Dog Training

Find a dog trainer near Washington, DC

Find a dog trainer near Washington, DC

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Top 8 Dog Trainers near Washington, DC

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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

How much does dog training typically cost?

The average cost of dog training ranges from $60 to $155 per hour. But, your dog’s training might cost more or less depending on a number of different factors. For example, you might pay less if you schedule group classes instead of private instruction. The type of training (aggressive behavior, basic obedience, off-leash training, etc.) could have different prices as well. 

Get an exact cost estimate by contacting several dog trainers near you

Learn more about dog training cost factors.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a dog trainer during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Utilize as many digital means as necessary when setting up appointments or consultations with dog trainers near you during the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, the best way to begin is by conducting a search for dog trainers online. Compare services side by side, and ask each dog trainer you contact if it’s possible to schedule a consultation or appointment completely virtually. During this time, you should also discuss strategies for completing training and payments through digital means.

Are there ways to be safe if I hire a dog trainer when social distancing?

Current CDC guidelines state, “Do not let pets interact with people or animals outside the household.” It also explains that more studies are needed to understand if and how animals could be affected by the virus that causes COVID-19 and how this might affect human health.

If you’re uncomfortable with hiring a dog trainer right now, you can reach out to dog trainers in your area to see if they will let you book an appointment in the future when social distancing guidelines are lifted. Or, ask if they offer virtual or remote services.

If you do decide to hire a pro to train your dog in person, limit any physical contact with the trainer. Stay 6 feet apart, sanitize items and surfaces, and use digital payments instead of cash or a check.   

Is dog training worth the money?

Dog training can be a highly rewarding investment for most dog owners. With dog training, you can establish a better, healthier relationship with your dog, who will learn to understand your commands and wishes. Your frustration levels may decrease, and you might be able to resume activities you’ve put off, such as having people over or taking your dog to public places (though, this is hard to guarantee because each dog is unique). 

Just remember that no amount of dog training will pay off if you don’t practice and follow the directions the dog trainer gives you. Consistency is the most important factor.

Is it ever too late to start training a dog?

It’s never too late to train your dog — “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is a myth. Whether you adopt an older dog from the shelter or simply want to have a better relationship with your elderly dog, hiring a dog trainer can be a good investment.

What do professional dog trainers do?

Dog trainers can perform a range of activities, ranging from training law enforcement dogs to working with therapy dogs or search-and-rescue dogs. However, most people hire dog trainers for obedience training. This is largely a process of training the human — much of how a dog interprets our behaviors, commands, tone and body language is counterintuitive at first. The trainer will typically come to your home to observe your relationship with your dog, teach you how to train a command and give you guidance for reinforcing it.

Can I use digital payments to pay for dog training?

Many professional dog trainers accept digital payments instead of cash or check. One effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it is encouraging companies and services to onboard digital platforms like PayPal, Zelle, Google Pay, Venmo and Square Cash as a means of curbing virus transmission risk.

When you contact dog trainers near you, ask if they’ll accept digital payments. This information is also typically available on their online profiles.

Do dog trainers offer remote or virtual services?

Although dog training is traditionally performed in person, the COVID-19 pandemic may have caused some professional dog trainers to move to remote training and virtual services. You can contact dog trainers near you to ask about the possibility of remote or virtual services. Also, ask whether all aspects of the process can be digital, including payment.

How can I find out if a dog trainer is considered an essential COVID-19 service provider?

Guidelines on essential services are constantly being updated by local and federal government agencies. To see which services qualify as essential COVID-19 service providers, start with your city or state’s government website.

A reliable list of federal guidelines is available on CISA’s Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19 webpage. However, not all jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure.  .

Does a dog trainer need to enter my home?

Depending on the type of dog training you need, a dog trainer may need to enter your home. Many behaviors that need to be corrected are associated with the dog being in the house. However, some types of training can take place virtually or even outside while observing safe social distancing practices.

Start by asking dog trainers in your area if they’ll perform a video consultation instead of an in-person one, and ask if they need to enter your home.

