Welcome to the Austin, TX Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2023. This is a list of the top dog trainers in Austin 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 Texas 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.
Whitney has always had a love for animals. When she just started high school, her family lost their last family dog and decided to adopt a dog. This is when they adopted a Jack Russell/Black Lab mix named, Hollywood. Very quickly they realized they needed help as she was very people and dog reactive. They found a trainer and it opened Whitney's eyes to the world of dog training. She began to research how dog's minds work and how to help dogs problem solve which led her to find positive reinforcement training. She now has a strong passion for working with reactivity and misunderstood dogs.
Nothing makes her happier than being able to help owners understand and build a connection with their dogs. Our dogs are always talking to us and it is up to us to acknowledge and understand.She doesn't just train the dogs, but she trains the humans too!
Whitney began training professionally in 2015. She is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer- Knowledge Assessed and an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. She continues going to conferences and attending virtual lectures to continue growing in the ever evolving science-based training. Whitney also competes in scentwork with her Border Collie mix, Kimchi, and her Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Soju.
More info about service provided: I provide varies amounts of services based on the human and dog's needs. I offer puppy training, basics, tricks, manners, canine good citizen, behavior modification, day training, and board and train.
Behavioral issue focus: The most common behavioral issue I work with is when dogs display the reactive behaviors of barking, lunging, growling, or pulling on leash towards other people or dogs whether that is excitablity, fear, or frustration. Austin is a very dog friendly city with dogs everywhere and owners wanting to take their dogs with them to dog friendly places. My goal is to help the owner identify their dog's needs and wants to ensure they can have a common goal and interest as their dog.
Training methods: I use science-based positive reinforcement training. We always start with a consultation to discuss their goals, what issues they are having, create a plan so we can achieve those goals, and continue with lessons and homework.
Why I became a dog trainer: I used to want to be a veterinarian but realized how heartbreaking it can be so I switch to wanting to help dogs and their owners in other ways. There is nothing more rewarding than being able to help others build a strong relationship and trust with their dog.
My favorite part of being a dog trainer: My favorite part of being a dog trainer is being able to build such a strong trust and bond with fearful dogs. I also love to show owners just how amazing dogs can be!
My #1 dog training tip: Always make sure you and your dog are having fun!
Service areas: Austin, Georgetown, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Sun City, Jollyville, Buda, Taylor, Cedar Park, Leander, Wells Branch, Hutto
Sarah discovered a passion for training and behavior when she took her first dog home from a local shelter while attending Texas A&M University. Throughout college, she worked in a veterinary office. She graduated with a degree in Animal Science in 2007 and began teaching group puppy and obedience classes in 2010. In 2014 she began working with service dogs.
For three years she worked with female inmates in the Texas prison system teaching service dog training and handling. She is now focused on helping pet dogs and their families live together joyfully. Sarah is committed to continuing education and regularly attends seminars and conferences to improve her knowledge and skill. In September of 2017 she became a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed. She shares her home with her husband, a 10-year-old Catahoula, a 4-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback, and two 13-year-old cats.
More info about service provided: My primary service is small-scale in-home board and train. Additionally, I have a limited number of spots available for private lessons.
Behavioral issue focus: Most commonly, I help humans and their dogs work through reactivity. I also take on a lot of adolescent dogs who need a bit of help navigating their world. Additionally, I love to help puppies get off on the right paw with a puppy Board and Train that focuses heavily on healthy socialization and a few solid foundation skills.
Training methods: I begin with a 90-minute consultation, during which I take a thorough behavior history and help clients set goals. If a dog stays with me for a Board and Train, we follow the dog's stay with private lessons and written guidelines for continuing to build and maintain behaviors once the dog returns home.
Why I became a dog trainer: I was fascinated by behavior and how animals learn. I got hooked watching dogs learn, and now I enjoy I enjoy using that knowledge to help people get the most out of their relationships with their dogs.
My favorite part of being a dog trainer: The relationships I form with both the dogs and the humans with whom I get to work. I am always learning from you!
My #1 dog training tip: Take time to play with your dog.
Service areas: I live in Troy and serve the surrounding areas including Temple, Belton, Killeen, Round Rock, Georgetown, Pflugerville, Hutto, Jarrell, and Salado.
I've been training dogs for for 8 years, all at The Canine Center for Training & Behavior. I am currently owned by a rescued German Shepherd Dog who makes me a better dog trainer every day. Our philosophy is "Life is short, have fun with your dog" I teach sports - agility, hiking with your dog, dog powered sports. I also specialize in reactive and aggressive dogs, retraining their brains to make different choices.
