Public Dog Trainer

    • Job Tracking ID: 512912-658613
    • Job Location: San Francisco, CA
    • Job Level: Mid Career (2+ years)
    • Job Type: Full-Time/Regular
    • Date Updated: November 21, 2018
    • Years of Experience: 2 - 5 Years
    • Starting Date: ASAP
    • Campus Location: Mission
    • Status: Regular Full-Time
    • Department: Header: Behavior & Training
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The SF SPCA seeks a full-time, experienced, credentialed dog trainer to join the Behavior and Training department with a focus on public-facing training and education.

The candidate will conduct group training classes and private training sessions for the public, help train volunteers, provide customer service and training advice to adopters, assist in shelter dog training and enrichment programs if needed, and work with the department on various training and behavior related projects and responsibilities. The Dog Trainer handles and trains dogs in accordance with the SF SPCA’s force-free positive reinforcement-based training standards, and demonstrates the Society’s high level of care and concern for human and animal welfare. The ideal candidate has a positive, outgoing and optimistic attitude, and is passionate about helping people understand and train their pets.

Essential Duties and Functions:

  • Teach public group classes related to dog obedience, behavior modification, and potentially dog sports. Classes may take place in a variety of locations and settings, including indoor and occasionally outdoor.
  • Conduct private individual training sessions for our adopters and the public
  • Participate in outreach events, including "Ask the Trainer" booths, interviews, features, etc.
  • Give reliable, objective, effective, quality behavior advice to adopters and the public
  • Creatively contribute to the growth of the department and provide nimble, flexible, innovative solutions and ideas in order to more completely meet the needs of San Francisco’s dog owning public
  • Work in a team environment that enjoys oversight from two Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorists, and follow training and post-consultation protocols for clients from the Behavior Specialty Service as needed.
  • Adhere to and support the SF SPCA dog training curriculum and a non - confrontational training approach.
  • Develop and update curriculum as needed to fit the skills and evolving needs of the clients and program
  • Present training curriculum in an engaging, effective and informative manner
  • Maintain a clean, attractive, and safe training environment
  • Assist clients in situations requiring immediate problem solving. Take control of situations that could be potentially harmful to clients, animals, or the professional image of the Society.
  • Perform training class administrative duties: attendance, distribution of materials, and follow up as needed. Maintain accurate records related to classes and collects, records and deposits in a secure area any donations or monies received during classes.
  • Assure upkeep of training facility after each class. Notify Dog Training Program Manager when supplies or equipment are low or in need of maintenance.
  • Assist with or perform behavior evaluation and/or behavior modification for dogs currently in our adoption program on an as needed basis
  • Participate in stress and disease reduction efforts through purposeful and compassionate handling, training and placement of animals in a shelter environment
  • Works closely with entire Behavior team, Canine Volunteer Coordinator and the Intake and Adoption teams
  • Mentors and monitors volunteers

Other Duties and Functions:

Customer Service

  • Practice and encourage the humane treatment of animals
  • Provide excellent customer service to clients, volunteers, and staff while actively promoting our mission, specialty behavior services, programs, classes and events
  • Promote donation and giving opportunities as appropriate


  • Ensure a safe work environment; following all safety guidelines and modeling safe work practices
  • Take immediate action to address any safety concerns that could put a staff member, volunteer, client, animal, or the organization at risk
  • Maintain a clean, healthy, and sanitary work area; follow all pest and rodent control protocols
  • Participate in keeping the SF SPCA campus clean and well maintained

Diversity & Inclusiveness

  • Work effectively with individuals and colleagues from diverse communities and cultures


  • Supervise and mentor dog volunteer(s) assigned to training classes, provide useful feedback
    • Work cooperatively with all volunteers and recognize the talent and commitment they bring to the Society

Reporting Relationships and Contacts:

  • Reports directly to Behavior Programs Director

Physical Requirements and Work Environment:

  • Work is performed in a multipurpose room setting and outdoors
  • Work requires bending, reaching, kneeling and standing on feet for several hours
  • Exposure to disinfectant solutions when in multipurpose area
  • Exposure to various weather conditions when working outdoors
  • Subject to animal bites and scratches while handling unknown animals
  • Occasional lifting of up to 50 pounds with reasonable accommodations
  • Consistently exposed to animals in the workplace and animal allergens under conditions with limited alterations available


  • Two years of college course work, plus one year of dog training experience
  • Minimum of one year instructing the public in group dog training classes
  • Proven knowledge and practical experience in basic dog training using positive-reinforcement training methods. Advanced dog obedience, behavior modification and knowledge of dog sports (i.e. agility, rally, flyball) helpful.
  • Customer service experience
  • Available to work at least one weekend day and some evenings
  • Credentials (CTC, CPDT, or PCT-A) strongly preferred

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Commitment to the mission, values, goals, and success of the San Francisco SPCA
  • Highly motivated, pleasant, positive, out-going, polite with a professional manner with the public
  • Confident public speaker with the ability to communicate skillfully and effectively with a diverse audience
  • Mature individual with good judgment and a professional personal appearance
  • Creative and innovative teaching skills
  • Professional, educational expertise in animal learning theory, scientific behavior modification strategies and positive-based, force-free animal training skills
  • Willingness to join and work closely with the Behavior team
  • Eagerness to learn and commitment to continuous growth
  • Competence with Windows suite of software (Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel)


Salary and Benefits:

Hourly compensation based on breadth and depth of experience, education and credentials. Eligible for full benefits package including: paid time off, medical, dental and vision insurance, life insurance, long-term disability, tax-deferred retirement plan, pre-tax commute expense deductions, pet bereavement leave, discounted veterinary care, employee discount on retail, pet supplies, dog training classes, and humane education.

The SF SPCA is an Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes applications from individuals who contribute to our diversity. We are an at-will employer and conduct pre-employment background checks and drug screening. This job description reflects the assignment of essential functions; it does not prescribe or restrict the tasks that may be assigned.