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The Best Dog Trainers in Atlanta, GA of 2023

Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

March 29, 2022

Dog Trainers

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

Chelsea Murray

Every day the dogs around me bring joy to my life and I want to share that with my clients. By living a life of adventure with my dogs I have experienced how clear communication and shared passions can strengthen your relationship with your dog. I love watching my clients find that same lifestyle success as they learn to work with their dogs as teammates.

I graduated from the University of Georgia Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Science in Agriculture in Biological Sciences. After graduation I completed the Karen Pryor Academy Professional Dog Trainers Program to become a Certified Training Partner (KPA-CTP) and since have committed myself to being a lifetime student. I am knowledge assessed through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT-KA), a Certified Trick Dog Instructor (CTDI), an evaluator for the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen, Trick Dog, and STAR Puppy Programs, and am a Certificate Trainer for From Shy to Showy with Show Dog Prep School. I continue to pursue more education, ensuring that I can provide my clients with the most humane and effective training methods that are backed by science.

When I am not training other people's dogs, I can usually be found spending time with my Alaskan Malamutes. We train and compete in Rally Obedience, Trick Dog Titles, Fast Cat, Conformation, Backpacking, Nose Work, and Sleddog Sports. I am a member of the Alaskan Malamute Club of America, an Admin/Co-Founder of Georgia Urban Mushing, and a board member for the United States Federation of Sleddog Sports (USFSS). In the winter months we train in canicross, bikejoring, scootering, skijoring, and sledding and during the spring and summer months we all enjoy paddleboarding, canoeing, hiking, and camping.

I enjoy an adventurous life with my dogs and love helping my clients learn to do the same.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP, CTDI
AKC CGC, STAR, and Trick Dog Evaluator

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: I provide in-home private lessons, in-person group classes, day training, board and trains, behavior modification, virtual private lessons, virtual group classes, and webinars for a variety of topics including puppy raising, pet-dog manners, adventure dog training (paddleboarding, hiking, backpacking), dog-powered sports, and conformation.

Behavioral issue focus: I work with clients on a wide variety of behavioral concerns including leash reactivity, resource guarding, aggression, fear, and anxieties.

Training methods: I am a positive reinforcement trainer who utilizes marker-based training methods. I believe that all learners, both human and canine, deserve to feel safe while training and enjoy the process. During the initial client intake conversation, the client and I discuss some of the challenges they are experiencing and what their training goals are. This allows me to make a recommendation for services to help them with their needs.

In our individualized training programs each client and dog dynamic is unique and therefore we work together to create a custom training plan. In our sessions together, we work towards modifying the behaviors they dislike and creating new behavior patterns while working towards their training goals. After one on one time clients receive recap emails with handouts, video tutorials, and written notes to help them implement their homework and to provide them with resources that they can refer back to for reminders. Success in a training program relies on clear communication from a trainer to the client, and a client to their dogs.

My goal is to help my client gain the tools they need to train their dog, communicate clearly, and live a better life together.

Why I became a dog trainer: Like many involved in the professional training community, I spent my childhood surrounded by animals. When I was with them I felt a special kind of peace and connection. As I grew up that love turned into a commitment to seek out knowledge and learn how to be a better caregiver. Studying more about dogs, I grew a greater appreciation for all of the lessons that animals can teach us and how fulfilled our lives can be with them as our teachers. Learning about how dogs communicate, their species-specific needs, and how to help them learn to navigate our busy-world is a passion I now get to share with my community. Becoming a dog trainer was not a choice, but a calling.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Walking into a client's home their love for their dog is always obvious. But being able to make a change in a client's life and add more tools to their toolbox to help them live a better life with their dog by their side is incredible. I love being able to eliminate stress and frustration from both the dog and the human and then sit back and watch all of the adventures that they enjoy together as a result.

