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Fairfax Good Dog Trainers

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

Top Pro
Ruff House Dog Training
4.9
from 168 reviews
  • 3 years in business
  • 310 hires on Thumbtack
  • Top Pro on Thumbtack
Michael F.
Verified review

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!

Top Pro
Perfect Poochies
4.9
from 70 reviews
  • 2 years in business
  • 119 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
Horse and Hound Wellness
5.0
from 52 reviews
  • 6 years in business
  • 90 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.

Top Pro
Canine Dominion
5.0
from 31 reviews
  • 5 years in business
  • 41 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 34 reviews
  • 96 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
4.8
from 30 reviews
  • 2 years in business
  • 53 hires on Thumbtack
Thumbtack Customer
Verified review

We did a two week board and train with Mike and he was great to work with and my Bernese Mountain dog, Muesnter, really enjoyed his time there. Mike took good care of our dog and actually recommended we change foods to something better for a picky eater and now he has no problem finishing his meals. He also recommended we switch harnesses to something that gave us better control. Mike listened to what we wanted Muesnter to be trained on and he kept us updated on his progress with videos, pictures, and texts. Muesnter had a problem coming when called, pulling on his leash, and picking up things he shouldn't. Mike taught us strategies for how to deal with these issues and worked with Muesnter to get him to listen better.

Top Pro
Paw Patrol of VA LLC
5.0
from 26 reviews
  • 3 years in business
  • 60 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.

For Pup's Sake, LLC
4.9
from 21 reviews
  • 4 years in business
  • 48 hires on Thumbtack
Angela A.
Verified review

I called Lara when my three dogs ended up in a nasty fight, resulting in an expensive surgery. She was able to help us in a short amount of time. She is an incredibly skilled and knowledgeable teacher and dog trainer. She never tried to talk us into unnecessary products or sessions and I thoroughly enjoyed each of our sessions. Additionally, she was participating in ongoing professional development while we were working together. This is a sign of how seriously she takes her work and that she is constantly learning more. My dogs loved her and they have been wonderful ever since! I cannot recommend her enough! I can't imagine that you will find a better trainer in this area! I have the utmost respect for Lara Cohn.

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.

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!

  • 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.

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

Dolores is a true professional and clearly an expert in her field. Beyond that she seemed to truly care about our dog and really went above and beyond to tailor the training to our needs. Highly recommend her to work with your dog!

Debbie's critter sitters
5.0
from 13 reviews
  • 5 years in business
  • 13 hires on Thumbtack
Sheila C.
Verified review

We could not have asked for a more attentive, caring, person to watch our fur babies, our dog, cat and guinea pig. She gave them plenty of attention. I highly recommend Debbie to take care of your pets. We will definitely be asking for Debbie's services in the future.

Top Pro
  • 11 years in business
  • 11 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)
5.0
from 10 reviews
  • 1 year in business
  • 5 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.

FourDogLovers
5.0
from 10 reviews
  • 4 years in business
Ed C.
Verified review

Best deal you'll ever get for a dog trainer. He is gentle, patient and kind. He took great care with our dog and spent lots and lots of time with her. I recommend him to you without any reservations.

Fido Fitness and Play, LLC
5.0
from 7 reviews
  • 10 years in business
  • 1 hire on Thumbtack
Barbara C.
Verified review

Fido Fitness and Play has been a fantastic service I have used for years. I totally trust my dog to them. They are great about reporting how things are going during their care and at the end. They contact me immediately with any questions that comes up while I am away. They are dependable in their care and I give them a supper star rating.

Hillary Blaney
5.0
from 6 reviews
  • 2 years in business
  • 10 hires on Thumbtack
Maria B.
Verified review

Hillary was a amazing dog sitter, she texted us picture and left us a log of what our puppy did while we were gone. We would use her again!

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!!!

  • 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!

Tessa Rinn, ABCDT

New To Thumbtack

  • 12 years in business
About

My passion for dogs and their well being comes first in my own home. I have made lifestyle changes for my dogs.

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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