Career Profile: Animal Trainer
Have you ever taught a dog to sit up and beg or to roll over? Many people train their pets to do simple tricks like that, but some people do even more complicated tasks. Animal trainers work with dogs, horses, dolphins and other animals, teaching them how to behave or act in a specific way. If you have the patience and the ability to work with animals, an animal trainer might be the right career path for you!
Becoming an animal trainer takes a lot of time and patience. Animals have minds of their own, and they can sometimes be aggressive and difficult. Since they cannot speak a language we directly understand, they communicate their feelings through actions and expressions. The animals can sometimes bite or scratch, but it is the job of the trainer to teach them to be more calm, happy, and manageable.
If you have your own pet, you know how much work it can be to take care of all of its needs. Animal trainers might not be responsible for every aspect of caring for the animals, but they often have to do the same things as pet owners. They often have to feed and groom the animals and possibly even contact a veterinarian if something is wrong with them. They have to know the signs of a sick animal and when it is hungry or tired.
Getting to know individual animals is an important part of being an animal trainer. Some animals might already be very well trained in basic behaviour before they come for special training, but others need to start from the beginning. Old injuries, bad experiences with previous owners, and many other factors might influence how difficult or easy it is to train an animal- domestic or wild. Finding out how to get past these kinds of barriers is one of the most important skills that trainers can learn.
Trained animals are useful in many different areas. People ride horses for fun or to participate in shows. They make movies with dogs and cats and train seeing-eye dogs to help people with vision problems. All of these animals need someone to train them for the special tasks that they need to do.
Sometimes, the animal trainers can use help, as well. Working with marine mammals like dolphins usually requires a bachelor’s degree in an area like biology or animal science. However, most animal trainers learn their skills by working with animals, sometimes as an apprentice to another trainer. A high school diploma or the equivalent is usually all the formal training that is necessary, although a certificate might be necessary in some cases.
In Canada, animal trainers make an average of about $23,000 per year, but some can earn much more than that. Jobs can be hard to find, but people in this field can often work in similar areas such as dog walking and pet care. If you love animals, you might want to consider this career as a possibility for your future. There are plenty of opportunities to add to your animal training expertise. Opening up a business would of course raise your income and allow you to keep learning new ways to train and look after animals of all kinds.
Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers. “Becoming a Professional Dog Trainer.” http://www.cappdt.ca/public/jpage/1/p/BecomingATrainer/content.do.
McKay, Dawn Rosenberg. “Animal Trainer: Career Information.” http://careerplanning.about.com/od/occupations/p/animal_trainer.htm.
Monster.ca. “Animal Trainer: Skills.” http://my.monster.ca/job-profiles/animal-trainer.aspx#Skills.
Wow Jobs.ca. “Dog Trainer Salary in Canada.” http://www.wowjobs.ca/salary-dog+trainer.