A Dog Trainer’s Salary: Can You Live On It?

June 29, 2021

You’re wondering if you can live on a dog trainer’s salary.  That is an important question, especially since you have checked all the boxes confirming that a career in dog training is right for you.  

can you live on a dog trainer's salary

Can you live on a dog trainer’s salary? The short answer is “yes”.  I’m pretty sure when you googled this question, you were looking for a more elaborate answer than “yes”.   You want information to support that answer.  So here it is…

The current state of dog training In 2021

A great deal of dog trainers, who work full-time, have a waiting list that goes on for months. Most of those dog trainers have built a reputation for themselves and already own established businesses. We also know newer trainers with dog owner’s banging their doors down too. That is why, this is the optimal time for you to get started.

The success of dog training is not limited to dog-trainer entrepreneurs.  The market is so busy that dog training companies are eager to hire trainers too.  We’ve seen quite a few of those companies offer to train the right candidate over looking for a trainer with experience.

can you live on a dog trainer's salary

Photo credit: Tristan Pineda on Unsplash

Facts about dog training and the pet industry.

According to the 2019/20 APPA National Pet Owners’ Survey Statistics:

    • 84.9 million homes have pets living in them (67 percent).  
    • Dogs live in 63.4 million of those homes.
    • In 2020, $103.6 billion was spent on pets in the United States
    • $8.1 billion dollars were spent on dog training, boarding, grooming, walking, etc.
    • It has been estimated that pet owners will spend $109.6 billion in the United States during 2021
    • The money spent in 2021 on dog training, boarding, grooming, walking, etc (non-veterinary care) is estimated to increase to $9.7 billion.
    • These numbers continue to increase each year

Those statistics are great for this career!  According to this information, dog trainers will continue to have an influx of work for many years to come.  

can you live on a dog trainer's salary

Photo:Jan San Miguel Unsplash

Dog trainer’s salary?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics for dog trainers  (classified as animal trainers) in 2020 estimated dog trainer’s salaries between $21,500 and $62,000, with a median salary of $31,520.  

Why do dog trainer’s salary fluctuate so much?  Experience, location and the type of employer plays a role in those figures. Owning your own dog training business significantly increases your annual salary.  To learn more about dog training salaries in your state, click here.

Online employment sites:

We recommend that you visit online employment sites to check out current job postings and salaries in your area.  For your convenience, we’ve listed a few of those employment sites for you. 

Zip Recruiter


Glassdoor (you’ll need to open a free account)


Linkedin (you’ll need to open a free account). When you sign up with Linkedin, join  ISCDT’s group for new dog trainers.

Tips for dog trainers seeking employment:

New dog trainers sometimes feel defeated when they learn that dog-training companies require applicants have at least one-year experience. Here are tips to help you impress a prospective employer:

  1. Volunteer at animal shelters and rescues.  In addition to walking dogs, offer to assist trainers and behaviorists. Seek references from these dog-training professionals.
  2. Take dog-training courses that include hands-on training. 
  3. Seek your certification in dog training.
  4. Read reputable books on dog training. 
  5. Attend dog-training seminars and other educational events.
  6. Gain experience working with different breeds, personalities and ages. Volunteer to train dogs belonging to family, friends and neighbors. Be sure to ask them for a letter of reference and include it with your Resume.
  7. Look for a mentor or a position as an assistant dog trainer.
  8. Keep checking job postings. Since dog trainers have their individual style, it is common for dog-training companies to train their new employees rather than hiring someone groomed by another trainer.

Dog training is an awesome career.  Don’t let someone else live your dream! Stop thinking and start working on your new career now!


Written by:  Katie McKnight


Our 18 lesson, online program is a hands-on program where students are required to work with dogs. Skill and ability is determined through a series of videos submitted to the school. Students are also responsible for written homework assignments. In addition to the online course, students may enroll in ISCDT’s shadow programs. To learn more about the courses we offer, visit ISCDT.com.

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Get started now on Becoming an ISCDT Certified Dog Trainer with Online Dog Training Certification School. We can quickly and efficiently teach you how to train Dogs Professionally, whether its your own business or even a Corporate setting.