School for Dog Trainers

Can I make a living as a certified professional dog trainer?

become a professional dog trainer

Can I make a living as a certified professional dog trainer?  This is the most common question that we are asked when potential students call inquiring about our professional dog training courses and programs. The obvious answer is yes, of course! But, as in all new journeys and small business models it is not always easy to get started.  Your first few years will test your patience, question your talents, and make your wonder if dog training it the right career for you!  Dog training is often viewed as a career  in which you don’t have to deal with the day to day worries of the public, since you play with dogs all day!  This statement is far from accurate! Dog training involves networking with various types of people of all classes and cultures on a daily business to sell your services.

The pet dog training industry is still growing, despite unemployment and economic up and downs.  Pet dog trainers that do only group classes and private lessons get to set their own schedule and work hours accordingly.  These dog trainers can set up their classes at local parks, public facilities, or local vets offices/grooming salons.  This can be a plus in the beginning stages of your career as it reduces your overhead costs and commitments to building upkeep and allows you to focus on perfecting your timing, skills and diagnosis of behaviors. We have found that dog trainers who only offer puppy classes and basic obedience have a hard time making enough money to cover their day-to-day expenses. However, it’s great as a supplemental income.  In order to stand out from the common basic obedience trainers, many students specialize in a dog training specialty areas, for example, scent work, competition obedience and dog fitness.

Licensed dog training school in NC

Professional dog trainers that are able to provide in-kennel training services seem to make more money and focus on more severe dog behavioral issues.  With in kennel dog training programs you have much more responsibility in the day-to-day care and cleaning of kennels and working with client dogs.  This is a turnoff for many people who thought they would like to be dog trainers and open their own business because of the commitment required.  When starting out, many dog trainers can’t afford kennel staff so they are responsible not only for training and rehabilitating the dog; but for feeding, walking, and cleaning kennels seven days a week.   This type of commitment to animals is not for everyone and some get frustrated because the would like a day off!  In the first few years of starting your own business, especially with in-kennel training and boarding programs, you don’t get many days off.  This is when passion and dedication kick in to get you through the growing pains.  Remember, as you grow your business and are able to hire help, if they don’t show up, you as the owner of your business and reputation, are responsible.

Many potential students are interested in working dog programs like learning to train police dogs, military dogs, SAR, and competition bite work and protection and with good reason….It’s awesome! Dogs are some of the most amazing animals in the world and teaching canines  how to protect and serve through public service is rewarding in itself!  With that being said, breaking into the working dog world is not an easy task.  New dog trainers must be ready to network, demo, and donate time to get your name out. Another challenging aspect or working dog training is teaching the handlers how to trust the dogs.  Humans are critical by nature and you have to convince new handlers that your canine can be trusted to protect their life,  find drugs/explosives, and track down the scent of the missing. Patience and good communication skills are a must in order to match the canine and handler and teach them how to work together.

At Highland Canine Training LLC we can teach you not only how to train dogs, but we can also teach you how to market yourself and get the most potential from your talents and passion of being a dog trainer. Anyone can hang a sign on their door that says Dog Trainer, but not everyone is good at it! If you are a self starter and don’t mind beating the bushes to get your business off the ground you should be just fine! Highland Canine Training is right now the only Licensed School for Dog Trainers in NC ,with that we are able to provide financial assistance through student loans at our location in Harmony, North Carolina.  We offer 6,8,12 week programs as well as an 18d-week Service Dog Trainer Course and a Master Trainer Course that last for 24 weeks at our School for Dog Trainers! Visit our programs at

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