Certifications: CPDT-KA, CGC Evaluator
More info about service provided: Obedience, Agility, Reactive/Aggressive Dogs, Shy/Fearful Dogs, Hiking with Dogs, Dog Powered Sports, Classes, Day Training, Boarding
Behavioral issue focus: Human & Dog Aggression, Human & Dog Reactivity, Separation Anxiety, Shy/Fearful, Sound sensitivity
Training methods: Positive reinforcement, relationship-based training. Consequences for bad behavior are never painful. Training done through private lessons, classes, day training.
Why I became a dog trainer: I enjoy the challenge of problem solving how to motivate a dog to choose to behave in the way I'd like . Plus I love dogs!
My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Watching a dog learn! And the puppy kisses.
My #1 dog training tip: Be your dog's best friend!
Service areas: Austin and surrounding Hill Country
working with animals from a young age, growing up doing 4-H and FFA showing a variation of livestock. As I got older I started to intern at any small animal and large animal clinics to learn even spent some time at an equine clinic. I work in a variation of boarding and daycare kennels and fell in love with training canines. I am a hard working and motivated individual to see not just your canine succeed but also you as an owner.
More info about service provided: Potty training, adult basics, socialization for puppies, day training and overnight in home care.
Behavioral issue focus: Confidence Building and Canine Reactivity towards other canine's.
Training methods: Consultation, one hour or thirty minute session to make a productive plan where owner and canine are set up for success.
Why I became a dog trainer: It's a passion for me.
My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Working with the animals and seeing them succeed
My #1 dog training tip: Prevent Failure
Service areas: Austin, Dripping Springs, Kyle, Buda, Bee Cave and Lakeway. Towns in Texas and Boulder Colorado in June 2023.
Maida Barbour, CPDT-KA, has been training dogs in the Austin area for over fifteen years. She specializes in Assistance Dog training, including Service Dog, Therapy Dogs, and Emotional Support Animals.
She uses trust-based techniques to create a safe, easy learning environment for both dogs and clients.
Her background is in Cognitive Theory and maintains an ongoing education in animal communication and learning theory.
More info about service provided: Obedience classes for puppies and adults, Canine Good Citizen classes and testing, Assistance Dog training and Public Access testing, behavioral training, daycare
Behavioral issue focus: Anxiety, reactivity, mouthing, house training, grooming and handling, loose leash walking, recall, focus around distractions
Training methods: All clients begin with an evaluation and then a training plan is developed, which may include private lessons, classes, day care, and sports and activities. All training is based on trust-building and positive reinforcement.
Why I became a dog trainer: My husband has a Service Dog, and I know the power of dogs to bring out the best in humans, and vice versa.
My favorite part of being a dog trainer: The moment when the dog connects with the training program and shows delight that they're finally understood.
My #1 dog training tip: The human-dog bond is strongest when we focus on the positive. Show your dog how happy you are (with affection, attention, access, or food) when they do the right thing.
Service areas: Austin area
For over 30 years, I have been helping owners understand their canine companions by teaching them how to communicate through body language and pack behaviors. Over the years I have researched and tested interactions, and cues, dogs use on each other, and developed our K9 Workingmind programs. I found it fascinating that dogs do not use pain or fear against each other as humans have been told for years. They are strict, they have boundaries, but they are not aggressive by nature. I decided I wanted to help people understand this technique and it became quite the obsession of mine. Through my research and rehabilitation programs, many dogs deemed dangerously aggressive and unadoptable have been able to live calm, happy lives with their owners.
I started my career as a veterinary technician, where I quickly observed the lack of communication between human and dog. This is when I decided to dedicate my life to helping humans understand their dogs. I have never turned a dog away because most aggressions are human taught, through miscommunication. This means they can be rehabilitated with a dogs innate behaviors. My methods are based on how dogs communicate with each other by following their natural instincts, and, most importantly, keeping them in a "working-mind." My own pack includes 8 wonderful rescue dogs, most of which had serious aggression issues, or were misunderstood. They are now all "good citizens" that help us help other dogs resolve their issues.
I fight everyday for all dogs and try to educate as many people as possible through our community programs, work with area shelters, and seminars; in hopes that our research and experience may someday help the public understand our "misunderstood" dogs. We believe a dog should WANT to learn, so force and fear have no place in the training world.
