How To Become A Dog Trainer In Australia: A Complete Guide

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Students want to know how they can become professional dog trainers in Australia.


Do you have a deep affection for dogs and a desire to enhance their health and well-being? If yes, a career as a Dog trainer could be an ideal option.


Dog trainers train dogs on specific behavioural techniques, such as sitting, fetching, walking, and running. They help owners develop commands that let their dogs undertake tasks.


Formal training is optional to become a dog trainer in Australia. However, many dog owners seek qualified trainers for their dogs. A VET qualification like Certificate III in Dog Behaviour and Training or a Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services can improve your job prospects in this profession.


In this blog, you will learn about the dog trainer's average salary, most common skills, qualifications, courses, certifications, career paths, and the steps to launch your profession as a certified dog trainer.



1. What Is A Dog Trainer?


Dog trainers are generally patient people with a genuine interest in and affection for animals. 


They have a good understanding of different dog breeds, their characteristics, and their behaviour. They use it to teach dogs to obey their owner's commands, perform specific tasks and display appropriate behaviour.


Dog trainers implement techniques to enhance dog behaviour and promote better dog-human bonds. They also train dog owners on canine behaviours and how to respond and take care of their dogs.



2. Dog Trainer Duties


The daily responsibilities of a dog trainer are:


  • Conduct private instruction classes for both owners and dogs

  • Teach dogs to follow non-verbal and verbal commands - to sit, lie down, stay in one place, and come when called.

  • Train dogs for competitions

  • Visit homes to get a better understanding of the dog's environment.

  • Advise the dog owner about the right way to respond, instil good habits, care for dogs, and discourage problematic behaviour such as chasing cars, excessive barking, digging holes, being aggressive with kids

  • Develop a training program that meets the dogs' primary issues and teaches them how to socialise and obey specific commands from their owner.

  • Build a trustworthy bond with the dog to ensure consistent progress



3. Is A Dog Trainer A Good Career?


Find out what makes this career worth pursuing:


  • An emotionally rewarding career for those who love dogs and enjoy helping people in taking care of dogs

  • Flexibility in dog training – Choose between a part-time job or a full-time job based on your preference

  • Meeting new people, understanding their concerns, and helping them by training them in various techniques makes the job interesting.

  • Ample job opportunities and a stable future demand

  • Choose from a variety of workplaces.

  • Opportunities available to work as self-employed and run your business



4. Dog Trainer Skills


Developing technical skills and personal attributes can improve your chances of getting a Dog trainer job. Some of these include:


  • Genuine love for animals

  • Enjoy working with the same dog every day

  • Good knowledge of different dog breeds and their attributes

  • Clarity in voice

  • Calm and confident demeanour with dogs

  • Interpersonal and communication skills

  • Good listening and observation skills

  • Good at time management

  • Patience with dogs and owners

  • Good Physical fitness and Stamina

  • Empathy 

  • Critical thinking abilities

  • Problem-solving mindset

  • Extreme Determination

  • Eager to learn

  • Persistence 

  • Able to develop a good rapport with clients

  • Consistency



5. Dog Trainer Qualifications In Australia


You don't need any formal qualifications to be a Dog Trainer. However, completing basic animal training will lay a strong foundation and improve your career prospects for an entry role.


  • Complete your Year 10 education

  • Consider animal training and care qualifications, such as a professional dog trainer Certificate III in Dog Behaviour and Training, a Certificate IV In Dog Behaviour Training, or a Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services

  • Explore opportunities to develop knowledge by joining a local dog obedience club, working in kennels, or working as an assistant under a professional trainer.

  • Having a current First Aid Certificate is an advantage.

  • To become a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, you must have trained at least 300 dogs during the last three years. Additionally, you will need to pass a 160-question multiple-choice exam as an eligibility requirement.

  • Obtain relevant permits from the local council to establish your dog training business and organise training sessions.



6. Steps To Become A Dog Trainer In Australia


Here are the essential steps to guide you in the process of becoming a dog trainer:



Step 1: Obtain Dog Training Certifications


Dog training does not require any formal qualifications. Still, it is helpful to undertake accredited dog training courses in Australia, such as:



The Certificate III in Dog Behaviour and Training


It is a 10-month course focusing on dog behaviour and typical challenges in training, obedience lessons, and owner-specific techniques. 


This qualification is the first step to introducing yourself to the daily responsibilities of the profession.



Certificate III in Companion Animal Services


It is one of the perfect dog training courses for TAFE to get started in the animal and pet industry. 


