The Best Dog Trainers in Minnesota of 2022

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

Cheryl Gfrerer

A KPA-CTP and level 2 TAGteach trainer specializing in rescue and fearful dogs Cheryl Gfrerer is interested in the ethics of training and animal welfare. Cheryl wishes to promote a shift from compulsion-based training toward a model where animals control training sessions. She offers online and in-person services for private training and small group classes through her business, Giffy dog.

Certifications: KPA-CTP, TAGteach level 2

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

We love working with fearful dogs! Whether your dog is anxious, shut down, submissive, or a combination, we'll work with you to develop an individualized training plan suited for you and your dog. We are family-friendly and regularly work with manners, leash pulling, blind and deaf dogs, and reactivity.

Training methods:

We offer classes and private sessions using positive reinforcement training, which means we pair behaviors the family wants to see with things their dog likes so the dog will be motivated to offer those behaviors more often. Conversely, if their dog exhibits behaviors the family doesn't like, we'll identify precursors to those behaviors and change the environment to reduce the likelihood that the dog will practice those behaviors going forward. Training this way leads to well-adjusted, confident dogs.

Service area:

Remote and in-person in the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs (further, with a travel fee)

Website: https://giffydog.com


Paul Holt

I have been training dogs professionally for 8 years. I have a bachelor's degree in Animal Science from the University of Minnesota, and started my
career with the Animal Humane Society. I did an apprenticeship with them and got access to many development opportunities by some of the best
trainers across the country.

Working at some of the biggest shelters, and
training schools in the state has given me valuable experience with behavioral issues of all kinds. I also have a zoo background and experience training exotics. My experience working in these different settings has exposed me to behavior modification, animal learning theory, animal welfare, the human animal bond, teaching classes/seminars, consultations, dog sports, and in-home private lessons.

I now provide these services for my own business, "Holt's Board & Train" that is just
over a year old. My favorite things to train are behavior modification of dog reactivity and aggression, nosework, and building relationships with in-home training of any kind.

Certifications: CCPDT-KA, CGC evaluator

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

I work with all behavior issues. I have years of experience working with aggression, reactivity, anxiety, and shy fearful dogs. Behavior issues I see most frequently are dog to dog aggression and human aggression.

Training methods:

I offer a free consultation to dive more into this. I focus on building a relationship with your dog and teaching a strong foundation to cope with distractions or triggers. My foundation obedience packages look pretty similar for every dog. But I will move as fast or slow as a person or dog needs to based on where they are at. Same thing goes with behavior modification.

Service area:

I work in the twin cities and metro areas that surround them. Call if have questions about specific far locale and we may be able to work something out.

Website: https://holtsboardandtrain.com


Ashlee Meyer

I am a mom and dog trainer serving the Minneapolis area in person and the rest of the world virtually. I specialize in the unique relationship between kids and dogs. I have two dogs of my own, Adam and Bailey, who challenge me everyday to be a better dog guardian.

Certifications: Family Dog Mediator, CPDT-KA, VSA-CDT

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training

Website: https://fetchingpetential.com


Diana Waserman

My goal is to create a happy, healthy & harmonious environment for you and your furry friend. Whether you have a dog that is a little 'ruff' around the edges or you are interested in implementing a training program with a new puppy, I can help you from start to finish with in-home training. My prices are extremely reasonable and my training program is very manageable.

I can help you and your dog learn basic commands such as sit, stay, come, leave it, down, shake, fetch and many more.I can also help you fix common canine behavioral problems, such as:-inappropriate elimination/potty training,-separation anxiety,-barking,-chewing,-jumping,-nipping,-digging,-humping,-chasing,-begging,-consuming feces (Coprophagia - the leading spread of bacteria and parasites among dogs)

Certifications: Abc certified, positive reinforcement certified

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Service dog training
  • Off leash training

Website: https://www.facebook.com/PawsitivePoochDogTraining


Lindsay Kinney

I have been training dogs professionally since 2015

Certifications: Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed

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

I work with reactivity, fearful dogs, impulsive dogs, dogs who struggle with being handled, puppies, and adolescents, and typical obedience behaviors.

Training methods:

I am a reward based trainer. My strength is breaking skills down so clients and dogs can be successful. Class sizes are small (4-6 clients) to allow for plenty of interaction with the instructor.

Service area:

I teach at the Paws Abilities Dog Training facility in Eagan MN

Website: https://pawsabilitiesmn.com/


Carrie Davis

Carrie Davis CPDT-KA, Family Dog Mediator¢ (she/her) grew up in Mankato and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She was amazed at the human-animal bond she gained from her relationship with her first dog, Cannon. Not long after bringing home Cannon, she adopted Diesel from Aussie Rescue.