Service areas: East Austin
I went from training horses using Natural Horsemanship methods to training dogs, and applying the same approach. I spent two years studying dog cognition and behavior as part of a mentorship program to learn to really understand what drives a dog's behavior.
After working as part of the behavior team at Austin Pets Alive for 8 years I left to work with people directly to help dogs not end up at APA and other shelters.
Certifications: Certified Integrative Behaviorist, Canine Good Citizen Evaluator
More info about service provided: I help you become the parent your dog WANTS to follow and listen to. From basic puppy needs like potty training to Canine Good Citizen level obedience. I also help reactive and aggressive dogs learn to focus on their person instead of the distraction and change their conditioned emotional response to their triggers. I work with you in your home or online and a lesson runs an hour. Most people find that 3-5 lessons is all they need.
Behavioral issue focus: Leash reactivity, dog and people aggression, pottying in the house, barking, fearful skittish responses.
Training methods: I help owners become the parent their dog wants to listen to because they trust them, not because they fear punishment. I use a purely positive approach and start by making sure the dog's needs are being properly met and that there is two-way communication so the dog has a voice and isn't a prisoner.
Why I became a dog trainer: To help dogs have better lives and not end up in shelters due to fixable behavior issues.
My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing a dog blossom and his family become happier.
My #1 dog training tip: See your dog as a 2-year old child and recognize that every behavior is about him trying to get some need or want met.
Service areas: Austin, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Buda, Kyle, Cedar Park, Manor, Bee Cave, Lakeway
A lifelong dog lover, Michele started dog walking and pet sitting to earn extra money while working in corporate marketing roles. A long-term client opened her eyes to positive reinforcement training and inspired her to learn more about dog behavior.
In 2010, she left the corporate world to open a training facility, training thousands of dogs in everything from manners to agility. After realizing that her true passion was helping those who typically couldn't afford traditional training prices, she started working with the Behavior Team at Austin Animal Center and connected with Miranda over a shared passion for dog behavior. (She/Her)
My name is Jennifer Burns, and I am the founder of Conscious Dog Training. I am one of only 161 Certified Professional Behavior Consultant Canine- Knowledge Assessed (CBCC-KA) in the world. I am also a Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed though the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers, a Certified Fear Free Animal Trainer, a Professional member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, a professional member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a professional member of the Pet Professional Guild, a Certified AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, a Certified CATCH Mentor Trainer, and I have been published by the APDT as well as the CCPDT. I have a Masters Degree in Psychology, an extensive background working with children, over 16 years of dog training experience, and I proudly serve on the board of directors for the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers.
My dog training adventure started in 2004 when I sought out a professional dog trainer for my Adolescent Lab/Boxer mix named Rocco. We barely survived puppyhood, and despite my best efforts to exercise and entertain him with seemingly endless hours of fetch per day, I realized that I was essentially training my dog to be 88 pounds of hyperactivity with the stamina of a marathon runner, and I needed professional help. As soon as I started working with Rocco's trainer, I was enthralled with the training process. I realized that dog training was rooted in psychology and learning theory, and discovering how to apply that to dog behavior was magical for me.
With the guidance of Rocco's trainer, I started observing dog training sessions and reading every dog training book that he recommended. With the knowledge and skills that I had attained, Rocco transformed from an out of control, hyper dog to a Certified Pet Partners Complex Therapy Dog. In addition to my early years of observation, I worked at a high capacity dog kennel where I had the opportunity to observe hundreds of hours of dog training and behavior as a kennel technician and an assistant trainer. Since then, I have trained anywhere from 50-100 dogs per week on average, and I have resolved a variety of behaviors ranging from potty training to aggression using only force-free and science based methods.
I believe that dog training is truly about training the human, and while I can train any dog, my greatest gift to dog training is the ability to coach the dog parent how to train and effectively communicate with their dog, thereby enhancing the human-dog relationship. The ability to bridge the communication gap between a dog and a human is priceless, and I am incredibly grateful that I can use my innate gifts to help dogs and people on a daily basis. However, the most rewarding aspect of dog training is witnessing clients shift from frustrated dog parents to calm, trustworthy dog parents that not only understand a dog's behavior, but can effectively manage and modify a dog's behavior using the force-free and choice based methods and techniques that I teach.
