The Best Dog Trainers in California of 2022

Welcome to the California Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2022. This is a list of the top dog trainers in California based on votes from the Sniffspot community and the general public. Over 45,000 votes were used in compiling this list. We have only included the top trainers with sufficient votes and the trainers are ordered in terms of the number of votes received. Trainers that tied are ranked in reverse alphabetical order based on first name. All dog trainers on this list are positive reinforcement only, as defined by no force, fear, intimidation, or aversive methods used

Dog training is one of the most important activities someone can do with their dog. Many come to dog training through a specific issue they want addressed, anything from barking to separation anxiety. Some have adopted dogs from animal shelters with an abusive experience and some just have happy puppies looking for everyday life skills. Trainers can help with all kinds of specific skills and issues, from leash manners to territorial aggression to anxiety around skateboards to common puppy challenges. However, what many discover is that working with a trainer is actually a way for a pet owner to deepen their relationship with their dog. The enhanced communication skills that result can increase quality of life, be a rewarding experience, be a social experience and lead to more harmonious relationships. Knowing that one’s dog is having a happier life can dramatically improve peace of mind. As the saying goes: happy dog, happy life. And it extends further than just the dog, to the pet owners. Owner empowerment can actually improve the relationship between owners. And finding the right trainer can make all the difference in the experience.

This list is compiled by Sniffspot, which is the largest network of private dog parks for rent in the world. Each of the thousands of Sniffspot dog parks are hosted by locals on private land with 100% private bookings to maximize safety for guests and their dogs. Sniffspot offers various types of dog parks, including fenced, water parks, indoor dog parks, dog beaches and more. Sniffspot has worked closely with dog trainers to create safe spaces for dogs and our top trainer lists are a natural extension of that relationship. You can browse Sniffspot's local dog parks here.

The Best California Dog Trainers in 2022

Ashley Valentine

Ashley Valentine is a Nationally Certified Canine Behavior Consultant (CBCC-KA) and Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). She has completed a Complete Canine Certification in Canine Aggression master course through world-renowned Michael Shikashio who is fully Certified through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She uses positive reinforcement, management, and safety techniques to help owners and dogs with all levels of aggression, reactivity and anxiety.

As with any canine, her goals are happy, loved dogs with confident, knowledgeable owners. In addition, she has also completed a master course on separation anxiety by Moira Hechenleitner DVM, CSAT, in which the training method is a positive and relaxing experience for the dog, which will allow them to desensitize and learn to be home alone comfortably. To go along with her canine CPR and first aid qualifications, Ashley has also completed her certification in Recognizing Pain in Dogs and is a supporter of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC).Ashley has completed her certification as a Family Dog Mediator (F.D.M) through Kim Brophey and is working on getting her licensing in this methodology which gives understanding to the many aspects as to WHY dogs behave the way they do and how we can help them in a humane, enriching and enlightening way.

This methodology helps bridge the gap between human and dog in order to have a better understanding, communication and trusting relationship from both ends of the leash.She has a special affinity for helping fearful and aggressive dogs reach a state of happiness and is always the common face at every local rescue event and takes pride in giving back to the canine community through her training, fostering, volunteering and her specialization in behavioral rehab.Ashley pursued her passion by obtaining her bachelor's degree in Animal Science from The University of Connecticut in 2007.

Her passion for her animal training career began early, with riding horses at the age of 8 and by 19, she was managing a riding facility. She also built/owned/operated 2 riding facilities in which she trained horses to compete in Hunter Jumper competitions all over the East Coast. She then moved to San Diego in 2015 and put that education to work. Since then, she has become the go-to socializer for the most extreme fear cases found in a variety of rescues in San Diego and overseas.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, CBCC, F.D.M., Aggression cert through Michael S and Sep Anx through Moira H

Services include:
  • Aggressive dog training
  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
Behavioral issue focus:

Aggression, Separation Anxiety, Leash reactivity, Fear and general anxiety.

