Occupation Thesaurus Entry: Animal Trainer

Jobs are as important for our characters as they are for real people. A character’s career might be their dream job or one they’ve chosen due to necessity. In your story, they might be trying to get that job or are already working in the field. Whatever the situation, as with any defining aspect for your character, you’ll need to do the proper research to be able to write that career knowledgeably.

Enter the Occupation Thesaurus. Here, you’ll find important background information on a variety of career options for your character. In addition to the basics, we’ll also be covering related info that relates to character arc and story planning, such as sources of conflict (internal and external) and how the job might impact basic human needs, thereby affecting the character’s goals. It’s our hope that this thesaurus will share some of your research burden while also giving you ideas about your character’s occupation that you might not have considered before.

Below is a sample version of this entry to help you see how an occupation can reveal your character’s beliefs, history, goals, and more.

To view the full entry, visit One Stop for Writers where it resides within the largest fiction-based descriptive database ever created. (Free Trial available.)

Overview: Animal trainers teach animals in a variety of ways—to make them better pets, train them for entertainment purposes, or develop them into service or work animals. They may choose to work with…

Necessary Training: Trainers working with marine animals are often required to have a degree in an animal-related field, such as marine biology, veterinary studies, or animal studies…

Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: A way with animals, basic first aid, empathy, gaining the trust of others, mentalism

Helpful Character Traits:

POSITIVE: Affectionate, alert, calm, centered, disciplined, empathetic…

Sources of Friction: Being injured by an animal, being hired to work with an animal that is difficult to train (due to low intelligence, stubbornness, a neurotic disposition, etc.), the heartbreak of dealing with neglected or abused animals…

People They Might Interact With: Animal owners, veterinarians, shelter workers…

How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:

  • Esteem and Recognition: This occupation doesn’t pay a whole lot, so the character’s esteem could take a hit if…
  • Love and Belonging: Animal trainers are animal lovers. If they pair up with a love interest who hates animals, this could spell trouble…
  • Safety and Security: There are many ways a trainer could be injured or infected on the job, so their safety and security could easily be…
  • Physiological Needs: It’s rare that trainers are killed, but…

Common Work-Related Settings: Amusement park, backyard, barn, big city street, circus, county fair, farm, living room, pasture, pet store, race track (horses), ranch, small town street, vet clinic, waiting room, zoo

Twisting the Fictional Stereotype: Animal trainers are usually nurturing but disciplined types—gentle but firm. Consider throwing some unusual character traits into the mix….

Visit the other Occupations in our collection HERE.

How will your character’s occupation help reveal their innermost layers?

Much of your character’s life will revolve around their work, and whether they love it or hate it, their job is a great way to show, not tell, their personality traits, skills, work ethic, worldview and beliefs, and more, so we should choose it with care.

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“It’s like I fed my imagination Red Bull…” ~ Tracy Perkins

The Occupation Thesaurus is yet another priceless author resource released in this series…” ~ Brandi MacCurdy

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Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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Tyrean Ann Martinson
Tyrean Ann Martinson
1 year ago

Love this entry! I just met a retired Kennel Master from the army. She definitely fits many of those traits.
Great work on this book!