The Best Dog Trainers in Kentucky of 2022

Welcome to the Kentucky Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2022. This is a list of the top dog trainers in Kentucky 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.

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The Best Kentucky Dog Trainers in 2022

Mandy Eakins

Manners Matter Dog Training and Daycare is the Lexington Kentucky area's premiere dog training and care facility. Our facility has the most certified trainers on staff of any other facility in the area. We hold ourselves to the highest standard of care when it comes to your dog. Our training methods are effective and veterinary approved.

We offer day training, group classes, private lessons, and daycare.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, KPA CTP

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Reactive dog training


Devin Zimmer

Devin has been training dogs since 2011. She currently offers group classes at Bluegrass Dog Training Academy in Lexington and behavior consultations at PetVet365 in Brannon-Crossing and Harrodsburg Road. She follows the LIMA guidelines in her training (least intrusive, minimally aversive).

Certifications: CDBC, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KSA, IAABC-ADT, Fear Free Certified Professional

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

Owner directed aggression, fear aggression, aggression toward people entering the home, dog directed aggression, on-leash reactivity, intrahousehold aggression.

Training methods:

I rely heavily on positive reinforcement (based on what the dog finds reinforcing), and LIMA (least intrusive, minimally aversive) methods for all services. Behavior consultations include behavior write-ups/training plans and group classes get homework sheets for each week.

For behavior consultations, it is required to meet with the doctor first to rule out medical causes (Dr. Brumley for Brannon-Crossing location, Dr. Dawes for Harrodsburg Rd location). Then I'll send an intake form and we can schedule a consultation from there.

Visit Bluegrass Dog Training's website to register for group classes!

Service area:

Lexington, Fayette County, KY; Remote.


Christina Wakefield

Christina Wakefield started teaching in 1998 and her specialty is teaching Dog Agility classes of all levels, including distance skills. She's taught a vast variety of breeds from chihuahua's to great danes to mixes of all kinds. Her goal is to combine an informative and structured class, that's a lot of fun for both dog and handler. Christina has competed at the National level in AKC, USDAA, and TDAA.

Christina put an ADCH on her border collie Ticket, a TACH on her rat terrier Oreo, a TACH and TACH2 on Brian's border collie Tess, and several TACH's, MACH, PACH, and 2 TNAC's (Teacup National Agility Champion - winning TDAA Nationals 2 years in a row) on her boston terrier, Stitch. Stitch also won High in Trial at the TDAA Nationals in 2015. In 2016, Christina and Stitch were the #1 ranked boston terrier performance team in AKC and earned the right to compete at the AKC Invitationals in Orlando, FL, where they completed 4 clear rounds and were fast enough to be able to run in Finals!

Christina is a TDAA agility judge (and judged the TDAA Nationals in 2018) and a Hide 'N Seek judge. She does trial secretary work for AKC Herding, CPE Agility, and Hide 'N Seek. Christina has also competed in AKC, ASCA and AHBA Herding (her border collie, Ticket had points toward a Herding Championship and won many High in Trial and Reserve High in Trial and her border collies Finn and Ace are now competing), competitive obedience in AKC and ASCA, Rally in AKC, conformation in ASCA, Hide 'N Seek and Barn Hunt.

Certifications: Competed at the National level in AKC, USDAA, and TDAA.

Services include:

  • Protection/guard dog training


Wendy Katz

For as long as I can remember, I have loved all animals. I have been training my own dogs since the age of ten, and have been committed to using force free methods since 1998. I take great pleasure in sharing with my clients the thrill of achieving harmonious partnership with dogs and other creatures through positive reinforcement training, seeing a hyperactive puppy choose to take a nap after a training session, or a formerly barky-lungey dog able to walk calmly past other dogs.

I began teaching dog training in 1999 as an apprentice, and started an independent training business in 2005. I have participated with my dogs in service projects and group activities with Dog Scouts of America, and enjoyed making nursing home visits with a certified therapy dog. I have honed my training skills through workshops, webinars and conferences. I became a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP #63199) in 2013. As part of this experience, I added cat training to my repertoire. I obtained my CPDT-KA certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers in 2019.

With a Ph.D. in biology, I am employed in biomedical research in the Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. I enjoy the synergy between my training in biological science and the science-based approach to pet training that I learned through Karen Pryor Academy and my continuing education.

Certifications: Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP #63199) and KA certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, Fear free professional

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

Barking/lunging on walks, aggressive behavior (small dogs only), fearful behavior, annoying behaviors such as counter surfing, helping dogs get along with the household cat.

Training methods:

Training methods are based on positive reinforcement and minimal stress principles. We aim to make training fun for pets and humans. Behavior cases begin with a consult to get history, set up safety measures, and begin foundation training. After the consult a training plan is proposed.

Service area:

In person: within 10 mile radius of downtown Lexington KY; remotely anywhere


Sniffspot Kentucky Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are Kentucky dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in Kentucky 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 Kentucky 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 Kentucky?

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 Kentucky 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 Kentucky cost?

Kentucky 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 Kentucky dog trainer. How can I get listed here?

As long as you have a training facility or do in person training in Kentucky 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 Kentucky?

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 Kentucky was $27,650 per year and $13.29 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.

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