Posted in Career Insights
dog behavior specialist

Many behaviors that are completely natural for dogs — like barking, biting, digging, chewing, and running away — can prove challenging for many pet owners.  

Although there are plenty of other pet owners willing to offer advice, often the best and most efficient way to resolve a dog’s behavior problems is to seek assistance from a qualified professional. 

As a Canine Behavior Specialist, you can combine your love and talent for working with dogs with a meaningful career. You’ll help dogs become happier and healthier while bringing them and their owners closer together.   

Animal shelters are full of dogs that had an owner who couldn’t take the time to understand how they could help their pets. 

Today, many shelters work with animal behaviorists to help them with problem animals who have been surrendered to them by frustrated owners. This increases the chance for previously abandoned dogs to find a new home.

Canine Training

Canine training emphasizes the formation of desired behaviors through positive reinforcement. Furthermore, working to train a dog can help to improve a dog’s quality of life, and can even help an owner and a dog to forge a closer bond. 

The phrase ‘behavioral enrichment’ means to better structure an animal’s environment to promote positive natural behaviors and provide them with appropriate choices.

Enrichment enhances the quality of life by reducing stress and encouraging a range of healthy, natural behaviors. Together they constitute a comprehensive set of management tools that are commonly used by a variety of animal professionals.

So who needs to know about the basic principles of training a dog, canine behavior, and the above-mentioned enrichment? 

It’s important knowledge for nearly anybody who works with dogs on a regular basis! Here are a few examples.

Dog Trainers

People that train dogs will need to understand their behavior and know how to influence it. They also need to develop a “toolbox” of techniques that can be used to modify these behaviors.

Correcting problematic dog behaviors usually requires changing the dog’s environment or providing them with new outlets for their inappropriate ways. 

Canine Specialist

A career as a canine specialist can also serve as a stepping-stone to other careers working with animals, such as working in a veterinary office, or going on to become a veterinary technician. 

A solid foundation in dog behavior and training allows veterinary staff to identify and correct many of these problems. A thorough understanding of behavioral principles can facilitate the dog’s voluntary cooperation with procedures and minimize anxiety in a stressful environment. 

In some cases, canine specialists develop behavioral specialties and learn to work with their clients in order to better structure their home environment. By doing this, these specialists can improve the dog’s home environment, and improve their behavior at home. 

Canine training shouldn’t just be a “one and done” event. It’s an ongoing process and a course can help. 

Groomers, Pet Sitters, Kennel and Dog Daycare Staff

Anyone who regularly works with dogs needs to be capable of recognizing, and properly interpreting, the various nonverbal cues that dogs give. Strong background knowledge of canine behavior will allow veterinarians to better understand, and interact with, their 4-legged patients.

It can also help veterinary staff, pet sitters, and even ‘doggie daycare’ workers to anticipate problems with the dogs they’re caring for. This allows them to better manage and minimize the dog’s fears and phobias.

Good behavioral management allows us to gain a dog’s trust, which facilitates cooperation in grooming, nail trimming, or other necessary tasks without an issue.

Better yet for the budding entrepreneur, someone with an understanding of dog behavior will be able to provide training services at their company or even launch a dog training business of their own. 

Job Outlook for Canine Specialists

Those looking for jobs concerning working with dogs, whether caring for them or training them, are in a good job market. 

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment of animal care and service workers is projected to grow 22 percent from 2016 to 2026.

Salaries can vary greatly based on the specific field or employer. According to the latest ZipRecruiter statistics, the average annual salary for a dog behavior specialist is about $37,500. 

Personality Requirements

Usually, training dogs means less ‘teaching the dog” and more “teaching the person to better interact with the dog.” Because of this, anyone looking to be a dog trainer should be personable and be more of a “people person.” 

You should also love learning, be patient, and be able to work with a variety of learning styles.

Job Opportunities for Dog Behavior Specialists

Who hires dog trainers and behaviorists? They may be self-employed as trainers or behavioral consultants. 

Specialists in dog behavior can also work with, or for, veterinarians, animal shelters and other places that watch pets while their owners are away. 

They may also work at retail pet stores or take up government jobs like animal control. 

In addition, dog trainers can even find themselves teaching classes on how owners can better interact with their pets, training dogs to help those with disabilities, coaching them to protect people as military or police dogs, and more. 

Other job titles include: 

  • Professional dog trainer
  • Behavioral consultant
  • Shelter workers
  • Veterinary technicians
  • Service dog trainer
  • Kennel technician
  • Dog day care staff
  • Groomer

Currently, no state or government certification is required to work as a dog trainer, although such certification does exist and is readily available (and having such certification is always a good idea and makes your services more attractive to the average consumer). 

If you’d like to know more about the dog training profession, or how you can become certified, the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and the Association of Pet Dog Trainers can provide you with that information. 

As with most certification processes, however, those who achieve the title ‘Certified Professional Dog Trainer’ will have to maintain their certifications by receiving continuing education credits on a regular basis. 

Consider an Apprenticeship

After gaining specialized knowledge in dog behavior, an apprenticeship may be a good way to advance your career goals. 

Finding qualified professionals to learn from is crucial, and if you can find a trainer to take you on as an apprentice, you can receive on-the-job insights that written or oral coursework can’t provide. 

Generally, an apprentice dog trainer will watch their mentor teach class, interact with customers, and provide services. 

As the apprentice progresses, they may slowly take on more of the teaching load. 

This will allow you to gradually learn the ins-and-outs of the profession since you’ll be able to observe an experienced dog training expert and receive guidance from them. 

Explore A New Career with Stratford’s Online Course

Anyone who is passionate about working with or loves being around dogs, in general, may enjoy a career as a canine or dog behavior specialist. 

Such specialists help dog owners in several ways. They can assist with nutrition, grooming, breeding, training, and more. 

If it is your goal to work with dogs for a living, or just want to learn more about taking care of dogs yourself, then Stratford Career Institute can help you get started.

Our comprehensive course will provide information on everything from the different dog breeds to nutrition and grooming. Start your career by enrolling in our dog behavior specialist course today.


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Does becoming a dog behavior specialist interest you?

Does becoming a dog behavior specialist interest you?

If it is your goal to work with dogs for a living, or just want to learn more about taking care of dogs yourself, then Stratford Career Institute can help you get started. Enroll today!