My #1 dog training tip: Reinforce what you like! Its an easy but powerful tool we have. So often in our society it is easy for us to see what is going wrong, but we often forget to identify those moments of success. If we observe our dog and begin to reinforce those desired behaviors we can increase the frequency in which they happen and can decrease undesired behaviors. Put simply- we can teach our dog to make good choices by rewarding them!

Service areas: I service Atlanta, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Dunwoody, and
Sandy Springs with in-person services. I also offer remote coaching programs for clients all over the world.

Website: https://www.pawsitivefutures.com


Abbey Johnson

Understanding animals and their behavior has always been a passion of mine. I grew up surrounded by dogs, cats, horses, and various other types of animals throughout my childhood. The more time I spend with animals, the more I realize the disconnected communication we often tend to have with them. Animals, and dogs especially, are always talking to us. It's our job to stop, listen, and kindly teach them about our human world!

I have an extensive background working with shelter and rescue dogs. Stemming from this comes my special love for small breed dogs, and although I work with all dogs from Chihuahuas to Great Danes, I get a lot of satisfaction from helping people reach their full potential with their small breed dogs, who can often be overlooked and misunderstood. I strive to make my two rescued small breed dogs, Phoebe and Pocket, an example to the fact that small dogs are just as trainable and just as deserving of a fulfilled life as any other dog! We spend most of our days learning tricks, practicing nosework, adventuring out in nature, or curled up watching movies on the couch.

I graduated in 2018 with my Bachelor's in Psychology from Auburn University, and continued on to work for over 5 years in animal sheltering/rescue, where I generated a lot of experience handling various dogs with different degrees of behavioral needs. From there, I pursued my passion for training by becoming a multi-certified professional dog trainer, and haven't looked back! I strive to be approachable, accessible, and non-judgemental when working with clients. My goal is always 'progress over perfection' and I will never try to hold you to unrealistic or unhelpful standards when working together. We do better when we know better, and all of us always have something new to learn in life!

Certifications: CPDT-KA, FDM

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Private in-home training, private virtual training, group classes, day training, limited board-and-train. Life skills, behavior modification for fear, reactivity, overarousal, etc. Puppy foundation training, canine good citizen prep training, trick training, small dog training

Behavioral issue focus: Leash reactivity, fearful/anxious dogs, overarousal, resource guarding

Training methods: I use a holistic approach to address behavior issues- we look at the whole dog including their breed, early learning experiences, environment, health, and exercise/enrichment needs to ensure the dog is at a proper behavioral baseline for the best results. Long-lasting results require more than just a 1-2-3 step training method!

Why I became a dog trainer: I have had an interest in animal behavior for my entire life, and this interest was only further solidified throughout my college experience as I gained my degree in Psychology alongside simultaneously working with shelter dogs. After working in the shelter and rescue world for some years, it continued to be apparent to me that our society still seems to struggle to understand our dogs and the "why" behind many of their behaviors. Helping dogs start out life on the right foot through puppyhood, initial months after adoption, and helping dog owners who are struggling with behavioral issues are great ways to help keep dogs out of shelters!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I really enjoy watching my clients start to truly understand their dogs. A little understanding of behavior got a really long way when it comes to being able to harmoniously live together for years to come! Positive reinforcement and relationship-based training can really create an indescribable bond between handler and dog, and being able to facilitate that for people is the most rewarding part of my job. When dogs are happy, their people are happy too!

My #1 dog training tip: When in doubt, reward it! It's really difficult to over-reward desirable behavior, and most of the time we should be rewarding our dogs more! The stronger the reinforcement history, the more likely your dog is going to be able to perform the desired behavior when you really need it in "real life scenarios."

Service areas: Brookhaven, Buckhead, Tucker, Chamblee, Stone Mountain, Decatur, Avondale Estates, Druid Hills, Dunwoody

Website: https://www.pawsitivefutures.com


Julie Haller

I have been working with dogs for over 30 years, beginning in my families kennel, where we raised, trained, and showed German Shorthaired Pointers and Collies. I'm an internationally Certified Games Based Pro Dog Trainer through Absolute Dogs and earned an Advanced Professional Dog Trainer certification through a 9 month in-person hands on Certified Georgia Post Secondary Institution. I'm an Air Force veteran with 4 adult children and currently live in Cumming, GA with my husband of 30 years and our Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Anchor.

