Dog Trainer Kaiako Kurī

Dog trainers train dogs and diagnose and treat their behaviour problems.

Dog trainers may do some or all of the following:

  • work with clients to fix dogs' behaviour problems
  • hold classes for people and their dogs, including dog obedience classes
  • run a dog day care centre
  • talk to the general public, media, and schools about dog training
  • work with organisations such as animal protection organisations and the courts.

Physical Requirements

Dog trainers need to be strong enough to control large dogs.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for dog trainers includes: 

  • any paid or voluntary dog or animal training
  • voluntary work at the SPCA
  • work in veterinary clinics or dog day care centres
  • work at boarding kennels and catteries.

Personal Qualities

Dog trainers need to be:

  • confident and assertive
  • excellent at communicating
  • patient, observant and adaptable
  • dedicated and motivated.


Dog trainers need to have:

  • knowledge of animal psychology and behaviour
  • the ability to observe, assess and treat dogs' behaviour problems
  • the ability to train and care for dogs
  • knowledge of animal biology.

Most dog trainers run their own business so they also need business, management and marketing skills.


Dog trainers:

  • work flexible hours to suit their clients' needs, so may work nights and weekends, and be on call, or work regular hours if based at a dog day care centre 
  • may work from clinics, at their own or clients' homes, or at dog day care centres.

Dog Trainers can earn around $47K-$50K per year.

Dog trainers are usually self-employed so their income depends on the success of their business.

Dog trainers running group sessions can earn between minimum wage and $50,000 a year.

Established dog trainers who do private sessions or work on dog behavioural issues may earn more than this.

Dog trainers often supplement their income by doing other related jobs, such as working at animal shelters, boarding kennels or vet clinics.

Source: Association of Pet Dog Trainers, 2018.

Dog trainers who are employed by an established business may progress to set up their own dog training business.

Years Of Training

There are no specific requirements to become a dog trainer.

However, a qualification such as a New Zealand Certificate in Animal Management (Level 4) with strands in Canine Behaviour and Training may be useful. This qualification will be offered from 2023.

Other certificates or degrees in animal behaviour and care, biology, psychology or zoology may be useful. Experience working with animals is also useful.

People who buy franchises for dog training businesses may learn particular methods for training dogs.

Dog Trainer