Assistance Dog Trainer Job Description [Updated for 2024]

assistance dog trainer job description

In a society increasingly dependent on service animals, the spotlight on assistance dog trainers has never been brighter.

As our understanding of these incredible animals grows, so does the demand for skilled individuals who can effectively train, guide, and care for them.

But let’s delve deeper: What’s truly expected from an assistance dog trainer?

Whether you are:

  • A job seeker trying to grasp the essence of this role,
  • A hiring manager outlining the perfect candidate,
  • Or simply fascinated by the incredible work of assistance dog training,

You’re in the right place.

Today, we present a customizable assistance dog trainer job description template, designed for easy posting on job boards or career sites.

Let’s dive right in.

Assistance Dog Trainer Duties and Responsibilities

Assistance Dog Trainers have a unique role in training dogs to aid individuals with disabilities, enhancing their quality of life.

They work closely with dogs, applying behavioral conditioning techniques and principles to train them in specific tasks.

Their duties and responsibilities include:

  • Evaluating a dog’s temperament and suitability for becoming an assistance dog
  • Designing and implementing a comprehensive training program for each dog, tailored to the needs of the future handler
  • Training dogs to perform specific tasks, such as opening doors, fetching items, alerting to sounds, or guiding visually impaired individuals
  • Providing basic obedience training, such as teaching dogs to sit, stay, or lie down on command
  • Documenting each dog’s progress, noting any behavioral issues and changes over time
  • Teaching the handler to effectively communicate with the dog and maintain the training
  • Providing post-placement support, such as periodic check-ins and additional training if needed
  • Maintaining the health and well-being of the dogs in training, including regular exercise, veterinary care, and proper nutrition


Assistance Dog Trainer Job Description Template

Job Brief

We are seeking a dedicated and compassionate Assistance Dog Trainer to join our team.

The Assistance Dog Trainer’s responsibilities include evaluating dogs’ temperaments, training dogs in tasks such as guiding, alerting to sounds, and providing emotional support, and matching dogs with suitable handlers.

Our ideal candidate is passionate about improving the quality of life for people with disabilities and has a deep understanding of dog behavior and training techniques.

Ultimately, the role of the Assistance Dog Trainer is to train dogs to become reliable and helpful partners for individuals with disabilities, contributing to their independence and improving their quality of life.



  • Evaluating dogs to determine their suitability for service work.
  • Training dogs in tasks including guiding, alerting to sounds, fetching items, and providing emotional support.
  • Training dogs to behave appropriately in public places and around other animals.
  • Ensuring the dogs’ physical needs are met, including feeding, grooming, and exercise.
  • Teaching handlers how to effectively work with their assistance dogs.
  • Maintaining records of each dog’s progress and behavior.
  • Regularly checking in with handlers to assess the dog’s behavior and the handler’s satisfaction.
  • Keeping up-to-date with the latest dog training techniques and research.



  • Proven experience as a dog trainer, preferably with assistance dogs.
  • Knowledge of dog behavior and training techniques.
  • Ability to handle dogs of various sizes and breeds.
  • Excellent communication skills for working with handlers.
  • Patience and a love for working with dogs.
  • High school diploma or equivalent. A degree in animal behavior or a related field is a plus.
  • First Aid and CPR certification for animals is preferred.



  • Health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Retirement plan
  • Paid time off
  • Professional development opportunities


Additional Information

  • Job Title: Assistance Dog Trainer
  • Work Environment: This role typically works in a training facility but may also involve travel to clients’ homes or public places for training sessions.
  • Reporting Structure: Reports to the Training Manager or Director of Training.
  • Salary: Salary is based on candidate experience and qualifications, as well as market and business considerations.
  • Location: [City, State] (specify the location or indicate if remote)
  • Employment Type: Full-time
  • Equal Opportunity Statement: We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.
  • Application Instructions: Please submit your resume and a cover letter outlining your qualifications and experience to [email address or application portal].


What Does an Assistance Dog Trainer Do?

An Assistance Dog Trainer is a professional who trains dogs to assist individuals with disabilities in their daily lives.

They work closely with dogs, teaching them to perform specific tasks that their future handlers might have difficulty with due to physical, mental, or emotional disabilities.

These tasks may include guiding visually impaired people, alerting hearing-impaired individuals to specific sounds, or providing physical support and assistance to people with mobility impairments.

They may also train dogs to perform tasks for individuals with conditions such as autism or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Assistance Dog Trainers also work with the future handlers of the dogs, teaching them how to give commands and how to properly care for and work with their assistance dog.

They may also provide follow-up training and support as needed.

In addition, these trainers often have a role in selecting suitable puppies for training, and they may work closely with breeders or animal shelters to identify dogs with the right temperament and abilities.

The work of an Assistance Dog Trainer requires a deep understanding of dog behavior and training techniques, as well as empathy and patience to effectively train dogs and to work with their future handlers.


