The Dog Trainer’s Library: For Students, Pros and Franchises

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How do dog trainers go from taking professional courses to running successful pet business franchises? We’ve got you covered! This is a comprehensive article, so check out our table of contents and pick the starting point that best describes you.

  • I want to learn everything I can about the industry and become a pro.
    • Certifications and courses
    • Specialties
    • Books and podcasts
  • I’m ready to set up my business offers and start taking clients.
    • Offer high-value services
    • Classes in person and online
    • Reservations
    • Sell products
  • I’m an experienced dog trainer looking for new tools to help manage my workflow.
    • Professional dog training equipment
    • Automation tools and Software
  • I’m a seasoned professional and ready to grow my business.
    • Marketing
    • Team and staffing
    • Networking
    • Franchise Opportunities

Is it worth it to start a dog training business?

Absolutely. Being a professional dog trainer can be an incredibly fulfilling profession. It lets independent professionals make great money while connecting to a passion for pups and helping others.

While this is a rewarding career, being a dog trainer can demand a lot, both physically and mentally, so it’s important to price your services competitively and know your limits for the number of clients you can serve in a day in order to avoid burnout and make your goal income.

The average dog trainer using PocketSuite is making about $49,000 per year. However, the top 10% of dog trainers using PocketSuite are making over $200,000 per year. Here are some insights on how these top pros run their successful businesses.

Reaching your goal income as a dog trainer all comes down to your hourly rate and the number of appointments you take each week.

[Read more about How To Make Six Figures as a Dog Trainer]

Become a pro

Certifications and Courses

Dog training courses give you the tools and resources to grow a successful dog training business.  Dog trainers aren’t legally required to hold a certification or complete a course to run their business. But the highest-paid dog trainers hold some kind of training credential. You’ll get more bookings because clients can trust their pet is safe in your hands.

The best part is that you can complete a dog training certification from the comfort of your own home and on your own schedule with online dog training courses. There are a lot of options out there to fit your market and philosophy as a dog trainer. We put together a list of some of the most popular online courses for professional dog trainers.

  1. The Animal Behavior College
  2. Karen Pryor Academy
  3. E-Training for Dogs

Online dog training courses are a convenient way to expand your training expertise and grow your business. Just make sure you choose a reputable program that fits in with your goals and your budget.

[Read more about Online Courses for Dog Trainers]

Training Specialties

As you browse through courses and certifications, think about what area of dog training you want to specialize in, as you may need special credentials. From obedience to aggression training, dog trainers have a variety of specializations to choose from.

Clients sift through dozens, if not hundreds, of dog training classes to find one that addresses their unique needs. A training specialty makes it clear that you’re the right fit and leads to more bookings!

It’s one thing to offer “dog training classes in Seattle.” It’s another to be the only trainer who can take on dog aggression cases in your city. Figure out how your services are different from other trainers in your area and lean into it!

It’s okay to be a generalist dog trainer. But specializations set you apart from the competition. With a specialty, you become the expert in your niche. For example, you’ll be the go-to person for separation anxiety or leash training for puppies.

Or, if you’re interested in helping others, you should try your hand at service dog training. Service dog training is an excellent field for anyone looking to use their dog training skills for a good cause. 

Service dogs help people with disabilities live safe and independent lives. As a service dog trainer, you train these dogs to take action when their handlers need assistance or are at risk of getting hurt.

You’re not legally required to go to school or get a certificate to be a service dog trainer. A lot of trainers are self-taught. They pick up skills from books, online resources, and even other trainers. But it’s better to have formal training. You need to know what you’re doing and have 100% confidence that you can properly train a service dog. Otherwise, you’re risking the health and safety of someone with a disability.

There are endless rewards if you’re willing to put in the work. And people pay over $25,000 for a professionally trained service dog.

[Read more about Service Dog Training]

Or, you can go the modern route and take your dog training skills on the road! Many client-based businesses are learning how to make money with their van, and pet professionals can too. Just take a look at how dog trainers and dog walkers are changing the game with mobile dog gyms. 

[Read more about Mobile Dog Gyms]

Learn from experts

Dog trainers are constantly learning. (And sometimes they’re required to take CEUs to hold on to those certifications.) Dog training books are a great resource for new and seasoned trainers. You get actionable tips from some of the top professionals in your field. Plus, you’re sure to leave with new techniques to add to your business. It’s a great way to get ahead of your competition!

Remember: Not all dog trainers share the same philosophy. For example, “positive dog trainers” have a very different philosophy from other schools of thought. Still, it’s beneficial to hear testimonials from both sides and understand the evidence behind their positions. At the very least, it helps you talk about why you’ve committed to your dog training style over another.

Here are some books for dog trainers to keep your mind sharp and engaged in the dog training community. 

