“Cats aren’t cooperative in the same way that other animals are. You can train a dog to act, but you can’t train a cat in the same way.”

Michael Showalter, Comedian

Pros and Cons of Working as an Animal Trainer

advantages and disadvantages of being an animal trainer

You think about becoming an animal trainer? Great! Then this blog post is exactly for you! In fact, I show you all the pros and cons of being an animal trainer in the following chapters so that you can better decide whether you still want to work as an animal trainer or if you rather want to go for an alternative career instead.

Animal Trainer Job Profile

Job DescriptionAnimal trainers train dogs and other animals. They teach them tricks and also try to make the lives of pet owners as easy as possible. Many people just don’t have the time and the knowledge to train their pets themselves and rely on experts to do it for them.
Salary$35,000 per year on average, most animal trainers make between $21,000 and $47,000 per year.
Job SecurityAlmost non-existent since you will be replaceable pretty easily.
Job SatisfactionGood if you love spending time with animals.
Work-Life BalanceDecent since you will have many free weekends and holidays as well as a rather standard workweek.
Physically / Mentally Demanding?Can be physically and mentally demanding since you will have to keep those animals under control somehow.
Future OutlookRather poor since barriers to entry to become an animal trainer are pretty low and many jobs may be lost in this industry in the future.
RequirementsNo special educational requirements, finishing high school will be enough most of the time for becoming an animal trainer.

Advantages of Being an Animal Trainer

  1. Animal trainers can spend plenty of time in the fresh air
  2. You don’t have to go to the gym
  3. You don’t have to work in an office job
  4. You can follow your passion for animals
  5. Animal trainer as a rather relaxed job
  6. You don’t have that much time pressure
  7. You will often come home on time
  8. Animal trainers don’t work many extra hours
  9. Free weekends and holidays are quite common
  10. Good work-life balance for animal trainers in general
  11. You can start your own animal training business
  12. Working as an animal trainer can give you purpose in life
  13. Your job as an animal trainer may not feel like work
  14. You can meet many new people
  15. Can be helpful if you want to get a pet yourself
  16. You don’t need fancy education to work as an animal trainer

Animal trainers can spend plenty of time in the fresh air

One advantage of being an animal trainer is that you can spend a lot of time in the fresh air. You don’t have to work in a rather artificial environment indoors like in many other jobs. Instead, you can train dogs and other animals in parks where you can enjoy a pretty nice time with your cute friends.

This will not only make you feel quite well since you will get plenty of oxygen and sunlight, but it can also keep you healthy in the long run since your risk of suffering from mental problems will be lower if you work in jobs where you can work in natural environments.

You don’t have to go to the gym

As an animal trainer, you will also be able to stay fit in a completely natural manner. You will run with dogs and other animals all day long to show them how to behave and what not to do.

While this can be exhausting and sometimes even annoying, it can also give you the opportunity to work out and to exercise each day.

In turn, there will be no need to go to the gym like many other people who work in office jobs normally do. Instead, you can spend your leisure on other things you like much more.

You don’t have to work in an office job

Another advantage of working as an animal trainer is that you can avoid working in a classical office job. While many people work in those office jobs, only few of them are happy and many of them don’t like their work at all and are only in for the money. In fact, many people just feel like they are wasting their time at work since they do almost nothing productive and also don’t see any real success.

In turn, many people who work in those office jobs become quite frustrated in the long run. In contrast, you as an animal trainer can avoid those issues since you can spend your time outside of an office and don’t have to stare at a computer screen all day long.

Instead, you can work with animals, show them nice tricks and see real progress in their behavior on a daily basis, which will keep you much more motivated in the long run, even though you might earn more money from classical office jobs.

You can follow your passion for animals

By working as an animal trainer, you can also follow your passion for pets. For instance, if you love dogs, you can work as a dog trainer and can spend your time around dogs all day long. Doing what you love for a living is probably the best way to work since you will just always be motivated and full of ambition on Mondays when you are able to go back to work while many other people will not like going to work at all and secretly wish that it would be weekend forever.

Animal trainer as a rather relaxed job

Another benefit of a career as an animal trainer is that it is a rather relaxed job. In fact, you will be able to work rather independently and with a little bit of experience, you will train dogs and other animals completely on your own. This also means that you will not have a boss looking over your shoulder all day long.

Instead, you can organize your day like you want it to be and also have significant discretion regarding what you want to do and how you want to train animals.

This can not only give you a great feeling of freedom, but it also leads to a state where you will get up in the morning and will just be in a good mood most of the time since you will know that you don’t have to fear that much stress at work.

You don’t have that much time pressure

You will also not have too much time pressure as an animal trainer. Since you don’t have many dependencies at work and will be rather free how to organize your day, you can structure it the way you want it to be and can also decide how many tricks your animals should learn that day. Sure, your clients will expect that their animals will learn something during your lessons.

However, they will often be quite tolerant and will not expect too much. It can also help if you set realistic expectations right from the beginning so that people know what they can expect and how long it will take to train their animals in a proper manner.

