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Guard Dog Trainers Close to You

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Guard Dog Trainers Close to You

Top Rated Guard Dog Trainers Around Ashburn, VA

Top Pro
Perfect Poochies
4.9
from 71 reviews
  • 2 years in business
  • 129 hires on Thumbtack
  • Top Pro on Thumbtack
KfreeKaren F.
Verified review

Choosing the right trainer is a difficult and overwhelming task. The following is my experience with Kathryn and Perfect Poochies. Summarized: Kathryn is amazing. I have a whole new skillset at my disposal. My dog is calmer, has less anxiety and if new issues surface, I am better prepared to deal with them. If you are a new dog owner looking for a starting point or find yourself struggling with any number of unwanted behavioral issues, she can help. Kathryn is extremely knowledgeable, experienced, versatile and patient. She was never condescending or judgmental while helping me understand areas I needed to improve. She has an uncanny ability to understand dogs and what makes them tick. Once she gets to know you and your dog, she will provide an honest assessment of what she considers to be the underlying issue(s) and lays out a plan for correcting or managing it. The love she puts into her work is evident in everything she does from designing your personalized sessions, her regular follow-up and her encouragement to reach out any time you have questions or issues. Detailed: I am a first-time dog owner. Our 18-month, 170-pound Great Dane, Odin has been part of our family since he was 2-months old. We immediately enrolled in the first two puppy training classes at Pet-Smart. Our family has consistently applied what we learned. Everything was going great with Odin until somewhere around 7-months of age. Odin would occasionally start barking at a person for no apparent reason. This behavior gradually increased to include anyone reaching into his face, unexpected fast movements and large groups of people swarming in on him. We solicited advice from our Pet-Smart trainer and studied tons of training materials – books, training guides, Internet. Some of the techniques we tried helped, but if Odin was truly upset, the only thing we could do was apologize and leave. Odin remained excellent with dogs and children but the number of adults that triggered his barking was increasing. During the summer, I was having work done on my car and I brought Odin because there were plenty of paths nearby. It took longer than expected for the car to be finished and when we returned Odin was exhausted. A young man approached, and I quickly warned about Odin’s anxiety and in his over-tired state, his behavior would probably be worse than normal. The man assured me that he had experience with dogs, and slowly bent down near Odin, leaving plenty of space and not making eye contact. He gave Odin time to get used to him and smell him and soon enough Odin was comfortable and enjoying being petted. Unfortunately, when the man was ready to leave, he jumped up which surprised/scared Odin who then also jumped up and started lunging, growling and barking at him. The man was very kind and understanding, but it was time to seek out professional help. I searched online for trainers and dog-behaviorists and there were a number of options. As we were trying to choose one, I remembered a friendly and outgoing woman who had hosted a free local dog training session. Odin seemed comfortable around her, so I reached out to see if she would be interested in private training sessions. The woman was Kathryn of Perfect Poochies. Not only did she offer private training, but she had ample experience with large dogs and the exact behavior I described. Our first training session involved getting to know our family and Odin. She asked questions about what we were experiencing and what we tried to mitigate it. Next, she analyzed our actions and body language as well as Odin’s behavior, response, reactions, attitude etc. She used this information to create a custom training plan for fear-aggression. We met once a week wherein she would teach me new techniques and verify I could perform them correctly. She would evaluate my actions and behavior and if anything I was doing contributed to his anxiety, she would help me find alternatives. At the end of the session, she always left me with several things to work on before our next session – as with anything in life, the key to success is repetition and consistency. Occasionally, she would introduce me to new products that could help with Odin’s training. The products were not a ‘company product’ or money-making gimmick - they were products she had success using with other dogs. If I wanted to try them, I had to find/order them. Following six sessions, Odin had less anxiety and I am able to successfully manage what remains. Odin now looks to me when he gets nervous instead of instantly reacting. By changing my leadership style, he obeys commands more readily and consistently. Before Odin would lurch and jump to get to anything that excited him (squirrels). Now, he just gives a light tug on the leash or stares. When he is told to “Leave It”, he settles down immediately. Previously, I would make large loops to avoid passing people. I was worried he might start barking at them. Now we can walk right by and all I have to do is tell him to “Leave It.” Odin’s responding immediately to my commands has increased my confidence, which in turn has decreased much of his anxiety. There are a couple of dog walkers in the neighborhood with whom I walk Odin. In the beginning of our training, Odin had limited contact with people and dogs. When I had the chance to meet up with them again, they marveled over the transformation in Odin’s behavior and how calm he bad become. Another technique she suggested is Odin wearing a bright vest that says, ‘In Training’ and lists a couple of items not to do around him (things that trigger his anxiety). The vest has helped make others aware of Odin’s ‘special needs’ well before they approach him. I have also gotten much better at recognizing things that may trigger his anxiety so I can avoid, prevent or discourage it. Thank you for reading my review. I am very grateful for the help I received from Perfect Poochies. It was worth every penny. Speaking of which, don’t stress about the fees, Perfect Poochies is perfectly affordable.