  1. Train Your Dog Positively: Understand Your Dog and Solve Common Behavior Problems Including Separation Anxiety, Excessive Barking, Aggression, Housetraining, Leash Pulling, and More! 
  2. So You Want To Be a Dog Trainer, 3rd Edition
  3. Cesar’s Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems

Dog trainer books can make a huge impact on your career. You can learn about pet behavior,  training techniques, and growing your dog training business. It’s easy to find one that fits your needs. 

[Read more about Books for Dog Trainers]

Books aren’t your thing? No problem! We have a number of podcast interviews for pros who prefer to listen as they learn. We have talked to Dog Trainers and Pet Professionals across the industry. Here are some of our favorite episodes for dog trainers: 

More podcasts from PocketSuite:

Set up your business



PocketSuite makes it easy to manage class enrollment and get those spots filled. Set a class size, description, and location, then add the class to your booking site. You can offer a single drop-in class or a series of classes. With the right booking software, you’re sure to book more clients in your dog training classes.


Most profitable dog trainers expand their business to include overnight or multi-day bookings. They offer board and train, where the pups stay in their facility for the duration of their training. Board and training services for dogs are essentially when a client leaves their dog with the dog trainer for a certain period of time in order to get in-depth training. It is similar to doggy daycare or traditional dog boarding but with advanced training and extra time spent with the trainer.

There are numerous benefits to offering dog board and train services to your clients, but there are also some cons. Dog board and training will add a significant amount to your income, making it possible to hit that 100K Dog Trainer income goal, but it will also require a considerable amount more effort to get started. It’s easy to get your board and train set up with PocketSuite’s Reservations feature.

[Read more about Board and Train]


Do you want to make more money as a dog trainer? Try selling products to your clients! This way, you expand your business by giving clients more of what they need. You have the opportunity to give your clients the products they need to make their training sessions easier and make their pups happier.

To earn more money from your online store, you’ll want to try upselling. Upselling is recommending products to clients that pair well with your services. It’s a surefire method to boost your online product sales. And chances are you already have services that are perfect for product upsells, like a harness for a puppy training boot camp.

[Read more about Online Products for Dog Trainers]

PocketSuite made selling to clients 10x easier! All you have to do is download the app, customize your online store, add products, and Voila! you have a fully automated e-commerce site at no extra cost. 

Dog trainers can use PocketSuite if they want to avoid the hassle and fees of e-commerce giants like Shopify and Etsy.

Manage your workflow


As a dog trainer, you know the right equipment makes all the difference in a training session. From training aids and treats, there are endless tools that can help you achieve your training goals. But which ones are essential for your business?

  1. Leashes and collars are essential for any dog trainer. A good leash and collar keep dogs safe and help maintain control of the dog during a training session.
  2. Training aids are accessories that make it easier to train dogs. Training aids can be helpful tools for dog trainers, but it’s essential to use them correctly.
  3. Treats are an essential part of dog training. They are used as rewards for good behavior and help motivate the dog to continue learning.
  4. A training vest is worn by the trainer during sessions. These vests typically have pockets for treats, leashes, and other training aids. They also provide a clear signal to the dog that the trainer is in “training mode.”
  5. Safety is everything! A first aid kit is essential for any dog trainer. Accidents can happen during a training session. A first aid kit helps you address any injuries quickly.

Tools that can make your services more efficient and effective. Just make sure you use tools that are made with professional trainers in mind.

[Read more about Dog Training Equipment]

Dog vests are more than cute accessories, though that’s a perk! A good dog training vest can improve a dog’s mental and physical health, keep them safe, and make training 10x easier. 

Most importantly, dog vests tell other people what they need to know about your client’s dogs: Are they safe to pet? Are they still in training? Are they service animals? A dog training vest is an excellent option for clients who need help training a reactive dog or want strangers to keep their distance. They also have significant benefits for dogs that struggle with anxiety or staying in shape.

Your clients need to learn when and how to use a dog training vest. So, as their trusted trainer, you may have to step in. 

[Read more about Dog Training Vests]


Standard apps may not be fit for your dog training business. Without a built-in payment processor, in-app client messaging, or e-commerce, you may have to get other apps to fill in the gaps. That’s where PocketSuite comes in.

  • With PocketSuite, you only need one app to schedule appointments and accept payments. You can accept credit card payments online and in person. And we automatically calculate the tax for your services based on your business location.
  • PocketSuite makes it easy to update your calendar and availability. Plus, you can add buffers and lead times to give you and your team a break between appointments. All PocketSuite users can create packages and subscriptions. So, you make more money and get booked solid faster!
  • At PocketSuite, customer service is our top priority. You can message our support team directly in the app. Or, book one of our customer support calls to answer your in-depth questions.

[Read more about how PocketSuite compares to Acuity]

Or, maybe you’re interested in how AI can help your business? We have just the tool: ChatGPT. ChatGPT is an AI-powered chatbot that can answer complex questions in seconds. People are using it for everything, from research to customer service. And it’s not too late for it to benefit your business.