Training methods:

Positive Reinforcement method training style. Training plans are customized for each dog based on dog and owners goals.

Service area:

San Diego, Del Mar, Encinitas, Chula Vista, Escondido.

Website: https://www.zoesdogtraining.com/


Ali Sutch

I provide private training that is rooted in science and compassion, with an emphasis on learner control. My practice is informed by nonviolent communication and harm reduction. I love working with my human clients just as much as the other end of the leash!

Certifications: KPA CTP

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training

Website: https://www.uptosnuff.net


Steph Haddad

I have a particular soft spot for all guard dog breeds, from shepherds to bullies, and especially enjoy working with them. My experience has taught me that all dogs are individuals, and they deserve a chance to grow and have a good life on their terms.

While everyone at Good Sit has their own experiences, I train everyone to meet dogs where they are utilizing force free techniques, whether they need a little extra help feeling safe, learning how to play with other dogs, learning how to trust people, or just plain making sure they get their exercise while they are out and about (and coming back when called!)

Certifications: Working towards CTC

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training

Website: https://www.good-sit.com


Becky Pesicka

Becky has been in dogs since childhood, but started her training company in 2011. She has experience in a lot of different areas, from years in shelter work, creating agility curriculums, reactive dog classes, and more.

Dogtastic Training teaches pet dog training classes and specializes in Nose Work. Becky is currently a certified nose work instructor through NACSW and almost done with training to be a Certifying Official. She is also an experienced AKC Scentwork judge. Becky also has a passion for improving the standard model for doggie daycare and helping daycare owners integrate more training and better dog behavior into their day to day. In her spare time she enjoys mentoring other trainers and competing in nose work.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, CNWI, AKC Scentwork Judge

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
Behavioral issue focus:

We work with behavior issues of all, the most common being leash reactivity or aggression. We typically do bite case consults once or twice a week.

Training methods:

We are positive, reward- based trainers. We use food, toys and play, praise, sniffing, etc. as rewards, whatever the dog finds rewarding. Each training plan is tailored specifically to the individual dog and owner. No two homes are exactly the same and we want to set everyone up for success. We believe in being clear, consistent and fair in training and find that yields the best results.

Service area:

In-person we service San Luis Obispo and the surrounding areas, which is located along the coast midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. We frequently have people stop by for training sessions with us as they are passing through up or down the coast. We also offer virtual training sessions and provide that to students all over the US and world. We have serviced students as far as Russia and Australia, and most US states.

Website: https://www.dogtastictraining.com


Karl Roberts

I got my first dog when I was six and I didn't train him, just in case you thought this was going to be a child prodigy story. He was a Jack Russell mix called Shep and I don't remember him ever having a leash, he definitely didn't sit on command, but he followed me everywhere and he listened in his own way to what I told him we were doing, or where we were going. It worked because I was with him all the time, really, he used to come to school with me until I was 11 and had to go to "big" school, because me and him grew up in the 80's in Wales where everything was a bit more chill.

Times have changed and so have I but not how I feel about that special relationship with our dogs. Using modern techniques that are completely and utterly force free I'll teach you how to make sure your dog has all the obedience they need to be safe and also guide you on the journey to cementing that bond which makes your dog trust and therefore listen to you.

Certifications: IMDT

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training

Website: https://www.muttsandmunch.com


Russ Avison

I have been in the business of training dogs full time since 1999 but my passion and compassion for our four legged companions goes back to my high school days. I have always believed that there is really something special about dogs and their connection with humans. We are not masters of our dogs. We should establish our position as our dog's Pet Parent, entrusted with teaching, nurturing and enriching - not controlling our dog's lives.

Certifications: AKC Certified CGC Examiner / Member APDT / Mentor - Animal Behavioral College / Certified Therapy Dog Trainer

Services include:
  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Off leash training
Behavioral issue focus:

Resource Guarding / Nipping & Mouthing / Jumping / Counter Surfing / Walking / Recall / Fearfulness

Training methods:

ALL Positive Reinforcement Training / In-Home sessions include History & Problem Assessment, Strategy Plan & Follow-up Report including Summary and Action Plan.

