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The Best Dog Trainers in Asheville, NC of 2023

Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

May 24, 2023

Dog Trainers

Welcome to the Asheville, NC Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2023. This is a list of the top dog trainers in Asheville based on votes from the Sniffspot community and the general public. Over 55,000 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 North Carolina list. To learn more about our dog trainer contest, feel free to view the dog trainer contest post.

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 all 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 Asheville, NC Dog Trainers in 2023

Comora Tolliver

I help families navigate their world with the canine companions they love. I teach owners how to set their dogs up for success and reach their goals using humane, science based training strategies based on the individual. I also offer puppy, cgc, manners, and reactive dog classes.

Certifications: KPA CTP, Fear Free Certified, AKC EVALUATOR, Family Dog Mediator

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Private one on one, classes- reactive dog class, puppy basic under six months, puppy basics over 6 months, trick, CGC, advanced

Behavioral issue focus: Fear, reactivity, aggression

Training methods: Positive reinforcement based in science.

Why I became a dog trainer: To help people understand the dog in front of them and to guide and help them become a successful team.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping people understand how to let their dog live their best life!

My #1 dog training tip: Reward your dog for the things you like when you see them offer it!

Service areas: Hendersonville

Website: https://www.barkersanonymous.com


Caitlin Morrow

Caitlin Morrow, head trainer for Behavior Tails, achieved her first dog training credential in 2007. After spending over a 15 years working in Western North Carolina, Caitlin knows most of the local veterinarians and vet techs and comes highly recommended by other dog trainers, past clients and the veterinarian community.

Caitlin is a positive reinforcement based dog trainer that adheres to LIMA (Least Intrusive Minimally Aversive) policies and does not use correction based training methods. With the focus of training being the individual dog's needs we work to create harmonious living between all members of the household without the use of corrections or force to get results.

Certifications: CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, Fear Free Certified Professional, Registered Vet Tech - NC, Service Dog Coach, mentor trainer for CATCH Academy & Animal Behavior College

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Private training, group classes, drop off training, day training, obedience training, basic manners, potty training, puppy socialization, remedial socialization, therapy dog prep, service dog training, scent training, medical detection training, working with breeders for puppy selection, working with shelters for dog selections, fear & anxiety issues, dog-dog aggression issues, leash reactivity, resource guarding, new baby consultations and prep, trick dog classes

Behavioral issue focus: Aggression, Reactivity, Service Dog Training, Puppy Training, Basic Manners, Tricks

Training methods: Depending on what the issues are we will do an initial consultation to make a thorough evaluation of the situation and put a plan in place. For basic training with no problem behaviors being seen we dive straight into training. Written reports & summaries are given to behavior cases.

Why I became a dog trainer: I love learning and observing behavior in all species. I love helping people understand their dogs better and helping both dogs & people learn to communicate together.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing how joyful both the person and the dog are as we work on improving their communication together. The transition to enjoying doing things together again and even just understanding each other.

My #1 dog training tip: Learn body language better. If you understand your dog's body language and learn to respect their choices you will open up a lot of new avenues that improve so many things.

Service areas: Haywood County, Buncombe County, Franklin County, Candler, Canton, Asheville, West Asheville, Waynesville, Balsam, Cruso, Sylva, Biltmore Lake

Website: https://www.BehaviorTailsLLC.com


Kim Brophey

Kim Brophey, CDBC, CPDT-KA, is an applied ethologist and owner of The Dog Door Behavior Center in downtown Asheville, NC. Kim's 20-year commitment to Family Dog Mediation has been recognized both nationally and locally, awarded the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) Outstanding Trainer of the Year in 2009 and the Best Dog Trainer of WNC six years in a row.

She has lectured and taught courses at colleges, universities, and conferences on canine behavior, ethology, and welfare. Kim is a member of the International Society for Applied Ethology and the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, and is a past board member of the International Association and Animal Behavior Consultants and the Asheville Humane Society.