Certifications: ADPDT, AKC CGC Evaluator

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Household Manners, Reactivity , Puppy training, AKC CGC classes and evaluations, Trick training, Separation Anxiety (separation related behaviors-SRBs), basic obedience, loose leash walking, In-home Private Behavior Consultations, In-home Private training packages

Behavioral issue focus: We commonly work with separation related behaviors, anxiety, reactivity, fear of handling/vet visits/vet aggression, jumping, pulling on leash, counter surfing, barking

Training methods: I'm a certified positive reinforcement games based trainer. I follow the Least Intrusive Minimally Aversive (LIMA) training philosophy. I offer free, no obligation phone consultations to discuss the best training package for each client. Once booked, Upon booking, each client completes a thorough intake questionnaire. I then personally meet with all my clients prior to any training sessions to evaluate the dog and go through the questionnaire. I develop a comprehensive overall training game-plan, and provide a weekly game-plan prior to each session. I then follow-up with recap/homework info, so every client knows what we went over and what and when to practice until our next session.

Why I became a dog trainer: I thoroughly enjoy helping build a positive bond between owners and their dogs. Its a wonderful feeling when owners realize they can meet and exceed their training expectations and have the dog of their dreams all through teamwork and positive training methods.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Changing lives of dogs and their humans!

My #1 dog training tip: Use your dog's daily food allowance for training! Ditch that bowl!!

Service areas: Cumming, Canton, Dawsonville, Milton, Alpharetta, Forsyth County, Cherokee County, Dawson County, North Fulton County

Website: https://www.atgdogtraining.com/


Robin Sockness

Celebrating 16 years serving Coweta and Fayette County Ga.

Certifications: Member APDT and Pet Professional Guild

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Force free, science based dog training. Puppy classes, outdoor classes and in-home training.

Behavioral issue focus: We love puppies!

Training methods: No pain, no force, no fear.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: The dogs!

My #1 dog training tip: Set your dog up to succeed!

Service areas: Fayette and Coweta Counties

Website: https://MyBestBuddyDogTraining.com


Melissa Dallier

I'm Melissa, and I'm the founder, owner and trainer at A Canine Affinity and I'm here to help you resolve and take steps to prevent separation anxiety problems. I want to make sure both you and your pup are able to enjoy time apart and together.

I am a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT), a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), Fear Free Certified (FFCP) as well as a member of the Pet Professional Guild and a graduate of The Academy of Dog Behaviors. I am committed to continuing education, because like all science, the science of dog behavior is always changing and I am always excited to learn the most up-to-date findings out there so I can be the best trainer for you and your dog! As your trainer, I promise:

To never use? force, fear, or pain to train your dog or puppy - I will only use ethical, scientifically supported methods. To treat you and your dog as individuals, I don't believe in a one size fit's all approach to training.
To show you compassion, empathy, and help you find the the humor in tough situations - because sometimes, you just need to laugh.

Certifications: CSAT, CPDT-KA, FFCP

Services include:

  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Separation Anxiety specialist offering all virtual training for anyone. Consultations and packages. Puppy training for pups under 6 months: training and socialization, alone time preparation and behavior modification.

Behavioral issue focus: Separation anxiety, new puppies, fearful puppies, teaching new skills, building confidence, potty training, alone time desensitization

Training methods: It's my goal to empower you to teach your dog the skills they'll need to meet your training goals. And to do so through a positive reinforcement based approach , which is scientifically proven to be the longest-lasting and least stressful methods to train any animal with. I believe in not only training your dog, but in helping you and your pup form a strong relationship that will last a lifetime.

