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What Licenses Does A Dog Training Business Need?

What Licenses Does A Dog Training Business Need?

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What Licenses Does A Dog Training Business Need?

Maybe you’re starting a dog training business because you’re passionate about animals. Maybe you’ve done the research and identified a great opportunity in your community. Or, maybe owning your own dog training business has always been a dream. However you got here, you can’t start without dotting every “i” and crossing every “t.” That’s right—it’s time to get your paperwork in order, which means researching the licenses and permits needed to open a dog training business.

It may not be the most fun part of opening a business, but nearly every business requires specific licenses and permits to open. There’s a lot to consider, so we’ll break down the different types of permits and licenses you may need to open a dog training business, along with sharing some resources to get you started. So what should be on your checklist?

Related: Guide to starting a dog training business

While we have researched what licenses and permits your business may need, please be aware that there is no way for us to have uncovered every state and local requirement.

To not miss any important licenses and permits, we recommend also checking with your local Chamber of Commerce, economic development agency, or use a business license service like Incfile or LegalZoom.

What Licenses Do You Need to Start a Dog Training Business?

There are no specific state or federal licenses for dog obedience trainers, however there are a few common business licenses and permits your businesses may need:

Business Structure

One of the first registrations to do when starting a business is selecting a business structure (also called a legal entity). A business structure refers to how a business is organized to operate. The four main types include the sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company (LLC).

Related: What is the difference between a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or LLC?

Business Name Registration

While not necessarily a business license, it’s worth noting that to use a name for a business, many states require the registration of that name. Making matters more complicated, the process of name registration is different by state and the type of business entity.

For instance, sole proprietorships and partnerships generally need to register a business name (also referred to as a Doing Business As, DBA, fictitious name, or assumed name).

Learn: How to register a DBA

Corporations and LLCs register are a little easier because the name is registered when the entity is formed with the state.

Animal Handling Permit

While not required in many areas, this permit may be required to handle and train animals for commercial purposes. It is typically obtained from the local animal control department.

General Business License or Permit

Depending on where the business is located, a general business license or permit may be required. A few states require a business license; however, they are more commonly found at the city level.

Learn more: Business license requirements by state

Federal Employer Identification Number

The Federal Employer Identification Number (also referred to as a FEIN, Employer Identification Number, EIN, or Federal Tax ID Number) is a unique nine-digit number that identifies a business with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Any business with employees or those that form as a partnership, corporation, and in many cases an LLC, the business will need to get an EIN.

Sole proprietors and single-owner LLCs without employees can instead use the owner’s social security number.

The FEIN or owner’s social security number will be used to open a business checking account, credit card, or to hire employees.

Learn: How to get an EIN 

Sales Tax Permit or Business Number

Sales tax Service

To sell services in some states, which most of what a dog training business provides is a service, a state sales tax permit may be needed.  More commonly, a sales tax permit will be required for a dog training business that delivers a physical product like leashes to the customer.

This permit creates an account number with the state’s Department of Revenue (or similarly named state taxing agency) to collect and remit sales tax.

Learn: State-by-state information on sales tax permits

Certificate of Occupancy

In most communities, a dog business operating from a building or personal residence will need to secure a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). Most dog training businesses don’t operate from a leased or owned location, so be sure you are able to offer the activities in your chosen space before classes start and either the location or you have liability insurance in case of an accident.

For instance, in some parks, a license is required from the Park District before offering any paid activities.

If pet training will take place at a personal residence, be sure to check your homeowner’s insurance policy. In most cases, it won’t cover an accident caused by the business. There is a variety of business insurance that will cover what your personal insurance won’t.


In addition to licensing, a dog training business can obtain dog training certifications to gain additional skills and industry-specific knowledge. A few dog training business certifications include:

While researching licenses and permits isn’t the most exciting thing when starting a business, identifying all the licenses and permits necessary to start a dog training business is critical to the continued operation of your business.

These are some of the most common business licenses, but there may be specific licensing that isn't listed. Before starting your business, be sure to check with the City Clerk, County Clerk, Chamber of Commerce, and/or Economic Developer in your area to get more information regarding business licensing.

For some additional peace of mind, companies like Incfile or Legalzoom can do the research and ensure you have all of the proper federal, state, and local licenses to start your business.


  • Greg Bouhl

    With over two decades as an entrepreneur, educator, and business advisor, Greg Bouhl has worked with over 2,000 entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their businesses. Fed up with clients finding and acting on inaccurate and outdated information online, Greg launched StartUp101.com to be a trusted resource for people starting a business.

What Licenses Does A Dog Training Business Need?

What Licenses Does A Dog Training Business Need?

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