1. Resume Examples
  2. Dog Trainer
Written by Susan ShorSusan Shor

Dog Trainer resume example & writing guide

You’re an expert at training four-legged clients not to act like the boss, while teaching their owners how to implement each lesson at home. If it’s time for a career move, we can help you create a winning dog trainer resume that showcases all of your abilities and success stories. This step-by-step writing guide is paired with an adaptable dog trainer resume example.
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Dog Trainer resume example & writing guide
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Working with animals takes intuition, patience, and caring. Congratulations! You have all those traits and are ready to create a great dog trainer resume to show them off.

Resume.io can help you build a successful resume that clearly conveys your ability to teach dogs and promote their better behavior and learned responses. Our job search resources include more than 350 occupation-specific writing guides with corresponding resume examples.

The guide you’re reading now is designed specifically for dog trainers. It includes sample wording from a dog trainer resume to illustrate each step in the writing process. You are free to adapt as much as you like for your own job application. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • What dog trainers do and the employment outlook
  • The correct resume structure and best format for your dog trainer resume
  • Optimizing the impact of each resume section: header, profile, work history, education and skills
  • Layout and design tips so your resume looks as good as it sounds

What does a dog trainer do?

A dog trainer is an expert in dog behavior and knows how to train dogs to follow commands and abide by certain rules and expectations. They work with clients to develop individualized plans to achieve behavior goals for their dogs. Dog trainers have an in-depth understanding of canines and their negative behavior patterns, and they are adept in using training skills and techniques to effectively train dogs. 

Some dog trainers work in specialized environments, such as those who train police dogs or service dogs. But most are either self-employed, working directly with individual clients or groups, or they provide services in a pet store or facility such as an adoption shelter, dog daycare or boarding kennel. In any case, a resume will tell potential clients or employers why you are the right fit for them.

Statistical insight

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment growth for animal care and service workers overall is expected to grow by a remarkable 33% between 2020 and 2030. That’s more than four times faster than the 8% occupational average. Although there is no separate BLS category for dog trainers, the Bureau's projected growth rate for animal trainers during the same decade is 28%.

Although your own background may not be exactly the same as what others in your field have in the way of training and experience, you likely share some common ground that should come across in your dog trainer resume.

Naturally, you’ll want to convey your ability to work well with dogs, and to create and implement successful dog training programs. It is important to emphasize your experience working with dogs of different breeds and ages.

Almost equally important is your ability to work with and communicate with dog owners. After all, they are your clients and will have to learn from you how to handle their animals.

Your resume should showcase your ability to encourage and reinforce positive behavior and work to stop bad behavior. You should also call attention to your knowledge of positive lifestyle choices for dogs including diet, nutrition, exercise, and socialization. 

How to write a dog trainer resume

A universal rule for all resumes, regardless of occupation or industry, is that a different customized version is needed for each specific job application. That means the skills and work experiences you emphasize should be geared to the employer’s needs and expectations.

On the other hand, all resumes have the same universally applied structure of parts. Your dog trainer resume will consist of these components: 

  • Header
  • Summary
  • Employment history section
  • Education section
  • Skills section

Choosing the best resume format for a dog trainer

Generally, there are three possible resume formats for organizing your professional qualifications as a dog trainer. If you have worked primarily in employee positions, then the most commonly used chronological resume format is recommended. It’s also preferred by hiring managers as being the easiest way to review your work history. Each position you've held is listed below the employer heading, in reverse chronological order from most recent to earliest dates.

But if you are a self-employed dog trainer with a background working for diverse clients, the functional resume format may be more suitable. It enables you to emphasize your most relevant dog training skills, rather than previous positions and work settings. Or you could even arrange that information by canine client, as we’ll suggest later on. 

The hybrid (combination) resume format is even more versatile, with both chronological and functional elements.

Resume header

Whether the great first impression you are trying to make is with a dog, the dog’s owner or your next boss, it’s something you’ll only get to do once. Think of your dog trainer resume the same way by choosing a header design that gets noticed for the right reasons.

Professional, composed and well-organized are the characteristics you can express visually to set your job application apart visually from everyone else’s. An eye-pleasing resume header draws the reader’s eyes to the most easily noticed and remembered information on the page: your name, occupation and contact information. Double the impact with a matching cover letter and resume header.

Dog trainer resume summary example

Your resume summary — sometimes called profile or personal statement — gives you a chance to explain your philosophy of dog training and showcase your successes to recruiters. Get a little creative with this short, but important, paragraph, as dog owners like to know that you are serious about training, but also can be playful with their animals. Your personality is particularly important when you work so closely with people and the dogs they may consider part of their family.

Keep it professional, but don’t be shy here. Use strong action words to highlight your key achievements as a dog trainer.

Consider using this format:

  • One or two sentences that detail your philosophy of working with dogs
  • One sentence that describes your greatest success
  • One sentence that explains your qualifications.

Below is a dog trainer resume sample summary you can customize.

Adaptable summary example

Certified Dog Trainer with a proven track record of achieving goals and resolving negative behavior patterns in dogs. Adept at assessing root causes of behavior problems, stresses, and social anxieties in dogs. Over 15 years of experience working with many different breeds and ages of dogs, using positive reinforcement and a variety of training methods. Knowledgeable about proper nutrition, diet, and exercise for dogs, and committed to helping find desired solutions.  


Employment history sample

This section should outline your key work experience with dogs, pointing to a proven track record of success. As noted previously, if you have worked for employers, a simple listing in reverse chronological order is the best method. Within each job, use those strong action verbs to convey your achievements.

