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Alexandria Dog Trainers

Browse these dog trainers with great ratings from Thumbtack customers in Alexandria.

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.

Top Pro
  • 17 years in business
  • 197 hires on Thumbtack
  • Top Pro on Thumbtack
Shelby R.
Verified review

I met Denise while working for another dog trainer and realized that as soon as I had a dog of my own I wanted her to help me with training. When I adopted my husky puppy I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into and was prepared to have a long road of training ahead of me. After my first consult and class I knew that I had found the right person to guide me through my dog ownership. Denise has been nothing but knowledgeable, helpful, and wonderful to work with. She is always quick to answer questions and explain training in a way that I understand. Since working with her my husky is off leash trained, lIves peacefully with cats, and is a joy to work with. Denise was always there to encourage me and to be honest with me when I was making mistakes. My husky went from being an unruly puppy to a well behaved member of my family. She is a superior titled weight puller and is on her way to winning rally titles as well. I will continue to use Denise for my dog training needs.

Top Pro
Perfect Poochies
4.9
from 71 reviews
  • 2 years in business
  • 127 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
  • 101 hires on Thumbtack
  • Top Pro on Thumbtack
Rowena C.
Verified review

On Sunday I researched dog trainers via thumbtack and with only a few hours Mr. Hunter replied back! Talk about a quick response! We were able to schedule a consultation with him that following Tuesday. We are in the middle of a 2 week trial adoption with a husky mix (Sokka) and needed guidance on how to introduce him with our cats. Sokka is a very friendly dog and is so curious. We wanted to learn how to calm him before meeting our cats. Mr. Hunter is very professional. He was able to show us the dog's potential. He gave us great tips on how to correctly walk with a leash with little to no pulling. He would show us first and then have us do it. If any corrections were needed, he did not hesitate to tell us. You can tell this is his passion. Definitely recommend him! Did I mention he travels to your house?! Talk about convenience!

Top Pro
Horse and Hound Wellness
5.0
from 55 reviews
  • 6 years in business
  • 94 hires on Thumbtack
  • Top Pro on Thumbtack
Alyssa H.
Verified review

JoJo was such a huge help with training my newly adopted dog and helping her get along with my older dog. My new dog had food aggression issues and would bite my other dog and myself, but JoJo offered many ideas to help and after trial and error with the different options, it finally worked and now both dogs get along great and there has been no aggression! She helped greatly with basic dog training as well. I also learned how to be a leader for my dogs and JoJo provided many leadership skills for me to work on and owns dogs listen so much more. I felt so overwhelmed when I adopted the second dog but JoJo has definitely helped to improve my leadership skills in order to help my dogs.

  • 7 years in business
  • 73 hires on Thumbtack
Chris C.
Verified review

I asked Jerry to help me with my dog's food aggression towards our new puppy. He came to our home in Springfield, VA, on a Sunday over July 4th weekend (!) because that was the only time me and my fiance were home at the same time. He arrived on time (early, even) and BLEW US AWAY with his expertise. He basically solved the food aggression issue in a matter of minutes when other trainers told me that this would be a life-long problem that I could NEVER fix! With that issue quickly addressed, he started identifying areas that we could focus our efforts on, even though we had only hired him for the one issue. He showed us how to get our hyper 2-year old 80lb dog to pay attention to us and respond to commands instead of running around like a goofball. By the end of the session our 2-year old dog was sitting, laying down, crawling, shaking, speaking, not-speaking, leaving treats until he had permission - things we had never been able to do before! He also showed us how to quickly housebreak our new puppy. We loved the fact that he was able to teach us in a way that was simple and super-effective. He also gave us advice on feeding, proper toys, dog parks - he allowed us to question him about anything and everything we could think of. He is very kind, patient, and non-judgmental (even when our dog jumped on the dining room chair and sat at the table like a dinner guest....talk about embarrassing in front of a dog trainer). He was not rushed at all and spent a ton of time explaining the basis for everything so we could understand the context of the dogs' behavior. After the session he e-mailed us the instructions that he had just taught us so we could have it all in writing to refer back to, and it is working like a charm. We cannot wait to have him back to help us address pulling on walks! He is the NoVA Cesar Millan, for sure!

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. ;-)

PackFit
4.5
from 35 reviews
  • 98 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.

Wag Ur Tail Dog Training
4.7
from 31 reviews
  • 2 years in business
  • 55 hires on Thumbtack
Sandra S.
Verified review

Our chocolate lab puppy spent a 2-week boot camp with Wag Ur Tail Dog Training. Mike was really kind and attentive to CJ, even posting video updates for us to keep up with his progress. CJ came home with much better manners! We had tried taking him to a local pet store's weekly training but that is a waste of your money. If you have a really smart dog, it needs constant and consistent attention like Mike provides. He's very knowledgeable and top notch in our opinions. Craig and Sandra

Top Pro
Paw Patrol of VA LLC
5.0
from 26 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.

