Animal Attendant and Trainer
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    Clerical or OrganisingPractical or MechanicalNature or RecreationSkill Level 1Skill Level 2
 

 Animal attendants ensure that animals in their care are well looked after. Animal care workers look after animals in kennels, rescue centres or animal shelters, veterinary clinics, zoos, pet stores, stables or sanctuaries. The duties can include grooming, exercising, treating minor injuries, watching for any negative changes in animal behaviour, cleaning Future Growth Strongwaste and providing food and water. They care for all kinds of animals - injured native animals in nature reserves, abandoned pets in shelters, fish at aquariums, even exotic animals at the many wildlife parks and zoos. They may also undertake administrative tasks, such as maintaining animal records or working at the reception area of a pet shelter.

Animal trainers teach animals new behaviours to assist, protect or perform for their owners. They can specialise in obedience training, performance coaching, behavioural conditioning or security. Animal trainers have a range of employment options available to them, from working with household pets, service animals and show animals through to wildlife in zoos and marine parks. Some animal trainers specialise in a specific animal such as dogs or horses.

ANZSCO ID: 3611

Alternative names: Animal Care Worker

Specialisations: Animal Trainer, Crutching Contractor, Kennel Hand, Muleser, Pet Groomer, Pet Shop Attendant, Zookeeper

Knowledge, skills and attributes

An animal attendant needs:

  • to have a love of animals
  • a patient and sympathetic nature towards animals
  • to ideally be free from pet and dust allergies
  • a good eye-for-detail when grooming or identifying minor injuries or changes in animal behaviour
  • to enjoy practical and manual work
  • to be a good team player and have good people skills
  • the ability to follow instructions
  • a good level of physical fitness.

Animal trainers need to interpret the needs, behaviours and moods of animals and respond to them as appropriate. They need to have an affinity with animals and a genuine love of them, as well as patience and a calm but forceful demeanour. Good planning skills are also necessary, as animal trainers need to plan tasks, routines and modes of training and tailor them to suit individual animals. These roles can be very physical, so a good degree of fitness and a willingness to work in a physical role are essential.

Animal wranglers for film sets possess both an understanding of the film industry’s health and safety requirements as well as the temperament and abilities of the animals they work with.

 

Animal Attendant RSPCA
(Source: RSPCA NSW)

 

Duties and Tasks

  • teaching animals to obey verbal and non-verbal commands and addressing behavioural problems
  • training animals to accept riders and pull vehicles
  • training animals to perform in competitions
  • bathing, cutting, combing, blow-drying and styling pets' coats, clipping their nails and cleaning their ears
  • inspecting, preparing, cleaning, disinfecting and maintaining comfortable animal cages and enclosures
  • transporting food, filling water troughs and feeding animals according to their individual needs
  • maintaining animal health records, treating minor injuries and reporting serious conditions to Veterinarians
  • exercising and playing with animals, answering visitor questions, and transferring animals between enclosures by leading or carrying them
  • dusting and spraying insecticides on animals and immersing them in insecticide baths, to control insect pests

The daily duties of an animal trainer will vary depending on the types of animals they work with and the environment they work in. In general, animal trainers work with animals and their owners to develop or correct specific behavioural characteristics of animals. They can be involved in the general care, feeding and wellbeing of animals In their care in certain contexts such as zoos. They may teach obedience, discourage unwanted or antisocial behaviours, prepare animals for competitions and build trust.

Working conditions

Animal attendants work in a variety of different workplaces such as veterinary clinics, pet shops, zoos, stables, animal shelters, wildlife parks and reserves, and research facilities. They may work indoors or outdoors, in all weather conditions. Most animal attendants work in environments that can be dirty and smelly, and must be prepared to spend a great deal of time cleaning and disinfecting animal enclosures and pens. They may be required to work on weekends, public holidays and in the evening. In most workplaces, there is a great deal of contact with the public.

 

A Must Listen....Listen

Animal Trainer
If you've ever trained a cat or dog, you'll know it needs time, patience, and consistency.
But it's not just your typical domestic animals that can be trained.
Jade Fountain is an animal trainer from Yass who works with pets as well as wild animals.
She spoke on ABC Radio Canberra's Breakfast show [Lish Fejer] about the ins and outs of her work as part of the Jobspeaker segment.
(Source: ABC Radio)




Tools and technologies

Animal attendants often have to use sprays, disinfectants, brooms, mops and shovels for cleaning indoor and outdoor animal enclosures. They may also use animal leads, harnesses and toys, as well as containers, bowls, bottles and cups for serving food and water. If dealing with harsh disinfectants or potentially dangerous animals, they need to wear safety clothing, closed-in shoes and gloves. Most animal attendants are also required to wear a uniform.

Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as an animal attendant or trainer without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in animal studies, companion animal services or a related area.

The Certificate II in Animal Studies, Certificate II in Equine Studies, and the Certificate III and IV in Companion Animal Services are offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Australia.