If you are self-employed, you can take more of a narrative approach. Try listing jobs using the name of the dog and then describing how you worked with both the dog and its owners. Include the dog’s breed and age, and describe what its daily life is like. Mention any history that you know: Was it adopted from a shelter? Purchased from a breeder? This approach will illustrate that you are familiar with a wide variety of situations and know how to approach each one of them.

Expert tip

To frame your work experience as achievements, consider using the PAR format for describing the problem, explain the action you took, and tell the result. This works well when enumerating work with a specific dog. An alternative approach is the STAR method, with situation and task replacing the problem.

If your dog training experience is relatively limited, then list other animal care positions that have some relevance. Working with animals in another capacity, such as kennel attendant or pet groomer, is valid. For reference, check out our farm worker resume example and zookeeper resume example. Any type of customer service experience can also be relevant, or working with clients in another industry. Take a look at these writing guides and sample resumes: personal trainer resume example, freelancer resume example and career change resume example

Below is a dog trainer employment history resume sample you can modify.

Adaptable employment history example

Dog Trainer at DS Dog Training, Austin
June 2012 - Present

  • Work with 200-230 individual clients per year on average, tailoring programs to meet their needs and those of their dog.
  • Average 93% “excellent” or “outstanding” satisfaction scores for 12-18 group training sessions held annually, from one-day workshops to 6-week series, including obedience, fun play, and agility classes for all levels.
  • Thoroughly assess dog behavior problems to identify causes and resolve.
  • Educate clients about at-home practices to strengthen and reinforce positive behaviors and diminish or eliminate negative ones.
  • Provide information about new products and services that would benefit individual dogs and their owners.


Canine Groomer at Petco, Dallas
October 2007 - April 2012

  • Worked with dogs and owners to provide an enjoyable and satisfactory grooming experience, ensuring any specialized care instructions were followed closely.
  • Credited with helping the business achieve a 19% increase in new customers and 23% retention improvement during my employment.
  • Utilized gentle grooming approaches and behavioral techniques to comfort dogs during the grooming process.
  • Maintained a clean and welcoming environment, sanitized grooming tools between clients and kept accurate inventory of products.
  • Worked well independently and also alongside colleagues.
  • Consistently punctual and reliable with no absences, while agreeing to cover extra shifts for absent colleagues.

Education Section Example

While a college degree is not necessary to find employment as a dog trainer, any degrees that you do have should be listed in your resume's education section. If you hold a degree higher than a bachelor’s degree, you may leave out your high school. 

Because it is not necessary to complete formal postsecondary education programs to become a dog trainer, be sure to list a certification or diploma related to canines is beneficial. any mentoring or on-the-job training you received.

If you've completed any certificate or diploma programs related to canines or dog training specifically, they belong here too. For example, you have a certificate from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) or the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT).

Also, be sure to mention any mentoring or on-the-job training you received.

Here is the education section from a dog trainer resume you can adapt.

Adaptable education example

Canine Training and Behavior Specialist, Starmark Academy, Austin
May 2009 - May 2010


High School Diploma, Dallas High School, Dallas
September 2005 - May 2009


CV skills example

This CV section offers potential employers and clients a brief glimpse of the talents you want to highlight. Consisting of five to 10 skills, it is simply a list, but a very important one. When confronted with dozens of resumes or options for dog trainers, people will scan quickly to eliminate candidates who don’t fit the bill. Make sure you think carefully about what skills are most desired in a dog trainer and include those here. Look through the job listing for the position you seek and match the skills that the employer requires with the ones you indicate.

Naturally, your list will include a number of impressive hard skills that qualify you as a dog trainer. Remember that you are training the dog owners as well as the dog. So in addition, you need various soft skills to function well as a professional. These include:

  • Patience
  • Confidence
  • Flexibility
  • Problem-solving
  • Time management
  • Diplomacy
  • Clear communication
  • Listening

Of course, you need respect and love for dogs, too!

Check out a dog trainer CV sample for the skills section below.

Adaptable skills example
  • Specialized Knowledge of Canines
  • Advanced Dog Training Expertise
  • Positive Reinforcement Techniques
  • Excellent Communication Skills
  • Empathy and Compassion
  • Patience and Persistence

Resume layout, design and formatting

Complete your amazing resume with a clean, professional-looking layout. Resume.io's ready-made resume templates make it easy to avoid common design errors and make a great first visual impression. For your dog trainer resume, we suggest a design from the creative or modern categories, but you can also choose from professional or simple styles.

The Resume.io online builder makes it easy to develop a great resume. When you are completely satisfied, be sure to save your file as a PDF to avoid formatting errors between word processing programs. 

Key takeaways for a dog trainer resume

  1. Career prospects for dog trainers are exceptionally bright as the demand for animal care and service workers is expected to skyrocket in the decade ahead. An outstanding dog trainer resume is essential to pursue the most attractive jobs.
  2. Whether you are self-employed or are applying to work for a pet retailer or care facility, your resume should be tailored specifically to the employer’s or client’s needs.
  3. Pay close attention to the posted job ad to determine what skills should be listed in your resume, and which professional experience to highlight.
  4. A professional resume template — just like the one used to create our adaptable dog trainer resume example — ensures your resume looks impressive at first glance and is easy to read throughout.

With this guide and Resume.io’s handy tools and resume templates, you are well on your way to your next rewarding job! 

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