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Chicago Dog Behavior Specialists

Browse these dog behavior specialist with great ratings from Thumbtack customers in Chicago.

Top Pro
Scott The Dog Guy
4.9
from 183 reviews
  • 18 years in business
  • 359 hires on Thumbtack
  • Top Pro on Thumbtack
Kathryn R.
Verified review

I hired Scott ten days ago. He arrived promptly at the scheduled time. He gave my dog (and me!) an excellent training session which has already improved my confidence as well as my dog's behavior. I will use his services again and I would highly recommend him.

Top Pro
  • 34 years in business
  • 126 hires on Thumbtack
  • Top Pro on Thumbtack
Mary M.
Verified review

I was becoming frustrated because my 5-year old dog had started going to the bathroom in his crate. Sherry came to my house and gave me not only fantastic ideas for how to set up my dog for success, she gave me EDUCATION! She told me why my dog might be now having this behavior and gave me information - that I did not know - about nutrition and interaction tips. The result has been great so far! Sherry is funny, warm and caring. I highly recommend her!

Christy's Canine Care
4.9
from 26 reviews
  • 6 years in business
  • 54 hires on Thumbtack
Michaela A.
Verified review

First off, Christy is amazing! She is very professional and cares about dogs deeply. I contacted Christy because I have a 46 pound Pitbull named Layla who is very reactive/aggressive towards other dogs and was seeking training/behavior classes. What Christy found was and reassured me of, was that Layla was not aggressive at all and that as a dog, she did not want to be. Rather, Christy said that she was very insecure of herself and I found that to be very true!! During session 2, Christy brought along her dog Mazzei and after only 3 sessions, Layla was able to co-exist with her PEACEFULLY!! It is truly amazing and I would have never been able to imagine that Layla would be able to be around another dog. Added bonus: Christy massages Layla when she is in distress which teaches her to calm down and it has been a huge help! Christy gives my boyfriend and I expert direction on how to properly train Layla as well as weekly "homework" assignments. Although we are still continuing training with Christy and onto our fourth week, we have found her to be a huge help and couldn't imagine the way Layla is now without her. I HIGHLY recommend Christy for training, behavior modification, and canine massage for your furbabies. You will not regret it!! If I could, I would rate her 10 stars! Do yourself a favor and hire Christy...like NOW! :)

Sunset Training Center
4.9
from 25 reviews
  • 32 hires on Thumbtack
Katherine F.
Verified review

I was looking for a high-quality dog trainer for my new puppy and am so happy I found Claudia. The one-on-one sessions allow us to cover a lot of ground and move at our own pace. She is very patient with me as I learn all about my dog and her behaviors. She really gives you insight into dog psychology and behavior and I finally feel like my puppy and I are speaking the same language! After the first session, my puppy was already more responsive at home and a much better walker. Looking forward to learning more with Claudia.

Top Pro
Takacs Dog Training LLC
5.0
from 20 reviews
  • 1 year in business
  • 24 hires on Thumbtack
  • Top Pro on Thumbtack
Maggie H.
Verified review

We would highly recommend Chris and Takacs Dog Training! We hired Chris to help with our 6 month old wheaten terrier puppy and were more than pleased with the results. Chris was able to customize a training plan based on our family home and not just an off the shelf program. He helped us create an engaging and fun training program that included basic house training, leash and walking control, when&how to treat, controlling temperament and discipline with guests, etc. We will definitely be calling Chris in the future for any and all dog training needs!

Pawfect Dog Training
5.0
from 15 reviews
  • 11 years in business
  • 11 hires on Thumbtack
Diana W.
Verified review