My goal is to empower my clients to create a conscious relationship with their dog that is based on clear communication, joyful cooperation, and connection; a relationship that encourages dogs to become conscious thinkers so that behavior can be both attained and maintained for the lifespan of the dog.
Certifications: M.A., CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA
Service areas: Austin and surrounding areas
I found my way to dog training through a very fearful, reactive disabled pup. She led me to TTouch where I paired the two skills. I continue to learn from teachers around the world to hone my skills, and work with rescue groups and shelters as well as private clients. I base my practice on the concept of Tikkun Olam - to make the world a better place.
L3 CA TTouch Practitioner
Certified in Pet Loss and Grief Support
More info about service provided: I am a TTouch Practitioner who trains dogs in a cooperative way. I teach group classes including Rally-O, Scentwork and Tracking, as well as TTouch and Babies and Dogs, Relaxation for Reactive Dogs, Leashwork, Skills for Shelter Dogs, Integrating a new dog into the home, and more.
Behavioral issue focus: My special interest is fear and fear reactivity, but I also work with in-house aggression between dogs, human reactivity, frustration on leash, separation issues, leash walking issues, puppy behaviors...
Training methods: I am totally non-aversive in my methods. I use TTouch paired with reward based skills through all my training and explain my methodology as "holistic" - working with the needs of the dogs in a respectful way
Why I became a dog trainer: my dog told me to
My #1 dog training tip: Just do the work.
Service areas: Travis, Hays, Williamson and nearby counties
My love for dog training started with my own pups as they developed issues I had no clue how to manage. I sought out help from a trainer, but my dogs didn't respond well to force, fear, or intimidation. I started learning more about positive dog training, which lead me to became a certified dog trainer through Animal Behavior College in 2017.
My initial goal was to help shelter dogs become more adoptable, but in time, I noticed how many pups were being returned for behavioral issues. I realized I wanted to help dogs keep their forever homes by training them alongside their human family members. In becoming part of this community, I saw how many families felt the need to put off vacations or reunions or work trips because they couldn't find safe or personalized care for their 'quirky' pup. I knew I had to be part of the solution.
In my free time, I enjoy traveling , going for hikes, reading, and engaging in fun classes with my pups.
More info about service provided: Dog socialization sessions for dogs who cannot go to dog parks or daycares and need a structured environment, dog sitting for pups who also cannot go to boarding facilities due to behavior concerns or socialization issues, one on one training with the pups, human focused dog training, dog walks for dogs who need a little more care.
Behavioral issue focus: On leash reactivity, defensiveness, reacting to strangers, territorial, dog-dog socialization, resource guarding, jumping, mouthing, cat-dog integration, crate training, separation anxiety
Training methods: We conduct meet and greets prior to social sessions, dog walks, dog sitting, we have trial dayboarding and overnights if dogs are staying at our homes to make sure the environment here is the right set up for them. Trial social session is required for daycare. We will do thorough behavior consultations during our first human focused dog training session.
Why I became a dog trainer: My pups were developing behaviors I had no clue how to manage. I sought out help from a trainer, but my dogs didn‚Äôt respond well to force, fear, or intimidation. I started learning more about positive dog training. My initial goal was to help shelter dogs become more adoptable, but eventually started falling for the more behaviorally challenged pups and learning how to help them be successful.
My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Working with families and their dogs and helping them communicate with each other and build better relationships
Service areas: Austin
Im an Army Veteran and currently train service dogs for a non profit. This non profit trains service dogs for free for military and Veterans. I do also help on the side for behavior issues. In addition to that I assist training for Waco Agility Group.
More info about service provided: Basic obedience, behavior issues, service dog training, agility training
Behavioral issue focus: Reactiveness, jumping, bolting out the door, barking
Training methods: positive reward based training
Why I became a dog trainer: I love dogs and being able to give Veterans their freedom back through a dog is so rewarding
My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping people have a healthy and happy relationship with their dogs.
My #1 dog training tip: Training your dog is simply learning how to communicate with them.
Service areas: Killeen, Harker Heights, Fort Hood, Belton, Nolanville, Temple
How are Austin dog trainers selected for this list?
These are the top dog trainers in Austin 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 Austin 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 Austin?
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 Austin 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 Austin cost?
Austin 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 Austin dog trainer. How can I get listed here?
As long as you have a training facility or do in person training in Austin 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 Austin?
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 Texas was $30,675 per year and $14.75 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.
Ordered alphabetically, only included cities where there is enough data to compile a list
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