We believe in providing comprehensive , evidence-based training methods that are tailored to each individual dog. Through behavior modification training, gradual desensitization and virtual training, we are dedicated to helping dogs recover from separation anxiety. And through our individualized training programs, we can deliver effective strategies for young puppies just starting out that will help pet guardians create bonds of trust and compassion for years to come.

Why I became a dog trainer: I was living in New York City pursuing a career in acting after college in 2003. While I loved that life, every "survival" job I had was working with dogs... a dog walker, dog day care, or finding time to volunteer in shelters to just be with dogs. It soon became apparent that I wanted a different path. So started to read books and attend workshops every chance I got. Then in 2012 I adopted a puppy from the ASPCA and she is my reason and inspiration behind it all. She started the big journey and transition. I started more serious education. The rest is history...

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Constant exposure to new science and being able to use that education to help my client dogs and humans to modify behavior for the better.

My #1 dog training tip: Slow Down. Change takes time and our dogs need us to be patient.

Service areas: Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta, Alpharetta, Cobb, Atlanta,

Website: https://www.acanineaffinity.com

Amy Campbell

Amy is a professional dog trainer and small animal massage therapist. Before moving to Atlanta in 2018, Amy ran a successful dog walking and training business in the Boston area for ten years and has extensive experience working with groups of dogs, dog-dog interactions and supporting families and their dogs who are struggling with anxiety, impulse control issues, and bad social skills. Amy has more than six years experience teaching group classes on a weekly basis at the country's oldest AKC Club, New England Dog Training Club. These days, Amy splits her time between work as a grant writer for a couple of Atlanta's best nonprofits and working with dogs through Behave Atlanta.

Certifications: CCPDT-KA

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: We offer private training for dogs, puppies and cats. We offer behavior modification/training plans for dogs with reactivity, aggression, separation anxiety, interdog aggression, and fear/anxiety.

Behavioral issue focus: separation anxiety, reactivity, aggression, aggression/reactivity towards baby/kids, fear/anxiety, and more.

Training methods: We begin with a consult and create a personalized behavior plan for the client. Then we offer a package of training sessions to work through the plan with clients, ensuring they learn how to guide their dog in these new ways.

Why I became a dog trainer: I became a dog trainer because one puppy in my playgroups as a dog walker became aggressive and I missed it. I missed the change from sweet but over-active puppy to a resource guarding fighter. I wanted to learn how to prevent problem behaviors and teach owners how smart their dogs actually are and that positive reinforcement and compassionate dog training can get amazing results.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: My clients

My #1 dog training tip: Every dog is smart and unique, so set up a training plan that engages, not disengages, your dog's brain.

Service areas: Within the I-285 perimeter of metro Atlanta

Website: https://behaveatlanta.com/


Camille Personne

I’ve always been drawn to animals and have been surrounded by them since I was born. I started riding horses when I was 5, by age 9 I was rescuing all of the stray kittens in my neighborhood and, now I have my dream job working with dogs every day!

I am a certified dog behavior consultant through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) and a true behavior geek constantly reading up on new research in neuroscience, psychology, and genetics. I also frequently attend conferences, seminars or webinars to keep up with the most up-to-date effective and humane training techniques.

When I'm not out training dogs, one of my favorite things to do is hike with my dogs and play dog sports like nosework and agility.

Certifications: Catch Certified Dog Trainer
Certified Dog Behavior Consultant

Services include:

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

More info about service provided:

Behavioral issue focus: Leash reactivity, teenagers, over arousal, shy and fearful dogs

Why I became a dog trainer: Always loved dogs!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping people understand their dogs better and create happy and healthy relationships with their dogs

My #1 dog training tip: Be consistent!

Service areas: Cobb County, Fulton County

Website: https://www.pawsitivefutures.com


Yara Silva

Bliss and Yara May 2021

My passion is on choice based and positive reinforcement training, specially all the husbandry and care that our dogs need for their lifetime. I love seeing dogs and their people blossom as they learn how to build a bond and communication channel for life.

I am a certified CPDT-KA positive reinforcement trainer and I am continuously learning through the latest research, books and conferences on science-based training.

