Dog training can vary widely depending on location and what the training is needed for. Meaning, if you live in Los Angeles and have a dog that is showing aggression, expect to pay considerably more versus if you live in a smaller city and just need basic obedience training for your dog.
The price for training a dog commonly ranges from $50 to a few hundred dollars an hour with a private trainer. For a group class, expect to pay anywhere from $120 to $200 for a six-week package in basic obedience.
For a board and train program where the dog actually goes and lives with the trainer for anywhere from a week to several months, you can expect to pay from $1,000 to $7,000 depending on the nature of the training.
Types of Services Offered by Dog Trainers
Reputable trainers offer a wide variety of services in order to cater to the different needs of dog owners.
Dog training is about the modification of the behaviors of dogs, including curbing detrimental or harmful behaviors, teaching them how to do specific tasks, and how to participate and interact with the world in an appropriate manner. Nowadays, training usually involves fun and engaging activities for both owners and pets.
Not only that, the manner in which dogs are trained has also experienced a great change as trainers no longer implement a “punishment-based system”. Instead, they have opted for a “reward-based system” wherein the goal is to teach dogs in a way that is satisfying and fulfilling to both sides.
Depending on what you would like them to learn, their general disposition for learning, their behavioral history, and breed, as well as the format of the training itself, the price will vary widely.
As for the most common types of training available, this broadly includes basic puppy obedience, adult obedience, behavior training, training for aggressive animals, and training for fearful animals.
Standard obedience training involves teaching the dog to respond to certain commands and hand signals in specific and predictable ways. On the other hand, behavioral training is more about discipline; whether it be inappropriate behaviors or simply how to act when on a leash, when meeting other dogs and people, etc.
- Private Classes
If you would like a more hands-on and customized training regiment, most trainers also offer private training sessions. These are usually offered either in-home or at a training facility.
If your dog is nervous about going to new places or having a lot of activity around them, this may be a better option compared to group training. Although it is more expensive, you can really go in-depth about the needs of your animal and the trainer can work with both you and the dog on obedience training or on addressing behavioral concerns if that is the case.
These classes are more expensive because of the personalized and private nature and so they run about $50 to $100 per lesson.
If your pet has specific and difficult to work with behavioral needs, the cost to train a dog will probably be at the upper end of the range up to $250, depending on how advanced the lesson is, as it requires more intensive work and a more knowledgeable trainer. This usually lasts for weeks with trainers devoting at least one hour a day to train dogs.
Again, the location and the degree of expertise needed to work with your dog dictate the price more than anything. Also, trainers may charge less if they have a facility or space in their home for training that doesn’t require travel on their part.
The following are some of the rates and coverage for private classes:
- Petco Private Class ($275 for 12 weeks)
This covers taming aggressive dogs. Some Petco training classes are geared towards teaching pet owners exercises to do with their puppies so you can train it various basic commands such as basic recall, sit, and stand commands, or stopping it from chewing random objects. It also includes 10 minutes of puppy playtime and giving homework to do with your dog. It uses positive reinforcement as a training technique.
- Petsmart Private Class ($45 for $30 minutes, $89 for 1 hour, $219 for 4 hours)
This focuses on teaching dogs new behaviors based on their individual needs. These are also more suitable for breeds that need special attention.
Other pet owners are also sharing the following costs to get a dog trained and their corresponding coverage:
- $50 to $90 per hour for behavior modification
- $120 per hour but includes treats, the trainer’s own dogs to help with actual trick demonstrations, and assistants. At this dog training cost, the class will be held at the comfort of the pet owner’s home
- $95 per session of 1-2 hours basic training and behavioral issue modification for 8 sessions
- Group Classes
As you can see, the cost of dog training can add up quickly. However, there are some ways wherein you can lower the cost of training a dog and these usually involve joining dog training groups.
Group classes often happen at pet stores, doggie daycares, and community centers. There may be a price difference for puppy classes versus more advanced classes for adult dogs, but that isn’t always the case.
Group dog training will generally be the cheapest option for dog owners. In this setting, you and your dog will be among a group of other owners and their animals – usually around 10-20 in total.
This would largely be used to teach basic manners and some skills such as sit, lie down, and to come when called.
Group training is great if your dog enjoys the company of other dogs, so long as it can stay focused on the instruction. Puppies may benefit greatly from a group class as they need all the socialization they can get, especially with a wide range of different people and animals.
Additionally, because you as the owner are present for every class, you can better understand and retain the information given by the trainer, so that you can apply it in your everyday interactions with your dog moving forward. It’s also just a good chance to bond with your animal and maybe see them in a different light.
These classes usually run around $20 to $50 per class. They’re usually structured as several week-long package deals; maybe 6-8 weeks, for around $120 to $500 depending on the cost of each lesson. These classes typically revolve around basic obedience, proper socialization, or even just play time.
The specific cost will depend on your location, the number of people in the class, and your dog.
Some group classes set specific goals for dogs to accomplish such as enhancing their social interactive skills especially with other dogs, teaching basic obedience cues, and just plain old simple fun. Some examples are the following:
- Petco offers 6 weeks of obedience training for $120 each for Puppy Level 1 (2-4 months old) and Puppy Level 2 (4-6 months old) and may include Puppy Playtime which is a great opportunity to socialize your puppy and get to know the trainer for free. On the other hand, adult group classes are priced at $120 each for Adult Dog Level 1 (for over 6 months old), Adult Dog Level 2 (after completing Level 1), and Canine Good Citizen Class (after completing Level 2).
