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Animal Trainer  What They Do

Just the Facts


Animal Trainers Career Video



Trains animals for riding, harness, security, performance, or obedience, or assisting persons with disabilities. Accustoms animals to human voice and contact; and conditions animals to respond to commands. Trains animals according to prescribed standards for show or competition. May train animals to carry pack loads or work as part of pack team.

This career is part of the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster Animal Systems pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Cues or signals animals during performances.
  • Talks to or interacts with animals to familiarize them to human voices or contact.
  • Conducts training programs to develop or maintain desired animal behaviors for competition, entertainment, obedience, security, riding, or related purposes.
  • Observes animals' physical conditions to detect illness or unhealthy conditions requiring medical care.
  • Feeds or exercises animals or provides other general care, such as cleaning or maintaining holding or performance areas.
  • Evaluates animals to determine their temperaments, abilities, or aptitude for training.
  • Administers prescribed medications to animals.
  • Keeps records documenting animal health, diet, or behavior.
  • Evaluates animals for trainability and ability to perform.
  • Advises animal owners regarding the purchase of specific animals.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Moving the arms, legs and torso together when the whole body is in motion
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Exerting oneself physically over long periods of time without getting out of breath
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Overtime work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Agility Instructor -- Directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy.
  • Cutting Horse Trainer -- Trains animals for riding, harness, security, performance, or obedience, or assisting persons with disabilities. Accustoms animals to human voice and contact; and conditions animals to respond to commands. Trains animals according to prescribed standards
  • Dog Trainer -- Teaches skills or behaviors to a dog, from basic obedience training to specialized areas including law enforcement, military, search and rescue, hunting, working with livestock, assistance to people with disabilities, entertainment, dog sports, detection
  • Dolphin Trainer -- Trains dolphins using a system of positive reinforcement in order to help educate and entertain people.
  • Guide Dog Trainer -- Trainers begin by helping a dog, at about 1 year old, to adjust to the routine of training. Simple walks are given to assess the dog’s abilities and then the proper training begins. Trainers may walk many miles each day preparing the dogs for their future
  • Lion Tamer -- Trains lions to interact with and respond to human cues for entertainment.