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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

For many people it is a dream to be allowed to work with animals. In addition to the classic animal professions, such as veterinarian or animal caretaker, there are other possibilities to work with animals. The profession of animal trainer, for example, is a good alternative, where you can be close to animals every day and also earn money. That sounds very good, doesn’t it? But is this profession suitable for you? And what will you have to do if you decide to take this career path?

How do I become an animal trainer in Austria and Germany?

In both countries, the demand for animal companions, service and show animals is constantly increasing. This means that the demand for qualified trainers is also increasing accordingly. But how does you actually become an animal trainer?

In Germany, the profession of animal trainer is not protected, but it is regulated by the state according to the Animal Protection Act. This means that you have to obtain a permit from the veterinary office of the competent federal state before you can charge money for your work.

In Austria, only so-called voluntary seals of approval are offered. A minimum of 2 years of professional practice must be proven. Otherwise the profession of animal trainer falls under the free trade. 

Unfortunately, there is no standardised state-recognised training in either country, but there are several private training providers. Here you should definitely pay attention to the reputations and the methods chosen.  

In practice, it is much more reputable and profitable if you can prove that you have a specific training and various certificates and/or seals of approval. After all, who wants to leave their darling in the hands of an untrained beginner?

In which areas can an animal trainer work?

Animal trainers are sought in many areas:

  • On a self-employed basis: For example, dog or cat trainer, founding or working in a dog school.
  • In zoos, terrariums, aquariums
  • On farms and in riding stables
  • In film and television, show animals
  • In animal shelters, pet agencies
  • In veterinary clinics, animal practices
  • In the training of therapy or assistance animals 
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What does the job description of an animal trainer look like?

One thing you should be aware of is that as an animal trainer you work very closely with people. If you specialise as a dog trainer, for example, you will not only have to work and train with the dog. In most cases, the other end of the leash also requires education about what things to pay attention to and what things to avoid. 

The tasks of an animal trainer therefore include the following:

  • Advising and educating the pet owner.
  • Education and training of the animal according to the latest scientific findings. 
  • Keeping animals healthy.
  • Training of therapy or assistance animals. 
  • Training of animals for specific purposes.
  • Fostering and training of young animals.
  • Behavioural training for “problem behaviour”.
  • Occupation and training of the animal.
  • Teaching and observance of animal welfare relevant views and methods.
  • Promotion of the human-animal relationship.
  • And much more.

 Is the profession of animal trainer suitable for me?

As an animal trainer, you not only need a good feeling for animals, but also for people. If the following things apply to you, then you already have a good basis for becoming successful in this profession:

  • A heart for animals and people.
  • Social and communication skills.
  • Good powers of observation.
  • Mental and physical strength.
  • Patience and empathy.
  • Ethical awareness.
  • Mobility, flexibility and creativity.
  • Quick perception. 
  • Solution-oriented thinking and acting.
  • Sound knowledge of animal-specific needs.

How much do you earn as an animal trainer?

First and foremost, it depends on whether you work as an employee or have your own business. As an employee you will have a fixed monthly income, as a self-employed person a quite flexible income. 

However, a large number of people are self-employed and offer private training sessions. Here you can set your own hourly wage, which again depends on your reputation and qualifications. Of course, your income also depends on your commitment and your bookings. The more training hours you give, the higher your income will be. Depending on your qualifications and specialisation, a training hour costs between 40 and 150€. 

It is therefore very difficult to give a general average salary. 

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The demand for professions with animals is increasing more and more. However, if you decide to become an animal trainer, you should know that it is not suitable for everyone to the same extent. Always remember that becoming an animal trainer means working with people. Just having a heart for animals is unfortunately not enough.