They say if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. And considering that, you know, a dog is a human’s best friend, we’d say a career involving dogs fits the whole never-working-a-day-in-your-life bill. Jobs with dogs are good for you, bottom line.
But before you go about planning the next eight years of your life in order to be a veterinarian (which is a truly commendable career path!), take a minute to explore other dream jobs for dog lovers—you never know what your future may hold.
Veterinarians complete eight strenuous years of schooling to become doctors of veterinary medicine, and for good reason! Unlike their human counterparts, animals aren’t able to tell the doctor what hurts—which makes a vet’s job hard work.
Vets help make sure dogs are healthy and happy and help animals who are sick. A career as a vet is very rewarding, though it can also be emotionally draining at times. To become a vet, you’ll need a solid foundation in the sciences as an undergraduate.
2. Vet Tech or Veterinary Assistant
Not ready for 8 years of hard schooling? Veterinary technicians and vet assistants also give tremendous care to our four-legged friends after just 2-4 years of post-graduate work. Animal care is demanding but rewarding work.
Veterinary assistants require no certification or degree, but there are many programs to help you in this career path offered through technical and community colleges. This field of study plus on-the-job training could help you step up to a vet tech certification in the future.
Vet tech programs are typically two years and offer a range of specializations from dentistry to internal medicine.
3. Dog Sitter
Increasingly, we consider our dogs members of the family. But sometimes, with travel and busy lives, we need to find additional pet care. That’s where pet sitters and dog walkers come in.
Whether the dog’s parents are headed out for the workday or a two-week-long getaway, someone has to care for their beloved pet. Options include dog walking, dog sitting, doggy daycare, and drop-in visits.
Want something less time-consuming? Consider dog walking! It’s not only a fabulous way to get the dog(s) some exercise but for yourself, too—plus it’s a great way to explore your city.
Interested in becoming a pet sitter? Click here to learn how Rover.com can help!
4. Certified Pet Dog Trainer
If you’ve got a whole lot of patience just ready to be spent, a career as a dog trainer may just be the job for you.
Whether you’re teaching basic commands to an untrained dog one-on-one, leading a puppy kindergarten class, or temperament testing rescue dogs for future forever homes, the key to dog training is understanding the inner workings of a dog’s mind—and knowing how to work with them.
The Certified Pet Dog Trainer program requires 300 hours of classwork, plus continuing education to keep your accreditation.
Also consider shadowing a reputable trainer in your area.
5. Service Dog Trainer
Service dogs help their humans live healthier, happier, and safer lives.
Training a service dog is a fantastic way to help people and dogs by teaching them how to interact with one another. To train service dogs means not only training a dog to do the work, but also training the human half of the partnership to work with their dog, and to help train and refresh existing dog-human partnerships to new commands and tasks.
There are a number of service dog organizations across the country that train and place service animals that you can look into, and learn more about volunteering, apprenticing to train, or getting involved with a service puppy raising program.
6. Animal Behaviorist
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Happy Dog Therapy Appreciation Day . Here with Kramer at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for an event with patients and staff. #therpaydog #dogtherapy #dogtraining #doglove #dogtrainer #dog #dogs #workingdogsofinstagram #workingdog #pomeranian #pomeraniansofinstagram #hospital #doctor #nurse #animalbehaviorist #humananimalbond #iaabcpets #iaabc #dogsbehavingwell
An animal or dog behaviorist studies the way dogs behave and attempts to discover the influences that lead to certain types of behavior.
Working as a dog behaviorist often means entering homes to observe the relationship between a family and its dog to pinpoint—and correct!—trouble areas, much like a psychologist or psychiatrist would do with human patients.
There are both Masters and Doctorate level programs in Animal Behavior. An undergraduate degree in biology or psychology is a plus.
7. K9 Police Officer
K9 police dogs are specifically trained to help police sniff out drugs and hazardous materials, find missing people and crime scene evidence in search-and-rescue missions and serve and protect their police officer counterpart.
To become a K9 handler requires 1 to 2 years of policing experience and a love of both animals and working with the public, as police dogs always receive a lot of attention when they’re out in uniform. On the job training for dog handling roles is provided by the department.
8. Dog Groomer
Dog grooming requires an apprenticeship—on the job training with an experienced groomer. Once you get a feel for the craft, you can become certified by the National Dog Groomers Association of America. the NDGAA also offers workshops for different grooming techniques, as well as competitions and industry conferences for pet groomers.
By the way, if you’re in Austin and Seattle you can work as a dog groomer with Rover! You’ll earn 80% commission, plus a $250 starting bonus.
9. Software Engineer
These days, many professional offices are dog-friendly, especially in the tech world. Here at Rover HQ in Seattle, as well as at our satellite offices, you’ll find dogs in meeting rooms, at desks, and in elevators. Most of them are ready and willing to give a snuggle on a daily basis!
The same is true at many other tech companies, even those that aren’t pet-focused. If you’re in tech, and you love dogs, ask about a company’s pet policies. Chances are, you’ll find a place where you can work with dogs—even if you don’t have one of your own.
You can also land in a pet-friendly office in roles related to customer service, project management, marketing, finance, and more—the sky’s the limit.
10. Doggy Day Care Provider
If you’re into the idea of being surrounded by multiple dogs doing their thing, hosting your own doggy daycare or working at one could be for you. Just like at human daycares, it’s a good idea to be certified in pet CPR and first aid, and have experience handling dogs and dog interactions.
If you’re planning on running your own doggy daycare out of your home or a facility you own, considerations such as how much space you have, what amenities you want to provide, and what your local laws and regulations are, need to be researched before you can begin. There’s also the limit of how many dogs you can safely and comfortably host at one time, and other safety concerns you’ll want to plan ahead for.
It may take some initial planning or certification, but getting to spend your entire day playing and interacting with dogs more than makes up for it.
There are tons of more esoteric jobs for dog lovers out there, like becoming a dog photographer, dog show handler, search-and-rescue dog handler, or owning or working in a pet store.
And again, if you’re not looking to delve into a career that’s all about dogs, look for a dog-friendly working environment!