Reviews for Washington dog trainers
Judith I.
We are just starting with the dog trainer.
Elizabeth S.
Natasha Jones is a true professional dog trainer. She adapts her training to the needs of the client, and the temperament of the dog. She is also flexible in scheduled sessions when we can’t make it because of illness or weather conditions. She is knowledgeable in the requirements to qualify our pug as a service dog.
Canine ObsessionsCanine Obsessions
Quinn S.
I cannot say enough good things about Ryan at Ruff House Dog Training! I would recommend his services to anyone. We have a wild 3 year old lab mix who struggled with leash aggression. Two weeks with Ryan and we can walk her down a city street with no issue. Not only did he train our dog, but he gave us great instruction/guidance on how to continue the training. It was an all around a great experience for us. Thank you!!
Ruff House Dog TrainingRuff House Dog Training
Yesenia A.
Hiring Chris as my dog trainer has been the best decision! I have a six month old Siberian Husky and we started training as soon as I got him. I’ve learned a lot of great tools to make sure I’m getting my dog everything he need to be a well adjusted member of the family. I would definitely recommend Chris to all my friends.
Thumbtack Customer
I really enjoyed working with Ryan. I feel much more in control and able to train and protect our dog. Ryan presents his philosophy very well and is a pleasure to deal with. One session has vastly improved our situation with our new dog.
Ruff House Dog TrainingRuff House Dog Training
Dena S.
Ryan was really great! He took the time to answer all my questions and explain everything to me. It was an extremely invaluable and useful experience for me. I definitely know so much more regarding how to train my dog/walk him. I would recommend Ryan to anyone who needed a trainer. He caters his session to your needs (and your dog's needs). Really great!
Ruff House Dog TrainingRuff House Dog Training
Gloriana E.
After searching multiple sites and trying out two other trainers, we found Kimberly on Thumbtack and liked what we read. Her "holistic" approach to dog training really appealed to us and aligned perfectly with our view of the connection between nutrition, physical and mental health, and behavior. When we did the IBAC, we immediately felt a click between the three humans (Kimberly + puppy parents) and Lucy (puppy). Through our work with Kimberly during the training sessions and our practice at home, Lucy has become more calm, responsive, and seems now to recognize us as the "pack leaders". One of the most important lessons we learned is that adjusting on our own energy and behavior is key to effect change in our dog's energy and behavior. It is important to bear in mind that no trainer - no matter how good - can make a dog's behavior change consistently and permanently after the training program without the owners' follow-through. With Kimberly's guidance and our constant practice, we're confident that we will continue making steady progress and nurture a balanced, well-behaved dog and a loving, respecting bond between us.
Thumbtack Customer
I hired Ruff House Dog Training to help train my 8month old puppy to stop jumping and pulling while on the leash. I got a lot of helpful hints and information, which was really appreciated. The leash training was centered around a prong collar. I am not uncomfortable with using a prong collar temporarily, but really would prefer that my dog have good leash behavior without the prong collar. My dog has quickly become "collar smart" and knows when she is wearing the prong collar versus when she is wearing her normal collar. She walks great on the prong collar, but there is minimal improvement with a regular collar. Though the information I received was helpful and the prong collar helps to solve most of the issues I was experiencing, it was just a band-aid for the problem. I quite honestly could have skipped the training fee, purchased a prong collar, and had the same results.
Ruff House Dog TrainingRuff House Dog Training
Thumbtack Customer
Ryan did a great job training me and my pup! We both learned a lot in just one session. If you need help with your dog, I highly recommend him.
Ruff House Dog TrainingRuff House Dog Training
Thumbtack Customer
I hired Ryan to help my parents train their new puppy. From the get go, he was clearly comfortable and knowledgable in handling dogs. He was able to demonstrate how to control their pup in a way that they are able to do on their own. He's made the whole training process less stressful for my parents, and I'm very grateful for that.
Ruff House Dog TrainingRuff House Dog Training
Kimberly D.
