What Does An Animal Trainer Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

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Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Animal Trainers

Animal Trainers train animals for riding, harness, security, performance, or obedience, or for assisting persons with disabilities. Accustom animals to human voice and contact, and condition animals to respond to commands. Train animals according to prescribed standards for show or competition. May train animals to carry pack loads or work as part of pack team.

Salary
$37950
Becoming One
Easy
Education
No degree required
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality
Interest Match





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Animal Trainers train animals for riding, harness, security, performance, or obedience, or for assisting persons with disabilities. Accustom animals to human voice and contact, and condition animals to respond to commands. Train animals according to prescribed standards for show or competition. May train animals to carry pack loads or work as part of pack team.

  • Train horses or other equines for riding, harness, show, racing, or other work, using knowledge of breed characteristics, training methods, performance standards, and the peculiarities of each animal.
  • Cue or signal animals during performances.
  • Talk to or interact with animals to familiarize them with human voices or contact.
  • Conduct training programs to develop or maintain desired animal behaviors for competition, entertainment, obedience, security, riding, or related purposes.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Animal Trainers place tack or harnesses on horses to accustom horses to the feel of equipment. They talk to or interact with animals to familiarize them with human voices or contact.

A typical day for an Animal Trainer will also include:

  • Observe animals’ physical conditions to detect illness or unhealthy conditions requiring medical care.
  • Use oral, spur, rein, or hand commands to condition horses to carry riders or to pull horse-drawn equipment.
  • Keep records documenting animal health, diet, or behavior.
  • Retrain horses to break bad habits, such as kicking, bolting, or resisting bridling or grooming.
  • Conduct training programs to develop or maintain desired animal behaviors for competition, entertainment, obedience, security, riding, or related purposes.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Animal Trainers also instruct jockeys in handling specific horses during races. They may also advise animal owners regarding the purchase of specific animals.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Animal Trainers administer prescribed medications to animals. They might also keep records documenting animal health, diet, or behavior.

In addition, they organize or conduct animal shows.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them evaluate animals for trainability and ability to perform.

To some Animal Trainers, it is also their responsibility to conduct training programs to develop or maintain desired animal behaviors for competition, entertainment, obedience, security, riding, or related purposes.

Freedom to make decisions

How much decision making freedom does this job offer?

No freedom
0%

Very little freedom
1%

Limited freedom
1%

Some freedom
19%

A lot of freedom
80%

Structured vs unstructured work

To what extent is this job structured for you versus allowing you to determine your own tasks, priorities, and goals?

No freedom
0%

Very little freedom
3%

Limited freedom
14%

Some freedom
12%

A lot of freedom
71%


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What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Average

Is this job meaningful

High

69% said they were satisfied with their job and 60% said they found their job meaningful.


Laura Cassiday
Pawsitive Vibes Cat Behavior and Training LLC

I do both virtual and in-person consultations for cat owners experiencing behavioral issues with their cats. It could be anything from training cats to stop jumping up on the counter to troubleshooting why your cat has stopped using the litter box. On a typical day, I am working on creating educational content for my website and social media and meeting with clients. I guide my clients through their concerns and teach them how to live more peacefully with their cats.

Pros: I love having the opportunity to educate people about cats. There are not many cat behavior consultants or trainers out there, and cats are often considered to be second class citizens next to dogs. I believe I am a valuable and much-needed resource to cat owners who often don’t know where else to turn.

Cons: However, this is a double-edged sword. Because many people believe the stereotypes that cats are just being jerks or that they can’t be trained, some people don’t see a need for my services. This is why I focus so much on client and public education.


Pros

Suitable for people who like practical and hands-on work.

Suitable for people who want independence and like to work on their own and make decisions.

This career is perfect for people who love to work outdoors.

It is easy to get into this career. Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to work with designs.

One of the lowest paying jobs.

How much do they make

Average salary

$37950 per year

Average hourly wage

$18 per hour

Entry-level Animal Trainers with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $21,550 to $25,160 per year or $10 to $12 per hour.

