Dog Handler Job Description

Dog Handler Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Are you searching for a dog handler job description? Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a dog handler. Feel free to use our dog handler job description template to produce your own dog handler job description. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a dog handler.


Who is a Dog Handler?

A dog handler, who is also known as a professional dog handler, is someone who charges a fee to train, condition, and exhibit dogs in conformation shows. Dog owners or breeders hire handlers to complete their championship or, if already completed, to compete in the Best of Breed division as a “special.” A dog handler is a specialist who trains and takes care of dogs, to put it another way. To encourage the dog’s physical activity, a dog handler will occasionally also act as a dog walker. Dog handlers regularly replenish food and water, provide training to reinforce knowledge, and consult with clients about any changes in their dog’s health, behaviour, or training requirements. By investing numerous hours each week in grooming, training, walking, and bonding with the dog, dog handlers play a crucial part in the health of the animal as a whole. Working with specially trained canines, dog handlers assist in the detection and prevention of crime as well as the search for the missing. They are in charge of caring for, providing for, and maintaining control over the dogs.

To give canines the care and training they need, dog handlers may work for law enforcement, on search and rescue teams, or in kennels or shelters. They assess the dogs’ behavioural patterns, train the dogs for a particular task, and make sure the dogs’ fundamental needs are taken care of. Most dogs make good family pets who are well-behaved, well-socialized, and manageable. Even a dog that has had the best training, though, has the potential to bite when threatened or in distress. Understanding behaviour cues is the first step in proper dog restraint. Every dog will react differently to handling. The most important thing to remember is to avoid forceful handling since even a good dog may bite to defend itself.

The person in charge of their canine partner in law enforcement is known as a “dog handler.” A canine’s highly developed sense of smell is used by those in this profession to sniff out and locate specific scents that indicate the presence of illicit substances like drugs, explosives, and other dangerous goods. A dog handler is well knowledgeable about dog behaviour and is aware of the cues being given by their canine partner while on the job of detection. You need to be vigilant, patient, and skilled at managing all types and sizes of dogs if you want to be a great dog handler. In the end, a top-notch dog handler should be able to maintain composure under pressure and show excellent communication, problem-solving, and customer service abilities.


Basic Dog Handling Techniques

Understand The Needs of The Dog: A dog should have several designated resting spots in the apartment that provide him with a private and secure retreat. Above all, dogs should be able to interact with their owners, particularly at night. Humans must be aware of what dogs require to form a link, including physical contact, loving contact, presence, trust, security, and rest.

Don’t Take Anything From The Dog: Already puppies are permitted to retain captured goods in their canine family, known as packs, and nobody challenges them. No one ought to take away the dog’s food bowl or the other supplies that have just been provided for him. Undoubtedly, dogs may be taught to reciprocate. But that instruction is carried out uniquely and intelligently.

Show Your Dog Love: A garden is not necessary for a dog to be happy, so show your dog some love. Dogs require the affection of their owners, a wide variety of smells to stimulate their brain growth and olfactory sensitivity, which includes being permitted to sniff, as well as peaceful walks where they can observe and evaluate their surroundings.

Take a Walk With Your Dog Frequently: Increase the frequency of your walks with your dog by alternating them with training games and free running. Conspecific social interactions continue to be trustworthy, sovereign, prescient, and protective.

Don’t Leave The Dog Idle: There are several options for keeping your dog amused both at home and when travelling. Depending on the person and the season, search games come in various shapes and are attractive. Almost everyone has plenty of opportunities to bring out the sparkle in the furry noses’ eyes when doing tasks like looking for lost items, telling news from familiar objects, locating individuals, etc.

Never Leave The Dog With Children: Do not leave your dog alone with children. Dogs should never be left alone with children. Children of dogs may or may not be considered humans in the sense that adults define them. Children must be taught to respect dogs, and canines must be taught that kids are just small humans. Dogs do not need to endure anything. In this case, parents are in charge of educating kids on how to treat dogs. In a family with kids, the dog must constantly retreat at his leisure, where the kids cannot pursue him. Children are not allowed to approach dogs that are eating or sleeping. The feeding bowl and resting spot should be placed in a peaceful, non-trafficked area of the house.