Jennifer made significant progress with our 7-month-old standard poodle. We got our poodle at 9-weeks of age, having read up on training protocol and thinking it would be hard but do-able. We also worked with a positive reinforcement trainer from the first days at home. Despite all of that, Mr. Dog was a major handful. He was very reactive to other dogs (thanks quarantine), awful on the leash, had terrible recall, and as he got older he started nipping at things in our hands. And although he never bit, he liked to remind us that he had teeth. He was often unresponsive to redirection except in specific circumstances. I was fed up so I did a bunch of digging around into board and train options and found Jennifer. I particularly liked Jennifer's approach of starting with positive reinforcement but bringing in other training modalities, as needed. I also liked her broad experience training dogs for all sorts of settings and purposes. Mr. Dog has been home for a little over two weeks now. I can now walk him with relative ease because of the lead Jennifer recommended. His recall is significantly better and he is now a gold star doggy-greeter on our walks. He also knows "kennel" and actually responds to it. He needs further work because he's young but we now have a solid foundation to work from, and hopefully not mess up. We'll be sending him to Jennifer for further training when he's older and are finally looking forward to the adult dog he will become.
Canine AssistCanine Assist
Sarah C.
From day 1 Natasha has been absolutely brilliant! She was great with meeting us here in city as well! She showed us many examples of her training, even with her own dogs in person. Our dog Waffles had a hard time pulling on the leash and responding to commands when called. Natasha has Waffles understanding “heel” in the first 20 minutes! Week 2 happened today & already Waffles has learned so much! We are able to walk her so much easier now. We are looking forward to the other future training sessions! Definitely would recommend Natasha & her great training skills!
Canine ObsessionsCanine Obsessions
Sandra G.
It has been just 2 days since I worked with Ruff House, but even that same day I noticed a dramatic improvement in my dog's behavior. She used to run me, and now she hears my commands an does not bark desperately for attention. I can't wait to try this out while at a yappy hour or when we encounter other dogs. I wish I had done this sooner before medicating my dog or using other ineffective trainers.
Ruff House Dog TrainingRuff House Dog Training
Janelle D.
Working with Ryan was fantastic from start to finish! He made the booking process extremely easy, and we had our first lesson soon after reaching out. Ryan quickly assessed our situation, and provided guidance and instruction that resulted in an immediate improvement in our dog's behavior and our dog-parenting skills! We appreciated Ryan's level-headed and real world approach to dog training, and think he set us on the right course for a long-lasting and awesome relationship with our pup!
Ruff House Dog TrainingRuff House Dog Training
Alexandra S.
Ryan had a great repor with my dog Dottie. We focused on leash training for my strong, stubborn and food motivated hound. Not only we were we able to accomplish significant strides in reducing her anxiety on a leash, Ryan spent time educating me on my dogs mitivations to help me be more anticipatory behind the leash rather reactive. Life changing - thank you!!!
Ruff House Dog TrainingRuff House Dog Training
Kinsey W.
My dog Sosa and I were adjusting to life in the city and had a great experience with training. He’s more adjusted than I am 😁 and we are enjoying long walks and patio sits safely with such an improvement on leash waking and calmness in social settings - highly recommend !
More Than Dog TrainingMore Than Dog Training
Shantelle W.
I love Chris! He truly fits his name and is a true Dog Genius. His ability to work with all different types of dogs is amazing. the best part about Chris is the work he does with us owners. He is patient. He is responsive (I surely texted daily and he never displayed any frustration). He takes the time to listen to the owner and the needs of the dog. My puppy Duke is high strung and he needed some direction. I didn't have time to provide him the consistency he needed for basic obedience. I found myself frustrated and Duke was confused. Having Duke Board and Train with Chris made a world of difference. Now I enjoy my dog and my job is to reinforce what Chris instilled in him. Now we have great walks and the house is less chaotic as Duke follows basic commands. Every dog and every dog owner deserves a DogGenius like Chris!
Jennifer D.