You will often come home on time

Another upside to working as an animal trainer is that you will also come home on time pretty often. You will just have a fixed schedule most of the time since your clients will have to make appointments way in advance.

In turn, you will always know how many clients you will have that day and when the last animal will leave your workplace.

Consequently, it will also be pretty easy for you to schedule your day and to meet up with people after work.

Animal trainers don’t work many extra hours

You will also not work that many extra hours as an animal trainer. Quite often, you will just work 9 to 5 and some animal trainers even only work part-time. This means that you will have plenty of time to spend on your hobbies or on other things you like even more than work.

It also gives you the opportunity to start a side hustle and to earn some additional money from another passion of yours.

For instance, you could start an animal trainer channel on YouTube or start a blog about how to teach animals in the best possible manner.

Opportunities are endless and if you are willing to put in the work, chances are that you will even be able to turn your side hustle into a serious full-time business sooner or later.

Free weekends and holidays are quite common

Many animal trainers also enjoy free weekends and holidays. While you might take this for granted, you actually shouldn’t since many people still have to work during those times. Imagine working as a bus driver or as a nurse.

Chances are that you will have to work many weekends and holidays since people still get sick or have to get around by public transport during those times and you will be the one who has to work while many other people enjoy their leisure.

As an animal trainer, you don’t have this issue since you will have many free weekends and holidays which you can use to meet up with your family or just enjoy them in your garden with a cool drink.

Good work-life balance for animal trainers in general

Since you don’t work many extra hours and also have many free weekends and holidays as an animal trainer, you will just have plenty of time for hobbies, family and friends. While many other people don’t have a good work-life balance at all and barely have time for anything else apart from work, you will have plenty of time to see your kids growing up and to spend it with your loved ones in general.

Consequently, becoming an animal trainer can also be great for you in case leisure is just more important to you than money.

You can start your own animal training business

Many animal trainers also just work as normal employees for a few years, earn some money, get some experience in the animal training niche and then open their own animal training company afterward. In fact, it is relatively easy to work self-employed as an animal trainer, especially if you have many connections in your region and therefore a broad potential customer base.

Hence, becoming an animal trainer can also be a great way to go in case you dream about starting your own business sooner or later.

Working as an animal trainer can give you purpose in life

Another benefit of being an animal trainer is that it can also give you a real purpose in life. Many people experience tragic events in their lives and are often not able to deal with those experiences in an emotionally healthy manner. In turn, many of those people suffer from depression or from other mental issues and lose all their hope.

In such a case, working with animals has shown tremendously positive results and it is known to have the potential to cure those people of their emotional pain. Thus, working as an animal trainer can also give you stability in difficult periods of your life when everything seems to fall apart and you need something that keeps you going to prevent you from just giving up.

Your job as an animal trainer may not feel like work

Many animal trainers are also so passionate about what they are doing that their job actually doesn’t feel like work to them. If you are one of those people who really loves pets, time at work will often fly since you just enjoy what you are doing that much.

You might even work as an animal trainer for free since it will just be that much fun for you most of the time.

You can meet many new people

You will also have the privilege to meet many new people as an animal trainer. In fact, your clients will change on a continuous basis and you will always deal with new clients and animals.

Not only can this be quite interesting, but you will also learn how to deal with difficult people and how to navigate through those social interactions.

In turn, you will become really good in both dealing with people and pets and this can greatly help you in various other parts of life since you learn what it means to be emphatic towards others.

Can be helpful if you want to get a pet yourself

Working as an animal trainer can also make quite a lot of sense for you in case you want to get a pet yourself in the near future. Due to the skills you learn during your animal trainer career, you will have a pretty easy time training your own pet at home and you can avoid all the mistakes that new pet owners make.

You don’t need fancy education to work as an animal trainer

You also don’t need to be good at school or even go to college for becoming an animal trainer. In fact, it is much more important that you are a good person who is willing to work hard and who also has patience with animals. Some animals will just not behave as you want them to and you will therefore have to repeat many steps all day long.

As you might expect, a college degree will not prepare you for a career as an animal trainer at all. Instead, you should be a person who likes hands-on work and who loves working with animals in general. If you are one of those people, you will be good to go and to start your animal trainer career right after finishing high school.

As you can see from the previous analysis, there are indeed many important advantages to a career as an animal trainer. Yet, working as an animal trainer also implies some downsides which I discuss for you in the following.

Disadvantages of Being an Animal Trainer

  1. Animal trainers don’t make a lot of money
  2. You may even need a second job to pay your bills
  3. Old-age poverty may be a problem
  4. You will be replaceable
  5. Rather questionable future job prospects
  6. You will not learn many hard skills
  7. Difficult to switch fields as an animal trainer
  8. You will not always be successful
  9. Pet owners can be difficult
  10. You may even get sued
  11. You have to work outdoors also during cold periods
  12. Rather low social status of animal trainers
  13. Not suitable if you have animal dander allergy

Animal trainers don’t make a lot of money

One problem with being an animal trainer is that you will just not make that much money. Many animal trainers barely make a living out of what they are doing. Some of them are also only employed part-time.