I LOVED PAWFECT DOG TRAINING! The trainers were incredibly insightful and spent more than enough time to not only train Jack, but to teach me everything I needed to know to do my training with him in between our sessions. Jack would get so excited every time we would pull up to the Pawfect House and Matthew and Carin always gave us such great greetings. Being able to train with other dogs in such a friendly environment was so relaxing and pressure-free. We thought we would just do some general training for behavior to stop Jack's jumping and nipping concerns but we learned so much and evolved to agility training with Pawfect and it has done wonders to reduce Jack's energy level and he is so much more responsive to my commands now. I spent so much money on training facilities and I simply didn't know if I would ever be able to resolve my issues with Jack, but a friend told me about Thumbtack and once I was quoted by Pawfect, spoke to Matthew and Carin, and reviewed the Pawfect website, I felt that it would be a safe bet to try the training and I am so, so happy I did. This experience was unlike anything I would've ever imagined for dog training. It is so much more than basic obedience or even advanced obedience training. Matthew is a behavior specialist first and he completely changed my view of not only my dog but all dogs. Working with our dogs as just an animal was simply not correct. Learning that Jack is actually as intelligent as he is and training him as such really made a difference; not in days or weeks, but immediately! I can go on and on but I want to express how truly amazing Pawfect Training is and I encourage anyone and everyone to stop doing facility training and just go to Matthew and Carin and experience what I have; IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE AND YOUR DOG'S LIFE FOREVER! Thank you Pawfect... for more than you will ever know!

Dog Talk
5.0
from 15 reviews
  • 6 years in business
  • 23 hires on Thumbtack
Terri C.
Verified review

Lynn is the kindest, most patient and warmhearted, knowledgeable, and flexible person to work with. She has an exceptional understanding of dogs and their behavior. During our initial evaluation, Lynn gave us a few pointers and our dogs were behaving better. I could not ask for a better person to "train" me in training my dogs.

The Educated Canine
4.5
from 16 reviews
  • 18 years in business
  • 21 hires on Thumbtack
Donna B.
Verified review

Leslie has really made a difference in our dog's behavior. We are so pleased. She really knows how to handle dogs and teach us how to as well!

BFF Dog Academy
4.7
from 15 reviews
  • 4 years in business
  • 35 hires on Thumbtack
Davina S.
Verified review

Leslie is awesome! She came on time, completely prepared, is very personable, had a good repore with my dog, she communicated well, and she followed up as promised... I am very glad I chose her!!! =)

Top Pro
K9 Tutoring
5.0
from 14 reviews
  • 8 years in business
  • 7 hires on Thumbtack
  • Top Pro on Thumbtack
Margie H.
Verified review

Scott did a great job with my dog Reba! Highly recommend him. Even after the sessions were done he still answers my questions & helps me.

Andrea Kutzko Dog Trainer
4.9
from 14 reviews
  • 3 years in business
  • 17 hires on Thumbtack
Marilyn S.
Verified review

Andrea was exceptional in helping us deal with our dog and cat problem. We hope to have her back again.

Tom Brien Animal Training
5.0
from 13 reviews
  • 5 years in business
  • 11 hires on Thumbtack
Tina R.
Verified review

Our initial session went well. Tom has a genuine passion for pet behavior training and we are looking forward to working with him!

Top Pro
  • 8 years in business
  • 24 hires on Thumbtack
  • Top Pro on Thumbtack
Ana D.
Verified review

Dee is amazing she is best dog trainer! My dog love her!

  • 17 years in business
  • 28 hires on Thumbtack
Michelle D.
Verified review

Marty is awesome! He listened to our concerns and helped to correct our dog's behavior, using positive reinforcement. He also took care of our dogs when we went on vacation. My dogs are so happy to see Marty, they shower him with kisses! I would highly recommend Marty and Black Dog K9 Training.

Bellatrix's Dog Training
5.0
from 12 reviews
  • 3 hires on Thumbtack
Krystal U.
Verified review

Melitza and I have worked very close for 4 years training. I look up to her in every way possible. She helped me understand dog behavior and showed me the ropes. I would recommend her in a heart beat. She is very patient and understanding with her clients. Not only does she care about them and making sure they are well mannered she also knows how to have fun when needed and teach awesome tricks. Hands down I love this girl and no one else compares.

Cloud K9 Academy
5.0
from 11 reviews
  • 5 years in business
  • 3 hires on Thumbtack
Marc F.
Verified review

Rachel is an amazing dog trainer!!! Rachel pays close attention to subtle behaviors which enables her to have great results with challenging training issues. Rachel is patient, positive, and upbeat!!! Rachel has a passion for dogs and dog training!!! Marc Findlay, owner and handler of Salem the Doberman

Joanne P.
Verified review

What a difference Smart Dogs has made in the behavior of our dog, Zoey! Seriously, after only one lesson our daily walk changed from a nerve wracking, dismal obligation to a relaxing, fun activity. I know it sounds impossible, but one lesson is all it took. We were so impressed that we are now addressing other behaviors. Ian is showing my husband and me how to train Zoey to be a happy and well behaved part of our family. And Zoey is much calmer now that she understands what is expected of her. I really sense that she is relieved to know that she is no longer the “boss” of the house. I am so happy that we came across the ad for Smart Dogs. Their knowledge is amazing and their training techniques make sense. I highly recommend Smart Dogs. You will not be disappointed.

