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The Best Dog Trainers in Athens, GA of 2023

Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

May 11, 2023

Dog Trainers

Welcome to the Athens, GA Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2023. This is a list of the top dog trainers in Athens 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 Georgia 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 Athens, GA Dog Trainers in 2023

Canine PhD

Meredith Minkin - Owner and Behavior Consultant. Meredith Minkin, CDBC, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, CSAT, SDC is an internationally certified behavior consultant, a certified professional dog trainer, a certified separation anxiety trainer, and a certified service dog trainer. Meredith is a modern methods, reward-based trainer who works to minimize the use of aversive stimuli and maximize the effective use of reinforcers to modify animal behavior. Meredith is also a Fear Free Certified Professional. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and completed her post-baccalaureate education at Tufts University. Currently, she is working on her Master's Degree in Applied Animal Behavior.

Meredith is a creative problem-solver who works with dogs with severe behavior disorders e.g. phobias, separation anxiety, and aggression. She regularly conducts behavior evaluations of shelter dogs for rescue groups and local animal control agencies. She has rehabilitated abused and aggressive dogs, she has worked with service dogs, customs dogs, military dogs, and has even handled dogs in the confirmation ring. Meredith volunteers with PAWS Atlanta, Best Friends, Re-Leashed Atlanta, Atlanta Dog Squad, Atlanta Pet Rescue, Saving Shelter Pets, Atlanta Boxer Rescue, AARF-Atlanta, DREAM Dachshund Rescue, Lifeline Animal Project, Atlanta Weimaraner Rescue, Shelter Angels Pit Bull Rescue, BullsEye Rescue, Angels Among Us, and other private rescue groups. She also volunteers for Dekalb County, Animal Control and Fulton County Animal Services.

Stacy Drody, CPDT-KA, CSAT, VSPDT, Fear Free Certified,
has had a passion for animals and science her entire life. Growing up alongside seeing eyes dogs she learned the value of a dog's vast capabilities and the importance of understanding their unique way of communication and individual behaviors from an early age. While obtaining a degree in Biology she worked as a vet tech and began volunteering with local rescue organizations volunteering much of her time rescuing, fostering, and rehabilitating dogs. Her volunteer work included rescue operations and rehabilitation from The Korean Meat Trade, The Yulin Meat Festival and hoarding cases. In addition to this work, she also taught classes and workshops for the Atlanta Humane Society.

After a successful career in Sales and Marketing and Corporate Event Planning in the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Industries, she decided to turn her volunteering into a career focusing her path on canine training and behavior. Stacy believes in the ethical treatment of all animals and has established her training on the 'Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive' training philosophy. Her training approach involves using a scientifically grounded, reward based plan.
Stacy's goal is to create lasting, cooperative bonds between her clients and their dogs in a welcoming, fun, and stress-free environment that everyone can benefit from and enjoy! Stacy is a graduate of the Victoria Stilwell Academy of DogTraining and Behavior, A Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed, a Certified Fear Free Dog Trainer, an assistant trainer with Canine Cellmates - the jail dog program at the Fulton County Jail and continues volunteering with the local rescue agencies.

Andrea Borges, CPDT-KA, ABCDT. Andrea is a bilingual (English/Spanish) dog trainer from Venezuela. She earned her BA in Communications from Andrés Bello University in Caracas. Andrea has been training dogs since 2012. She is a graduate of the Animal Behavior College and she is also a Certified Trick Dog Instructor. Andrea is currently enrolled in the CATCH Academy Program. She also has extensive management experience in dog daycare and boarding facilities. Andrea loves to foster shelter dogs in need. She will often go to an animal control facility to choose a difficult dog on death row to rehab/train and then permanently place in a loving home. Her current foster is a Cane Corso who has reactivity issues. Andrea has a big heart, and loves a challenge! She exudes passion for training, and she has already helped many dogs at Canine PhD blossom and grow!

Betty Emrey, CPDT-KA. Betty began the journey into dog training through volunteer work at the ASPCA in New York City. Over five years there, she walked shelter dogs, taught other volunteers how to walk shelter dogs, introduced dogs to potential adopters, and apprenticed as a trainer. After coming back home to Atlanta Betty began offering a variety of group classes, including basic obedience and puppy kindergarten as well as in-home training and consultations. Betty is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed, having successfully completed the training requirements of The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers.

In addition to teaching, Betty also volunteers at the Atlanta Humane Society in adoptions and with the Paws 2 Teach shelter dog classes. She has competed in both Agility and Rally Obedience, but it's her work with shelter dogs that inspires her as a trainer. So many great dogs wind up in shelters because of behaviors that could have been avoided or fixed with proper training. Her goal is to help dogs and their people stay together. Betty lives with three rescue dogs: a chihuahua from NYC, a rough coat collie from NOLA, and a black and white mix from the streets of Decatur. Betty serves on the Member Relations Committee of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and is a member of the Georgia Dog Trainer Forum and the Atlanta Rally Club.