Assistance Dog Trainer Qualifications and Skills

An Assistance Dog Trainer should possess the skills and qualifications that meet the requirements of the job, including:

  • Experience with dog training methods and techniques to help train dogs to assist people with disabilities.
  • Knowledge about the behaviors and needs of different dog breeds, allowing effective training for a variety of assistance dogs.
  • Strong interpersonal skills to communicate and work effectively with the dogs’ owners, understanding their specific needs and goals for the assistance dog.
  • Patience and persistence to work with dogs that may be challenging to train, and to handle the slow progress that can come with training assistance dogs.
  • Empathy and understanding to work with owners who have disabilities, ensuring their needs are met and that the dog can effectively assist them.
  • Problem-solving skills to tackle behavioral issues in dogs and devise effective solutions.
  • Physical fitness and stamina to be able to handle dogs of all sizes and to conduct training sessions which can often be physically demanding.
  • Knowledge of first aid for dogs and understanding of their health and wellbeing, to ensure the dogs are always treated appropriately and safely during training.


Assistance Dog Trainer Experience Requirements

For an entry-level Assistance Dog Trainer role, candidates are usually required to have at least 1 year of experience in working with dogs.

This experience can be gained through volunteering at animal shelters, working at kennels or pet shops, or through internships at dog training facilities.

Candidates who have more than 2 years of experience are often considered for higher-level dog training positions.

They may have gained their experience through full-time roles as Dog Trainers or Animal Behaviorists, where they have honed their skills in dog behavior, obedience training, and specific training methods for assistance dogs.

Those with more than 4 years of experience in the field are usually qualified for senior roles.

These individuals may have expanded their skills to include training dogs for specific tasks like guiding the visually impaired, detecting medical conditions, or providing therapeutic support.

Furthermore, those with over 5 years of experience may be ready to take on leadership roles, such as Training Supervisor or Program Director.

These roles may require not only comprehensive hands-on experience with dogs but also administrative and supervisory skills.

In addition to work experience, a deep understanding of animal behavior, patience, and excellent communication skills are essential for success in this career.

Formal education in animal behavior, veterinary sciences, or a related field can be beneficial.

Some roles may also require certification from recognized bodies like the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers.


Assistance Dog Trainer Education and Training Requirements

Those interested in becoming an Assistance Dog Trainer typically need a high school diploma or equivalent, along with extensive hands-on experience working with dogs.

Many Assistance Dog Trainers start their careers by volunteering at local animal shelters or dog training facilities to gain hands-on experience.

This often involves observing experienced trainers, assisting with training sessions, and learning about dog behavior, health, and safety.

While there isn’t a specific degree required for this role, some Assistance Dog Trainers may choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in animal behavior, psychology, or a related field to deepen their understanding of animal behavior.

There are also several certification programs available for those interested in specializing in assistance dog training.

These programs often involve coursework, hands-on training, and passing an exam.

Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) and International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP) offer such certification programs.

Continuing education is important in this field, as trainers need to stay updated with the latest training methods and techniques.

This could involve attending workshops, seminars, or additional training courses.

In addition to the educational requirements, good physical stamina, patience, compassion, and excellent communication skills are essential for success in this role.


Assistance Dog Trainer Salary Expectations

An Assistance Dog Trainer can expect to earn an average salary of $30,410 (USD) per year.

However, actual earnings can vary based on experience, certifications, the specific organization they work for, and location.


Assistance Dog Trainer Job Description FAQs

What skills does an Assistance Dog Trainer need?

Assistance Dog Trainers should have strong communication skills to effectively train dogs and explain training progress and techniques to their owners.

They should be patient and have a deep understanding of animal behavior.

They also need physical stamina for handling large dogs and for long training sessions.

A love for animals and a compassionate nature are also essential.


Do Assistance Dog Trainers need a degree?

While a degree is not necessary, many Assistance Dog Trainers hold a certification in dog training from recognized institutions.

Knowledge in areas such as animal behavior, psychology, or veterinary science can be beneficial.

It is also essential that trainers are up-to-date with the latest training methods and techniques.


What should you look for in an Assistance Dog Trainer resume?

An Assistance Dog Trainer’s resume should include any certifications they have in dog training.

Experience working with animals, particularly in a training capacity, is a must.

Additionally, look for experience in specialized training related to assistance dogs, such as guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf, or service dogs for those with physical disabilities.


What qualities make a good Assistance Dog Trainer?

A good Assistance Dog Trainer is patient, understanding, and capable of instilling discipline in dogs.

They should have a deep love for animals and a desire to help improve the lives of people with disabilities.

Excellent communication skills are also important to effectively coordinate with dog owners and handlers.


What are the daily duties of an Assistance Dog Trainer?

The daily duties of an Assistance Dog Trainer include planning and conducting training sessions, monitoring the progress of each dog, and providing feedback to owners or handlers.

They may also be responsible for basic care tasks such as feeding and grooming the dogs, and they may need to work with vets or other specialists to address any health or behavioral issues.



There you have it.

Today, we unveiled the often unseen world of an assistance dog trainer.

Surprise, surprise?

It’s not just about teaching dogs commands.

It’s about shaping a future of companionship and assistance, one command at a time.

With our ultimate assistance dog trainer job description template and real-world examples, you’re ready to embark on this exciting journey.

But why put a leash on it there?

Dig deeper with our job description generator. It’s your next paw on the path to finely tailored job listings or polishing your resume to impeccable standards.


Each trained dog is a part of a bigger, happier world.

Let’s build that world. Together.

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