Kim's trademarked Dog L.E.G.S model is a groundbreaking new system for dog lovers to truly understand their dogs' behavior- distilling multiple scientific disciplines and established principles into a simple and accessible framework for pet dogs and their people like never before. Kim is launching a coordinated grassroots movement to facilitate a paradigm shift and market disruption in the pet industry through: her book MEET YOUR DOG- The Game-Changing Guide to Understanding Your Dog's Behavior, TEDx talk - The Problem with Treating a Dog Like a Pet, Canine Genetic Heritage Testing Software 'The Dog Key National Dog L.E.G.S. Association for pet industry businesses and organizations, L.E.G.S. Applied Ethology Family Dog Mediation Professional Course, and establishment of Asheville as the official Dog City, USA. She has become a powerful leading voice in the dog behavior and training industry internationally, with students all over the world.

Kim's vision is to facilitate a critical paradigm shift in our relationships with dogs- building bridges and inspiring others with comprehensive, practical science to redefine how we perceive, talk about, and treat our canine companions as a society.

Certifications:

CPDT-KA
CDBC
LFDM

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided:

THE DOG DOOR is revolutionizing the dog behavior & training industry, breaking the mold of the outdated model of dog 'obedience' training with a ground-breaking new service model for the millions of dog loving families struggling with behavior problems & the dog behavior pros committed to helping them Family Dog Mediation.

Built upon decades of well-established behavioral science spanning multiple disciplines, the highly celebrated Dog L.E.G.S. Model of Applied Ethology behind Family Dog Mediation is changing the entire conversation in the dog behavior industry. This new service delivers unprecedented insights & interventions, integrating the full scope of relevant sciences for the benefit of dog families worldwide. And it does it more simply, practically, and enjoyably for everyone.

Behavioral issue focus: Aggression with people or dogs, Anxiety, fear, leash pulling, jumping, barking, emotional distress, difficulties with children, inter-dog issues, issues with cats living in the home, other common behavior problems

Training methods: The behavior consultation lasts about an hour and a half during which time Kim will be asking a series of questions, getting a thorough history, and details about all of the behaviors you've been seeing and in what contexts you're seeing those behaviors. From there she will be able to give you some insight about all of the different components contributing to those behaviors. From there she will be able to talk you about what steps to take going forward to mitigate those issues. At the end of the behavior consultation she will talk to you about whether or not she thinks follow up appointments would be necessary and if so, how many appointments she thinks it will take to reach all of your goals.

Why I became a dog trainer: A deep love for dogs, but more than that I wanted to help families understand why their dogs behave the way they do to help humans feel compassion for their pets and at the same time help dogs understand their humans.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing the light bulb go off for families when they can see what the internal experience is for their dog.

My #1 dog training tip: Understanding changes everything.

Service areas: Asheville, NC and Western North Carolina as well as virtual training internationally

Website: https://www.dogdoorcanineservices.com/


Logan Buie

I am a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner and Separation Anxiety Pro Trainer. I have a soft spot for dogs who are labeled fearful, anxious, or reactive. My training plans always focus on meeting a dog's needs (as well as the human's) to help them feel safe and confident in this wild world. My training plans also focus on allowing dogs to have choice and agency in the learning process.

Certifications:  KPA-CTP, SA Pro Trainer

Services include:

  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training

More info about service provided: Reactivity training, separation anxiety training, general life skills/manners/behavior modification

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity to humans and/or dogs; Undesirable behavior issues like nipping/jumping/etc; Separation-related behaviors

Training methods: I follow a force-free, LIMA, and evidence-based training approach. Clients participate in a 75-minute initial behavior consultation with me before registering for a training package with multiple virtual sessions.

Why I became a dog trainer: I became a dog trainer because of my own reactive dog, JJ. After seeing the impact of a clicker training approach on her mental health and welfare, I began inhaling all of the positive reinforcement knowledge I could. I love to learn, and I quickly realized that I wanted to share what I had learned with other dog parents to help them and their dogs thrive.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing nervous or fearful dogs come out of their shell and grow in confidence!

My #1 dog training tip: Your dog is a sentient being and they deserve to be treated as such! Take the time to understand and meet their needs - it is worth it in the long run. Seeing your dog as an individual is also one of the best, most beautiful parts of your relationship.

Service areas: Remote only

Website: https://www.themisbehavingmutt.com


Sniffspot Asheville Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are Asheville dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in Asheville 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 Asheville 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 Asheville?

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 Asheville 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 Asheville cost?

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

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

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 North Carolina was $29,895 per year and $14.37 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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Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

May 24, 2023

Dog Trainers

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