Assistance dog trainer
Assistance dog trainers and instructors train dogs that help people to maintain their independence.
£13,500 Starter - £27,000 Experienced
35 to 40 a week (evenings / weekends occasionally)
Where to start
You can get into this job through
an apprenticeshipworking towards this roleapplying directly
You may be able to start by doing a Level 2 (intermediate) apprenticeship as an animal care and welfare assistant.
With experience, you could move onto an animal trainer higher apprenticeship.
You'll usually need some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or the equivalent, for a Level 2 apprenticeship. You'll need 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A-Levels, or the equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship.
You could get into this job by starting as a kennel worker, then move on to train dogs and work with their owners.
You'll have an advantage if you've got experience of working with dogs. This might include volunteering at a kennels, helping at a dog rescue centre or working for an animal welfare organisation.
You can apply directly for jobs if you've got some experience of working with dogs. Employers will look for:
knowledge of basic dog handling and behaviour management and an understanding of the issues faced by disabled people. Each organisation sets its own entry requirements for job vacancies.
Some employers may ask for sign language skills and experience of working with deaf people.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to work on your own
- customer service skills
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
- thinking and reasoning skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and Requirements
You'll need to pass enhanced background checks and
be over 18 years of age. You'll normally need to have a full driving licence
What you’ll do
In this job, you'll:
- work with volunteers who foster puppies and young dogs
- assess dogs to go forward for training
- train dogs to the standards required
- match dogs to new owners
- train dogs and owners together
- provide aftercare and support for owners and their dogs
- keep accurate records
You could work at a client's business or at a client's home.
Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers and you'll travel often.
Career path and progression
With experience you could become an area team supervisor, training manager or regional manager.
You could move into related jobs like veterinary nurse or RSPCA inspector.
You could also set up your own business and provide services like dog behaviour classes or private dog training.