Service area:

Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. Group classes held in Malibu, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park and FIllmore.

Website: https://www.canionelogic.net


Rebekah Piedad

Rebekah Piedad, KPA-CTP knew she wanted to train animals since she was a small child. As a toddler, she had her heart set on training lions and tigers in local zoos, but dogs stole her heart in adulthood.Rebekah has owned and fostered countless dogs ranging from greyhounds to Cane Corsos. She has volunteered for greyhound rescue, pit bull rescue, and served on the Board of Directors of the Humane Society of Stanislaus County. She eased into the dog profession as a pet sitter and dog walker.

In 2013, Rebekah became a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner. She worked at a high-volume boarding, training, and daycare facility in the Central Valley of California before starting her own business in the Bay Area. Rebekah has trained dogs for commercial advertising, and she revitalized both public and shelter animal training programs at the East Bay SPCA where she worked as the Manager of Behavior and Training before moving to Shasta County where she opened her own private training facility.Specializing in fearful and aggressive behaviors, Rebekah has worked with private clients and collaborated with rescue groups, shelters, veterinarians, and veterinary behaviorists.

She seeks to constantly expand her knowledge and skill set by continuing her education in the science of Applied Behavior Analysis and the most progressive animal training techniques. She believes that all training should be fun for both humans and dogs and seeks to inspire a collaborative mindset so that each human and dog can enjoy their companion to the fullest.Rebekah currently lives in Shingletown, CA with her two dogs and two cats. When she is not training, she is usually hiking or backpacking through the Cascades.

Certifications: Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner

Services include:
  • Board and train
Behavioral issue focus:

Human and dog-directed aggression, resource guarding, touch sensitivity/intolerance to grooming or vet care, leash reactivity, jumpy/mouthy/impulse control, general fear and anxiety, leash pulling, door dashing, counter surfing.

Training methods:

Board and trains include one meet and greet and evaluation appointment, a 4 or 8-week boarding stay that includes daily enrichment and positive reinforcement training, 5 intensive in-person training lessons for the owner at the end of the stay, a written evaluation and training guide, and a remote followup consultation after the dog has returned home.

Service area:

People travel to me, so I take clients from as far away as they are willing to travel. Most come from the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Tahoe, and Medford, Oregon.

Website: https://yesdog.org


Stacy Braslau-Schneck

I am dedicated to helping pet dog owners solve their behavior problems and "love their well-trained dogs" through my unique combination of experience, education, knowledge, and skills! I am dedicated to using humane, fun, thoughtful positive-reinforcement methods to improve dog behavior and help their owners. I'm a "behavior nerd" and am constantly learning new, further-refined techniques to make training as efficient as possible while remaining enjoyable for dog and owner!

Certifications: MA CPDT-KA CBCC-KA CAP2

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training

Website: https://www.wagntrain.com


Penny Locke

I've been a trainer for 20 years. I am a trainer because of my dog. I needed help, looked for it & that opened up the world of dog training to me. I offer positive reinforcement training, using luring, shaping, reward-based training. I keep up to date with current knowledge in training through webinars & classes available online now. I love my work, helping my clients to help their dogs be the best they can be, kindly.

Services include:

  • In home training

Website: www.caninelogic.net


Cecilia Sternzon

The Principal and Founder of Canine Higher Learning, M. Cecilia Sternzon (formerly Saleme) runs her dog training school out of the Humane Society Silicon Valley. There, she offers group classes as well as canine behavior counseling and coaching. She has written two blogs emphasizing her specialties: Crates and Cribs, focusing on life with dogs and children, and The HDDogs Blog, detailing working sports dogs and high energy dogs.

