The Best Dog Trainers in San Jose, CA of 2022

Welcome to the San Jose, CA Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2022. This is a list of the top dog trainers in San Jose 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. This list is a subset of the broader Top Trainers in California list.

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 sponsored 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 San Jose, CA Dog Trainers in 2022

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
Behavioral issue focus:

Puppy issues: biting, chewing, housetraining, socialization, preparing to be left alone, and general good manners.

Dog issues: basic obedience; listening; waiting at doors; leash manners; barking and lunging at other dogs, people, squirrels, cars, etc.; aggression issues; barking, demand behaviors, and more!

Training methods:

All training is based on positive reinforcement, which means looking for opportunities to set the dog up to succeed and them rewarding them for making the right choice. Many problem behavior cases start with teaching some "Fluent, familiar foundation" commands, and using those and other skills to build correct responses to challenging circumstances. Training draws on variety of tools including Control Unleashed and Behavior Adjustment Training.

Service area:

Central Silicon Valley/Santa Clara County: San Jose, Campbell, Willow Glen, Santa Clara, Los Gatos, Los Altos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Cupertino, Mountain View, Milpitas; Willow Glen, Rose Garden, Almaden


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


Kaajal Tiwary

Kaajal (aka "KT") loves puppies and is dedicated to getting new puppy guardians off on the right paw and guiding her students through the tough early days of owning a dog. Her goal? Transforming each bundle of raw puppy energy into the perfect adult companion. She also loves helping people have a well-behaved adult dog that knows how to be part of the family. She's dedicated her training career to helping her clients achieve just that. She feels a special connection with dogs that are fearful, anxious, nervous, believe that the world is "unsafe" and then resort to aggression to communicate.

Kaajal is a big believer in continuing education and frequently attends workshops, conferences and seminars to hone her knowledge and skill set to bring the latest scientific understanding of dog behavior and training to her work. Committed to providing the most effective, convenient solutions to her clients' dog training needs, she uses gentle, effective and fast training methods that work to develop enjoyable relationships between people in their dogs. This sets them up for a lifetime of good behavior for their people.When not helping clients to enjoy easier lives with their canine companions, she does Holistic Consultations.

She is a certified Reiki Master and Numerologist. But became a professional dog trainer to pursue her passion and true life calling: to help pets and their people live better lives together.

Certifications: Professional Dog trainer

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

leash reactivity, human aggression

Training methods:

We only use training methods that are effective 'not all dog training is the same.
We want your dog to love the process of learning his new behaviors. And want you to feel good knowing that we only use gentle, humane, effective and proven training methods' as you can see from our success stories.

We are all about results you see in real life.
I's all fine and good if your dog behaves in class or shows off for the trainer. But what really matters is that he responds to you in your home, in public places - wherever your day takes both of you.

We personalize training based on the preferences.
We can simply do the training for you, or teach you to train your dog. Either way, we build a training plan for your goals and lifestyle, and we make it as easy and convenient as possible.

We're Pros.
In an unregulated industry, you want to know your dog trainer knows her P‚'s & Q's – that's why we've opted for the most rigorous education available, and committed ourselves to high level ongoing professional development.

Service area:

Group Puppy & Dog Training Classes, Private Puppy & Dog Training for Manners, Board and Train, Day School for Puppies & Adult Dogs, Behavior Modification for Fear & Aggression in California South Bay Area, including San Jose, Willow Glen, Santa Clara, Monte Sereno, Sunnyvale, Milpitas, Campbell, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Los Altos, Cupertino, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton.


Sue Rusnak


Certifications: CTC

Services include:

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

Karen Shipe

Karen's earliest memories are of playing and taking naps with her first dog, a cockapoo named Fritzi. Ever since then, dogs have been an important part of her life. Her career with dogs began as a volunteer socializing and walking shelter dogs, and later as a behavior evaluator for the Humane Society of Silicon Valley. That led to an interest in dog training and eventually a change of career to become a full-time dog trainer.

Dog training has given her the opportunity to help dogs and their guardians build positive and happy relationships, thus reducing the number of dogs surrendered to shelters. Karen is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) and Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT).

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:
  • In home training
Behavioral issue focus:

If your dog is pulling on leash, barking at other dogs while walking, or feeling a bit timid about the world we can help.

Training methods:

We practice positive reinforcement, science backed training to ensure your dog loves to train.

If the training needed is for good manners & basic obedience skills (how to behave in the home, polite greetings, leash manners, etc.) then we offer a choice of booking one session at a time for $175 each or two package deals: $650 for 4 in-person sessions or $900 for 6 in-person sessions. The number of recommended sessions depends on your goals for your pup.

For behavioral training (excessive barking, anxiety, reactivity) we start with an in-person consultation ($200) of about 1 to 1 1/2 hours where we do an evaluation of your dog's skills, issues, etc., we discuss training goals, and determine a plan for helping him with behavior issues. The Behavior modification plan includes 6 in-person sessions, homework plans, documents to supplement lessons, and 3 months of email and text support services for $1200.

Service area:

Service from Palo Alto to South San Jose


Sniffspot San Jose Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are San Jose dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in San Jose 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 San Jose 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 San Jose?

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 San Jose 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 San Jose cost?

San Jose 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 San Jose dog trainer. How can I get listed here?

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

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.

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