Schools in the USA
Back to Career Search     

Animal Trainer


Description

Have you ever seen re-runs of the show about the talking horse? Mr. Ed was a real horse, and although he couldn't actually talk, he could obviously communicate with someone -- it was an animal trainer who got him to move, shake his head, and whiney on cue. Animal trainers work with a variety of animals, from pets to movie monkeys, teaching them everything from how to sniff out narcotics to how to dance the tango in a gorilla-sized dress.

Animals are most often trained using rewards: if an animal does what it has been taught to do, it gets a treat or a pat on the head and some affectionate words.

Some animal trainers work with pets, mostly dogs. They work with the dogs and their owners, house-breaking the puppies and teaching them to stay, sit, and follow other simple commands. Some older dogs are disobedient, and get involved in activities that are dangerous, like running into the street. These dogs might have to visit a trainer to unlearn bad habits. Not only do they work teaching the animals, but also try to teach people how to give their animals these cues and how to maintain the expected level of behavior in the animal. They work with dog owners trying to help the animals and their owners understand and communicate with each other--not only does the trainer teach the animal how to sit, but acts also as an interpreter, of sorts.

Other trainers work with attack, police or rescue dogs. These dogs need to not only be obedient, they need to be extremely in tune with their specific roles, like recognizing illegal substances by their scent, or how to recognize an intruder. The training these animals get is intense, as is training animals who work as guide dogs, who must be trained for months, or even years, until they are ready to work as the "eyes" of their blind partner.

And then there are the trainers who work with animals in entertainment, like show dogs and cats, trick-performing whales and dolphins, racing and show-jumping horse, or animals who act in the movies or on television. These animals learn tricks and movements so well it appears natural. Trainers working with these animals also teach them to cope with people, lights and cameras all going at the same time.

Training animals is not an easy task. It takes someone who has a lot of experience with animals, as well as a lot of love, patience, and dedication to do this job well.
 
         Related Careers
arrow Agricultural Technologist
arrow Agriculturist
arrow Agronomist
arrow [ view all related careers ]



Program Spotlight
Matching School Ad
Animal Behavior College
Interested in a career as a professional dog trainer? Animal Behavior College is the place to start.
Programs Offered:
  • Certified Dog Trainer Instructor Course - On-Site

 

 



  Average Earnings  
Entry Level Salary:
$14,290
 
Average Salary:
$22,942
 
Maximum Salary:
$45,032

  Interests and Skills  
Animal trainers must be good communicators, who are hard-working, dedicated, and loyal. They need to be reliable, personable, and understand a little about psychology. They should be good at working through problems patiently and thoroughly. They need to be creative, and work well on their own.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Advertise services
  • Meet with animal owners and animals to discuss desired training results
  • Give one-on-one or group lessons in obedience
  • Work training guide dogs, narcotics animals, or attack dogs
  • Travel with entertainment animals to movie shoots and public appearances
  • Write regular reports on animals' progress
  • Supervise assistants
  • Animal trainers work with animals in a number of environments, for long periods of time, as well as for short sessions. They may work with simple obedience commands, like helping a dog learn to sit and stay, or respond to their voice, while some trainers, working with police narcotics dogs, must help animals recognize trace scents of illegal substances. Animal trainers must be careful to always keep records of animal progress, as well as look after other administrative duties, as well as work closely with the animals. They work with many different people, as well as animals, and travel often if they are with entertainment animals. They generally work outdoors, especially if they are working with dogs.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Animal trainers work in a variety of locations including humane societies, police services, zoos, circuses, marine showcase parks, on film sets and television studios, veterinarian offices, boarding kennels, at their own business or home location, or even parks. They may train many animals at once, along with their owners, or they may work with an animal one-on-one. Their work environment can be noisy and hectic.
  • Those who work in the entertainment industry have long, hard hours, especially during periods of filming or rehearsal. These trainers live closely with the animals, and feed, water, and monitor their health. Trainers who only work with animals a few times a week have more regular schedules, making appointments when it suits them, the animals, and the owners. This often includes evenings and weekends.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Animal trainers can work with animals in the movies, or domestic animals. They can become instructors, teaching other people to train animals. They can become animal groomers, or open a kennel or stable. They can go on to become teachers, physical therapists, and work with disabled people. They can open up a shop that sells animal supplies, or write books on animal training techniques.
 

  Educational Paths  
Animal trainers who intend to train domestic animals or entertainment animals don't have to go through any set education program to work. What they need mostly is hands-on experience and observation. Many learn by working with an established trainer, learning the tricks from this mentor. Some prospective trainers may also take a course in animal training, and while there are some schools to learn the tricks of the trade, it is important for trainersto check them out first, to ensure they will be getting the best education.

Some animal trainers choose to complete a university degree in animal husbandry, zoology, behavioral science, psychology, or veterinary science, as the world of animals is no longer only about obedience and control, but is becoming more and more scientific.

Some areas of animal training do require higher education. Those who train whales and dolphins are encouraged to pursue a master's degree in biology or marine biology, while people wanting to work as guide dog trainers often study with a Member School of US Council of Dog Guide Schools.

To get started some people train may train their own animals, or ask to work with someone else's. Volunteering at an animal shelter is a good way learn as much as possible about different animals and breeds.
 

Featured Schools

Matching School Ads
Animal Behavior College  Online
Interested in a career as a professional dog trainer? Animal Behavior College is the place to start.
Programs Offered:
  • Certified Dog Trainer Instructor Course - On-Site
Campus Locations:
  • Valencia, CA

 
Pima Medical Institute  Online

Explore a new career with Pima Medical Institute.

Programs Offered:
  • Veterinary Technician
  • Veterinary Assistant
Campus Locations:
  • Chula Vista, CA

 
Carrington College California  Online
Ready for a rewarding career? Start with a certificate or degree from Carrington College California.
Programs Offered:
  • AS in Veterinary Technology
Campus Locations:
  • Sacramento, CA

 
Ashworth College  Online
Earn your degree or diploma on your schedule and succeed at Ashworth College.
Programs Offered:
  • Veterinary Assisting
Campus Locations:
  • Norcross, GA

 
Charter College  Online

You can prepare for a new career with help from Charter College.

Programs Offered:
  • Certificate - Veterinary Assistant
Campus Locations:
  • Oxnard, CA

 
Platt College  Online
Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.
Programs Offered:
  • Veterinary Technology
Campus Locations:
  • Alhambra, CA

 
Matching School Ads
  Universities and Colleges
Clarkson UniversityColorado School of MinesDalhousie University
Oral Roberts UniversityPenn State HarrisburgTemple University
The University of HoustonThompson Rivers UniversityUNB Saint John
University of AlabamaUniversity of ArkansasUniversity of British Columbia
University of IowaUniversity of New BrunswickUniversity of Oregon
University of OttawaYork University
Agriculture and Bio-resources | Allied Health and Health Sciences | Applied Business Technology | Architecture
Business Administration | Computer Science | Cosmetology and Esthetics | Culinary, Travel &Hospitality | Dance 
Engineering Technology & Applied Technology |Engineering | Film | Fine Arts and Design | Humanities and Liberal ArtsJustice and Security
Music
| Natural and Applied Sciences | Naturopathic and Holistic MedicineNursingPublic Administration & PolicyReligious and Theological Studies
Sport Sciences and Physical Education | Teacher Education | Theatre
Articles | College News | Videos | Feedback | Career Search
Home | About Us | Contact Us | Faq | Terms of Use | Policy Statement | Site Map | Cities Site Map

Copyright 2003- 2014 QuinStreet, Inc. All Rights Reserved.