Make Mega Bucks Training Fido. 3 Proven Ways to Turn Your Pup into a Cash Cow

Introduction

Dog training can be an extremely lucrative career for those with the proper skills and experience. As pet ownership continues to grow, so does the demand for qualified professionals who can train dogs to be well-behaved companions. Dog training services are highly sought after by everyone from individual pet owners to law enforcement agencies. With persistence and hard work, dog trainers have the potential to build thriving businesses and earn generous salaries. This article will explore the various career paths and earning potential within the dog training industry.

Types of Dog Training Jobs

There are several common types of dog training jobs to consider when looking to make money training dogs:

Service Dog Training – Training dogs to assist people with disabilities and special needs. This requires understanding service dog laws and training dogs on specific commands, socialization, and behaviors to aid their handler. Service dog trainers often work for non-profit organizations or privately. According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for service dog trainers ranges from $48,500-$56,500 per year.

Behavior Modification – Working with dogs who exhibit problematic behaviors like aggression, anxiety, or disobedience. This involves evaluating the dog’s behaviors, creating customized training plans, and using techniques like counterconditioning and desensitization. According to the International Dog Trainers School, behavior modification trainers can make $55,000-$80,000 per year.

behavior modification dog trainers can earn $55,000-$80,000 yearly.

Competition Dog Training – Preparing dogs for various canine sporting events and competitions like agility, obedience trials, rally obedience, scent work, and more. Competition trainers work on enhancing a dog’s natural abilities and training them on complicated skillsets. According to CATCH Canine Trainers Academy, competition dog trainers typically earn $30,000-$60,000 annually.

Group Training Classes – Leading basic obedience training, socialization classes, and specialty classes for pet owners and their dogs. Classes are often held at training facilities, parks, stores, and other venues. The median hourly wage for dog obedience trainers teaching group classes is $16.06 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Certifications

There are many credentials available for aspiring professional dog trainers. The most widely recognized certification is the Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) offered by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT). To earn the CPDT-KA credential, candidates must have at least 300 hours of dog training experience and pass a rigorous exam covering topics like learning theory, behavior modification, and training equipment. The exam consists of both written questions and four hands-on video exercises demonstrating training techniques [1].

Another well-known certification is the Certified Behavior Consultant Canine-Knowledge Assessed (CBCC-KA) also administered by the CCPDT. This certification focuses more on behavior analysis and modification. Other reputable certifications are available from organizations like the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) and the Karen Pryor Academy.

Earning a recognized certification shows clients and employers you have verified skills and education in dog training. Continuing education is required to maintain most certifications. While voluntary in most locations, certifications can increase credibility and career opportunities.

Building Your Reputation

Building a solid reputation is crucial for attracting new dog training clients. There are several effective strategies trainers can use:

Marketing your services through channels like social media, local advertisements, and community event booths can greatly expand your visibility. Consistently sharing dog training tips, cute pet photos, and client testimonials on platforms like Facebook and Instagram is an excellent low-cost tactic (source). Consider paid advertisements on these sites as well to reach local pet owners searching for trainers.

social media and ads help dog trainers expand their visibility and client base.

Monitoring and encouraging reviews on sites like Yelp, Google My Business, and Facebook can lend credibility. Respond professionally to any negative feedback, and ask satisfied clients to leave positive reviews after finishing their training programs. Reviews significantly influence pet owners’ selection of a qualified trainer.

Partnering with local veterinarians, pet supply shops, doggy daycares, and shelters enables cross-promotion of services. Providing free public seminars, meet-and-greets, or obedience demonstrations at these businesses can establish your expertise and get potential clients interested in your training methods (source).

Leveraging word-of-mouth referrals from previous clients is enormously impactful. Providing discounts or rewards for referrals that result in new business incentivizes happy pet owners to recommend you within their networks.

Pricing Your Services

When determining how to price your dog training services, there are several popular options:

Private Lessons

Private dog training lessons typically range from $45-120 per hour depending on your experience level and location. More experienced trainers or those in higher demand areas like major cities can charge rates at the higher end of this range. Private lessons allow for personalized attention and faster progress.

private dog training lessons range from $45-120 per hour based on experience.