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Nosework, basic manners, leash manners, puppy housebreaking and socialization, hounds around town, blind dogs.

Behavioral issue focus: Fearful or worried pets, reactivity on leash.

Training methods: Positive reinforcement, NACSW Nosework classes, Leslie McDevitt's control unleashed and pattern games. Behavior consultation with training plan, follow up via email and phone as needed. Private lesson packages. Group classes for Nosework and Manners.

Why I became a dog trainer: To share my knowledge acquired in years of attending conferences, studying, training and competing with my dogs. To help people and their dogs learn to communicate and form a bond through positive reinforcement.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing families and their dogs learn to communicate and live better and happier lives.

My #1 dog training tip: When in doubt, give cookies. There is a lot that can get better with generous use of rewards to help our dogs understand what we want. Look for what you want and reward it generously.

Service areas: Roswell, Alpharetta, Milton, Woodstock, Kennesaw, Johns Creek, Marietta, Sandy Springs, Canton, Brookhaven, Chamblee, Vinings

Website: https://www.pawsitivefutures.com/


Lillian Ciardelli

I am an applied animal behaviorist. After graduating from Emory in 2010, I knew I wanted to work with animals, but was unable to decide between science and husbandry so I picked both. For the last decade I have divided my career between animal research and hands on animal care. I found that behavior consulting was the best way to share my love of behavioral science in a way that would make a real impact on individual animals and improve animal welfare.

I became an associate certified applied animal behaviorist in 2018 through the Animal Behavior Society. Looking to start her own business one year later, I jumped at the opportunity to team up with Amy and return to the warmth of Atlanta, GA. When I'm not thinking about animals, I'm photographing them, painting them, or writing about them.

Certifications: ACAAB

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: At Behave Atlanta, I work in tandem with certified trainer Amy Cambell. We provide behavior consultations & training for cats and dogs both virtually and in-home (depending on location). These can include everything from basics for new pet owners, to more complicated issues like aggression or separation anxiety. We can help with potty training, basic manners, as well as desensitization to certain triggers and helping dogs adapt to a new city environment. We primarily do in-home training sessions with clients present (following a virtual consult) but are hoping to offer more group classes both on line and in person!

Behavioral issue focus: For dogs, we most commonly help with fear & anxiety, leash and general reactivity, resource guarding, separation anxiety, and dog-cat dynamics. With cats, we most often help with litter box issues and inter-cat aggression.

Training methods: We always start with a virtual behavior consultation (this includes an overview of the behavior of concern, as well a management & training plan for how to address the issue). If clients are within service range, we offer in-person training packages to help guide them through the process. If they are out of range, we offer virtual training or try to help them connect with a local trainer who can implement the plan.

Why I became a dog trainer: Technically I'm a behaviorist, not a trainer. But training is a huge part of my work! I wanted to be able to communicate with animals. And I wanted to help other people learn how to communicate with their pets, so that they could better interpret their needs and have a stronger bond.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing how proud clients are when their dog (or cat) learns something new. Or the lightbulb that goes off when we are able to explain what's driving their pet's behavior. Also just hearing what people name their pets!

My #1 dog training tip: Notice when your pet is doing something right. What we consider "bad behavior" is often irritating, loud, and just very noticeable. What we consider "good behavior" is often quiet, calm, and if you don't try to look for it you'll ignore it! It's important to acknowledge it not only so your pet understands that that behavior is "right" but because you need to realize when you're making progress!

Service areas: Kirkwood, Old Fourth Ward, Midtown, West Midtown, Edgewood, Reynoldstown, Cabbagetown, Buckhead, Brookhaven, Marietta, Sandy Springs, Smyrna, Alpharetta, Decatur, Inman Park, Candler Park, Grant Park, East Atlanta, Sylvan Hills, West End, Oakhurst, Druid Hills, North Decatur

Website: https://behaveatlanta.com


Maddie Speirs

Growing up, I took every opportunity to work with animals that I could find. I volunteered at shelters, worked to ride at the barn, and got my first real job as a doggy daycare attendant in high school. When I got to college, where I chose to dual major in Animal and Environmental Studies, I joined a wildlife rescue team and have saved seabirds, birds of prey, squirrels, possums, and more.

