Dog trainers train dogs in obedience, security, or assisting people with physical disabilities. Dog trainers typically come into the profession with a combination of practical experience with animals and some kind of formal education in animal training. Some dog trainers hold a certificate or diploma in animal training from a vocational training school or community college. Many are certified by an independent organization not affiliated with a specific school or training program, such as the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers. Continuing education is almost always required to maintain certification.
A thorough dog training program will cover the history of dog training, various types of animal learning, dog behavior, and how to design dog training courses. There are a small number of schools that offer distance learning programs in dog training. Individuals interested in a career in guide dog training, where dogs are trained as guides for the blind, can enroll in an apprenticeship program offered by a guide dog school. Guide dog training programs are especially hands-on and can take up to three years to complete. There are also schools that offer programs for K-9 dog trainers and handlers.
Many dog trainers are self-employed, while others are employed by small dog training businesses, veterinary clinics, animal shelters, kennels, animal groomers, and pet stores. Local city or county parks and recreation departments also hire dog trainers.