Top Pro
Ruff House Dog Training
4.9
from 170 reviews
  • 3 years in business
  • 313 hires on Thumbtack
  • Top Pro on Thumbtack
Steven C.
Verified review

We found out about Ryan when researching Northern VA dog trainers. We had a 6 month old German Shepherd and didn't know where to turn. To complicate things I was trying to also groom him to be a working dog which requires excellent obedience. After dropping a couple of hundred on a group class at Petco I feel we barely scratched the surface let alone had an obedient dog. Ryan offered exactly what we wanted. A reasonable intensive in-home solution that incorporated the whole family. Ryan was able to see how he interacts at home, on walks and we even go into public areas to increase socialization. After 6 weeks we have seen a dramatic change. K9 Sigmund is now even more prepared to start his career as a K9 SAR member thanks to Ryan.

Off-Leash K9 Training
4.7
from 21 reviews
  • 8 years in business
  • 42 hires on Thumbtack
Richard G.
Verified review

Don't waste your time- GET YOUR DOG TRAINED HERE. My dog is wrapping up her 2 week board and train and all I can say is these guys really are pros and leaders in dog training. Amazing results are seen from day one (you get daily updates with pics and videos) and my pup was a VERY special case. I couldn't be happier and thankful I found this place! My pups life has been greatly improved and a happy obedient pup means happy house. The sooner the better for proper amazing dog training. If any one has questions hit me up I am more than happy to share my experience.

Top Pro
Paw Patrol of VA LLC
5.0
from 27 reviews
  • 3 years in business
  • 65 hires on Thumbtack
  • Top Pro on Thumbtack
Uttara K.
Verified review

Vicky went above and beyond to help me train our new dog and my family. To train our dog to be around d other dogs, she brought her own dogs to the training session! That really helped me and made a big difference! She was very responsive over emails throughout the session and responded to my questions/concerns over email within few hours. She adjusted the training to suit my specific needs. Will definitely recommend to friends.

PackFit
4.5
from 35 reviews
  • 99 hires on Thumbtack
Jessie P.
Verified review

My sister and I first approached PackFit in 2014 for help with our Chihuahua Mix – her name is Mandu – that we had adopted from the shelter. She was terrified of anything that moved and coped by barking. We tried different methods that other dog trainers offered to no avail. Ms. Kimberly is excellent with both dogs and people – her dedication to them is awe-inspiring. The time and effort she’ll put into making your life and your dog’s life better shows her passion to her cause: “training dogs, empowering people, and changing lives.” PackFit offers more than dog training; PackFit gives you a role model that will help you with your own issues – without you even noticing – so that your dog won’t feed off of those anxious and negative cues. Now, this doesn’t mean that Mandu and I are perfect after our in-home sessions with Ms. Kimberly. However, two years later, we’re still taking baby steps in the right direction. I miss Ms. Kimberly and her own pack ever since our in-home sessions ended but thanks to her, Mandu and I are slowly conquering our fears.

