The Best Dog Trainers in New York of 2022

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

Tori Ganino

Tori is an avid dog lover that originally went to college to study Psychology. After earning a Bachelor's Degree of Science, she adopted a 5-month-old dog from a local shelter. Almost immediately, behavior problems started to show where her new companion, Cooper, was afraid to meet people, barking and lunging whenever someone came near.

Tori elicited the help of a behaviorist who's suggested technique was pinning Cooper dog against the wall and forcing him to deal with strangers that were approaching him until he emotionally shut down. Tori knew that there must be a better, more humane way, and decided to take her passion for psychology and dogs and enrolled in the Animal Behavior College. Through their hands-on educational program and apprenticeship, Tori developed the skills to handle all training situations with a positive approach and graduated as an Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer (ABCDT). Tori furthered her expertise by successfully passing the Certified Professional Dog Trainer Exam - Knowledge Assessed, earning the title CPDT-KA.

Unlike many other organizations that offer non-standardized take-home tests, the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers requires at least 300 hours hands-on experience, references and the completion of a standardized test used nationwide. Continuing education credits are required to maintain this certification.In October of 2015, Tori became a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) through the International Association of Behavior Consultants (IAABC). This is a title that less than 200 people in the world have.

In addition to an extensive written exam, requirements for membership include a minimum of three years and 500 hours experience in animal behavior consulting with client present, case studies, 400 hours minimum of coursework, mentorship as well as seminars related to the core areas of competency. Continuing education credits are required to maintain this certification.In 2016, Tori became a certified Victoria Stilwell Academy Mentor, and Animal Behavior College Mentor.

Today, Tori is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Certified Dog Behavior Consultant who is constantly continuing her education. Her adopted dog, Cooper, now appropriately handles meeting new people.

Certifications: Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (IAABC), Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CCPDT), Dynamic Dog Practicioner

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

Dogs that bark, lunge, or bite. This can include aggression towards strangers, owners, and animals.

Dogs that cower and hide from people or animals.

Training methods:

Behavior modification programs that include a customized training and management plans, private lessons, and direct priority support between lessons.

Service area:

GLOW Region for in-person private lessons and remote private lessons around the world.

Website: https://www.callingalldogsny.com


Dawn Spencer

I have been training dogs for 25+ years. From small to large, many different breeds. I started my journey at 16 years old working in a veterinary office cleaning kennels, learning how to read the body language of dogs. From there I started working with my own dogs, and training dogs belonging to friends and family.

After some years, I started taking classes in Obedience to learn as much as I could from other trainers to develop my own style. I do many webinars through APDT (Association of Professional Dog Trainers) because our training is never ending. I own & operate "Eye of Oden K9 Training." I also work with a few local Rescues including Make a Difference Rescue in Albion, NY. I train in different magnitudes from Obedience, Trick Dog, Scent Work, Therapy Dog & Service Dog.

I work a lot with my own dogs (4 German Shepherd Dogs) earning new titles, with one of my personal dogs becoming a movie dog featured in the Paramount Film "Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin" through Buffalo Film Works. I enjoy working with dogs and find it really rewarding to see the difference I make between the dogs and their owners. Dogs only know what you teach them, they don't come pretrained and usually the issues people are having are due to human error.

Certifications: AKC CGC Evaluator, CPR, APDT, LIMA

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

Dog on Dog aggression

Training methods:

Positive reinforcement, redirection

Service area:

Orleans County, New York

Website: https://eyeofodenk9.com


Lori Timberlake

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Lori is passionate about strengthening the bond between owners and their pets. She is thrilled that she can devote herself to teaching Nose Work and Parkour classes, both in person and virtually. She is also dedicated to expanding both of these sports in Western New York which is why she is so involved with the National Association of Canine Scent Work and International Dog Parkour Association.

Certifications: Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed, Certified Nose Work Instructor
Certified International Dog Parkour Association Instructor

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

These days I typically work with a lot of dogs that need to build confidence. While I no longer provide private lessons for leash reactivity, "reactive" dogs are welcome in my K9 Nose Work and Parkour lessons. Both of these activities are also great for fearful dogs, but some do better working one-on-one or virtually rather than joining a full class.

Training methods:

At this point I am mostly offering classes that take place at my training center. All of my classes can be registered for through my website, www.dooverdogtraining.com.

If clients are interested in private lessons for K9 Nose Work or Parkour they can contact info@dooverdogtraining.com.