Our experience with Packfit was truly enlightening and transformative. I did quite a bit of research and interviewed multiple dog trainers in the DMV area before deciding to seek out Packfit for help. I knew enough about dog training, or handling (whatever you want to call it) to be dangerous, but I could not find a trainer that sat right with my gut. When I asked about others’ training approaches, I wasn’t sold – so many offered what seemed like bandaid methods. I could tell my dog and I had a deeper problem, and reached the limits of my own knowledge. Although obviously important, all the obedience training was mere mechanics. I couldn’t understand why my dog had morphed into a reactive, aggressive dog, but she sure knew how to ‘sit’, ‘stay’ and had fantastic recall.. As our situation snowballed from frustration and miscommunication, I knew I was sending my dog all the wrong signals, but I did not know how to fix it. Packfit’s holistic approach to “dog training” was something I immediately trusted and wanted to know more about. When we initially met with Kim to discuss options, I already felt so much relief and we hadn’t even started working with the dog yet. Kim is confident, grounded, and extremely knowledgeable – all of which was evident within the first few minutes of talking with her. Kim genuinely reassured us that our dog’s reactive/aggressive behavior could be changed. After meeting us and our dog, Kim recommended private sessions and her online course. I was thrilled with her recommendation, because I really wanted to work through these challenges with my dog and in our home/neighborhood. I’ll admit, there was a part of me that thought paying to work one-on-one with a private dog trainer might be too expensive. However, I just can’t stress enough how important this investment was. Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t even blink an eye at signing up to train with Packfit. I can’t think of another purchase that I have made that has given me more bang for my buck! The results are remarkable - the knowledge, understanding, confidence, and balance in my home, in my pack, was a direct result of Packfit’s guidance. We were so lucky to find Packfit and have the opportunity to learn from Kim. Above all else, our dog and relationship with our dog is happy, healthy, and balanced. For those who are researching for the right trainer, here is a list of the behaviors we were seeing gradually worsen over time in our dog: leash reactivity, fear of children, fear of tight spaces, freezing up during walks, pulling on the leash, barking out the window of our home, barking in the back yard. These eventually snowballed into: fear of all strangers, aggression toward kids, protecting our home, snapping at kids and strangers, snapping at our cat, snapping at other dogs, guarding her food bowl/chew bones, barking at everything. The thing is, we started training and “socializing” our puppy at 10 weeks. We “worked” with her every day. We thought we had checked all the boxes. But very gradually, our nice little puppy turned into a gremlin. We were so frustrated and blind-sided – we thought we had done everything we were supposed to do. Turns out, so many of her behavioral issues were rooted in our human behavior and lack of understanding. There is so much information out there on how to train your dog, but so much of it is misleading. The combination of Packfit’s online course, the private sessions with Kim, and Kim’s book “My Dog, My Buddha” provided the comprehensive and holistic approach that is needed to genuinely understand dog needs and behavior, and to align the relationship between you and your dog. In other words, to make your pack fit. Each component (the course, book, and sessions) was equally necessary to bring it all together. First, the online course provides extensive information about all aspects of the animal you are trying to share a home with. These lessons lay the foundation to better understand the root of your dog’s behavior and your dog’s need. The knowledge gained from the online course not only helped me understand my current dog, but gives me so much confidence in my ability to understand our future pups as well. I’ll carry those lessons with me for a lifetime. Kim’s book, “My Dog, My Buddha” hones in on the human aspect of the pack equation, or as she says, the human end of the leash. This book genuinely improved my life and my dog’s life in so many ways. The book is organized in short, easy to read lessons. The very structure of the book allows you to read one or a few lessons and then walk away, giving you the break to really stop and reflect. Often, I would read just one lesson and then spend days pondering my self-improvement. This book is positive, realistic, inspiring, and in some ways was a wake-up call for me. The book was not overwhelming, cheesy, or intimidating. I have already re-visited it and will likely continue to re-read lessons. Our private sessions with Kim were incredible. Kim shows up ready to teach, and is genuinely present in every interaction. She is a realistic person, and doesn’t judge or shame. The sessions were entirely customized to fit us and our dog. In each session, we gradually pulled apart layers of behavioral issues and worked them out as we went. After each session, Kim followed up with a detailed explanation of what we worked on and why, and then gave us “homework” to work on daily. While we practiced our “homework” we would send Kim videos of our progress and she would provide immediate feedback. In addition, we could contact Kim at any time to ask questions – which was amazing! Kim is always, always responsive and professional. She has been there with us and for us every single step of the way. She genuinely cares about us and our dog and wants us to succeed. Her actions speak to this, plain and simple. Working with what I believed at the time to be a reactive/aggressive dog made me nervous. I had convinced myself, prior to finding Packfit, that my dog was so reactive that I could never trust her to walk by other dogs, some people, and kids. I would cross the street to avoid other dogs and people, which was proving to be quite difficult in a city, and was frustrating me and the dog more. During our sessions with Kim, she created a safe space for me to challenge myself, regain trust in my dog and confidence in myself while working in the exact situations I had come to fear. Even after just 3 sessions our dog was an entirely different dog and our home was at peace. Among the wealth of knowledge gained, quite simply put - we learned how to meet our dog’s needs. It turns out that reactivity/aggression was actually our dog’s cry for help. We learned what it truly means to have a socialized dog, versus what we had been misled to believe “socialization” meant. We were speaking a language our dog didn’t understand, and/or telling our dog things we didn’t understand at the time. We gained awareness of how our actions and energy (body language, emotions, tone of voice), subtle or not, directly influence our dog’s behavior. We now understand that our dog looks to us for leadership, and we know how to step up and be a consistent pack leader. Packfit holds true to its very name. Packfit’s holistic approach recognizes the uniqueness in every dog and human, allows you to carefully pull apart and understand the reason behind your dog’s behavior, and guides the human end of the leash into leadership and balance, allowing your pack to truly fit together.
Ryan R.
Chris is so helpful and easy to work with, I can't recommend him enough. When we rescued our dog, the agency warned us he was HIGH energy and would need lots of exercise, but no matter how much mental and physical stimulation we gave him, he was always bouncing off the walls. Chris immediately recognized it was actually insecurity and anxiety, not excess energy, preventing him from settling down. He gave us a variety of training exercises to work on, and overnight we had a different (happier!) dog. We learned so much from Chris in just a few sessions.
Rachael H.
Ryan was excellent and understood the needs of me and my rescue dog, Silo. After our training, we acquired an excellent obedience foundation that gave me much more control over Silo inside the house and outside on walks. For someone who had no idea where to start, Ryan was helpful and patient. His willingness to visit us rather than us traveling to him was an enormous help as well.
Ruff House Dog TrainingRuff House Dog Training
Michael F.
Ryan was awesome. He was available the same day that we decided we wanted to hire a pro to help us with our sweet pup with pretty bad and worsening leash reactivity. He was punctual, professional, and most importantly, helped us get an immediate handle on the issue. Definitely worth the consultation. If any other issues arise, we will be sure to contact Ryan and go with Ruff House Dog Training!
Ruff House Dog TrainingRuff House Dog Training
Veronica c.
We had a wonderful experience with Chris, we have a 6 month old Shi Poo who needed. some training. and we need help with the interaction between our. new pup and our young son, Chris was amazing in helping us with it, and our pup is improving everyday. He is so knowledgeable about dogs and. answered many questions for us!!! Highly recommend and we will use again in the future.
Jian W.
I send my two huskies there for two weeks boarding training, Eric really did an excellent job, more that what I expected! Now they have no more aggressive action, they obeyed my order to sit down and they walk by heel now, no more pulling the leash! Good Job Eric! I don’t feel regret sending my dogs to Eric! I will highly recommend this place and Eric, also, affordable price.
Cerberus Protection DogsCerberus Protection Dogs
Alma A.
While Kimberly is very knowledgeable, the first, outrageously expensive, discussion, was “informational” only. While the information was good, i could have gotten it from a book or a few articles about dog behavior. Then you have to sign up for even more expensive sessions to learn what to do. So while I am sure she is good at what she does, and might even be worth the training money, be careful that you realize there is a large upfront investment to learn very generalized information that won’t really help you at all with your individual issues.
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