Career outlook for assistance dog trainer
UK Salary Ranges
Currently employed in Scotland
What's it like?
You would train the dogs who help people with disabilities or medical conditions to enjoy independent lives.
You'd work with the puppies and teach them how to help people with certain tasks and situation. Then you'd match a dog to a person so they are well-suited and have a happy partnership.
You could train:
- Guide dogs, who help blind and visually impaired people to use stairs, cross roads safely and avoid obstacles
- Hearing dogs, who alert people with hearing impairments to sounds like smoke alarms, crying babies, telephones and alarm clocks
- Disability assistance dogs, who help people with physical disabilities with tasks such as opening and closing doors and pressing emergency buttons on phones. They may also be companions to children with autism to help them get used to being with other people
- Seizure alert dogs who recognise signs that their owner is about to have an epileptic seizure or alert people with health conditions such as diabetes or severe allergic reactions before a medical emergency occurs
You'd work with volunteers who foster puppies and young dogs and help them get the puppies used to people so they will work well with their owners.
You'd then settle dogs in at the training centre, take them for walks and explore their abilities by playing with them.
You'd train the dogs in basic skills, for example, to obey simple voice commands, fetch items, avoid obstacles and stop for traffic. They also need to get used to wearing a harness for working, and being treated as pets when the harness is off.
You'd teach advanced skills specific to the type of support dog, such as responding to emergencies, picking items off supermarket shelves and loading and unloading washing machines.
When the training is complete you'd then:
- Match a dog to the right person, for example placing a lively, energetic dog with a young, active person
- Teach the new owner to feed, groom and care for the dog
- Train the owner and dog to work together as a team
- Help establish a dog in its new owner's home and make follow-up home visits to deal with any problems
You'd keep records of the training you have done and teach other instructors.
You might focus on one particular area of the work, for example carrying out the first part of the dog's training. As a mobility instructor, you would do advanced training and match the dog to its new owner.
Some organisations also employ aftercare officers and volunteers to provide ongoing support.
UK employment status
Search course options
Thinking about your future? There are lots of courses available that could interest you. Use our course search to explore course options.Find courses
Search job opportunities
If you're looking for your new career our job search can help you. Discover interesting opportunities and decide your next steps.Find a job
Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.
- Positive attitude
- Verbal communication
- Social conscience
- Attention to detail
- Taking initiative
Your skills can help you choose the career that's right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.
Our Skills Explorer tool will help you understand what skills you have and match them to jobs that might suit you.Use the Skills Explorer tool
Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.