanced I'm going to enroll in a training/educational program to pursue this career change. I'm really looking forward to this new adventure.

Take care all: hivin


Experienced Member
Defineatly not.
I love training my dogs, and they are a big part of my life, however doing it as an occupation would ruin the enjoyment and fun that I have already with them.
I'd prefer a balance in life of doing something different as an occupation and training my dog as my own personal hobby or recreation.
Most dog trainers teach a person to teach their dog, not teach a dog. This takes a skill of person to person teaching interaction, which I've found rare in a lot of clubs that I've been a part of, mostly due to instructors being volunteers.
I've been asked to be an instructor a few times and declined each time, if I can't give correct advice or help for 99% of questions, I'd rather stay a student or practise training.
Because I can train my own dog to do something, wouldn't make me an expert to teach another person, breed of dog, etc.
Having said that, I wouldn't hesitate to show others what I have learnt and experienced with my own dog training, if they ask.


Honored Member
Staff member
I have considered it/am considering it. I have always wanted to help animals, but like Storm, I would like to work with both dogs and horses. I have done behavioral training and basic training with dogs and horses, and I love it. It is so rewarding to watch them grow and improve and become happy, well-rounded animals. I do some behavioral work volunteering at a no-kill shelter. It really, really helps get them adopted when the potential adopter can walk them without worrying about dog attacks or people attacks, feed them without being bitten, and a variety of other things. I would really like to work side by side with shelters helping dogs with behavior problems. This could really help lower the number of animals in shelters in the long run. I love training horses and dogs, so I would really enjoy doing it professionally. However, I just haven't decided yet. I'm on the fence between veterinary medicine and animal behavior/psychology.
My current "projects" are my almost 2-year-old filly who I've raised from the ground up, training another horse of mine for barrel racing, helping out a friend with his dogs, and trick training with my own. =)


New Member
Still trying to read and catch up:

I am, I teach basic manners, methodology, Learning theory,tricks and train new trainers and get them Accredited and get ppl ready for CGC, and I am a CGC evaluator.
But I think a good trainer learns everyday, dogs teach us something everyday, teaching people is what I do, I try to become the bridge to close the gap in the miscommunication that happens, and yes it is much harder to train someone to train their dog, than just me take the dog and do it.
I know alot but I don't think I know everything, we still don't know everything about dogs, and until they start talking english, we may never know it all.
So much has changed in the years I have been a trainer, I have seen changes, and new research that's come down the pike.