  • ChatGPT can write a business plan template to get you off your feet. 
  • We recommend using it to troubleshoot issues while building your website on a CMS like WordPress. Even the most user-friendly site builders can be difficult to get the hang of. And if you run into trouble, ChatGPT can act as your customer support agent.
  • ChatGPT can teach you how to file taxes as a solopreneur, the basics of investing, and best practices for invoicing clients. 
  • It can generate copy for flyers or in-depth emails for your newsletter. You can even create a script for click-worthy paid ads. Not a social media enthusiast? No problem! ChatGPT can help you plan viral posts to wow your clients and build a following.

ChatGPT can help you take on some of the nitty-gritty business work, like writing a business plan, building a website, or launching your marketing strategy. It’s a powerful tool with huge potential to make running your business feel like a breeze.

[Read more about how to use ChatGPT for your dog training business.]

Grow Your Business


Just remember to take a pit stop and work on your marketing strategy. Simple and creative marketing techniques can lead to a steady stream of clients. It takes time and effort to build a loyal client list and bring in a consistent income. You can speed up the process by boosting your marketing strategy.

[Read more about how to use Marketing tips for a dog training business.]

As a dog trainer, you give your all in a session, whether you have two students or ten. But, of course, you want to fill those spots to make that hour count. You put a lot of time and effort into your dog training classes. Make it worthwhile by promoting your services to potential clients. You can land more clients by optimizing your professional website and leveling up your social media, text, and referral marketing strategies.

  1. Optimize Your Dog Training Website: Your website is the first point of contact for potential clients. A professional website goes a long way in building trust. Clients will use it to decide if your dog training classes are right for them. You can embed your PocketSuite booking widget onto your website. Once your site is up and running, you can optimize it so potential clients can find you through a quick web search.
  2. Reconnect with Clients Via Text: To get more bookings for your dog training classes, reach out to your current client base. Clients are likely to need your services again but need a little push to take that next step. Text marketing is one of the most effective ways to connect with clients (and land repeat bookings)! 
  3. Create Referral incentives: Referrals are one of the best ways to book more clients for your dog training classes. So, don’t be afraid to ask your loyal clients to recommend your services to their friends and family. To get more referrals, offer an incentive for every new client they send your way, like a discount or gift certificate. Dog trainers can also create referral partnerships with other pet businesses, like veterinarians or shelters.
  4. Write Guest Posts: To get more bookings for your dog training classes, you have to meet your clients where they are. A lot of pet parents turn to popular blogs when they need advice on training their pups. You can reach potential clients by writing guest blogs for these sites.
  5. Get Active on Social Media: To land more clients in your dog training classes, create and share content across social media. You don’t have to become an influencer but be consistent. Lucky for you, people love dogs. (Like, a lot!) Your videos are sure to get traction from dog lovers and potential clients.
  6. Offer a Consultation: Some clients might be interested in your services but leave without booking. Dog training classes are a big step, especially for new pet parents. You can calm their fears and land the booking by offering a one-on-one consultation.

[Read more about how to Book More Dog Training Clients

Team staffing

PocketSuite Teams has a tool for managing teams and organizing the booking for all of your training staff. You can also mentor your staff to provide the atmosphere and the quality your business demands. When your business has multiple dog trainers working with full books every week, the sky is truly the limit in enjoying your life and making a great living.


As a dog trainer, you’re used to working solo. But you don’t have to navigate this industry alone. You can connect with other dog trainers, learn from industry experts, and earn points toward a dog training certification by attending a dog trainer conference. There are dozens of conferences for dog trainers annually, each focusing on a different specialty or topic.

  1. ADPT’s US Conference
  2. The Dog Behavior Conference
  3. IACP Annual Educational Conference
  4. Dogs and The City
  5. International Working Dog Conference
  6. Aggression in Dogs Conference
  7. Canine Science Symposium
  8. Modern and Ethical Training (MET) Conference
  9. Clicker Expo

Dog trainer conferences offer a wealth of information and opportunities to grow your business. You get to learn from the best while making connections with your peers. Who knows? You might be a keynote speaker one day. At the very least, you’ll learn new techniques to help your clients.

[Read more about Dog Training Conferences


With PocketSuite, your franchise system can run and grow all on one app. It’s all about keeping your franchisees in sync at a fair, low price with no hidden fees. As a franchise system owner or operator, you have a growing network of franchisees looking to you for guidance and support on everything from opening their business, getting new clients, and delivering services to collecting payments, managing reports, and accounting.

If you are juggling many different technologies to manage your operations or are on the verge of outgrowing your current system, you should consider PocketSuite, an all-in-one platform. PocketSuite makes it easy to onboard new franchisees and is simple for your existing franchisees, whether they’re using Pocketsuite’s mobile app on-site or our desktop system when they’re at home or in the office.

[Read more about how PocketSuite helps Franchises with Process Optimization]