Top Pro
Horse and Hound Wellness
5.0
from 56 reviews
  • 6 years in business
  • 99 hires on Thumbtack
  • Top Pro on Thumbtack
Leota L.
Verified review

JoJo did a great job training my dog, Keesha. In just a few sessions she had Keesha following basic commands such as sit, stay and come. By following her directions I am now able to have a much better behaved dog. Kudos to JoJo. I can,t thank you enough !!!!!

Top Pro
Canine Dominion
5.0
from 32 reviews
  • 5 years in business
  • 46 hires on Thumbtack
  • Top Pro on Thumbtack
Thumbtack Customer
Verified review

Jay of Canine Dominion is more than just the best dog trainer ever. Once you hire him, it's as if he's become a member of your family -- a really smart, experienced, savvy member of your family who's truly invested in the successful training of your dog. He stands behind his dog training 100% too -- willing to provide additional sessions if needed at no additional charge. Jay brings amazing skills plus integrity to boot. Now if only I could find an auto mechanic version of Jay. ;-)

Top Pro
Social Tailwaggers, LLC
5.0
from 20 reviews
  • 3 years in business
  • 34 hires on Thumbtack
  • Top Pro on Thumbtack
Rebecca A.
Verified review

I couldn't be happier with the training that we've received from Social Tailwaggers. Jodie, our trainer. is so patient and very knowledgeable. The first time we met, we discussed what training I was interested in and what goals we were trying to achieve for my dog, Cooper. Cooper was around 10-11 months old when we began our first training session. She immediately began to introduce new skills and commands to work on training Cooper. After each lesson, Jodie sends a detailed email outlining all of the skills we worked on and suggestions to help with practicing on my own. Jodie was also helpful with recommendations on types of toys and feeding bowls to help with the energy level of my dog. I would highly recommend Social Tailwaggers to anyone who needs help training a new puppy or an older dog. It is well worth the time, money and effort to have a well trained dog and not only are you going to have a well trained, better behaved dog, it's also a lot of fun time spent with your dog.

Urban Canine
5.0
from 5 reviews
  • 5 years in business
  • 10 hires on Thumbtack
Rajeevee P.
Verified review

I highly recommend her puppy camp. We got our Labradoodle, Rexy, when he was 10 weeks. I was online immediately looking for a trainer since Rexy was a big boy--he weighed 23 lbs at the time. Jessica had excellent reviews on Yelp. Initially we had Jessica come by for in-home training, and we had some really productive sessions. He learned the commands for sit, down, stay, and a recall command. She only uses positive feedback training methods which was great, and Rexy was a quick learner. She even took him on a walk around the block to help us train him on loose leash walking. We really wanted to get him into her puppy camp before he turned 16 weeks, however, she was fully booked at the time. She promised to let us know if there were any cancellations. Around the time Rexy was 15 weeks, we had to go out of town for a few days--a trip that was planned before we got Rexy and could not be cancelled. We were really nervous about having to leave him at such a young age (he had separation anxiety), so I asked Jessica to recommend a good pet sitter, which she did. The week before we were scheduled to leave, Jessica had a cancellation from one of her puppy camp clients, and she let us know immediately. We took that spot and she even adjusted the dates so that she could take him on the days we were going to be out of town. I was so relieved! During the camp, she called to give us daily updates, and texted pictures. On the third day of camp, she informed us that Rexy's separation anxiety was more severe than we had realized since he got very anxious (constant whining and crying) whenever she wasn't near him. She asked if she could abandon the training plan she had for camp, and focus on relieving his anxiety. Of course we agreed! I was so glad he was with Jessica and not with a sitter-- if not we would have had to take the next flight home. During the rest of the camp, she worked on building his confidence--she took him on hikes, and even took him swimming to a local canine pool (we had no idea he was a natural at swimming). We came back a whole new puppy who was much more confident. She had several recommendations for us on continuing to work on building his confidence. Thanks to her, he has a come a long way from the shy and reserved puppy we brought home.

