Dog Handler

Train police and seeing eye dogs or show off your pup at a dog show.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$17,000 – $54,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Dog Handlers do?

As we humans learn more about the many capabilities of our four-legged canine friends, we continue to find ways to use them. Dog Handlers are on the front lines of this effort as they train dogs to sniff out drugs, aid the handicapped, and perform search and rescue tasks, to name but a few.

If you are passionate about working with dogs and love spending time with them, a job as a Dog Handler might be right up your alley. In addition to training them, Dog Handlers might also spend their time showing off their intrinsic qualities at dog show competitions. This is an exciting opportunity to travel with dogs (yours or a customer’s), groom and prep them, and prance them in front of judges and audiences.

Outside of the show arena, dogs perform a variety of important duties, including aiding those with disabilities. You might train them to identify illness or seizures in humans. Or, you could work with Seeing Eye dogs, teaching them how to guide their sight-challenged owners. You might even use your skills to work for homeland security, handling dogs during military and police operations, such as locating bombs, sniffing out drugs at the airport, or tracking down criminals on the run.

Other common duties for working dogs include herding sheep, searching for lost hikers, and tracking down game.

Depending on how in-depth your training techniques are, you might run your own kennel where you house your students, travel to customer’s houses, or work for a government agency.

Should I be a Dog Handler?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Dog and Cat Behavior Specialist, Pet Handler

    How to become a Dog Handler

    Most Dog Handlers have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9baeaa&chl=no+college+%2865%25%29|certificate+%2829%25%29|associate%27s+%281%25%29|bachelor%27s+%285%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,65,65
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