Animal Trainer



OFO No: 516402





Other names for Animal Trainer:

Dog Handler
Horse Trainer/Breaker

What is an Animal Trainer?

Animal Trainers use different techniques to train animals for riding, security, performance, obedience, or assisting people with disabilities.

What does an Animal Trainer do?

  • gets animals used to human voice and contact
  • trains animals to respond to commands
  • trains using positive, yet gentle reinforcement
  • provides animals mental stimulation and exercise
  • designs training programs
  • researching new techniques and training
  • tests animals for personalities traits
  • supplies equipment (eg harnesses, leashes, etc)
  • networks with Animal Behaviourists so they can refer any problem cases

Are you … ?

  • animal lover?
  • working closely with animals and their owners?
  • interested in understanding how animals learn?
  • patient and sensitive?
  • a good communicator?
  • gentle?
  • organised?
  • a problem-solver?

How do I become an Animal Trainer?

Although most Animal Trainers need to have a high school Grade 12 pass or equivalent, some Animal Trainers must have a Bachelor’s Degree and additional skills.

Marine mammal trainers, for example, need a Bachelor’s Degree in biology, marine biology, animal science, psychology, or a related field.

Most South African universities offer any one of these courses. 


  • CLICK HERE to check for a training institution near you to see what they offer.
  • Make sure you understand their entry requirements for each course.
  • To avoid scams, make sure your institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education. 
  • CLICK HERE to check accredited Private Higher Education Institutions. 


For specialised dog training (security, attack, service etc etc):


For other animal training courses:


Offers courses on Puppy training and how to set up a puppy school, adult dog training, clicker training as well as how to set up and run a Kitten school.

Minimum requirements:  a student must have completed Grade12 and be older than 18 years.

OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER: Horse Trainer … or … Animal Care Attendant

Is becoming an Animal Trainer the right career choice for me?