My virtual classes can be found through the Scent Work University, Dog Sport University or Pet Dog U websites. These classes can either be taken as an auditor or as a "student" where you would video your practice sessions and send them to me for review.

Service area:

Western New York, Remote

Website: https://dooverdogtraining.com


Kristen Hanley

A little about me - in addition to being a dog trainer, I am a licensed mental health counselor and have been working in that field for about 15 years. I have a BS in psychology and English from SUNY Geneseo and an MS in mental health counseling from Canisius College. For the past 10 years I have been an active volunteer in local rescue.

That started when I saw a dog posted on Facebook that needed a foster - he was first on a rural southern shelter's euthanasia list because he had been surrendered by his owners (so there was no hold time, like there is for strays). He looked just like our current dog, and became our first foster dog - and our first 'foster failure'. Since then we have fostered over 80 dogs (and only "failed" twice more). But that first foster failure dog - Gideon - had some fear and reactivity issues that began my dog training journey and lead me to pursue training and behavior as a second career - eventually enrolling in Victoria Stilwell's Academy for Dog Training and Behavior and then pursuing my certification with the Council for Professional Dog Trainers.

I continue to be active in rescue; and in addition to fostering, have had roles including direct care and training of dogs in the rescue/shelter, mentoring new volunteers, and working with adoptive families to find a good match for their homes.I currently live with my four dogs and husband in Niagara County. My dogs have titles in dock jumping, barn hunt, nose work, CGC, and my oldest and best boy is a therapy dog with TDI and the SPCA's Paws for Love Program.

Certifications: Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA); Certified Family Dog Mediator (FDM)

Services include:

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

Website: https://dogologywny.com


Russ Hollier

Russ has been a Region Coordinator for Guiding Eyes for the Blind (GEB), and has raised thirteen guide dogs for GEB. He has prepared new puppy-raisers for their first puppy and has taught weekly classes to the volunteer puppy-raisers until their dogs returned to the training school.

Russ is a retired social worker and has worked for over 25 years in the human services profession. As a therapist and clinical supervisor, he has provided services to people overcoming addictions and mental illness, and to those resolving family conflict. Russ's career has reinforced his belief in the resiliency of people and the power of positive relationships. Growing up on a small farm in central New York, Russ has always been drawn to nature and relationships with animals. Russ learned to relate with animals in a calm, consistent, and rewarding manner while helping his father shepherd sheep and care for other livestock and companion animals.

Russ learned that working with animals is a sacred experience, that their needs come first, and that if you pay attention you learn a great deal about yourself in the process. Russ's concern for animals was advanced in his training as a bereavement counselor to assist families through the difficult time of the loss of a loved family pet. Being a professional dog trainer is a natural integration of Russ's human service career, guide dog experience, and animal affinity.

Russ holds a MS in social work from Marywood University, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and a BS in education, with a major in outdoor recreation, from SUNY Cortland, Cortland, New York. He lives near Ithaca, New York, with his wife and offfice manager Beth, Toby a retired guide dog and therapy dog, Larkin a Great Dane, Zena the wonder cat and Pippin a Chihuahua

Certifications: Karen Pryor Academy Graduate. KPA

Services include:

  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training

Website: https://www.russhollierdogtraining.com/


Tricia Kennedy

Tricia is a graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy, which is dedicated to 100% positive reinforcement training (no punishment, corrections or aversive of any kind). Training is reward marker based; we mark behavior that we like with a "click" or a "yes" and ignore behavior we don't like. Behavior that has been rewarded gets repeated and behavior that gets ignored, extinguishes.

Because your dog is making choices to do behaviors you desire and that you have rewarded him/her for previously, you learn how to communicate with each other and an increasingly strong bond is built. Instead of "commanding" your dog to do what you want you work collaboratively towards instilling mutually beneficial behaviors.

Certifications: Graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Reactive dog training

Website: https://yourthinkingdog.com


Pat Tetrault

Pat is a past President and Board Member of the DCSPCA, and is Chair of SOS-SRF, a 501(c)3 dedicated to helping homeless Siberian Huskies.

Services include:

  • Protection/guard dog training
  • Reactive dog training

Website: https://www.topnotchdogtraining.com/


Sniffspot New York Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are New York dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in New York 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 New York 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 New York?

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 New York 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 New York cost?

New York 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 New York dog trainer. How can I get listed here?

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

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 New York was $36,025 per year and $17.32 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.

Buffalo, NY
New York, NY


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