guide on how much does dog training cost

How Much Does Dog Training Cost?

Dog training is no easy task, it requires a ton of patience, consistency, positive reinforcement, and love. It’s safe to say there is no manual for dog training, as every dog is different. This means that what works for one dog may be ineffective for yours. The best way to ensure success is to get to know your dog. Trying to figure things out, especially for a first-time dog owner can be time-consuming, but you can always turn to a professional for help. Not only will they be able to help you set up a training schedule and routine, but you will also get a lot of useful tips to assist you along the way.

The big question is how much dog training classes cost. We all know dogs are not cheap. They require constant attention and will take a chunk out of your wallet every month for their basic needs. Not only that, but routine checkups and medical bills can really compound your bills. Let’s take a look at the types of dog training classes you can enroll in, how it helps, how much it costs, and much more.

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Types of Dog Training Classes

White dog training with a man
Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

First thing is first, let’s start by dissecting and different types of dog training classes that are available on the market today to address how much does dog training cost. Let’s start with the most affordable type and work our way to the no joking around, hardcore but more expensive dog training classes.

Group Dog Training Classes

Group dog training classes are among the most common and affordable options. This is because you are training with a few other dogs and won’t get the focused attention you would if you opted for private classes. Petsmart the pet store also specializes in puppy training and dog training classes that come at an affordable price. They only charge about $120 for a 6-week course. You can shop around at different dog training organizations and look at how other dog trainers compare, but the price could be higher, ranging from a couple to a few hundred dollars.

Some group training classes offer an entire course, with a clear outline of what they will cover in the training and what you get with the training cost. There are also options to enroll in just one or two individual classes if you want to try it out. Of course, if you choose to pay per session, the cost will end up being more expensive than the alternative. As someone who has enrolled their pup in the Petsmart puppy training program, I can say from experience it was very helpful for socialization.

Types of Dog Training Classes
Image by Ihtar from Pixabay

Since it was a group class, you can’t expect your puppy, especially at such a young age to absorb everything very quickly, but they do learn the basics. Getting the chance to interact with other pups around the same age will teach them a lot about how to act with dogs big and small.

The dog training classes, the ones that are for dogs over 6 months to a year old are more advanced. There are even option to target behavioral problems such as separation anxiety and aggression. These are referred to as obedience training, which we will cover a bit later. All in all, for the affordable price your dog will learn basic skills and get the chance to play with other dogs, which is always a bonus.

Remember that group classes are also a chance for you as a pet owner to learn some skills. The dog trainer will equip you with the necessary knowledge to continue with the training at home. Take this time to get to know how your dog reacts, gauge what works and what doesn’t so you can be more successful in the end.

Private Classes

In a place that offers group dog training classes, there will most likely be private dog classes as well. These types of dog classes are more suited for those who have advanced training goals, need a lot of help, or want to progress faster. Private classes can be offered at a special dog training facility or the dog trainer can come to your home. The trainer will have a better idea of what is better once he or she gets to know your dog. Think of private sessions as a more extreme version of group classes.

There are dogs out there that act out at home and are harder to train because it’s their territory. This type of dog will do better going into a dog training venue. There are also dogs that are timider and do better with training in a more familiar space.

Private training classes will progress a lot faster, so you will need to absorb more facts and knowledge. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as you can pinpoint your dog’s individual issues with the dog trainers and develop the exact skills you want and curb your dog’s particular annoying behaviors.

You can get a more in-depth understanding of your dog and how to train him. Knowing this, it’s no surprise that private dog training is more expensive. The price you are looking at for a private training class can range from around $90 per hour at Petsmart, which is not far off from 6-week group classes.

Don’t be discouraged just yet, because that number is on the more affordable side. You can also find private training classes for up to $400 depending on where you live, how professional the trainer is, and if you need specific behavior correction with your dog.

Boot Camp Kennel Training Classes

It may sound a little scary, but boot camp kennel training may be necessary for some dogs. Otherwise known as board and train, this is the type of class that will take your dog in for a certain period of time to correct his behavior. These classes can be group classes or private sessions that are just for the day or for an extended period with your dog living on site.

The dog trainers will devote their time to training your dog without having you present. These classes are ideal for those who don’t have time to participate in dog training with your pooch once or twice a week. These boarding and training institutions will basically take your dog for a period and return a very well-behaved pooch to you.

Since their services are so extensive, it is the most expensive form of dog training. The prices you are looking at rank in the hundreds to start and can sometimes push past the thousand marks depending on how much help you need.

How to Pick a Dog Trainer/Class

Understanding the type of training your dog needs is only half the battle. In fact, we would say one of the most important parts of canine training are the dog trainers and classes you choose. The key is knowing how to pick the right dog trainer and course.