Top Pro
  • 11 years in business
  • 12 hires on Thumbtack
  • Top Pro on Thumbtack
April A.
Verified review

This was our first experience with a professional dog trainer. Sharon was very knowledgeable and professional in explaining to us the different types of dog behaviors while explaining at the same time the solutions to correcting bad behavior. Sharon took the time to ensure that we understood the lessons and was more than happy to continue each action until we were comfortable. We are glad that Sharon is available to answer any questions we have. Having a great first time experience with Bark Busters, we would recommend their help to others.

Family Dog Business (FDB)
4.4
from 13 reviews
  • 1 year in business
  • 6 hires on Thumbtack
Steve S.
Verified review

Anthony was a pleasure to work with unlike the first dog trainer I tried who was uptight and took the fun out of the process. Anthony showed up with a smile on his face because as he says, he likes to help families. Anthony is fun, and he made training my puppy enjoyable with his simple, easy-to-remember practical suggestions. My puppy is much better trained now. Anthony is also a bargain compared to other dog trainers. He's easy to recommend.

  • 33 years in business
  • 27 hires on Thumbtack
Michael C.
Verified review

Mr. Haywood and his dog trainers could not be any nicer. Our Wheaten Terrier is much smarter then we thought she was and is listening to us better then we could have imagined. We have also continued to use their services for boarding when we are away. We have been super happy with the results and on going work.

  • 38 years in business
  • 31 hires on Thumbtack
Cymone S.
Verified review

Ms Maxine and Her Husband are exemplary trainers. They are very flexible, and very effective. Their instructions are clear. I saw a great turnaround in my dog's behavior immediately after the training session, and continued to improve from then on. This is a great program.

  • 5 years in business
  • 14 hires on Thumbtack
Adriana C.
Verified review

Christine has been a wonderful help and great trainer! We adopted our dog from a shelter and we needed help with his confidence and fearfulness. We were not sure about his history and we wanted to make sure we were not part of the problem. Christine has helped us get better at idenitifying the body language and understanding the behavior of our dog. We really like the positive reinforcement used with the clicker training and our puppy responds great to it. We also appreciate how she is always available when you need her with something you may not be sure of. She has provided a wealth of reading material and she knows what material you need based on your dog. We would definitely recommend her to a friend.

Top Pro
Dolores Murray
4.9
from 14 reviews
  • 17 years in business
  • 17 hires on Thumbtack
  • Top Pro on Thumbtack
Carly C.
Verified review

Dolores was amazing! We had just rescued our dog, Taylan, from an organization in Thailand and were concerned about her behavior toward our two cats. We didn't want to start right off with bad habits and weren't sure how to desensitize Taylan to our boys, so we hired Dolores. Immediately we felt comfortable with her and were impressed with her expertise and knowledge of dog behaviors. She left us with professional materials and talked with us about strategies for desensitization, which we've been practicing since our session. She validated our work with Taylan and helped give us peace of mind that we weren't ruining our new girl :). I would recommend Dolores to anyone who is seeking professional, knowledgeable help with various dog behaviors...and also help with human uncertainty!

  • 9 years in business
  • 3 hires on Thumbtack
Corey C.
Verified review

Paul is a great Dog training, not only is he knowledgeable but also his enthusiasm about what he does. I am a first time puppy owner and we often think that it’s the dog that has the issue. But Paul teaches us that it’s all about being able to communicate with your dog because all they do is want to make you proud. I took Paul’s training class and after 4 weeks I seem to have a new dog. No the dog was the same he just though me to be patient and help me to relay what I wanted my dog to do. The environment is very welcome not to mention how clean it is. I would advise anyone who thinks they have an issue with their dog to visit Pawsitive Paul's Dog Training. You and your dog will leave with a smile on your face.