You can also complete a traineeship in one of the following areas: animal attendant (vet clinic), animal shelter attendant, aquarium assistant, cattery attendant, dog minder (day care), trainee keeper (wildlife park/sanctuary), companion animal trainer/behaviourist or pet minder/exerciser operator. These traineeships take 12 to 24 months to complete.

The animal attendant (vet clinic) and animal shelter attendant traineeships are available as school-based traineeships.

 

Did You Know?

Digger returns to war zone where tracker dog saved his life

with Caesar
Peter Haran with Caesar


Peter Haran was just 19 years old when he was deployed on his first tour of duty to Vietnam in 1967 as part of the Australian Army’s dog tracker section.

With him was Caesar, a black Labrador-retriever crossed with a kelpie – a mongrel, to be more accurate, or as Pete described his four-legged best mate, a ‘smart arse’ dog.

The pair were members of the 2nd Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR) and their job was to track down the enemy Viet Cong.

Pete took Brady [his son] to the same jungle track where Caesar saved his life while in pursuit of two injured enemy fighters who fled after a firefight with an Australian infantry platoon out on patrol.

The dog tracker team was choppered in to the war zone and Pete instructed his dog to “seek”.

“This was the worst day of my life,” Pete reveals in the film.

But, because of luck and “a dog with an incredible uncanny ability”, Pete survived.

Caesar was a first-class tracker dog, and one of the Army’s best. In fact, he was one of the two first dogs deployed to Vietnam. It was the dog’s mission to find the enemy who had opened fire on the Australian soldiers.

But what Caesar did that day in the jungle not only saved his handler’s life, but the lives of a platoon of about 20 Diggers, several of whom were wounded when the platoon commander stepped on an M16 land mine.

Sadly, when Pete’s tour of duty was over, Caesar was handed to an incoming dog handler. When the Australian Army was withdrawn from the war, he was adopted by an Australian diplomat. Caesar lived a great life and did invaluable work. As Pete says in the film, without his beloved mutt, his son wouldn’t have been standing in the same jungle where he stood as a young man in 1967.
(Source: Sarah Lee)


Tracking Dog in a Minefield
https://youtu.be/Xet4ijKvVgo


 

Dog Handler and Trainer
Environments

Practical or MechanicalNature or RecreationSkill Level 1Skill Level 2

Dog handlers/trainers teach dogs to obey commands and perform certain tasks. This can range from simple obedience training for pets, through to more advanced training for working dogs, such as securityor law enforcement dogs and assistance dogs. In many cases, dog handlers/trainers will also have to teach the dog's owner how to behave around the dog to ensure any training remains effective.
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ANZSCO ID & description: Teaches dogs to obey commands and undertake specific tasks.

Specialisations: Canine Behaviour Specialist, Scent Detection Dog Trainer

Knowledge, skills and attributes

A dog trainer needs:
  • a love of animals
  • to be free from allergies
  • to be patient with both dogs and owners
  • good voice control
  • to be alert to changes in a dog's behaviour
  • to be physically fit.

Animal Attendant
(Source: Dog Force Australia)

 

Guard dog trainers are experts in training dog breeds that are used for security purposes such as Dobermans and German Shepherds. They use their skills and knowledge to channel the dogs’ natural strengths, loyalty and aggression to allow them to provide protection for families, individuals and property. 

Working conditions

Working conditions for dog handlers/trainers can vary greatly, depending on the type of training being carried out. Most obedience training for pet dogs is conducted outside, at boarding kennels or community parks. This sort of training is usually carried out in the evenings or on weekends.

Some specialised training may be carried out in specially designed facilities, tailored to the type of training. In some cases, one-on-one training may also be carried out in a client's home, especially if trying to modify a dog's behavioural problem.

Tools and technologies

Dog handlers/trainers will use different equipment, depending on the type of training they are offering. Almost all trainers use food rewards to encourage positive behaviours in the dogs they are training. There are also options for negative reinforcement or punishment, such as choker collars or shock collars. However, these technologies are becoming less common throughout Australia and many professional dog handlers/trainers no longer use such techniques. Trainers working in the security or law enforcement fields also use special protective clothing when training dogs to attack.

Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a dog handler or trainer without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. Skills can be developed through practice and experience with dogs. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in companion animal services, animal studies or a related area.

The Certificate II in Animal Studies, and the Certificate III and IV in Companion Animal Services are offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Australia.

You can also complete a traineeship. The companion animal trainer/behaviourist traineeship takes 24 months to complete.

The State Police, Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, Australian Federal Police and the Australian Defence Force select potential dog trainers or handlers from within their organisations and conduct internal training courses.

The National Dog Trainers Federation offers a Certificate III in Dog Behaviour and Training. The course can be completed by distance education; however, students must attend two practical sessions in Sydney, Melbourne or on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

 

Animal Attendant and Trainer

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