Never Give A Dog A Stiff Stare: When two unfamiliar dogs first meet, they attempt to agree on where they belong in the hierarchy. A key technique for this is to look someone in the eyes. Both dogs lock eyes with one another; one turns its head away, and the other is content. He is higher on the ranking for him. They both appreciate not having to fight. They compete to keep their rank if neither can decide to turn their heads. An aggressive human stares a dog in the eyes, challenging it to a battle.

Avoid Anything That A Dog Might Consider To Be Threatening: If given the opportunity to live in a hierarchy and have a designated spot, every dog is content. Stronger people set the example, and weaker people must follow. Kids are frequently viewed by dogs as being more vulnerable. A dog will defend its ranking if a child threatens it with playthings, inappropriate behaviour, etc.

Avoid Disturbing The Dog When It Is Eating: The majority of canines still behave when they eat exactly how their predecessors did: Eating is essential to survival. The dog will use all means necessary to safeguard his meal because he views any interruption while eating as an attack. Therefore, never try to steal food from a dog, not even if it was his stolen sausage sandwich.

Avoid Running From A Dog: Dogs enjoy running and hunting, so never attempt to flee from one. They are forced to chase after and grab anything that tries to flee from them. This habit comes naturally. The same rule still holds even if someone is scared of dogs: Stop! Given that most dogs are swift and some can even pass a bicycle or a scooter, it is not worthwhile to try to escape from them.

Do Not Separate Fighting Dogs: While most dogs enjoy playing with other dogs, occasionally the game quickly turns violent, and a scuffle ensues. Dogs barely pay attention to commands and are primarily focused on the adversary. You must never reach out and grab with your hands in between. Most of the time, the dogs will stop biting on their own after a few minutes. If this isn’t possible, two adults should each take a dog, try to grab it by the collar, and back away from each other. However, it is preferable to keep the dog on a leash at all times.


Dog Handler Job Description

What is a dog handler job description? A dog handler job description is simply a list of duties and responsibilities of a dog handler in an organization. Below are the dog handler job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a dog handler job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

  • Consult dog owners to ascertain the kind of handle and training necessary.
  • Create and implement specialized training plans by the demands and behavioural traits of dogs.
  • Evaluate a program’s effectiveness, and make any necessary adjustments.
  • Inform dog owners of any behavioural issues as necessary.
  • Ensure that every place used for rest, recreation, and training is hygienic and clean.
  • Help with the feeding and medication of dogs.
  • Keep an eye on your dog throughout the designated play and socialization hours to avoid mishaps or injuries.
  • Inform management as soon as possible of any injuries, mishaps, or medical conditions.
  • Keep accurate records of your dog’s behaviour, training progress, medical needs, and training requirements.



  • GED or a diploma from high school.
  • An approved dog handling training program.
  • A history of success handling dogs in the previous workplace.
  • The capacity to manage canines of all breeds and sizes.
  • The capacity to work with little or no oversight.
  • The capacity to keep one’s composure under pressure.
  • Excellent organizational, time-management, and problem-solving abilities.
  • Excellent interpersonal and customer service abilities.
  • A passion for breeding dogs.
  • A perceptive, awake, and patient attitude.
  • Love dogs and respect other animals.