  • 4 years in business
  • 19 hires on Thumbtack
Jaime L.
Verified review

Nicole at Great Pet Vacations was a Godsend to our family. Our 14 month old yorkie poo was disobedient and had awful manners. We did not have the skills to change the situation. In June, we did 9 days of board and train with Nicole and we all were amazed at the initial results. Cocoa immediately was more reliable with potty training, would not cry in her cage and did not attempt to escape her pen. In July, she went back for the additional 12 days of the board and train program and can now sit, lay, target, walk on a leash, leave an item alone and is a calmer more obedient dog. Nicole is a miracle worker and takes her time demonstrating how to continue working on reinforcing the behavior with the owners to ensure continued success at home. She spent more than an hour with us at the intake consultation in order to understand our training goals. In addition, she spent more than 2 hours upon exit. It is clear she loves the animals she cares for, treats boarded dogs as her own, and is a superb dog trainer. This experience was every thing I hoped for and more than I expected. We plan to continue training sessions with Nicole and give her our highest recommendation to others.

  • 41 years in business
  • 8 hires on Thumbtack
Nessa B.
Verified review

Looking for an EXCELLENT dog trainer? Ms. Jo is the one you’re looking for! She’s beyond the ordinary doggie trainer. She shapes and molds the minds of dogs to conform to their parent(s) while efficiently teaching parents the do’s and don’ts to having a good dog. Got a new puppy and don’t know what to do? Ms. Jo can FIX THAT! Is your dog biting your fingers? Ms. Jo can FIX THAT within 1 session! Potty training not going well? Ms. Jo can FIX THAT! Your dog has behavior issues? Ms. Jo can diagnosis and FIX THAT! Need to get away and no dog sitter? Ms. Jo can FIX THAT! Ms. Jo is…  Extremely knowledgeable about every breed and their behaviors.  Effectively teaches parent(s) how to bond with their dog.  Incredibly patient with parent and dog.  Economically reasonable.  Exceptionally clean and secure facility. There are a plenty of how to videos and books on the market, but Ms. Jo gives you a personal touch in a group setting. Her classes are not just informative, but FUN. Best of all, your dog will LOVE HER.

Pet Care By Kristin
5.0
from 3 reviews
  • 28 years in business
  • 1 hire on Thumbtack
Matt C.
Verified review

I hired Kristin first back in 2010. She bathed my dogs and they looked great. She also explained parts of the process that I was unaware of. I told her one time I took them to the groomer only for a bath and one of my dogs' eyes looked quite red afterwards. I know you're supposed to be careful when washing the face and the groomer had told me it was probably just irritation and it'd go away. But when I told Kristin about this experience, she informed me how she administers an eye rinse before and after the bath to prevent and get rid of any soap that may have gotten in the eyes (so the dog won't have to suffer with any "soap irritation" in the first place). She also was adamant that I contact her ASAP if I did notice my dog's eyes looking red or irritated (but I never did). She obviously truly cared. She did a great job and only charged me $55 to bathe both of my small dogs! She said she could do one dog at her typical $35 rate and give me the "sibling discount" on the second dog and only charge me $20 for his bath (even though they weren't "actual" siblings!) When I would take them to the groomers for just a bath I'd get charged around $60 for ONE dog. A total of $120 verses a total of $55 for the exact same services that were done of the same quality (if not better?!) AND additional services such as complimentary drop off/pick-up and nail trims, ear cleaning, brush-outs were included in the price instead of being "add-on" services costing extra. NO doubt in my mind some people just want to overcharge and others are much more fair and genuine. I trust Kristin 100% and have never used anyone else for ANY pet care service I needed ever since! (I WILL admit I gave her a big tip, but someone like her deserves it!) I continued having my dogs regularly bathed by her every 8 to 12 weeks or so and she almost always gave me some type of repeat client discount! She helped me save a LOT of money. When my wife and I went on vacation, I hired Kristin to walk and feed my dogs twice a day for the 10 days we'd be out of the state. I also asked her to do check-in visits. She said she didn't want to bother me while I was on vacation and would only contact me if there were any problems, however, I could contact her to check on my dogs as often as I wanted. Well, I ended up contacting her quite a bit via text! She didn't mind at all and responded to every text within a matter of minutes. One of her texts included a picture she had taken of the dogs during their walk. On another day, I sent an email to check on them and she provided a very detailed response for me along with a picture she took of her and the dogs playing catch in the backyard. And there was yet another day when I checked on them by text. Again, she responded immediately saying it was raining out so they were playing inside. Her check-in visits including giving my dogs TLC while she was there and that was incredibly reassuring to me (anything from playing with them to petting them to even bonding over brushing them!) She even gave doggie massages. This vacation was much more relaxing knowing that my dogs weren't stuck in a cage at a kennel this time and were being taken care of by someone they knew and loved. The longest it took her to respond to my request for an update on my dogs while I was away was about 15 minutes. Absolutely five star treatment with prices affordable for anyone. Highly recommend! Matthew Corowski Bartlett, IL