On a camping trip during my sophomore year of college, I found a dog who had been dumped on the side of the road. Knowing I couldn't leave her there, I took her in, and when I couldn't find her owner or a willing home, I decided to keep her. That dog threw me into the world of dog training, and I never looked back. Both of the dogs that I have shared my life with have come to me with significant behavioral issues, so I have developed plenty of empathy for dog guardians who are struggling with their dog.

I know how hard it can be to share your life with a dog who is having a hard time, and I am excited to make life easier for both you and your dog! I am a certified SA Pro, so if your dog struggles with alone time or being separated from 'their person' I am here to help! Helping dogs and their people through separation anxiety and similar behaviors is a passion of mine because comfortable alone time is often such a relief for both the humans and the dogs.

Because I know how hard life can be with difficult dogs, I am also really passionate about working with dogs through puppyhood and adolescence to create stable and resilient adult dogs. I have become a firm believer in positive reinforcement and consent based training. I want the dogs that I work with to be enthusiastic and unafraid learners who feel comfortable showing me how they really feel. I am a lifelong learner, and I am dedicated to continuing my education, and staying up to date on the most humane and effective ways to train. I’m

Certifications: SAPT

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Adventure dog classes, basic manners, separation anxiety training, puppy socialization and off leash training

Behavioral issue focus: I am certified in separation anxiety training and I love working with difficult puppies and young dogs to create long lasting foundations for life as a resilient and stable adult dog.

Training methods: We start with a behavior consultation to gain a holistic understanding of our client's needs and form a personalized training plan that will be effective and achievable. Each dog is giving a holistic training plan that encompasses mental and physical health by addressing sleep, feeding, exercise and more. Training goals often include settling and socialization for young dogs, and gradual desensitization to alone time for my separation anxiety dogs.

Why I became a dog trainer: I love working with people and I really love working with animals. My learning journey with my own two difficult dogs really opened my mind to dog training as a career, and I have been pursuing it since.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I love that I have the chance to improve people's lives with their dogs, and it brings me joy to know that the people who I work with enjoy their dogs more after our time together, and the dogs I work with enjoy their people more as well.

My #1 dog training tip: Focus on the skills that really make a difference in your life with your dog, and forget about the rest.

Service areas: Saint Petersburg, FL

Website: https://pawsitivefutures.com


Alex Sessa

Peach on a Leash owner and head trainer, Alex Sessa, (formerly Andes) CPDT-KA, CDBC, VSPDT is a pet behavior expert who has been training dogs and studying dog behavior for nearly a decade.

Alex is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, a certification that requires hundreds of logged training hours and passing a comprehensive exam. She is also one of only five trainers in the state of Georgia to receive full certification as a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. This high-level certification requires a rigorous application process that's assessed by a panel of experts in dog training and behavior, and you must demonstrate the knowledge and ability to handle complex behavior cases in order to be certified.

Additionally, she has attained the prestigious Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Trainer (VSPDT) certification, and has successfully completed Michael Shikashio's Aggression in Dogs Master Course.

She attended the University of Georgia, where she began honing her training skills while helping improve the behavior of local shelter dogs to reduce euthanasia rates. She graduated with honors in 2012 and worked as both a pet adoption counselor and an assistant dog trainer before being offered a job with celebrity dog trainer Victoria Stilwell of Animal Planet's ‚'It's Me or the Dog'.

Alex traveled the world with Victoria and had the opportunity to learn from her in all facets of training and behavior for five years before deciding to pursue her dream of founding Peach on a Leash. Their work together allowed Alex the opportunity to work hands-on with both pet dogs and working dogs, including police dogs and accelerant detection dogs.