George G.
Verified review

Susan is the dog walker, trainer, running companion, and home away from home for our three year old Carolina dog Sandy. The American Kennel Club says Carolina dogs are the most hierarchical breed which means until you establish yourself as their alpha, they can be willful, exhibit dominance (i.e., they want to be at your face level so they jump up), and have almost boundless energy. We were told that Sandy would be as energetic at 13 years as she was at 13 months. We said, What have we gotten ourselves into? But Susan has turned Sandy into a perfect lady. First she taught her to sit in the care\ and not bother the driver. Sandy now loves her rides. Susan took Sandy on long runs. Sandy came home so tuckered out she only wanted to lie on her pillow and sleep. When Susan arrives for Sandy’s run, Sandy gets so excited she wants to jump up and kiss Susan’s face (remember dominance). Susan uses that as a teaching moment so that Sandy minds her manners and has to wait and sit before she gets to go on her run. Susan has four dogs of her own and when she boards Sandy for the weekend the dogs have a wonderful time together. Susan's dogs teach Sandy their good manners. In short, Susan has taken one of the most difficult breeds to train and turned her into almost the perfect pet, because once Sandy learned her manners all she wants to do is kiss and hug you. We love Sandy and she is a full member of our family and we cannot thank Susan enough for helping us train her. In short if you are looking for help with your dog from simple regular exercise, to boarding, to basic and then complex training, we cannot recommend anyone more highly than Susan Rubin for that service.

Adventure Paws
4.9
from 18 reviews
  • 3 years in business
  • 22 hires on Thumbtack
Jennifer J.
Verified review

Ricky and Orla first came to the house two weeks ago to meet my lovely pup Charlie. It was the initial "meet and greet" and couldn't have gone smoother! Ricky was very communicative about what to expect, and he met all of my expectations. After the initial visit - Ricky sent me an email which was inclusive of his evaluation of Charlie, his recollection of what I voiced was important to achieve through training, as well as his broad plan for Charlie. I was in the market for a dog trainer to help me with some restructuring for my puppy and Ricky so far has been a perfect fit. This past week was the second time Ricky came to the house to train Charlie, prior to the visit he sent me an email breakdown of how he was going to spend the session, which was very helpful! After the first true training session which was this past Tuesday I was very impressed with the repoire Ricky and Orla are developing with Charlie. He is a very smart dog - and is taking to their training tactics well. Their pricing is affordable in my price range and they have great customer support. My plan is to have Ricky train Charlie twice a week - and I am very hopeful for the results I desire! So far so good! I am hoping after each week to get feedback from Ricky as to the progress he feels he is making, in addition to more short term details as to his plan and how he will intensify the training. Basics are one thing - which Charlie has down pat - and I am interested to see how he specifically plans to continue the progression with Charlie. Overall - I couldn't be happier!

Animal Paradise Pet Care
4.9
from 10 reviews
  • 1 year in business
  • 32 hires on Thumbtack
Jessica W.
Verified review

I can't speak highly enough about Laura and Animal Paradise Pet Care and Sitting. My husband and I needed help working with and training our rescue pup, and from our initial contact with Laura, we were certain we made the right choice. After discussing our needs over the phone, we met in person to allow Laura to make her assessment and create a plan. Throughout our time working together, Laura was always quick to respond, flexible with scheduling training sessions, and displayed the utmost in professionalism. Laura effectively customized (and modified as needed) our pup's training needs, ensuring that everything requiring attention was properly addressed. Again, I can't say enough great things about Animal Paradise Pet Care and Sitting, and HIGHLY recommend you consider working with Laura before going elsewhere. (And this bit of advice is coming from someone who exhaustively researched dog trainers before choosing to work with Animal Paradise.)

Reston Dog Trainer
5.0
from 1 review
  • 1 hire on Thumbtack
Linda W.
Verified review

I just want to thank Sarka so much for helping us out with training our dog, Hnupka. We had a very difficult time coping with Hnupka before we decided to contact Sarka and ask her for her expert help. Sarka taught Hnupka basic obedience and helped him to socialize with other dogs, humans and daily busy city life. Sarka also showed us techniques on how to handle Hnupka ourselves, set his expectations, and build his respect for us in a humane and loving way so that he would obey. Hnupka is now a much more manageable part of our family. I would highly recommend Sarka as an obedience trainer. She loves dogs and they love her back. Linda

  • 4 years in business
  • 5 hires on Thumbtack
Sigma D.
Verified review

Niecy was kind, understanding, and went above and beyond in delivering an excellent training service. My dog's focus has never been better. This is the only person to go to in DC!

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.