About

We have been providing family-friendly pet dog training for puppies and dogs for over 20 years. Our methods utilize positive reinforcement and build a relationship between you and your dog. We also offer continuing classes, private sessions, behavior consultations, agility, scent work, rally and more.

Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

How old should a puppy be for training?

Dog training shouldn’t wait until you’re having behavior problems. If you get a new puppy, start from the beginning with professional training to give both you and your puppy the tools you need for a healthy relationship. Dog training is as much about teaching the owner how to interact with their new dog as it is about the dog learning to behave. Puppy training can start as early as eight weeks old. Trainers who offer puppy training programs may works specifically with dogs between the ages of 8 and 18 weeks old. Trainers can teach owners about potty training and how to deal with accidents, working with separation anxiety, and training your pooch out of destructive behaviors like chewing, biting and demand barking. Puppies will start to learn to walk on-leash and other basic skills.

In addition to behavior training, socializing your puppy is an important part of dog training. Socializing your dog means they become comfortable and confident in a variety of settings and have a great foundation for becoming a well-adjusted adult dog. After your puppy has had the proper vaccinations, you can start to introduce it to a variety of different dogs and people in safe settings.

Which dog training method is best?

The best type of dog training for both you and your dog depends on the outcomes you hope to achieve. If you want your dog to learn agility training, go to someone who specializes in those techniques. Regardless of whether you want your dog to learn basic behavior or competitive-level tricks, the majority of dog training is actually about training the owner how to communicate with their dog. Most professional dog trainers agree that a model of training based on positive reinforcement breeds a happy, healthy, well-adjusted dog. The alternative to positive reinforcement training is using force or aggression techniques like physical punishment or shock-collar training to get the dog to do (or not do) a behavior. While the dog may learn how to behavior as you direct, it is also learning to communicate with force and aggression, and will in turn use those behaviors on other dogs (or people) that are smaller or weaker than it is. Before signing up with a dog trainer, meet with the trainer and ask for references. Watch the trainer interact with your dog, and make sure they treat your dog with patience and firm kindness. Ask them questions about their training methods:

  • What type of training methods do you use?
  • What is your background and training, and how did you become a dog trainer?
  • How long do you expect that we will work together before we achieve the results I’m after?

How long does it take to train a puppy?

Dog training depends on the dog and how much homework the dog owner is willing to put in. Puppy training is similar to dog training in that the onus of the work depends on the owner learning new ways to interact with their dog. For a quick crash course, you can opt for a single, two hour smart-start puppy training consultation to teach you the ins and outs of being a new dog parent. You can learn how to manage potty training and what to do if the puppy experiences separation anxiety. As long as you’re willing to work on dog training a little bit each day, your puppy will quickly learn these new behaviors. If you’re not confident about training your puppy yourself, you can enroll in a 6- to 8-week puppy training course, with weekly lessons touching on everything from bite control to obedience. Puppies usually need to be at least three months old for group training classes. If you want more intensive one-on-one work, you can opt for private lessons. Some behavior problems can be resolved in one session if the dog owner learns and can implement new skills. In the case of more serious issues, 3 to 10 private sessions can typically correct challenges.

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