She has also written for various publications including the Whole Dog Journal and APDT's Chronical of the Dog. She founded the High Drive Dogs Rescue Listing Service, a group dedicated to finding suitable working homes for high energy dogs.Cecilia has over 20 years of experience in dog training instruction, with an extensive understanding of dog behavior, ethology and humane training techniques. She has trained her own dogs in a variety of dog sports including Agility, Flyball, Herding, Rally Obedience, Canine Scent Work and Urban Locating.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, AKC CGC Evaluator, PPG Professional Member, APDT Professional Member

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training

Website: https://www.caninehigherlearning.com


Lindsey Lieberman

Lindsey has been training dogs professionally for over 15 years. She spent over a decade working in animal shelter behavior before changing course for private training. Her passions are working one-on-one with reactive dogs and their families and teaching group classes that make a difference in the real world. Her training style and philosophy are informed by her own experience as a mom to "special needs" dogs as well as mindfulness meditation practices.

Certifications: CPDT, CCBC, FFCP

Services include:
  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
Behavioral issue focus:

Dog reactivity, stranger reactivity, fearfulness and fear-based aggression, generalized anxiety, resource guarding, and high arousal.

Training methods:

Lindsey specializes in dog reactivity and has created a program combining private training and semi-private ReactiviTeam sessions to support "spicy dogs" and the humans who love them.

She works from the roots to change the dog's emotional response to The Thing that upsets them, whether a dog, a visitor, a sound, or a situation. By changing the way the dog feels about The Thing, a change in behavior will naturally follow: without force and without fear.

Service area:

Serving the communities of Vista, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas, San Marcos, and Escondido

Website: https://www.birchbarkdogtraining.com


Cindy Smith

 Cindy has loved animals her entire life and at a very young age made training animals her lifelong goal. She always seemed to have a natural ability to understand and communicate with animals. Her Husband calls her the "Pied Piper of Animals" as "everywhere she goes they follow her". Animals seem naturally drawn to her personality, true love of animals, and her voice. Her Human Clients are also drawn to her easy going and fun, yet intense and straight forward approach to communication and training.

Services include:
  • In home training
Behavioral issue focus:

Fear Issues, House/Potty Training, Play Biting, Jumping, Humping, Leash Manners, Management, Owner Training to work on patience, consistency, putting the time in, setting the puppy/dog up for success not failure.

Training methods:

Positive Reinforcement and Force Free. Only Humane Equipment is utilized. Rewards are always used (Treats, Food, Toys, Praise).

Service area:

Sacramento County, Placer County, and El Dorado County

Website: https://www.therightsteps.com/index.html


Marie Turner-Bailie

I have 15 years of experience in the industry, both as a trainer, and as a trainer mentor, helping educate junior trainers, expanding their skill sets and knowledge base. I am passionate about helping people shape their dog's behavior, and helping people and their dogs communicate better together. She continues her education on a routine basis with a mix of conferences, workshops, and trusted online resources.

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training

Website: https://daackpack.com


Liv Healy

Having started their career as a dog groomer in 2007, Liv followed up to graduate from one of the most highly regarded dog certification programs in the country on fear-free training and handling techniques. Through this wide range of training and over ten years of hands-on experience with dogs, Liv has emerged as a trusted, respected and highly sought-after dog trainer in Orange County.

A lifelong animal lover, Liv has worked professionally with dogs since 2007 as a groomer, walker, daycare manager, and most importantly, as a trainer. Their interest in training was peaked in 2011 when they took an intensive two month course on canine body language and force-free handling with Turid Rugaas, and they've been obsessed with all things behavior ever since! Liv began working as a professional dog trainer in 2013, and works with clients on everything from puppy socialization to aggression.

Liv strongly believes education is an ongoing process, and constantly seeks out opportunities to expand their knowledge in order to offer clients the best information available. They are a Certified Canine Behavior Consultant (CBCC-KA), Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), and a Fear Free Certified Trainer. But they're not done! Liv is currently enrolled in the prestigious ATLAS program to become a certified service dog trainer! Also a talented teacher of the human end of the leash, Liv studied pedagogy while earning her Masters of Fine Arts from Laguna College of Art and Design.