Essential Skills

  • Ability to Spot Behavioral Signals: A handler can predict changes in a dog’s behaviour by observing the dog’s body language. The ears, teeth, posture, and overall demeanour of a dog must all be carefully observed by dog handlers. Aggression, fear, distraction, or happiness may all be indicated by the dog’s behaviour. Recognizing behavioural signals requires the ability to observe a dog’s behaviour, be able to read body language, pay close attention to detail, be nurturing, and understand signs.
  • Understanding Proper Grooming Techniques: Grooming is an important aspect of caring for dogs, especially those with long hair. The fundamentals, including removing mats, brushing out long hair, cutting nails, and cleaning ears, should be manageable for all dog handlers. For those working in the dog show profession, being able to use clippers and cut canines into breed-specific styles is a plus; for those in the grooming industry, it is a requirement. Maintaining canine health requires proper grooming, and thorough monitoring of the dog during the grooming procedure can assist the handler in spotting emerging health problems early on. Essential dog grooming procedures include removing mats, brushing out long hair, trimming nails, cleaning ears, using clippers to cut dogs into breed-specific styles, and spotting emerging health problems.
  • Ability to Spot Common Health Issues: Dog handlers need to be able to spot common health issues in dogs, especially those that are prevalent in the breed(s) they work with. Additionally, dog owners must pay attention to any slight changes in their dogs’ food or behavioural patterns that can point to a potential issue. Additionally, those who work with dogs should be able to provide oral medications, treat wounds, and remove fleas and ticks. People who specialize in careers related to canine health, such as veterinary technicians, should be able to administer injections, collect samples of blood or other bodily fluids, and carry out more complex medical procedures. A dog handler must understand basic canine health issues, observe subtle changes in a dog’s behaviour and eating habits, know how to clean a wound, get rid of fleas and ticks, administer oral medication, and perform basic advanced medical treatments to spot common health issues.
  • Understanding of breed standards and canine anatomy: Professionals who work with dogs should have a basic awareness of canine anatomy as well as a general knowledge of the traits that are admired in each breed they deal with. For dog show judges, dog show handlers, breeders, and trainers, in particular, this is crucial. Dog handling requires a basic understanding of canine anatomy as well as the traits that are desired in each breed.
  • Ability to communicate With Animal Professionals and Owners: All dog handlers should be able to speak clearly with other animal experts (such as veterinarians, groomers, trainers, and breeders) with whom they may work to make sure that the needs of the dogs are satisfied at all times. A canine handler in this situation must possess clear verbal communication skills, nonverbal communication skills, body language skills, the ability to listen intently and comprehend, leadership abilities, and team-playing skills.
  • Ability to Exercise Patience and Display Desirable Personality Traits: If one wishes to deal with dogs professionally, patience is probably the most crucial quality. The majority of canine occupations demand a lot of patience because it can take a long time to train a dog to display the desired traits. (Of course, having patience is a virtue for anybody who works with animals, not just those who have occupations that involve dogs.) A dog handler must have a love and respect for dogs, be able to practice patience, show consistency, perseverance, commitment, empathy, and the confidence to attract clients to exhibit desirable personality traits.


How to Become a Dog Handler

  1. Earn a degree

Although a degree may not be required to work with detection dogs, it can improve your chances of landing a decent position. Your preparation for this law enforcement career can include earning an Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree in criminal justice. You can think about joining a student organization for prospective law enforcement officers as you train for this position. You could even be able to enrol in a college program run by your neighbourhood police department that will give you practical training for this line of work.

  1. Obtain relevant experience

Many persons who are interested in this profession begin by joining the police force. You must finish the police academy program before you may work as a police officer. You will learn about laws and regulations, firearm safety, CPR, self-defence, and other police methods during these programs’ normal six-month duration. You’ll have to pass several physical tests throughout your course. You can begin acquiring pertinent experience as a law enforcement expert as soon as your training is complete.

  1. Recruit with the K-9 team

You can now apply to a K-9 unit to begin your dog handler training if you are employed by a law enforcement department. To ensure your suitability for employment, this application process may also require you to pass an interview, physical demands, and a medical examination. To make sure you are a suitable match, this procedure also entails getting to know the pets in your unit. When you join the K-9 team, you’ll start receiving training on search methods, canine behaviour, signals, and other crucial elements of utilizing a dog to sniff out contraband.

  1. Obtain certification

It takes extensive training to be able to manage your canine buddy. For this reason, dog handlers must obtain certification. You may receive this certification’s training internally, or your department may work with outside agencies to get you ready for this crucial position. Following your training, you will participate in a mock search to see if you and your canine partner are capable of finding hidden contraband. Your department or certifying body might use these timed exams to gauge your level of readiness for the position of the dog handler.

  1. Complete your further education

You might need to continue your study for this position even after earning your certification as a dog handler. Depending on the policies of your department, this need may change. Through college classes, conferences, and numerous training events, you might be able to update your knowledge.


Where to Work as a Dog Handler

Dog handlers typically work for the police, the military, customs and excise, or private security companies. They also work for other organizations including the prison system and the fire and rescue services.


Dog Handler Salary Scale

Dog handler salaries in the United States range from $51,079 to $59,071, with $53,027 being the average salary. Salary ranges can vary significantly depending on a variety of crucial aspects, including schooling, credentials, supplementary talents, and the length of time you’ve been working in a given field. In the UK, a dog handler makes an average pay of £23,400 per year or £12 per hour. In Nigeria, the average monthly salary for a dog handler is roughly 226,000 NGN. From 150,000 NGN to 425,000 NGN is the range of salaries.

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