By Courtney Emken
co-written by Jen Larson, KPA-CTP, and Amanda Ott, CPDT-KA
Bart knew when he saw a guide dog save a blind man from falling down a flight of stairs that he wanted to help dogs help people. Since then we’ve built a community around loving dogs and spent over twenty years in the dog boarding and training business. When it comes to dog jobs, we’ve really seen it all (and have done most of it too!).
If you’ve been thinking about taking your love for dogs to the next level, we’ve compiled this list of jobs to help canine enthusiasts like yourself pick a profession. Of course, you might expect us to be a bit biased towards our own occupation – but we’ve done our best to be as objective as possible. And without further adieu – the seven best jobs for dog lovers!
#1 Canine Volunteer
This may come as a surprise, but we recommend contacting local rescues and shelters first to see if they need volunteers. Many of these organizations are short-staffed and could always use passionate volunteers to take some of the load off their shoulders.
This is a great option if you already have a job and just want more dog time in your life, or need pet industry experience on your resume. Volunteers are typically asked to come by a couple hours per week to do simple tasks like:
- Walking the dogs
- Scooping poop
- Distributing food
These dogs just need a little bit of love and attention. If you have the time on your hands, then this is a perfect opportunity to get involved and make a difference in their lives.
#2 Kennel Worker
You don’t have to be a certified dog trainer to work at a kennel (though it can definitely help!). DogBoy’s would fall apart if it weren’t for the dedicated staff of dog lovers who keep things running smoothly at the Ranch.
Even if your skill set doesn’t directly lend itself to dog care, worry not. Kennels require a wide variety of staff to operate efficiently, including:
- Office Managers
- Ranch Hands
Just find a local positive reinforcement training/boarding facility, check out their careers page, and see if they’re in need of someone with your experience.
#3 Dog Walker
If you can handle several pulling pooches at once, then maybe you’ve got just what it takes to be a dedicated dog walker.
While it’s rarely a full time gig, dog walking actually pays pretty well, and can be a great way to supplement your income. If you’re not confident in your walking skills, check out our article on how to effectively walk your dog!
#4 Pet Sitter
If you’re not really into high-activity jobs, then pet sitting could be right up your alley. While you’ll have to go on walks from time to time, sitters primarily just hang out all day with their client’s pets. It’s also quite rewarding to have someone trust you completely with their dogs, possessions, and house while they’re away.
#5 Dog Trainer
While we definitely believe that being a dog trainer in Austin is an awesome occupation, it’s not necessarily for everyone.It requires constant improvement of your skills and knowledge as clients rely heavily on you to help with all manners of training and behavioral issues like:
- Pulling on leash
- House training
- Crate training
- Excessive barking
- And much, much more
However, if you have the passion, patience, and determination, there’s hardly a better job out there for a dog lover. You’ll spend your days in intimate contact with the animals you love and form deep bonds that can last for years.
Compared to some of the previous jobs mentioned, grooming has significant barriers to entry. It’s a highly skilled field that requires an initial investment if you want to be successful.
Many groomers operate out of mobile grooming facilities and travel around town to groom dogs from all across the city. Others work in local grooming shops or pet stores. If you have the means to travel, the patience, skill, and a love for canines and their cleanliness, then grooming may be perfect for you.
#7 Vet Tech/Assistant
Veterinary technicians and vet assistants are last on our list since these jobs require specialized training and may involve tasks you’re not completely comfortable with. While you’ll certainly get the opportunity to help animals in need, you’ll have to witness intense injuries/illnesses and other unpleasant sights. You’ll also be expected to assist in euthanasia of elderly or sick pets, which takes a real passion for animals and their well being.
Unless you’re absolutely set on a job in the veterinary field, we’d recommend aiming for a less intense pet profession.
How To Know Whether A Canine Industry Job Is Right For You
Simply because you have a passion or hobby doesn’t mean you should pursue a career in that field. It’s one thing to follow your heart, and it’s another thing entirely to find a practical job that can both pay the bills and provide fulfilling work.
For example, our trainer Jen used to work in real estate, but decided to leave so that she could pursue a job in the pet industry. She had always loved animals and considered working with them to be her true passion in life. She truly felt as if she couldn’t lead a happy life without including them in her work.
If you’re absolutely set on a canine profession, be prepared to compromise financially. Creativity and flexibility are musts if you want to make good money in the industry. There are tons of entrepreneurs running pet boutiques and specialized care facilities these days and the competition is stiff.
If you have any questions about working in the industry, please contact us today. We have decades of canine industry experience beneath our belts, and we’d love to share advice, tips, and tricks for succeeding in the field.