Liv loves their two clicker-trained cats Jude and Jiji who you can follow on Instagram @clickerkittens.

Certifications: Certified Canine Behavior Consultant through the CCPDT, Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the CCPDT, Certified Fear Free Animal Trainer through Fear Free Pets, Certified Evaluator through the American Kennel Club, Certified Fit Dog Instructor through the AKC, Certified CPR & First Aid through ProTrainings, MFA in Art Education through LCAD

Services include:
  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
Behavioral issue focus:

Puppy issues, adolescent issues, aggression, reactivity, phobias, anxiety

Training methods:

LIMA, R+, clicker training

Service area:

Orange County CA, remote

Website: https://www.clickstartdogacademy.com/


Cassie Pestana

After graduating from Brown University with a degree in Biology and Ethology, Cassie earned several different dog training certifications from the most respected organizations in the country and opened her own training company in 2017.

Certifications: CBCC-KA, KPA-CTP, CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training

Website: https://www.clickstartdogacademy.com


Allison Daack

Allison Daack is the founder of Daack Pack Dog Training, and has been working with and training dogs, along with other species since 2008. She is also a member of APTD, PPG, and IAABC. In the beginning of her career, Allison was a Kennel Technician working closely with a Veterinarian where she learned all about developmental periods of dogs, handling skills and how to prevent behavior issues.

From there she spent several years working with exotic animals at numerous wildlife facilities and reserves, first in North Carolina, then California. She did everything from educating the public, rehabilitation, and using training to help animals cope with life in captivity, usually due to injury or illness. Her passion for behavior modification began with teaching cooperative care cues to a Black Vulture in the raptor / avian exhibits. Allison then had a long career with Petco, where she became a Dog Training Mentor.

Not only did she train other dog trainers to be dog trainers, she taught group classes, and was an integral part of a corporate team that created continuing education materials for trainers, and updated Petco's dog training program. However, Petco does not take behavior modification clients, so on June 1, 2016, Allison founded Daack Pack Dog Training as a way to better support the needs of her clients whose dogs might struggle with fear, anxiety, or display aggression. Through this company she has been able to provide the community with custom, in-home training to support their specific needs and the needs of their pets.

Certifications: CPDT-KA and FFCP

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training

Website: https://daackpack.com/


Jen Havens

I help dog guardians do away with frustrations over their pup's behaviors by offering practical, welfare based, modern solutions. For 30+ years, I've worked in the pro pet care industry as a dog walker and pet sitter with a special interest in dog behavior. I decided to enroll in CATCH Trainers Academy so I'm not just another "experienced" trainer, but an educated trainer with experience.

My favorite types of instruction include reactivity, home and public manners, loose leash walking, cooperative care, fear based behaviors, puppy socialization, and tricks.

Certifications: Enrolled in CATCH Trainers Academy

Services include:
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
Service provided detail:

My private sessions and virtual workshops (online small groups classes) focus on basic manners (like sit, stay, heel, etc), in-home manners including greeting guests, how to recognize and observe body language, public manners, polite leash walking, reactivity, cooperate care + consent, enrichment for beginners and advanced, beginning teamwork for Rally/Obedience, beginner and novice Rally/Obedience, beginner to advanced tricks, CGC and Therapy dog prep + certification through Love On A Leash, AKC Fit Dog Level 1 (Level 2 coming soon), body awareness, puppy socialization, and puppy prep.

I have a weekly tricks class online (Trick Squad) and a bi-weekly online training workshop and trainer Q+A. Both are affordable memberships and include a social community.

Behavioral issue focus:

The most common behaviors I've worked with include puppy biting, puppy and kid challenges, fearful dogs, reactivity, noise sensitivities, difficulty settling/relaxing, excessive barking, public manners, under socialization, and adolescent dogs.
Although, not a behavior issue, puppy socialization, 16 weeks to 12 month puppy training, and rescue dog adjustment are the number one requests.