Thus, if your partner doesn’t make good money, you will just not be able to afford a fancy lifestyle as an animal trainer.

Consequently, you should go for a different career path if money is really important to you.

You may even need a second job to pay your bills

In extreme cases, animal trainers may even need a second job to pay their bills. Especially if you live in regions where rents are pretty high, you may not be able to pay your rent and other basic expenses from your animal trainer salary and you might have to get an additional job to make some money from it.

This can not only be annoying, but it can also lead to a state where you will have a pretty bad work-life balance and barely have any leisure at all.

Old-age poverty may be a problem

Since many animal trainers don’t make good money, they are also quite vulnerable to old-age poverty. In fact, many animal trainers are just not able to save enough money during their careers and will not be able to pay their bills anymore once they retire. In turn, they may even end up homeless in the streets since they will no longer be able to pay rent.

You will be replaceable

Another downside to working as an animal trainer is that you will be pretty replaceable. Since there are no high barriers to entry and almost everyone can do the job, you will have many other competitors who want to have your job.

This also means that you might get fired if someone comes along who is willing to work for less money.

Consequently, job security will be almost non-existent for you and you will always have to fear losing your job as an animal trainer.

Rather questionable future job prospects

Also your future job prospects will be rather poor. In fact, many animal trainers will lose their jobs in the future and will not find another job in this industry since machines and robots can do part of the work. In turn, the demand for human labor will decrease and unemployment will increase in this sector.

You will not learn many hard skills

Another disadvantage of being an animal trainer is that you will also not learn many hard skills. While you will become really good at dealing with animals and people over time, you will still lack skills that are needed in the job market.

While other people acquire digital skills and are well-prepared for the future, you may become obsolete in the near future and may have difficulties competing with those people in the job market.

Difficult to switch fields as an animal trainer

Due to your limited skillset, you may also have serious difficulties in case you want to switch fields in the future. Especially if you haven’t got any additional education, you may just lack the skills to work in a different field and most companies will not be willing to give you the chance to work for them.

You will not always be successful

Even if you are motivated and urgently want to do your best to train animals in the best possible manner, some animals will just not learn the way you want them to learn and few of them will even ignore everything you want to teach them.

In fact, you will not be successful in your job every time and you should make sure to deal with disappointments in this regard before deciding for a career as an animal trainer.

Pet owners can be difficult

Not only animals can be difficult, also their owners can be really annoying. Some of them are pretty demanding and if their animals don’t learn the things they want them to learn, you may be the one who will be made accountable for it. While some people do that in a nice manner, others may even insult you.

You may even get sued

If you are not careful and animals get injured during your training, you may even get sued by pet owners.

Thus, before becoming an animal trainer, make sure that you get proper insurance so that you are covered in case of emergency.

You have to work outdoors also during cold periods

As an animal trainer, you also have to work outdoors during rather unpleasant periods of the year. For instance, you will also have to train dogs and other animals outdoors in winter and even though you may not like those cold temperatures at all, you will still have to do your job.

Rather low social status of animal trainers

Animal trainers also don’t enjoy a high social status in society. In fact, animal trainers are often belittled and even your family and friends might not understand your career choice and may push you in a different direction.

Not suitable if you have animal dander allergy

You will also not become happy as an animal trainer if you have animal dander allergy. In such a case, you will just be far better off going for a different career path from an overall health perspective.

Thus, make sure that you test yourself regarding potential allergies in this regard before deciding for a career as an animal trainer.

Top 10 Being an Animal Trainer Pros & Cons – Summary List

Being an Animal Trainer ProsBeing an Animal Trainer Cons
Animal trainers can get plenty of fresh airAnimal trainers don’t make much money
You can work with many different animalsYou have a rather low social standing
Animal trainers can meet many new peopleSome animal trainers need a second job
Being an animal trainer is rather relaxedJob security is almost non-existent
You will not have that much time pressureDifficult to switch fields
Free weekends and holidaysAnimals may hurt you
You can enjoy a good work-life balancePet owners can be difficult to handle
Animal training may not feel like workSome animals will just not learn
Can give you a purpose in lifeYou may get sued in the worst case
You can start your own businessNot suitable if you have animal allergy

Should You Become an Animal Trainer?

Now that you know all the advantages and disadvantages of being an animal trainer, it is on you to decide whether you still want to go for a career as an animal trainer or if you want to go another career path instead.

Opportunities are almost endless and I am sure you will find the job that will make you happy in the long run.

If you want to get even more detailed information about an animal trainer career, make sure to also have a look at the salary, career prospects, future outlook, educational requirements and working hours of animal trainers.

Also make sure to check out the following articles:

Advantages and disadvantages of working as a faller

Advantages and disadvantages of working as a forester

Advantages and disadvantages of working as a photographer

Sources

https://www.pedigree.com/getting-a-new-dog/getting-an-adult-dog/10-best-training-tips

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_training

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.

This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.

Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.

I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.

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