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The Best Dog Trainers in Cleveland, OH of 2023

Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

May 25, 2023

Dog Trainers

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

Christine Good

I started my career as an animal trainer in 2005 at a wildlife center. There I used clicker training to teach raccoons to patiently wait on their stations for food rather than climbing up on the keeper's legs. I became hooked on dog training when I used the clicker working with my reactive dog, Marvin, who needed me to step up my game.

I am a registered veterinary technician (RVT) with over 16 years of experience in the veterinary field. I became a Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) in 2012. I joined Cold Nose Companions several years ago and finally took over leadership of the company in 2021.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, RVT

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: We provide group classes for basic household manners as well as reactivity on leash, and special skills classes. Private sessions can be scheduled in our training center or in home or even in parks for anything from household manners to reactivity, to aggressive displays. We help families prepare for life with dog and baby and offer support for young families with dogs.

Behavioral issue focus: We work a lot with reactivity on leash towards people or other dogs. We also help with aggressive displays towards strangers, resource guarding, difficulties handling at the vet or groomer, and mouthing puppies.

Training methods: We exclusively use reward based training without physical corrections or confrontations. For behavioral challenges we always set up a plan including three layers: management of the behavior to prevent practicing "bad" behavior, teaching specific behaviors that can be performed on cue, and behavior modification to address the dogs' underlying emotions that make them act out to begin with. We provide handouts, links, and videos as needed to support the process.

Why I became a dog trainer: Working in the veterinary field I realized that there was a huge need for more education and training without force. So many animals were surrendered, rehomed, or even euthanized for behavioral challenges that could have been prevented or avoided if clients had received better advice from the beginning on the relationship with their pet. I think, animal behavior is absolutely fascinating and teaches us a lot about ourselves. I love creating a stronger bond that goes both ways between dogs and their families.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I love people. I love dogs. I love kids. This job allows me to work with all three. I love that I can help develop understanding, compassion, and joy in families and help dog/human families grow closer together.

My #1 dog training tip: I think, we could solve half our dog problems by picking dogs that fit our lifestyle better. For example -puppies may look adorable with their big eyes but they are really Velociraptors on steroids! They bite, and have accidents, and bite some more. It is also a misconception that puppies are blank slates and won't develop problems. Puberty is awful no matter the species. Dogs two and over have fully formed personalities. What you see is usually what you get - if you know how to look. Also, although we may fantasize about driving a racecar and may enjoy watching them, most of us are much better served in real life with an SUV or sedan. There are breeds out there that appear in movies or online videos showing off fantastic skills - but they are not made to be living in suburbia around families. They are not happy - and you won't be either.

Service areas: Geauga, Lake, Cuyahoga, Ashtabula county, Chardon, Mentor, Willoughby, Eastlake, Middlefield, Painesville, Chesterland, Kirtland, Chagrin Falls, and surrounding areas


Valarie Ross

Hello! I am Valarie, the owner of Sits n Wiggles Dog Training. I started SnW in 2015 when I had the opportunity to move from dogs being just my passion but my career. I have been involved in dog and cat rescue since I was in college. In early 2015 I started taking classes with Catch Canine Trainers Academy with the intention to offer volunteer training services to shelters and rescues. However, life had different plans and I was laid off from my software job. I took that time to finish my training classes and start Sits n Wiggles.

Since that time in 2015, I have focused my education and practice on dogs struggling with fear, anxiety, reactivity, and aggression issues.

~ Certified Dog Behavior Consultant - International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (2022)
~ Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed - Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (2017)
~ Certified Dog Bite Prevention Educator - The Pet Professional Guild (2018)
~ Aggression in Dogs Masterclass - 2021
~ The 2021 Virtual Dog Conference - Speaker (2021)
~ Up Your Business Game Conference - The Pet Professional Guild - Speaker (2022)
~ Family Dog Mediation (2022)


Certified Dog Behavior Consultant - IAABC
Certified Professional Dog Trainer - CCPDT

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Basic manners, puppy socialization, aggression, reactivity, anxiety, global fear, day training, remote and in-person

Behavioral issue focus: Aggression, reactivity, fear, anxiety, hyperactivity

Training methods: I use the least intrusive, minimally aversive training and behavior modification methods. I work to help you understand and read your dog, set them up for success, to reduce fear and anxiety, so we can reinforce better behavior.

Why I became a dog trainer: My goal in being a dog trainer is to help dogs stay in their homes or get ready for their next home.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping families understand their dogs better and rebuild relationships.

My #1 dog training tip: Respect your dog and meet them where they are. They are just trying to figure out this crazy world we created.

Service areas: All of northeast Ohio


Jane Miller

Jane Miller, LISW, AABP-CDBT, Pet CPR & First Aid Certified, works in private practice as a licensed psychotherapist/clinical social worker, with a particular interest in holistic modalities of healing. She currently focuses on educating others about the legal, ethical, and practical criteria of working with Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSDs).

Miller has lectured about PSDs in a variety of settings, ranging from The Cleveland Clinic & Metro Health Medical Centers’ Departments of Psychiatry & Psychology, The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants Conference (IAABC), The Cleveland Natural History Museum, The Psychology of Health, Immunity & Disease Conference (NICABM), The National Association of Social Workers Conference and many other national and local organizations, schools, and dog-training facilities.

She appeared in the PBS program 'Health Visions - Animals As Healers' on the healing power of animals and joined world-renowned veterinarian/author Dr. Allen Schoen to present a workshop on the topic of animals as healers at a national conference for medical professionals (See NICABM). She is also a practitioner of QiGong and Reiki and teaches stress reduction techniques to her clients and their service dogs.

Miller earned her BA in psychology and biology from Oberlin College, and her MSSA in Clinical Social Work from Case Western Reserve University. She has received the Irene Sogg Gross Award for Humanitarian Services and has contributed scholarly essays for professional journals and anthologies in the field of clinical social work. Her professional experience includes serving as a counselor at a battered women's shelter and at a group home supervisor for the developmentally disabled, and as a research assistant in microbiology/immunology at Temple University Medical School.

Jane Miller's lifelong passion for healing has emphasized the human-animal connection, culminating in her certification as a Canine Massotherapist and as a Certified Dog Behavior Technician by the Association of Animal Behavior Behavior Professionals ( AABP-CDBT).

Certifications: LISW, CDBC, PPG, AABP-CDBT

Services include:

  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Off leash training

More info about service provided: I provide behavior consultations, private training, service dog training, distraction training and I teach stress reduction techniques for humans and their animals.

Behavioral issue focus: anxiety, fear, over threshold, reactivity,

Training methods: Positive reward based training. Learning body language and ways dogs express emotions. No aversives, compassionate care.

Why I became a dog trainer: I wanted to be Jane Goodall when I was young and spent my life studying human and animal behavior, ethology and always loved sharing my life with animals and training dogs my whole life.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing the human animal bond grow and seeing positive changes that enhance the lives of dogs that live with us.

My #1 dog training tip: To treat your dog with respect, love, compassion and respect. Gaining insights into the dog's body language.

Service areas: Northeast Ohio Lorain County, Ohio


Sniffspot Cleveland Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are Cleveland dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in Cleveland 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 Cleveland 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 Cleveland?

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 Cleveland 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 Cleveland cost?

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

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

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 Ohio was $29,660 per year and $14.26 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 Ohio Cities

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

Akron, OH
Cincinnati, OH
Columbus, OH
Dayton, OH
Toledo, OH

See The Best Dog Trainers In Other States Near Ohio

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


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Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

May 25, 2023

Dog Trainers

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