Training methods:

My main focus areas are welfare, environment and practicality for the household.
Are the needs of the pup getting met? How about the household needs and anyone who has experiences with the dog? Is the environment set up in a way that works for the dog and the household?

Goals the guardian sets and everything I teach needs to be doable and fit into what their household needs with a reasonable amount of adjustment and management.
First, I have a potential client fill out a training request so I have enough information to decide if I'm the best fit. Next comes getting on a call so we can get to know each other and from there the consult is scheduled. At the end of the consult (typically 75 minutes), I make suggestions on where to start and how to proceed and give a couple pieces of homework to prep for their first session with me.

Every training plan is created with the households goals in mind, with the client, at the end of or after the initial consult, so each client is very much involved in their own training plan. Plans are easily adjusted and we revisit the plans at each session or workshop.

I do my very best to help clients reach their training goals via welfare based, ethical, effective, practical, and fun methods.

Service area:

Most of my amazing clients are located all over the world and have really embraced working with me virtually. I have also been training in-person in Monrovia California and will be relocating to Taos, New Mexico in the future.

Website: https://thereallifedog.com


Connie Ko

Connie Ko is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) specializing in puppy socialization, basic manners training, and confidence-building for shy and fearful dogs. Her approach to dog training is centered around developing empathy for dogs' needs and cultivating curiosity about their emotions and motivations.

Using science-based methods and fun relationship-enhancing games Connie strives to help students develop their own unique communication style with their dogs. She is a strong believer in continuing education, and frequently attends conferences and workshops to keep up with the most current scientific approaches to behavior modification. Connie provides private training through Kuma Dog Training, and teaches group classes for SIRIUS Puppy & Dog Training and Deep Peninsula Dog Training Club. She shares her home in sunny Mountain View, California with one dog, two cats, and one human.

Certifications: CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed)

Services include:
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
Behavioral issue focus:

Puppy Training & Socialization, Basic Obedience, Manners Training, Leash Reactivity, Confidence Building

Training methods:

Initial Consultation followed by either Coaching Sessions (In-Person and/or Virtual), Direct Training, or a hybrid of both

Service area:

In-Person: Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Stanford, and Sunnyvale; Virtual: Anywhere

Website: https://kumadogtraining.com/


Jennifer Davidson

I have been dog training since I was eight years old, but professionally for 8+ years. I am a force-free trainer. While training I attempt to focus on all aspects of a dog's well-being, which includes exercise, enrichment, diet, and the bond between dog & owner. I enjoy working hand in hand with the owner to find out what their goals are within the training process and work to achieve these goals. I love to watch as the dog and owner learn and grow together into an amazing partnership

Services include:

  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training

Website: https://smpawsativedogtraining.wordpress.com/


Leeyah Wiseman

Separation Anxiety Specialist

Certifications: SFTD-CPT

Services include:
  • Reactive dog training
Behavioral issue focus:

Separation anxiety. Isolation distress. Reactivity.

Training methods:

During a consultation we'll review your dog's unique history and your training goals together and give you a clear starting point.

Service area:

San Diego, California in person and remote!

Website: https://galdogtraining.com


Sniffspot California Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are California dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in California as selected by broad voting from the Sniffspot community and the general public. These trainers are expert dog trainers, who received votes from their delighted customers, due to their excellent dedication to customer service, excellent results and general care they exhibit for their clients. Many have worked with thousands of dogs and are highly experienced trainers.

How can I get in touch with dog trainers?

Each of the trainer profiles contains a link to their website. You can click through to their website where you can find more contact information.

Are these California dog trainers certified professionals?

Dog training is not regulated at the federal or state level, so there is no standard dog training certification and professional trainers are not required to be certified. However, certifications are important to show that a professional dog trainer has a standard of expertise to help train your dog. Each trainer’s certifications are listed on their profile.

What are the top certifications for Dog Trainers in California?

