Cody Groebner

Professional Dog Trainer

To be come a professional dog trainer and teach people the techniques to be able to teach there own dogs.

Tuition:Tuition for the Certified Dog Trainer Program is $3,365 - $5,165 USD depending on payment arrangements and available discounts. The tuition price covers ALL materials, as well as the hands-on externship with an ABC Mentor Trainer. Competitive programs offering this type of one-on-one training can cost up to $10,000 or more! California residents are subject to California sales tax on all materials.

Over view of a professional dog trainer

People who enjoy working with animals and are passionate about improving the quality of life for the disabled may consider a career as a service dog trainer. Some employers prefer to hire service dog trainers with undergraduate degrees. Most service dog schools require trainers to complete apprenticeship programs and pass exams.

Service Dog Trainer Job Description

Service dog trainers teach guide dogs, hearing dogs and therapy dogs to assist people with disabilities. Apprentice trainers typically work at service dog training schools under the supervision of experienced instructors and, with experience, may go on to instruct other trainers. This is a physically demanding position, which requires trainers to walk and control dogs of various sizes and breeds. Trainers are matched with puppies and work with their partner dogs through the entire training process.

Career wages for dog trainers

The starting pay for a dog trainer varies on experience, region and clientele. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for animal trainers in 2010 was $26,500, up from $24,800 in 2005. These statistics do not take into consideration the earnings of self-employed dog trainers. Private dog trainers who have a high-end clientele may make much more.

Career related occupations  

Boarding Kennels or Doggie Day Care

If you want to spend time with healthy dogs, consider working in a boarding kennel or dog day care center. These jobs are often available to those with no previous experience, and training is done on-site. With experience, one can eventually become a manager or business owner.

Veterinary Behaviorists are licensed veterinarians who complete internships, residencies and pass advanced requirements to become board-certified specialists. Veterinary behaviorists can prescribe medications if needed, similar to human psychiatrists.

Applied Animal Behaviorists have completed postgraduate programs in a behavioral science and passed rigorous requirements. They are to animals as psychologists are to humans.

Dog Breeding

Becoming a dog breeder is about more than just letting purebred dogs have puppies and then selling them. If this is your mindset, then it is not for you. Though dog breeding can eventually become a career, it is wise to start out thinking of it as a serious hobby. To become a dog breeder, one must be dedicated to maintaining breed standards and keeping the dogs healthy and happy. Before getting started, it is essential to network with other more experienced breeders with reputations of excellence. It takes a serious investment of time and money to be a responsible breeder, but it can be very rewarding in the end.

programs of study

Dog Trainer Professional Program

The Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) Dog Trainer Professional program takes an innovative approach to developing and supporting outstanding positive reinforcement trainers who teach the general public. Our 6-month course combines online learning with hands-on teaching from some of the most experienced teachers in the field. Graduates become part of a community of trainers who demonstrate a consistent level of excellence and represent themselves and the Karen Pryor Academy name proudly.

STARMARK ACADEMYEver dream of becoming a professional dog trainer?

Starmark Academy for Professional Dog Trainers is a state approved trade school that offers certification in the science of dog training. Whether you have prior experience in dog training or want to learn a new career path, our certified instructors can teach you a variety of proven and innovative dog training techniques. Come experience the wonders of basic and advanced obedience, dog sports, behavior modification, kennel and breeding management, agility, personal protection, police K9 training, search and rescue, retriever training, assisted therapy, scent detection, and much more! Watch our Starmark Academy video to get a closer look!

The Academy has class sessions of four, eight, and twelve weeks year round, and offers onsite housing. We accept the GI Bill and are listed with Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation for Chapter 31 benefits and are also INS approved for international students. Starmark Academy offers financial aid, if qualified, through Sallie Mae. We also offer career counseling and a placement assistance program. Contact us and start your animal training career now!

Program admisson

How to Select an Animal Training School

When choosing an animal trainer college, prospective students should select a curriculum that matches their career goals. Some schools offer associate's degrees in overall pet care, grooming and training. Completing this type of degree is a good option for individuals who would like to work as dog trainers.

Program course work

Dog Trainer Courses – Become a Service Dog Trainer

Service dog training is delicate work that helps make a real difference in many people’s lives. For example, a person with limited hearing or deafness needs a dog that acts as his or her ears, a person that has any physical disability needs a dog that can pick up any dropped objects, as well as bring medicine, and blind dog owners need their furry friends for guidance through busy city streets (most importantly, crossing those streets) and designated routes. A guidance dog for the blind is highly important in keeping his or her owner safe, especially when crossing the street. Children with different conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, and Down-syndrome also require the assistance of service dogs. Each person is different, which is why every service dog training program is custom fit to every one’s personal characteristics.

Related programs

Learn how to respond to health emergencies and provide basic first aid for the four-legged members of your family. Practice and preparation will help you be calm and effective in an emergency, protecting you and your animal from further injury or suffering. Choose from: Dog First Aid, Cat First Aid, and Cat and Dog First Aid.

Course length: 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 hours depending on course option selected

  • Understanding basic pet owner responsibilities
  • Administering medicine
  • Managing breathing and cardiac emergencies
  • Managing urgent care situation
  • Treating wounds
  • Treating electrical shock
  • Caring for eye, foot and ear injuries
  • Preparing for disasters


The mission of the Bachelor’s degree in Canine Studies (Cynology) is to guide the students’ exploration of the canine species through a vast array of scholarly studies and experiences that expose the uniqueness that has led to the dog’s coveted relationship with humans while providing an opportunity for the students to explore their own species as it evolved through this historical relationship with the canine. Upper degree courses move well beyond the focus of producing a trained dog, to incorporate cognitive, psychological, sociological and historical perspectives of the dog including using art, literature and genetics as prisms from which the canine is viewed. In an ever-growing dog-related job market, this degree program provides a broad-based educational perspective appropriate to a multitude of entry- and mid-level positions.

Training options for dogs

Become a Certified Dog TrainerAre you a serious dog lover who wants to learn serious training techniques?Have you always had a connection with animals and wanted to work with them?

Loose-leash walking is one of many training skills you will learn. Great job Erica and Nadia!

Us, too! CATCH Canine Trainers Academy has one goal: to teach you how to become a professional dog trainer who can launch a successful, fulfilling career working with dogs every day. Our Professional Dog Trainer Course offers a complete education that is based on the standards of the nationally respected Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and the position statements of the leading organization in reward-based dog training, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.

From Basics Pro to the Master Class, our comprehensive curriculum includes 10 phases that cover everything from puppy development and obedience training to behavior solutions and successful career building. The CATCH certified dog trainer program is designed as a unique, hands-on, distance learning course so you can become a Certified Dog Trainer from anywhere in the U.S.

College choice

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