Board and Train

For board and train programs, owners send their dogs to live and train with a trainer full-time for a set period, usually 1-4 weeks. Prices often start around $500-600 per week. This intensive training can yield faster results but is a bigger investment for owners (Source).

Group Classes

Group classes offer a more affordable option, with prices typically ranging $150-300 for a set of 4-8 week courses. The socialization and group learning dynamic can benefit some dogs. However, progress may be slower than private or board and train programs (Source).

Locations

When deciding where to base your dog training business, consider urban versus rural areas as well as affluent neighborhoods. According to research, urban areas often have a high demand for dog trainers, with more potential clients concentrated in a smaller geographic area. Cities also enable you to access facilities like indoor training spaces. However, competition from other trainers may be greater in cities.

Rural areas offer benefits like more outdoor space for training and less direct competition. But you’ll likely need to travel farther between clients. Focus your services in more affluent neighborhoods and communities, as higher income households are more likely to invest in private dog training. Consider suburbs around major metro areas that combine higher incomes with sufficient demand.

Working for Yourself vs Company

When deciding whether to work for yourself as an independent dog trainer or join an established company, there are pros and cons to consider for both options:

Working for yourself allows for more flexibility and freedom. As an independent contractor, you set your own schedule and decide which clients to take on. You also keep all the profits from your services. However, you need to handle all the marketing, administrative work, and expenses yourself. Income can fluctuate since you rely on getting new clients consistently.

Source

Working for a dog training company provides a steady base salary and benefits like health insurance. You don’t have to spend time finding new clients or managing the business operations. However, you have less control over your schedule and training methods. Pay is typically lower than running your own business, and you may deal with office politics. There is also less flexibility to take on outside clients.

Source

The choice depends on your career goals, desire for stability versus freedom, and ability to manage all aspects of a business. New trainers may benefit from joining an established company to gain experience before going independent. Overall, working for yourself offers the highest income potential but requires strong business acumen.

Expenses

Running a dog training business comes with considerable expenses. Some of the main costs to factor in are:

Insurance

It’s crucial to have liability insurance as a dog trainer to protect yourself in case a client’s dog gets injured or causes damage while under your care. According to DogBizSuccess, insurance premiums are generally tax deductible expenses.

Equipment

Equipment like leashes, collars, treats, toys, crates, and other supplies are deductible expenses. You can also deduct costs associated with maintaining any training facilities and equipment as outlined by Bizfluent.

Facility

If you operate out of a dedicated training facility, expenses like rent, utilities, maintenance and repairs can be deducted. The IRS allows deductions for any general business expenses required to run your dog training operation.

Maximizing Income

As a dog trainer, there are several ways to maximize your income beyond just charging for training sessions. Offering multiple services is a great strategy. For example, you could provide boarding or daycare in addition to training, or sell dog products and supplies. This provides passive income sources that don’t require your direct time and effort (Learn More About Supplemental Revenue Streams for Dog Trainers).

Recurring revenue streams are also effective for boosting income. You could offer obedience training package deals, prepaid sessions at a discount, or monthly membership plans. This provides you with steady, predictable income. Consider passive income like creating online training courses, ebooks, instructional videos, or a blog with ads. These can be monetized resources that continue earning money over time. With multiple income streams, your business is not solely relying on hourly training rates. This gives you the potential to ultimately earn more with the same amount of hours worked.

recurring revenue streams like memberships help maximize dog trainers' income.

Conclusion

Training dogs can be a fulfilling and financially rewarding career path for dog lovers. To make good money as a dog trainer, build your skills through certifications, establish yourself as an expert in your niche, invest in marketing yourself, set competitive but fair prices, and look for ways to scale your business over time. Success rarely happens overnight, but with consistent hard work devoted to building key business elements like reputation, marketing, pricing, and growth strategy, dog trainers can turn their passion into a lucrative career.

In summary, focus on developing expertise, finding your target customer base, building your brand, networking with fellow dog professionals, and delivering exceptional service. Strive to over-deliver value so clients refer others to you. Stay nimble so you can meet evolving client needs. Track metrics to refine your offerings. With dedication, smarts, and care, you can build a rewarding and profitable dog training business.

Scroll to Top