Some of the top certifications in the dog training industry are CPDT- KA, IAABC, Karen Pryor Academy - KPA certification, Jean Donaldson's Academy - CTC certification and Fear Free Certification. You can review the dog trainer certifications for each specific dog trainer on their profile on this page.

What methods are used in the dog training sessions?

There are many methods for teaching dogs and a lot of disagreement about the correct training approach. All of the California trainers included on this list use positive reinforcement training only, as defined by no force, fear, intimidation, or aversive methods used. This includes not using any specifically aversive approach to training or training aid, such as a prong or electronic dog training collar (also called remote dog training collar or shock collars). As for specific training programs and specialties, such as day training / doggie daycare or obedience training, you can see more information in each trainer’s profile.

Are dog training lessons in a training facility or are virtual options available?

Some dog trainers operate exclusively from a training facility, some do house calls and some offer video calls or other virtual options. There are pros and cons to each option and the most efficient behavioral training option depends on specific circumstances, for instance, what hours work best for you. A training center or training ranch can be a good option if your training plan requires facilities, training equipment or dedicated space. We recommend reaching out to the specific trainer you are interested in or browsing their website for more information.

Are dog training lessons private or in a group setting?

Every different circumstance of dog and owners may require a different setting, whether it’s housebreaking issues, anxiety issues, lack of proper socialization, food aggression or just bad habits. Each trainer has different offerings as far as whether they can offer clients a private training session or a group class. Trainers provide information about their private class and group class offerings in their profiles and you can browse their website for more information as well. It may make sense for your specific circumstance to reach out to the trainer to ask if they recommend group or private dog training classes. Some trainers also have a team of specialists that can provide even higher levels of service, or provide specialized sessions, such as pack walks.

How much does dog training in California cost?

California dog trainers have a wide range of costs for different services and phases of training. For instance behavioral modification that involves boarding is often more expensive than day training, and private lessons are generally more expensive than group lessons. Prices can also vary depending on specific behavioral issues. Lastly, some trainers have more overhead than others, We recommend first picking a trainer that provides the services that you are looking for, then reaching out to them to get up to date pricing.

Is training a dog good for the dog?

Yes! Training has many benefits for dogs. Whether with basic training skills or complex training techniques, going through behavior training with your dog can improve the bond that you share with them. Also, training can do a lot to improve the level of confidence enabling of a dog (and it can also help with building customer confidence!). Rather than being about exerting maximum control over them, it gives them more certainty that they understand how the world around them works. For instance, crate training can help a dog feel safe and at home in a crate vs fearful and uncertain. Dog training can teach important skills, such as leash control, potty training or a general level of obedience skills. And lastly, it’s just fun for the dog to learn life skills and for their family. Training can be very stimulating and enriching for a dog and serve them throughout their entire healthy life!

Can an aggressive dog be trained?

Yes! Any dog behavior can be worked on through training and coaching. Aggression in dogs is a serious issue, but it is also a term that is used very broadly. Many dogs that are thought to be aggressive are actually reactive, which is a different behavior altogether. A trainer can help you interpret signs of aggression, such as excessive barking, fear aggression and leash aggression, and type of aggression. If you believe you have a dog with aggressive behaviors, we recommend reaching out to one of your local top trainers to get their diagnosis and advice.

I am a California dog trainer. How can I get listed here?

As long as you have a training facility or do in person training in California you can be considered for this list. We update this list once per year, normally starting in January. Make sure to keep an eye on our social media and sign up for email updates with Sniffspot in order to be in the loop on the next round of nominations.

How much do dog trainers make in California?

Dog trainer earnings vary widely depending on many factors, such as whether a dog trainer is an employee or owns their own full-service professional dog training business. According to ZipRecruiter, the average dog trainer salary in California was $33,714 per year and $16.21 per hour. It is impossible to say how much a dog trainer can earn with a full-service professional dog training company, because the size and profitability of companies can vary widely.


See The Best Dog Trainers By City In California

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Los Angeles, CA
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