As the founder and owner of Peach on a Leash, Alex manages our training program as well as our team of ten exceptional, highly qualified training and behavior experts. She leads the training for our VIP Puppy Development program, and has provided professional training for celebrities, athletes, CEOs, corporate therapy dog programs, and other high-profile clientele. She has been featured on HLN, WSB-TV, 11Alive, and various print publications.

Alex serves as both a faculty member and a mentor for students in the Victoria Stilwell Dog Training Academy. She also serves on the advisory board for the online dog training platform Gentle Beast, in addition to developing their training curriculum and serving as the primary on-camera training talent. She regularly consults for other training companies, public safety departments, corporations and non-profit organizations needing guidance with their dog training and behavior-related programs.

These experiences have helped her to become one of the most studied, well-rounded trainers in the area, and her results-oriented training utilizes effective and humane techniques that are backed by the latest modern behavioral science.

She shares her home with her husband Will, who is a former police K-9 officer, their two children, and their beloved dogs.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, CDBC, VSPDT

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: I lead an exceptional team of thirteen trainers, and we cover all facets of training and behavior. We customize our programs to fit the needs of each individual client.

Behavioral issue focus: We work with all forms of aggression, reactivity, impulse control issues, fear, and everything in between.

Training methods: Our evidence-based methods are rooted in positive reinforcement, and we focus on both training the dog and providing quality coaching for the humans.

Why I became a dog trainer: To help keep dogs in their homes, and to provide help for people and their dogs.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing the joy that comes from human and canine communication.

My #1 dog training tip: Avoid labels like "stubborn" or "disobedient" and focus instead on the root cause of the behavior.

Service areas: Roswell, Milton, Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Cumming, Canton,
Peachtree Corners, Buford, Hoschton, Dunwoody, Gainesville, Flowery Branch,
Sandy Springs, Chamblee, Brookhaven, Decatur, Midtown Atlanta, Buckhead, Suwanee, Lawrenceville, East Cobb, Duluth

Website: https://peachonaleash.com/


Anna Johnson

Anna is the head trainer and owner of Happy Healthy Pup. She has been training animals for 20 years. She holds a Masters in Animal Science, is currently a PhD student and is CAP1 certified (competency assessed). She holds several other certifications. Including those in Canine Theriogenology, Animal Behavior, Clinical Small Animal Nutrition, and Canine Emotion & Cognition.

Services include:

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

Website: https://HappyHealthyPup.com


Mandy Grace

Mandy has transformed her lifelong obsession with dogs, psychology, and the science of learning into a training career which began in her home state of North Carolina. After adopting a dog who had above average behavioral requirements and catching the training bug, she took the plunge to become a professional in 2013.

Mandy earned her CPDT-KA in 2017 after logging many hundred hours of hands-on instruction and passing a comprehensive exam, and is also a Fear Free Certified Professional. She is passionate about creating truly personalized training plans for her clients, and helping both ends of the leash find the joy in working together.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, FFCP (Trainer)

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Private Training, Training Classes, Puppy Training, General Obedience Training, Behavior Modification, Positive Reinforcement Based Training

Behavioral issue focus: Leash Reactivity, Fear, Anxiety, Cooperative Care, Distractions

Training methods: Positive Reinforcement Methods, Cooperative Training, Private Training, Training Packages

Why I became a dog trainer: I became a dog trainer to help people and their dogs improve their communication and strengthen their bonds to create a happy and fulfilling future together.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Sharing in the joy of a successful training plan. There is no better feeling than watching people and their canine companions have fun and reach their goals.

My #1 dog training tip: Dogs will do whatever works best for them, so be mindful about what "works!"

Service areas: Metro Atlanta, ITP, Dekalb, Fulton

Website: https://peachonaleash.com/


Sniffspot Atlanta Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are Atlanta dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in Atlanta 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 Atlanta 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 Atlanta?

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 Atlanta 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 Atlanta cost?

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

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

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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Merlin Noble

March 29, 2022

Dog Trainers

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