This 6-month full-time recognised qualification covers animal knowledge and cares for a broad range of animals, with a combination of hands-on learning experience and training classes to develop practical skills.


Several TAFE institutes offer the course is flexible and blended learning modes. 



Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services


This is the best dog training course in Australia. It teaches advanced technical knowledge about canine behaviour, psychology, well-being, professional skills such as complex strategies, and various training methods to build positive relationships between dogs and owners. 


The course duration is 12 months of full-time study or two years of part-time and in-person and online training. 


Whether you are entering the industry or want to upskill, Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services is the ideal qualification to learn how to become a dog trainer.


The IMDT is a worldwide education provider of dog trainer courses in Australia for dog trainers and pet industry professionals. You can find beginner to advanced-level courses designed to suit career needs.


IMDT offer nationally recognised qualification as Certificate IV in Animal Behaviour and Training. In addition to it, they also offer externally accredited 'Principles of Dog Training and Behaviour' Dog Training Qualifications. 


Students can advance it with a two-day Career As A Dog Trainer Course, the 4-day Practical Instructor Course, and the two-day IMDT Assessment.


Alternatively, you may seek a university degree in animal care or animal science to understand dogs, different dog breeds, and their characteristics and behaviour. 


The course also familiarises you with the animal care industry and how to structure training sessions.



Step 2: Gain Work Experience


The next step is to put the theoretical knowledge into practice. Volunteering is a great way to gain hands-on learning and experience with dogs and animals. Contact a local dog shelter or a vet organisation for volunteering opportunities.


When working as a volunteer, you learn a variety of things. These include managing dogs' health and well-being, feeding them, providing basic first aid, providing admin support to the team, and assisting them to settle with families. This practical exposure will provide relevant knowledge to become a dog trainer.


Alternatively, you can find opportunities to work as an apprentice with a professional dog trainer. These programs run for 12 months or fewer and equip you with the skills to interact professionally with dogs and their owners.



Step 3: Update Your Resume And Apply For Jobs


Go through dog trainer job advertisements and customise your resume to align your application with the role's necessities. Add specific skills to the resume, such as patience, communication, teaching, and consistency.


List all relevant certifications, qualifications, and work experience to show your expertise and commitment to this profession.


When done, you can search for jobs in a local shelter as a team assistant, dog walker, rehabilitation trainer, or dog trainer assistant. 


Even after getting a job, continue expanding your knowledge by attending seminars and workshops and gaining membership in professional industry organisations.



7. How To Become A Dog Trainer QLD?


Before a dog trainer provides instruction to clients, he should have a basic understanding of canine behaviour and be able to handle different types of it. 


Craig A. Murray Dog Training School offers a 2-week (non-accredited) training that provides extensive hands-on training with different dog types. It helps trainers enhance the dogs' abilities, offering the best professional services. They also teach how to conduct private lessons and group classes.


Other courses offered:



Certificate I in Animal Care Industry 


This unit of competency provides knowledge and skills to learn about working in the animal care and management industry, helping with routine activities undertaken in an animal care facility.


The qualification is ideal for high school students to get introduced to vocational education and prepare them for future learning.



Certificate II in Animal Studies


It is an ideal entry-level qualification for students who want to get started in animal care and management. The course introduces a student to the animal care industry and teaches how to conduct animal care work practices ethically.


Students also learn about hygiene routines, basic first aid, workplace health and safety, eco-friendly work practices, and helping in the health care of animals.



8. How To Become A Dog Trainer In NSW?


Delta Society Australia is a registered training organisation that offers dog trainer courses in Sydney, such as Certificate IV in Animal Behaviour and Training.



Who Should Take This Course?


  • Dog owners who want to learn about the basics of animal behaviour

  • A vet nurse who wishes to add dog training to her portfolio

  • People seeking a career transition and want to become a qualified behavioural dog trainer

  • After successful course completion, dog trainers can join the Delta Professional Dog Trainers Association.



How Will You Benefit From This Course?


  • Use scientifically proven reward-based training techniques and best practices to help dog owners enjoy fulfilled lives with their dogs.

  • Train fully qualified instructors to run puppy and adult dog classes

  • Prepare participants for a rewarding profession in helping produce well-behaved and well-socialised dogs.



Course Features


  • 24 months 

  • Nationally accredited course

  • Blended delivery (face-to-face workshops and e-learning)

  • One-on-one behavioural consultations

  • Written and Practical Assessment after the training

  • Successful participants receive a nationally-recognised certificate 


Another fully accredited course that teaches you how to become a dog trainer in Sydney is Certificate III in Dog Behaviour and Training. 


