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Retail Pet Trainer: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Retail pet trainers require no formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and licensure options to see if this is the right career for you.

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Retail pet trainers need a high school diploma or GED. They must be comfortable working with dogs, and those who complete professional certification may have better job prospects. Retail pet trainers play an important role in helping people and their pets bond.

Essential Information

Retail pet trainers work primarily with dog owners in pet stores, as opposed to with wild animals in zoos or aquariums. These positions may require a high school diploma or GED, and depending on the employer, training or certification may also be required.

Required Education High school diploma or GED
Other Requirements Certification or training may be required through retail store or other organization
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 11% for all animal trainers
Median Salary (2015)* $26,610 annually for all animal trainers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Retail Pet Trainer Job Description

Pet trainers in retail environments use positive reinforcement behavior modification methods to humanely teach obedience techniques. They should enjoy working with people as well as animals and should encourage bonds of mutual respect and affection between pet and owner.

Retail Pet Trainer Duties

Job postings from pet retail chains in November 2011 state that trainers should be prepared to approach customers to determine their pets' needs and recommend relevant obedience training. They should be able to sell training classes while meeting company standards, which may include attaining licensure or certification.

Once they've received the proper training, they teach obedience classes of all levels, from beginner to advanced. They must be able to motivate and encourage class participants in private and group settings. It's important to always promote corporate policies and philosophies. In some retail environments, trainers are expected to engage in housekeeping, animal care, sales or stocking in addition to their primary responsibilities.

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Retail Pet Trainer Requirements

Dog training positions require little more than a high school diploma or GED certificate in many cases. Voluntary training certification is available through various professional organizations, but it is not required to work independently as a dog trainer. However, according to the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, certification lends credibility to both the individual and the profession. Large retail chains have their own training programs that employees must successfully complete before beginning work.

Instruction may cover the history of dog training and breeding as well as how to design and implement training classes. Other topics tend to focus on animal learning and behavior. They include:

  • Types of conditioning
  • Positive vs. negative reinforcement
  • Social development
  • Genetics and breed characteristics
  • Body language
  • Motivation

Salary Information and Employment Outlook

Animal trainers working in general earned an annual median salary of $26,610 in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Expected employment growth was slightly faster than average at 11% from 2014 to 2024, per the BLS.

Retail pet trainers teach pet owners ways to effectively correct their pet's behavior. They also teach pet owners basic obedience commands. Retail pet trainers may be able to begin their career without formal postsecondary training, but professional certification may help increase their job opportunities and appeal to potential employers, as well as help develop their skills as a pet trainer.

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