Assistance Dog Trainer

Job Description:

Assistance dog trainers and instructors train dogs that help people to maintain their independence, like guide dogs.

Job Category:
Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing

What you will do:

In this job, you’ll:

  • work with volunteers who foster puppies and young dogs
  • assess dogs to go forward for training
  • train dogs to the standards required
  • match dogs to new owners
  • train dogs and owners together
  • provide aftercare and support for owners and their dogs
  • keep accurate records


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of teaching and instructing
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
  • customer service skills

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work on your own (drive)
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly


You could do a course at college which may give you some of the skills and knowledge needed to do this job.

In the UK, for example, courses include:

  • Diploma in Animal Care
  • Level in Animal Care and Management


You may be able to start by doing an intermediate apprenticeship as an animal care and welfare assistant.

With experience, you could move onto an animal trainer higher apprenticeship.


You could get into this job by starting as a kennel worker then move on to training dogs and working with their owners.


You could gain experience of working with dogs and using positive training techniques through volunteering.

This might include:

  • volunteering at kennels
  • helping at a dog rescue centre
  • working for an animal welfare organisation

Direct Application

You can apply directly for jobs if you’ve got some experience of working with dogs.

You’ll need:

  • knowledge of basic dog handling and positive training techniques
  • understanding of the issues faced by disabled people

Depending on the people they support, some employers may also ask for more specific skills like:

  • sign language when working with deaf people
  • experience of teaching or instructing people
  • knowledge of specific conditions like epilepsy, dementia, sight loss or autism

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 35-40 hours of work. You could be required to work evening/weekends occasionally.

You could work at a client’s business or at a client’s home. Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers and you’ll travel often.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience you could become an area team supervisor, training manager or regional manager.

You could move into related jobs like veterinary nurse or inspector.

You could also set up your own business and provide services like dog behaviour classes or private dog training.