The national average cost to hire a private dog trainer varies from $90 to $140 per session. How much you pay to improve the obedience or behavior of your best friend will depend on whether or not you go for private classes or group classes, the age of your dog, and the type of training you need.
If your puppy or dog is not behaving like the perfect pup you know he or she is or you don't know where to start with basic obedience and leash training, a private dog trainer might be the answer. Trainers are animal specialists who use various techniques to modify dog behavior so your adult dog or puppy will improve their interactions with humans and other animals.
As a loving pet parent, you want the best for your four legged friend but before you hire a professional to help train your dog, get an idea of how much it will cost.
What's included in this cost guide?
The cost of hiring a private training for your pup will depend on whether they're a young puppy or older dog, the location of your classes and the type of training you need. Below is a breakdown of what a private dog trainer will take into account when quoting you a price for their services:
A dog's age may play a role in the cost of services because dogs have different needs at different times in their life. Puppy training tends to be cheaper. Some trainers, however, have standard rates regardless of the age of the animal.
Jeff Jensen of Break It Down Dog Training, for example, offers an age-specific, two-hour new puppy consultation for $189 to prepare new puppy owners properly.
Private lessons at home will cost more than group training at a facility. In some cases, private lessons are the only way to get the training your dog needs — for example, if you want to raise your puppy to become a therapy dog.
The type of dog training you need will factor into your overall costs. Common types of training include:
- Puppy training
- Aggressive behavior mitigation
- General obedience training
- Therapy or service dog training
- Off leash training
A puppy training or general obedience training where you teach your dog or puppy basic manners is one of the most affordable packages.
Training for aggressive behavior or service dog training often requires more sessions, and therefore costs more. Jeff Jensen of Break It Down Dog Training suggests at least 10 in-home sessions when addressing dogs' fears, anxieties or aggressive behavior as part of an intense “behavior modification" program.
Training packages can save money and often have tiered pricing, depending on the training issues to be addressed. Here's how Break It Down Dog Training prices packages:
- Puppy Right Start Consultation: $189
- Individual hourly sessions: $70 per session
- In-home obedience, basic program: $300
- In-home obedience, advanced program: $550
- In-home 90-minute consultation: $60 (waived with purchase of package)
- In-home behavior modification, 5-pack: $375
- In-home behavior modification, 10-pack: $700
- Fears/anxieties/aggression program, 10-pack: $900
Booking longer sessions can get you a reduced hourly rate. For example, Amy Calkins of Dog Speak Training has set rates of $80 for an hour-long session and $150 for a two-hour session.
Most will need several sessions over the course of a few weeks to really learn the skills you're training them on. The severity of your dog's obedience or behavior, and how quickly your dog responds to training and obedience lessons will impact the number of private training sessions you need.
Travel to a client's home can increase a trainer's fee. Some trainers board dogs at their own location during the training process, which can also increase the cost to account for space, food and care. For example, Calkins offers a monthlong, intensive obedience training program for an individual dog in her home for $3,000.
If you need the trainer to start immediately, you may pay a higher rate than if you can be flexible and have them begin training in a week or two.
Owners often hire a private dog trainer because they're having trouble with house training, digging, chewing, destructive behavior, crate training and leash pulling. Or, perhaps your pet lacks social skills with other dogs, people in your home or visitors and they need help with socialization.
You can try to stop these behaviors on your own—like curbing that incessant barking or pulling Spot down when he jumps on visitors who walk in your door. However, if problematic dog behaviors continue, a professional, private dog training may be the fix your pet needs.
While group classes are a cost-effective option, private in-home dog trainings have additional benefits. They can help your pet learn good behavior in the environment they're most comfortable in and familiar with. They also allow your pet and the trainer to focus on specific things you want to train your dog or puppy on. It's especially good for dogs and puppies who may be shy or fearful, which is common among rescue dogs who may be taking a little longer to adjust to their new home.
Before you hire a private dog trainer, think about the behavior modifications you hope to get out of a professional trainer session, as well as how experienced you want the dog trainer to be.
Before you hire a private dog trainer, ask about their certifications, years of experience in the field and how they train dogs. The trainer should:
- Be patient (with both humans and dogs)
- Use science-based positive reinforcement techniques
- Have experience working with dogs of all sizes, ages, and behavior challenges
- Have certifications
Although state or federal certifications aren't required at this time for a private dog trainer to conduct business, dog owners should ask if they have certifications from the Association of Pet Dog Trainers or the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers.
Having these certifications and years of experience can influence the private dog training cost you'll pay. If the trainer is excellent, efficient and thorough, you and your pet might need fewer sessions so you'll ultimately save money in the long run.
There are several ways to save money on private dog training services:
- Ask about packages. Most trainers offer some packages, which can result in a lower hourly rate. A basic obedience package is a common one offered for puppies.
- Consider off hour schedules. They might offer alternative pricing for different times of the day or week. Booking them for a weekday afternoon when they are less likely to have other clients could result in some savings for you.
- Opt for training at their home, not yours. The professional dog trainer might give you a break on the cost if you bring your dog to their home or another facility that's easier for them.
- Get group classes instead of one-on-one. Signing up for group classes instead of private sessions will also lower the cost of private dog training. You can even augment private sessions with group classes.
Remember, spending money to help a dog improve his or her behavior can ultimately save you money in the long run—no more expensive shoes chewed up or nice furniture destroyed with naughty behaviors.