Updated - Aug 4th, 2020
Interested in putting your love of pups to work? Good news. There are tons of job opportunities to work with dogs these days! Here are 11 great jobs for dog lovers available in 2020, ordered from least to most training and experience required.
#1: Dog Walker
Dog walkers take pups out for exercise, either once a day or as needed. Some dog walkers work at larger facilities, such as daycare centers with enough residents to require a specialized walker.
How to Get the Job: Dog walking has no special requirements other than physical mobility and the ability to hold one or more leashes, although experienced dog parents are better at managing dogs during walks and are more likely to get these jobs.
#2: Dog Sitter
Dog sitters step in to take care of pups when the rest of the family is on vacation. This job usually occurs at the dog’s home and can consist of anything from visiting once or twice a day to living with the dog while the family is out of town. Many dog sitters provide additional services, such as walking.
How to Get the Job: There are no special requirements, but a pet sitter certification can make you a stronger candidate, which usually takes 4-6 weeks to complete. Several years of experience raising dogs is also handy.
#3: Dog Groomer
Dog groomers specialize in caring for the fur and claws of dogs. Some groomers provide basic cleaning services, while others help prepare dogs for shows and other events. A few groomers even visit the houses of clients, which can be a nice benefit if you enjoy traveling.
How to Get the Job: Attend a grooming school or go through an apprenticeship, which usually takes 6-10 weeks. If you want to run your own grooming company, a degree in business management can be very helpful. This could take 2-6 years depending on whether you are pursuing a degree at the college or graduate school level.
#4: Doggy Daycare Worker
Doggy daycare workers are similar to dog sitters, but this job usually involves the dog coming to your house instead of staying at their own. Doggy daycares also deal with more pets at once than dog sitters, which makes this a great job if you love being surrounded by pups. Some doggy daycares are part of other facilities like veterinary offices.
How to Get the Job: You can start your own business running a daycare, or work at a larger, existing facility. Pet sitter training, veterinary assistant training, or past experience can be very valuable for this job and make you a stronger candidate to future employers.
#5: Certified Dog Trainer
Certified dog trainers teach puppies (and, occasionally, adults and older dogs) basic rules of behavior and tricks. Most trainers work with classes of puppies, and with new classes happening as often as every few weeks, you’ll always have more dogs to meet!
Some trainers also work as dog handlers at dog shows. These are competitive events that evaluate dogs on various qualities, so the ability to form personal bonds and give instructions to dogs is essential to success.
How to Get the Job: Take some training seminars and practice training a few dogs, then seek out your certification. Some larger pet stores and puppy schools offer full-time positions to certified trainers. Getting your certification can take as little as three months, although some apprenticeships last one year or more.
#6: Dog Photographer
Plenty of families want to get amazing photographs of their dogs, but don’t have the tools or the experience needed to take great pictures. That’s where you can come in if you know how to take professional photos. Dog photographers usually work part-time, although some may have full-time positions with award shows or other organizations.
How to Get the Job: Get several years of experience taking photos of animals. Portfolios are essential for convincing clients to hire you. A four-year bachelor’s degree in photography is useful, but not required as this is mainly a skill-based position.
#7: Service Dog Trainer
Service dog trainers are similar to certified dog trainers, but focus on training dogs for special needs. This requires significantly more training, but it can also offer more job security thanks to the higher level of skill involved.
How to Get the Job: Service dog trainers require significantly more experience, so expect to spend 2-3 years with an apprenticeship program. That said, you may be able to reduce this time if you have previous related training or experience.
#8: Veterinary Assistant/Vet Tech
If you don’t want to spend eight years in college and grad school, becoming a veterinary technician is an easier way to provide medical care for dogs (and, usually, other animals). Experience as a vet tech can also qualify you for most other jobs for dog lovers, which makes this a particularly good option if you want to keep your career choices open.
How to Get the Job: Complete a veterinary assistant program (normally one year or less of training). An associate degree or bachelor’s degree in animal science (or a similar program) is also useful if you want to expand your career options, which will take up to four more years.
#9: Dog Breeder
Dog breeders raise and sell dogs to families or other pet-distribution centers. States generally have laws regulating these businesses, but if you know how to breed dogs well, they can be the center of your entire life since this job usually involves living with them full-time.
How to Get the Job: Get as much breeding and business management training as you can, then register your kennel and start obtaining breeding dogs. This usually takes at least four years for a bachelor’s degree in business administration (a master’s is even better, but not required), plus at least one year of experience breeding dogs before turning it into a business.
#10: Animal Behaviorist
Animal behaviorists don’t have a well-known position, but that also means less competition when companies are hiring. Behaviorists specialize in researching why different types of animals react in certain ways to different events or objects, with a particular focus on improving training techniques and preparing animals for specialized programs.
Some animal behaviorists work in the entertainment industry and help determine the best ways to train stunt animals. For example, if a script calls for a dog to rush through a raging river, a behaviorist can help determine how to train a dog to perform the stunt safely.
How to Get the Job: Get a master’s or a doctorate in Animal Behavior (about eight years of study in total). Additional training in psychology or biology is also useful.
This one hardly needs explaining, but veterinarians provide medical care for dogs, cats, and other animals. This position involves spending less time with each animal than most other careers with dogs, but it also offers the opportunity to help them in ways no other job can. This makes it one of the most rewarding jobs for dog lovers.
How to Get the Job: Get a doctorate in veterinary medicine (eight years), then additional training with an internship (one year).