It’s difficult to have a clear idea of what you’re paying for in a dog training class without having experienced it first. But what we can do is do our due diligence to make sure your money is not wasted. The first thing to do is to look at their website and search for reviews. What do other dog parents say about the training institution? Yes, reviews can be faked, but most of those can be identified.

How to Pick a Dog Trainer/Class
Image by liaoxh1981 from Pixabay

How long has the dog trainer been in the field? What credentials or certifications does he or she possess? Anyone can say they are a dog trainer, but you need the experience and accreditation to back it up. You can even try reaching out to the trainer and see if they can refer you to previous clients for reference.

Some dog trainers might even allow you to sit in on a class for free. Whether or not this includes involving your dog is another story. But through these trial sessions, you can see the dog trainer’s methods and the tools they use. It will allow you to see if your values align with their methods.

Look at what type of training techniques the trainers use and advertise. We strongly dissuade dog parents to go with dog trainers that advocate for choke collars, negative reinforcement training, and other aggressive techniques. The use of these methods could be effective for some dogs, but more often than not, it will cultivate fear and even have a hand in developing aggression and other behavioral issues that didn’t exist.

Does the dog trainer know what you are looking for? Make sure the dog trainers you look into are open to communication and listening to your concerns. If you don’t have a good relationship with your dog trainers, it could lead to countless other problems. Don’t pick a dog trainer that makes you feel like you have no say in how they train your dog. Remember that in the end, it’s YOUR dog, and if the trainer is not addressing your concerns or you don’t agree with their techniques, they need to be able to take the criticism.

Methods of Dog and Puppy Training

What types of dog training methods are there? How much does dog training cost for these specific approaches? Let’s take a look.

Positive Reinforcement

This is the most popular and suggested way by most dog trainers. This type of training can be used to curb any behavior. The philosophy is that encouragement, treats, and a lot of affection are more effective.

You show your dog what you are pleased with instead of showing him what displeases you. When your dog does something you dislike, instead of hitting them or anything else frowned upon, simply ignore the behavior or say a firm “NO!”. This isn’t the easiest form of dog training since it requires more time, patience, and consistency. However, it is the prime technique dog trainers adopt because it proves to be effective in the long run.

Methods of Dog and Puppy Training
Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

At Petsmart for example, positive reinforcement is their preferred mode, and they couple this with clicker training. If you haven’t heard of this, clicker training is where you have a clicker and you press on it when you reward your dog as soon as he does something positive. This is a sort of association training that will lead your dog to associate the clicker with rewards.

Remember to only reward good behavior, and be consistent. It takes practice and sometimes you may accidentally end up clicking for the wrong behavior, but just keep at it. After all, practice makes perfect!

Clicker Training

Let’s dive a bit deeper into this form of training. For those wondering how much does dog training cost with a clicker, the answer is – nothing. You won’t need to pay an extra fee because the training facility chooses to use a clicker.

The point of clicker training is not only to show your dog what you want to be done and to reward him when he obeys, but the sound association will allow you to use the clicker to shape other areas of your dog’s life. Whether it’s tricks or new behaviors, clicker training is a form of learning and teaching that can hone your dog’s obedience skills.

The important thing is to condition your dog to understand that a click is a good thing, it means there is a treat coming. If you don’t necessarily want to carry around a clicker with you all day during the training class, it’s also possible to introduce a verbal command that can have the same effect. For example, saying the word “good” or “good boy/girl” can be the key.

Puppy dog training with a trainor
Image by 825545 from Pixabay

Scientific Training

How much does dog training cost with a scientific method? If your trainer adopts scientific training, that means they assess each dog individually and understand his nature and tendencies. This type of dog training is more often implemented in private training classes rather than group classes. Basically, the trainer himself will be an animal behaviorist or enlist the help of one. This type of private training encompasses a broad spectrum, which is why it’s difficult to define.

To put it simply, scientific training is the premier method to understand the cause of the behavior, evaluate what the behavior means, and then engage in a variety of approaches to eradicate it. How it’s done could be through positive reinforcement, clicker training, and more.

Obedience Training

Obedience training is another wide-encompassing category that refers to many different types of dog training. Any process that involves getting your dog to listen and obey can be considered obedience training. We decided to give obedience training its own section because it ties into more advanced training such as professional therapy dogs or search and rescue dogs. For example, there are classes that are labeled “good citizen certification” which just makes sure your pooch acts acceptably in public.

To complete obedience training and attain the certification, you need to meet certain standards. For example, you have to train your dog to not have any aggressive behavior. Therapy dogs, guide dogs, and search and rescue dogs need to complete this basic training before they can advance to more in-depth skill-building.

