Job type

Assistance dog trainer

£16k - £28k

Typical salary

38 – 40

Hours per week

Assistance dog trainers and instructors train dogs to help people maintain their independence.

More info

  • Rewarding work training dogs to help people maintain their independence
  • Requires patience with dogs and their owners and a commitment to helping people
  • With experience you could progress into management roles or run your own business

Your job would involve working with dogs to train them to help their owners with specific difficulties they face. This could include guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs or other forms of disability assistance.


  • Working with volunteers who foster puppies and young dogs
  • Helping dogs to adjust to the routine of basic training
  • Training at a more advanced level related to the dog's future work
  • Matching dogs to owners, training dogs and owners together,
  • Providing aftercare and support for owner-dog partnerships

You could work with disability assistance dogs:

  • Training them to carrying out tasks like pressing emergency buttons on phones and opening and closing doors

With guide dogs for the blind and visually impaired:

  • Training them to help owners to use stairs, cross roads and avoid obstacles

With hearing dogs:

  • Training them to alert deaf people to sounds like smoke alarms, crying babies, telephones and alarm clocks

Or with seizure alert dogs:

  • Training them to recognise signs that their owner is about to have a seizure


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.

You'll need

You'll need a love of dogs and the ability to work with people and animals in a sensitive and caring way. You can apply directly for jobs if you've got some experience of working with dogs. Employers will look for knowledge of basic dog handling and behaviour management, and understanding of the issues faced by people with disabilities.

Each organisation sets its own entry requirements for job vacancies. For example, you may need up to 5 good GCSEs for some jobs. Employers may also ask for sign language skills and experience of working with deaf people for some roles, so you could build your knowledge in this area.

You could also work your way into this role by starting as an animal care worker in a kennel, then move on to learning to train dogs and working with owners. Some people may choose to take a Level 1 or Level 2 Diploma in Animal Care or a T Level in Animal Care and Management. You may also be able to start by doing an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in animal care, and you could then move onto an animal trainer higher apprenticeship.

You'll have an advantage if you've got experience of working with dogs. Examples include volunteering at a kennels, helping at a dog rescue centre or working for an animal welfare organisation.


With experience you could progress to a role like area team supervisor, training manager or regional training manager. Your experience as a trainer could lead to a care support job, like rehabilitation worker or you could move into a related field, like veterinary nursing or working as an RSPCA inspector. 

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