Bethany Gardner, CPDT-KA, BA - Anthrozoology. In 2015 Bethany started an Anthrozoology degree at Carroll College in Helena, Montana. During her time there, she learned about the history and science of human-animal relationships. Her curriculum focused on learning theory, animal behavior, animal welfare and horsemanship. She even fostered and trained multiple dogs as part of her program so that she could put her science-based knowledge into real-world practice.

She was given the opportunity to gain hundreds of hours training dogs under the guidance of experienced professionals. At the core of this education were classes focusing on learning theory and careful prodding of student minds to make us carefully consider both the human and animal side of any situation. She lives in Tucker with her senior lab mix Bishop, and her mutt Sully.

Sully is reactive towards humans, dogs, and has separation anxiety So Bethany is well versed in the ups and downs of living with such a dog. She loves both of her dogs very much and enjoys walking and training around her neighborhood with them. Bethany is a perpetual student and hopes to continue her education in everything dog! She would love to bring the joy of dog training to others around the world! Hundreds of hours of experience using scientifically backed and humane training methods. Certified with the American Society of Canine Trainers. Member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainer Member of the Shock-Free Coalition.

Casey Griffin, CPDT-KA, CCDT. Casey has had a love for dogs her whole life. This made it a no-brainer for her to choose a field where she can turn her love into a career that she is passionate about. Casey came to Canine PhD through the CATCH trainers academy. Casey is one of our lead day-trainers, and she teaches Barn Hunt and Swim classes on the weekends.

Diane Silver. Diane Silver believes a house is not a home without a dog and that a fun activity will enhance your bond with your dog, making the intersection of dog and home all that much more enjoyable. Diane has been involved in performance dog events for the past 12 years, teaching, competing and earning titles in agility, lure coursing, rally obedience, conformation and tricks. She has trained under a number of leading and world-class agility competitors.

At Canine PhD, Diane teaches agility and tricks classes and offers private lessons. She also is a certified K9 Fit Club instructor, focusing on conditioning and strength for dogs and people. Diane began her journey in performance dog events when her young Havanese needed room to run beyond the condo they called home. The mental and physical stimulation of agility helped save their home, and now Diane shares her experience by teaching other dogs and humans the joy of the sport.

When she's not teaching classes or competing with her dog, Diane is a public relations and social media consultant and creator of the blog To Dog With Love. Diane also works with brands in the pet industry to share her expertise in dog training and fitness, pet-friendly travel, and creating a pet-friendly home. You can find Diane and her current Havanese pup Rocco on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @ToDogWithLove.

Brittany Raley. Raley's love of animals has led her to work with animals of all types through the years. As a child, she began training on horseback in the Hunter Jumper arena. This eventually grew into assisting in training horses for the Hunter Jumper events as well as teaching young kids to ride. Raley spent several years working in the Big Cat department of the Little Rock Zoo, where she cared for a variety of large cats, such as Jaguars, Tigers, and Lions. However, dogs have always had a special place in her heart. She always loved helping her friends and family train their dogs. It was her own Dutch Shepherd, Rockstar, that opened her eyes to the world of dog training in a new way. After his passing, she decided training dogs was where she needed to be. She continually participates in classes to further her knowledge in the field.
Raley has earned her certification as a Certified Pro Dog Trainer (PDT) with Absolute Dogs. She has also achieved her PDT- Geek Certification with AD.

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Canine PhD transforms misbehaving dogs into well-mannered companions by providing best-in-class education for a lifetime of learning. We make training fun and easy-giving you peace of mind and a pet who’s a pleasure to live with. We offer group classes for puppies, puppy socials, manners, AKC Canine Good Citizen, Agility, Nosework, Barn Hunt, Swimming & Dock Diving, Reactive Dog, and Hound on the Town. We also have private training with various options for private lessons, day school, or Board & Train. Boarding is also available as well. We are a boutique boarding facility with 7 suites.

Behavioral issue focus: We address a wide range of behavior issues including but not limited to potty training, impulse control, distractions, reactivity, leash reactivity, feline reactivity, aggression, and separation anxiety.

Training methods: Our training is reward based; least invasive, minimally aversive. We do not use shock collars, prong collars, etc. Private consultations are an essential component of addressing behavior issues and/or private training. We offer a wide range of training plans, with custom packages based on the dog's training needs.

Service areas: Decatur, Dekalb County, Druid Hills, Oakhurst, Kirkwood, Midtown, Virginia Highlands, Brookhaven, Morningside, Old Fourth Ward, East Atlanta Village, Ormewood, Avondale Estates, Scottdale, Stone Mountain


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


Sniffspot Athens Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are Athens dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in Athens 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 Athens 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 Athens?

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 Athens 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 Athens cost?

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

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

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 Georgia was $29,205 per year and $14.04 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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See The Best Dog Trainers In Other Georgia Cities

Ordered alphabetically, only included cities where there is enough data to compile a list

Atlanta, GA
Cumming, GA

See The Best Dog Trainers In Other States Near Georgia

South Carolina

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Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

May 11, 2023

Dog Trainers

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