- Petsmart offers $120 per 6-week for any of their group classes, namely: Puppy (10 weeks to 5 months old), Beginner (5 months and older), Intermediate, Advanced, and Therapy Dog Training. The dog training rate could be as low as $89 with coupon.
Expect your dog to tone down its hyperactivity and to learn how to focus its energy into something else that’s not destructive.
- Obedience Boarding Schools
Lastly, board and training programs also exist where the dog can either be dropped off for the day and in some facilities, can even stay overnight across the course of several weeks.
For day programs, the dog obedience training cost is around $50 to $150 per day. This includes a day-time drop-off system wherein the owner leaves the dog for a few hours during the day for training and eventually pick them up after.
For example, this option is offered by HouseOfDogTraining.com; providing a more cost-effective mode of training, with prices starting at $63 a day.
For so-called ‘doggy boot camps’, they can run from $500 to $1,000 for only one week. An option being offered by some local trainers is 3-week board and train with pick-up and delivery and lifetime of follow-ups for $1,800 or approximately $85 per day.
This is one of the most expensive routes for training simply because of the lengthy amount of time and care these facilities put into each animal. It’s important though for the owner to continue training with their dog after the camp ends so that the skills are not forgotten.
For 1 week of quality board and train, price starts at around $1,500 to $1,600 that includes follow-up lessons so you won’t have to worry about it.
Once again, the price is dependent on the length of the dog’s stay inside the boarding schools, the complexity of the training needed, and location. Please know that prices aren’t always set until after the trainer has a consultation with you and your dog.
Behaviorist or Trainer?
Dog behaviorists are not necessarily different from trainers as there is no federally recognized regulation of the title. Behaviorists, however, can be certified through independent associations such as the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) or the Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists (CAAB) group.
An owner may wish to consult with a behaviorist if they have experience dealing with dogs that have a specific issue. Examples of these issues would be aggression, shyness or anxiety.
Consulting costs depend on the area and nature of expertise but can range from $40 to $80 and may cost up to $300 or more depending on the number of hours the consultation takes and the education and experience level of the behaviorist.
They may simply instruct you on how to proceed with training, recommend a training regiment, or in some cases offer a course themselves.
For example, BurkBuster Behaviorist charges $600 to $700 for 2-3 hours which includes learning how to communicate with your dog to achieve a good relationship and prevent behavioral problems. It will also offer assistance and may come to your home if needed for a year after that.
Additionally, service dog training is another possibility; although it is very specific in nature and is for qualified dogs to learn precise functions to assist people with a variety of medical and psychiatric needs. This would only be pursued as-needed.
Service dog training costs about $100 an hour, although trained guide dogs, for example, are provided to people in need at no cost from nonprofit organizations.
There are very long waiting lists for most no-cost service dogs. Because of this, it is possible to receive classes on how to train your own service dog. Classes are usually free or low-cost because they are run by charities.
Owner-trained service dogs can help with a multitude of disabilities. Some common examples are PTSD, epilepsy and mobility limitations.
Therapy dogs are similar but do perform specific service tasks. These animals provide comfort, anxiety relief, and general support for people in settings such as hospitals.
Therapy dog training classes cost around only $30 per session. Therapy dogs or emotional support dogs (ESAs) are trained primarily to be stable among the public and enjoy human company.
Miscellaneous Costs of Having Your Dog Trained
You may also need to buy a few training aids for your dog such as a clicker (an instrument used to mark when a dog has given the correct behavior you asked for) which costs $4 to $20, a leash ($10 to over $30), and some doggie treats ($30 to $400 per year) to serve as a reward whenever your dog does something good.
Guide in Choosing the Right Trainer for Your Dog
To be able to gauge whether the training would be right for your pet (and yourself), speak to different trainers to be able to feel whether you will like their training methods or not. If you are after the socialization alone, there are a lot of puppy daycares where you can enroll your puppies.
Let the trainers be aware of your expectations to avoid enrolling in a wrong class because no matter how the trainers want to help you achieve a particular goal for your pet, they don’t really have time to inject your idea into their curriculum. But they can pretty much adjust the techniques since they see the problem first hand during the training.
Some dog training companies offer free consultations (typically 1 to 1.5 hours) to help pet owners decide whether to enroll their pet or not after looking into their kind of training first. It may also include discussion about what clicker training is by introducing to the dog the “focus” command.
Avoid training companies that use shock collars for pet obedience early on as it creates fear and shut down in pets that we may misconstrue as being calm and obedient. It may work in some intermediate classes but using them in basic training can be a little bit of a torture to your pet. As much as possible, opt for training classes that promote positive reinforcement.
When considering training with Petsmart, do check first through the free consultation (if any) the rest of the enrollees before actually committing your puppy. This is because some complained about some classes having large (adult) dogs in the pack intended solely for puppies. With this setting, socialization can really become an issue since they cannot play together due to age and size difference.
Some even complained about having only 2 puppy play times in 6 weeks which is the very essence of the group classes to begin with.