Salary range Hourly Annual
Highest (Top 10%) $30 $62,040
Senior (Top 25%) $21 $43,370
Middle (Mid 50%) $15 $31,520
Junior (Bottom 25%) $12 $25,160
No experience (Bottom 10%) $10 $21,550

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
47%

40 hours
22%

More than 40 hours
31%

Working schedule

63%

29%

8%

Work with group or team

How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?

Not important at all
14%

Fairly important
14%

Important
7%

Very important
22%

Extremely important
42%

Deal with external customers

How important is it to work with customers in this job?

Not important at all
10%

Fairly important
6%

Important
14%

Very important
24%

Extremely important
46%

Manage or lead others

How important is it to coordinate or lead others in completing work activities in this job?

Not important at all
8%

Fairly important
17%

Important
7%

Very important
30%

Extremely important
38%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
28%

Every day
40%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
25%

Every day
47%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
16%

Every day
74%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
26%

Once a year
13%

Once a month
24%

Once a week
23%

Every day
15%

Frequency of conflict situations

How often are there conflict situations in this job?

Never
21%

Once a year
13%

Once a month
33%

Once a week
14%

Every day
19%

Dealing with angry people

How often do you have to deal with angry, unpleasant, or discourteous individuals in this job?

Never
13%

Once a year
35%

Once a month
29%

Once a week
13%

Every day
10%

Dealing with physically aggressive people

How often do you have to deal with physically aggressive people in this job?

Never
66%

Once a year
27%

Once a month
0%

Once a week
8%

Every day
0%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
25%

Slightly competitive
11%

Moderately competitive
33%

Highly competitive
20%

Extremely competitive
11%

Repetition in this job

How important is repeating the same type of task over and over in this job?

Not important at all
43%

Fairly important
10%

Important
17%

Very Important
6%

Extremely Important
23%

Impact of decisions on co-workers or company results

What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the reputation or financial resources of your employer?

No impact
4%

Minor impact
16%

Moderate impact
4%

Important impact
26%

Very important impact
50%

Frequency of decision making

How frequently do you have to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the reputation of the company?

Never
19%

Once a year
5%

Once a month
9%

Once a week
17%

Every day
49%

Responsibility for others’ health and safety

How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?

No responsibility
14%

Limited responsibility
12%

Moderate responsibility
8%

High responsibility
31%

Very high responsibility
35%

Responsibility for outcomes and results

How much responsibility is there for the work outcomes and results of other workers?

No responsibility
7%

Limited responsibility
24%

Moderate responsibility
18%

High responsibility
32%

Very high responsibility
19%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
40%

Once a year or more
10%

Once a month or more
1%

Once a week or more
13%

Every day
37%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
40%

Once a year or more
1%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
22%

Every day
37%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
9%

Once a year or more
5%

Once a month or more
8%

Once a week or more
15%

Every day
64%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
11%

Once a year or more
19%

Once a month or more
14%

Once a week or more
18%

Every day
37%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Easy
You may need some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Most careers in this difficulty category usually don’t require a degree. However, you will need a few months of on-the-job training with experienced employees. Similar careers include Customer Service Representatives, Security Guards, and Bank Tellers.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
23%

High School Diploma or equivalent
44%

Post-Secondary Certificate
8%

Some College Courses
17%

Associate’s Degree or similar
7%

Bachelor’s Degree
2%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
0%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
16%

1 month
0%

1 to 3 months
5%

3 to 6 months
9%

6 months to 1 year
15%

1 to 2 years
10%

2 to 4 years
31%

4 to 6 years
6%

6 to 8 years
2%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
7%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
0%

1 month
13%

1 to 3 months
12%

3 to 6 months
14%

6 months to 1 year
17%

1 to 2 years
23%

2 to 4 years
11%

4 to 10 years
6%

Over 10 years
3%

Should you become one

Best personality for this career
The Builder

People with this personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

100%

52%

29%

52%

38%

52%

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

They also like working with ideas and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

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