You can undertake this course at National Dog Trainers Federation. It is a government-accredited educational organisation for the dog training industry in Australia.



About The Course 


Students develop a basic understanding of the psychology of canine behaviour and behavioural issues. 


They also learn a broad array of training methods for obedience training, teaching common commands and complex skills, and how to conduct training classes.



Course Highlights


  • 10-month course

  • Completed via digital learning with practical sessions

  • The course is in Melbourne, the Sunshine Coast, or Sydney

  • No pre-requisites to take the course 



9. How Much Do Dog Trainers Earn In Australia?


Like in other professions, the income varies based on experience, nature of employment (working for any company or self-employed), level of expertise, level of responsibilities, and workplace. 


Payment is usually on an hourly basis in Australia. Once you have gained adequate experience working with dogs and have a decent client base, you may start your business and boost your earning potential.


According to PayScale, the average dog trainer's salary in Australia is AU$52,381 per hour. For example, assistant dog trainers may earn less than highly skilled professional dog trainers with knowledge in socialisation, agility training, and decoding behaviour cues.



Salary Based on Experience


  • Early career Dog Trainer (1-4 years of experience): AU$24.05 per hour

  • Mid-career Dog Trainer (5-9 years of experience): AU$25.18 per hour 

  • Experienced Dog Trainer (10-19 years of experience): AU$32.00 per hour



High-Paying Cities For Dog Trainers


  • Brisbane, Queensland: $42.46 per hour

  • Perth, Western Australia: $22 per hour



10. Working Conditions For Dog Trainers


Dog trainers work in various settings, including in the client's house, vet clinics, local shelters, or outdoors in a safe environment. 


They generally work full-time hours for 35 to 40 hours a week. Dog trainers may even need to train dogs on weekends and evenings.


The job requires a lot of physical movements in the form of walking, running, and other physical activities to benefit the dog's learning.



11. Employment Opportunities For A Dog Trainer


Dog trainers can find work in various sectors and workplaces, such as:


  • Dog training schools and clubs 

  • Animal shelters

  • Veterinary clinics

  • Security companies 

  • Service dog training programs

  • State and Federal Police force

  • Community parks 


The Australian Border Force and Australian Defence Force also recruit potential dog trainers. Most dog trainers work in partnerships or are self-employed by holding group or private lessons at clients' houses or boarding facilities. 


While most of them work part-time, a few are employed full-time.



12. Career Progression For Dog Trainers


Career progression may result in several career paths, some of them being:


  • Detection/defence dog trainer for police 

  • Customs or Defence Forces work 

  • Teaching 

  • Training animals for the film and television industry

  • Supporting animal welfare


Those with extensive experience and sufficient start-up capital can set up their business. For this, you should check with your local government about the process to register a business and obtain the necessary licenses to run it.


Undertaking courses in the following areas will help you advance in the above roles: 


  • Social media marketing

  • Accounting and bookkeeping

  • Small business administration



13. Job Prospects For Dog Trainers In Australia


Dogs are the best companion for humans playing a significant role in our mental health and lives. Pet ownership is increasing day by day, especially after the COVID pandemic. 


With the increase in pet owners, the need for compassionate and certified pet training services is also growing.


According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the animal training industry has shown good growth between 2010 and 2022. The rising demand for dog trainers indicates optimistic career prospects in dog training.


ANZSCO Occupation Group - 361111 Dog Handlers and Trainers 



Work Arrangements


Around 59% of employed workers work full-time for an average of 48 hours per week. (All jobs average: 44 hours per week).



Primary Industries


  • Other Services: 52.8%

  • Public Administration And Safety: 18.2%

  • Arts And Recreation Services: 12.2%

  • Health Care And Social Assistance: 5.2%

  • Other Industries: 8.9%



Percentage of Employment All Over Australia


  • New South Wales: 29.3%

  • Victoria: 27.6%

  • Queensland: 21.8%

  • South Australia: 7.1%

  • Western Australia: 11.1%

  • Tasmania: 1.4%

  • Northern Territory: 0.6%

  • Australian Capital Territory: 1.0%



Worker's Age and Gender Profile


  • Average Age of Employed workers: 40 years (between 25 years and 34 years) (All Jobs Average - 40)

  • Female Share: 59% (All Jobs Average: 48%)



14. Conclusion


A career as a dog trainer is both emotionally and professionally satisfying. 


You combine the knowledge of animal behaviour and practical teaching abilities to enrich the life of the dog and its owner.


If you are ready to help dogs live their best lives, follow the above steps and become a great dog trainer.


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