Dog obedience training using a basket
Image by Acmecanine from Pixabay

Relationship Training

This type of training takes advantage of the relationship between dogs and people. Basically, you teach your dog what you want through communication. This can be done by reading each other’s actions and strengthening the bond. This is perhaps one of the most enjoyable and rewarding ways to train your dog. The relationship dog training cost won’t be too expensive, but this method is not as popular as the first one on our list. Dog training based on your relationship requires both parties to understand body language and meet each others’ needs.

Dominance Training

There are some dog breeds that will benefit from a firmer hand. By no means do we mean negative reinforcement, but you need to show the dog who’s boss. This method works especially well with pack dogs like the Siberian Husky. Earn your dog’s respect and show them you’re in charge with alpha dog training. To do this, your dog trainer will teach you how to read your dog, and how you can exude a sense of authority to subdue him.

Examples of dominant training are walking through doorways first before your dog and making sure you eat before your dog. Try not to get down to their level and always assume a higher positive. Some trainers even say you should lock eyes and not look away until your dog does when he does something wrong. This method can be coupled with clicker and positive reinforcement training to get results faster.

Dog dominance training with another dog
Image by Counselling from Pixabay

Rival Training

This form of training really makes you believe dogs are just like humans in some ways. As a kid or even an adult, we are competitive by nature and so are some dogs. It is said that dogs learn by observation, so if they have another human or dog that outperforms them and gets all the praise, they will learn to smarten up and act right.

Having someone else, whether it is a dog or human learning alongside your dog is a great way to get the determination and rivalry going and could be the push your dog needs to learn quickly.

Collar Training

We saved this method for last as it’s a very controversial and a heated topic of debate within the dog training community. Using a collar on your dog isn’t the issue, but it’s the type of collar and what it does that is a cause for concern. There are different types of collars and some are hybrids capable of carrying out different functions. We’re going to cover the basics.

Martingale or choke collar training is never advised. This form of training can actually cause fear and panic inside your dog. A dog that’s scared will lash out and you will end up with a dog that starts to act aggressively.

Then there are the shock collars, which most people will agree on is inhumane and cruel. There are some static shock collars that are advertised to be painless and the administration of the electricity will only surprise your dog. Even so, we still advise against trying this type of dog training without consulting a vet or trainer first.

We also have other collars such as the ultrasonic, spray, or vibration. These features can also be included in a shock collar or found on their own. Ultrasonic collars emit a sound that only dogs can hear that will stop them in their tracks. The vibration collar is similar to the shock collar dog training, except it just uses vibrations that can be customized.

Lastly, we have the spray collars, also known as citronella collars that will spray an unpleasant scent that will deter your dogs. We will remind all dog owners that some dogs are impervious to the vibration, ultrasonic, and spray collars. This is also why we recommend other approaches before utilizing collar training.

White dog with collar
Image by benega from Pixabay

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does dog training cost at Petsmart?

The training cost at Petsmart will vary, but you are looking at around $119 for a 6-week basic training course. This course will cover basic training commands and teach elementary obedience training. This price is also very affordable compared to other places. However, this figure is for group classes and not private dog training. For private sessions, Petsmart will charge more.

Is paying for dog training worth it?

Yes, paying for dog training is worth it. The professional trainers will give you guidance and the knowledge you need to reach success. Dog training can also be useful to help correct existing unwanted behaviors.

How much does it cost to make your dog a service dog?

The dog training cost for your canine to become a service dog will vary. If your dog is well behaved by nature, service dog training and certification can be on the low side of $7000. However, advanced service dog training such as becoming guide dogs can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000.

How much are puppy training classes?

Puppy training costs can vary. If you are looking into service dog training at a young age, you could end up paying thousands upon thousands for advanced certification. For a basic session for a pup looking to curb an unwanted behavior in a group setting, the cost can be as low as $20 per hour or per session.

How much does PETCO charge for training?

The dog training cost at PETCO is just under $300 for a 6 week course, which evens out to about $50 per class. This is significantly higher than Petsmart classes. Petco also offers group and private training class options.


Dog training is an essential part to getting a new puppy. Not only that, but training can be implemented at any point in a dog’s life. However, it’s suggested to commence training as early as possible to be the most effective. Unfortunately, some dogs aren’t lucky enough to have been in a loving home since puppyhood and have suffered through trauma. These poor fur babies will need help to get through their issues. Private lessons are recommended for these dogs with a professional dog trainer.

Expert Tip

For new puppies remember to puppy-proof your house. It’s not totally the pup’s fault if you leave interesting and potentially yummy but dangerous things within his reach. As an infant dog without anyone teaching him, items will be destroyed by their jaws if you aren’t careful.

Did You Know?

Many people forget that at the end of the day, your dog is a dog. Try not to place the same standards on him as you would a human. When you are trying to understand their state of mind, remember that they are not calculating and don’t mean to ruin your favorite pair of shoes.

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