Cannon gave her the joy and motivation to learn more, but it was Diesel's behavior problems that brought her to dog training after years as an Interior Designer and working as a Veterinary Assistant. Carrie spends her time learning from the experts in canine behavior by attending local and national seminars, reading books, watching dvds and webinars, and taking classes with her own dogs.

Carrie is a professional member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and supporting member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Her passion is education. She loves empowering people to live safe, fulfilling lives with their dogs by teaching manners or helping with more intense issues like fear, anxiety, and reactivity. To see a happy dog and owner working together is the most rewarding feeling.

Her days are spent enjoying her current dogs, Australian Shepherds, Diesel and Ryder,and a senior cat, Trixie. Carrie and her husband Patrick love to hike in the woods, camp, and spend time with nature whenever possible.

Carrie is a member of the following professional organizations: APDT, CCPDT, IAABC

Certifications: CPDT-ka, Family Dog Mediator, Fear Free Certified

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Reactive dog training

Website: https://pawsabilitiesmn.com


Jodi Karow

I've been on a mission to decode how the dogs we love see the world and what really gets them motivated so that we can transform the way we train them. Now I want to teach this to you! Join me in revolutionizing dog training.A fresh new approach for the 21st Century urban or suburban lifestyle. I've enjoyed my work as training and behavior consultant for Safe Hands Rescue and resident dog expert for PetChatz. I founded a state of the art dog daycare, serving over 2,000 dogs and their guardians.

I now continue to consult with dog daycares nationwide on how to enrich environments for the dogs in their care while using effective rewards and motivators to improve behavior. I'm also a very proud graduate and a certified trainer through the Academy for Dog Trainers, known as the Harvard for dog trainers taught by dog behaviorist, Jean Donaldson. I've wholeheartedly dedicated my life to helping people and dogs live amazing lives together. Passion, Education & Experience. Join me, I'd love to teach you what I've learned.

Certifications: Twin Cities Certified Puppy & Dog Trainer & Dog Life Coach

Services include:

  • In home training

Website: https://goanywheredog.com


Jane Fallander

In addition to training dogs for more than 25 years, I am a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA-CTP). Graduating from the Karen Pryor Academy requires months of intensive study and training practice with regular assessments. To obtain certification, students must graduate with an A or higher. Karen Pryor is one of the world's leading figures in positive reinforcement training, and I am extremely proud and humbled to be associated with her program.

I worked for the Humane Society for Larimer County in Fort Collins Colorado for 9 years, during which I taught obedience classes to adopters. I have a great deal of empathy and understanding for the animal rescue community. I keep my education current by regularly attending seminars around the country by leading trainers and behaviorists including Ken Ramirez, Patricia McConnell, Steve White, Brenda Aloff, Suzanne Clothier, Sue Ailsby, Julie Shaw, Jose Rosales-Ruiz, Clicker Expos in Providence and Portland, and others.

Education and memberships: BS Animal Science, Colorado State University BA Technical Journalism, Colorado State UniversityKaren Pryor Academy Certified Training PartnerPrimary certification TAG TeachAssociation of Pet Dog TrainersAKC Canine Good Citizen evaluatorNational Association of Canine Scent Work

Certifications: Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner, Primary certification TAG Teach

Services include:

  • Protection/guard dog training

Website: https://agreatdognow.com/


Megan Cogswell

Megan Cogswell, ABCDT (she/her) has always loved dogs. Ever since she could read, she would have dog books with her – anything from the dog encyclopedia to more specific breed books. Megan has owned, fostered, and rescued many dogs from Basset Hounds to Great Danes and everything in between. She started school to become a veterinary technician, but never finished due to life changes.

When it was time to go back to school, she followed her passion for training dogs and graduated from Animal Behavior College. During her time with ABC, Megan did her internship with Paws Abilities, and we loved her so much that we kept her on as a professional trainer!When she's not training, Megan's daughter Faith keeps her on her toes. She also lives with her Great Dane Onix, Boxer Taner, and significant other. They enjoy hiking at Whitewater State Park and being outdoors as much as possible as a family.

Certifications: ABCDT

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

Socialization, walking, basic manners

Training methods:

Positive reinforcement

Service area:

SE MN

Website: https://pawsabilitiesmn.com/


Lauren Combs

Certifications: Professional Dog Trainer

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training

Website: https://www.thek9coach.com/


Erin Jorich

Erin has been a yoga and movement teacher in the Twin Cities since 2009. Erin met Danielle at a yoga studio and the two instantly connected. Erin and her dog Wallace started volunteering with CIC in 2013 and have grown with the organization ever since. At CIC Erin leads dog training classes, facilitates in-school sessions, and organizes volunteer teams. Supported by her studies in yoga and sociology, Erin provides CIC teams with trauma-sensitivity training and mindful approaches to therapy dog work. Beyond CIC Erin loves running, baking, and being outdoors.

