What does an animal trainer do?
Animal trainers provide a unique service, working with animals and their owners to develop or correct certain behavioural characteristics of an animal. In certain contexts, such as zoos, they also provide for the general care, feeding and wellbeing of the animals in their charge. Some daily duties as an animal trainer will include teaching obedience to different commands, discouraging unwanted or antisocial behaviour, preparing animals for competition or performance and building trust with the animals you work with.
- Correcting undesirable behaviours
- Developing skills through repetition
- Training an animal for performance or service duties
- Providing for the nutritional requirements of an animal
What skills do I need to be an animal trainer?
Working as an animal trainer is a multi-faceted job. A trainer needs to be able to effectively interpret the needs, moods and behaviours of an animal, respond to them appropriately and encourage desired outcomes using a range of methods. The job can be a very physical one, requiring patience, strength and an intuitive understanding of animals to succeed.
- Calm, patient and forceful demeanour
- Ability to plan tasks, routines and modes of training
- Patience when dealing with high needs animals
- Enjoys working with both animals and people
With the right training, you can explore a vast number of different career paths as an animal trainer, tailored to suit your strengths, interests, and desired working environment. From highly technical training of service animals such as guide dogs, to helping families have better control of their pets, your options for employment are extremely varied.
Animal Wranglers for Film Sets
Guard Dog Trainer
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor
Study pathways for animal trainers
Your personal interests and forecasted career paths will determine the path you will take to employment. Cadetships, diplomas and on-the-job training are all valuable ways of gaining skills in the field of animal training and handling.
For those with a general interest, there are a number of entry level courses that can help point you in the right direction.
Knowing which particular form of training you’d like to be involved with will help you choose the courses that help you reach your goals.
Decide on an educational pathway that will help get you noticed in a professional setting.
Having an industry recognised qualification will help you forge a career, demonstrating your skills and commitment to potential employers and clients.
Getting a job after graduation
Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your animal training career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.
Job Prospects and Salaries
The future employment rate is expected to remain steady over the next five to ten years.