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

I recently had my dog participate in the basic obedience class. Bijou is a rhodesian ridgeback and I adopted her 3 months ago and she was 1 year old. I quickly learned that Bijou was extremely smart but very stubborn. She would only listen to my commands if I had a treat and would basically pull my arm off on walks. Bijou was also house trained but because of her stubbornness she would have "accidents" in the house every single day not matter how often we took her out to go to the bathroom. In addition, Bijou got attacked by 3 dogs at a dog park and it changed her personality from playful to scared and she would get nasty every time she saw another dog out of her fear of being attacked. After day 1 of training Bijou was completely different. She was listening to all of my commands and it was obvious her confidence was coming back. After the 2nd training session Bijou stopped having "accidents" in the house and started going to the bathroom on command outside when I asked her to. Using the instructors approach to training we've been able to teach Bijou endless tricks and quickly. It's been a pleasure being able to take her on runs in the city off leash (and she'll stay right next to me even with other dogs around) and eat at resturants outside and not have her freak out. The best part is she plays so nicely with dogs again, and we were able to take her back to "A Dogs Day Out" because she plays so well again and it's due to having her confidence back. My sister stayed with me the past weekend and brought her dog Huck, a golden doodle, and everything was so peaceful in the house and they played so nicely outside together. One of the biggest compliments is when we are eating outside in the city and people stop in Aw of Bijou’s obedience and we get asked by complete strangers where she was trained and wish their dog was as well behaved. I think Nick's training is so effective because he discovered a way to communicate to dogs that fills that gap and better connects dogs with their owners. My sister was so impressed by Bijous improvement in obedience when she visited with her dog that she is now driving all the way from North Carolina to get Nicks training. My sister has completed 3 other dog training courses with little results. The best part is Nick guarantees results, and it's because he has a 100% success rate. Because Bijou is so obedient I’m excited to take her to more places and on more adventures like camping in the Boundary Waters, I know she’ll stay where I tell her to in the canoe and will stay close to me on the trails. It’s so great being able to take my dog out with me vs. leaving her at home because I know she’ll behave. Thank you for all of your help Nick, you've truely improved Bijou and my quality of life!

Top Pro
Social Tailwaggers, LLC
4.9
from 19 reviews
  • 3 years in business
  • 33 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.

  • 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.

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.

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.

Doggydawgs Pet Services LLC
5.0
from 8 reviews
  • 1 year in business
  • 4 hires on Thumbtack
Daniela M.
Verified review

The best dog care and professional in this area. Honest! Accountable, reliable, fair and affordable. Very accommodating and loving of your pet. Have been using her for YEARS.

  • 5 years in business
  • 14 hires on Thumbtack
Deborah H.
Verified review

Christine has been helping me with various aspects of training a dog with general anxiety issues and confidence issues. She has been very upfront and honest from the start. Even if she hasn't been familiar with what needs to be done for my dog, she consults resources to make sure she is providing me with the best information she can. She has been great at answering all questions that I have regarding clicker training and the best methods to proceed. She provides me with a lot of information in pamphlet and book form so that I can continue to educate myself.

Jane's Dog Care Service
5.0
from 6 reviews
  • 18 years in business
  • 8 hires on Thumbtack
Jennifer C.
Verified review

Jane took care of our FIVE little fur-bearing family members while we were away for a week. She is by far the best pet-sitter we have ever had! She started with an initial meeting in our home, which was incredibly thorough. It's clear she has a real love for and understanding of dogs, and real skill handling behavioral issues with pets. It's also clear now that we've had her support that the full range of services she offers is delivered with the same gentle, insightful, and steady care that every pet owner wants for their four-legged loved ones. She also retrieved our mail and made sure the house was safe while we were away--a real bonus! Jane provides daily written updates, which were incredibly helpful (she also identified an issue with our bathroom ceiling that would have taken us a few days to notice after we came back). She even found our shy guy, Skinner, every day, even though he is very good at hiding from strangers! We returned home to a happy, snuggly, healthy menagerie that had been expertly cared for. It was such a comfort knowing we had reliable, thoughtful care while we were away. We'll definitely reach out to Jane again the next time we're out of town. Strong endorsements from both of us humans and our furry five-some!

  • 10 years in business
  • 7 hires on Thumbtack
Tim F.
Verified review

Spoiled Pawz has been excellent. Caroline has been walking my dog for more than 5 years and he just loves her. She is part of his family and daily routine. I trust her completely with my best buddy.

Consistent Canine, LLC
5.0
from 5 reviews
  • 3 years in business
  • 2 hires on Thumbtack
Joanna P.
Verified review

I have a 5 year old, 85 pound pit bull/boxer mix named Bella, who is as sweet as they come, but she was a beast on the leash....pulling and choking herself making walks really unpleasant for everyone. We tried many different things with her, but nothing seemed to be working. We had Kristy over for 1 hour for training. She gave us some new tools to work with and some new techniques and literally I was able to walk her within 15 minutes!! She is like a new dog, and we are BOTH loving the walks together. I HIGHLY recommend Kristy for any dog training that you need. She is fantastic!!!

Canine Obsessions
5.0
from 3 reviews
  • 4 years in business
Darius L.
Verified review

I am grateful for your help and support on training my dog Kane. The E Colar you suggested was a big help, when training without the leash.

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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