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Reactive dog training

Website: https://canineinspiredchange.org/


Denise Nord

Denise has been training and competing with dogs for over 25 years. She has competed in obedience with multiple dogs. She has been teaching puppy classes for over 20 years. Her obedience and puppy classes are based on proven positive training methods. Denise also trains and competes in agility, nosework, lure coursing, tracking, conformation and rally.

Services include:

  • Protection/guard dog training
  • Reactive dog training

Website: https://www.agilecanines.com/


Taylor Davis

Taylor Davis, CPDT-KA (they/them) knows firsthand the joy that dogs can bring to our lives. But Taylor is also aware that life with our dogs isn't always easy. Issues like reactivity towards other dogs, fear, hyperactivity, and resource guarding can leave us feelings stressed and at odds.

Working as a relationship coach between clients and their canines, Taylor helps ease the tension between dogs and their people through education regarding canine communication and enrichment needs, and through humane, positive reinforcement based behavior modification for all parties, both human and canine.

Taylor's non-human family includes three dogs, two cats, two small parrots, and one horse. Taylor enjoys helping each of their animals navigate daily life with minimal stress and maximum fun, and uses positive reinforcement to train their animals to perform any number of useful life skills, including traveling calmly by car, accepting nail (or hoof!) trims, happily taking their daily medications, and coexisting peacefully in a multi-species household. Taylor is a member of the following professional organizations: IAABC, APDT

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • Reactive dog training

Website: https://www.tcotc.com/


Sarah Clarke

Certifications: Professional Dog Trainer

Services include:

  • Reactive dog training

Website: https://www.thek9coach.com/


Katie K9

For 40 years dog owners and industry professionals across the Twin Cities metro area have turned to Katie K-9 in times of need. She is dedicated to further educating the everyday family and their dog through obedience classes, private lessons and a weekly call-in radio show.

Services include:

  • Protection/guard dog training
  • Reactive dog training

Website: https://www.ktk9.com/


Emily Villanueva

Splitting time between dog training, getting a Masters in Social Work, and corralling a 2 year old. Emily grew up with golden retriever hunting dogs and one very quirky miniature schnauzer. Throughout her life, she has always walked dogs and dog-sat for friends and family out of town. When her and her partner decided to get a dog together, she thought, 'Easy Peasy'.

Though, that turned out to not be as simple as she thought it would be, it did challenge her to learn a lot of new skills and think of dogs and dog training in a new way. She is excited to share these skills with you and help you feel more equipped with your dog at home. Her favorite things about training dogs include improving people's day to day lives, seeing how balance and structure ultimately leads to more freedom and fun, and getting to work with all different kinds of breeds and families.

Services include:

  • Board and train

Website: https://dunorddogs.com/


Debby Morris

All of my life I have grown up with dogs and felt a connections and a strong bond. I attended DBU for Vet Tech and worked at a vet clinic for 3 years. I managed a dog kennel and boarding facility for several years before I decided to follow my dream starting Paws Unlimited. I enjoy helping educate people on how to better communicate and relate with their dogs while also doing what I love.

I have had 25 years of dog training experience. I have worked alongside many dog trainer professionals, breeders, dog clubs, and Search & Rescue organizations. I am Co-President of the Grand Rapids Dog Park. I have completed seminars and educational classes and have performed demonstrations for multiple organizations like Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Search & Rescue, the Civil Air Patrol, church groups, and other adult facilities. My credentials are certified veterinary technician, certified Red Cross Canine First Aid/CPR, AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator, AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy evaluator, AKC CGC Community Canine evaluator, AKC Urban CGC evaluator, Trick Dog evaluator. Certified and Insured. I continue my education by attending training seminars and events.

I am always searching to expand my knowledge further on new training techniques, behaviors, and tools that apply to our furry friends.

Certifications: Certified veterinary technician, certified Red Cross Canine First Aid/CPR, AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator, AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy evaluator, AKC CGC Community Canine evaluator, AKC Urban CGC evaluator, Trick Dog evaluator

Services include:

  • In home training

Website: https://www.pawsultd.com


Clarissa Zehowski

Certifications: Professional Dog Trainer

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training

Website: https://www.thek9coach.com/


Sniffspot Minnesota Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are Minnesota dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota?

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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota cost?

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

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

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 Minnesota was $29,912 per year and $14.38 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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