Welcome to the Grand Rapids, MI Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2023. This is a list of the top dog trainers in Grand Rapids 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 Michigan 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.
Jenn Gavin, CPDT-KA, FPPE is the owner and founding trainer at A Pleasant Dog. She has been rescuing and training dogs for over twenty-five years. For the last ten years, Jenn has focused her practice on anxious and aggressive animals, and has become one of the most trusted trainers working with aggressive animals in our state. Jenn works extensively with veterinarians and veterinary behaviorists.
Jenn is passionate about learning and sharing what she has learned. She presents frequently to the training and veterinary communities. She has conducted research in animal behavior, and that research has been selected for presentation at the Veterinary Behavior Symposium by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. Jenn has also been an invited speaker before the West Michigan Veterinary Medical Association, The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, The Science of Animal Behavior Conference, West Michigan Therapy Dogs, and others.
She has spoken on a variety of topics including "Helping Fearful & Aggressive Animals - It Takes A Village", with Kathy Sdao and Dr. Jill Sackman, DACVB; "Risky Business - Assessing and Managing Risk in Aggression Cases"; "How to Choose A Trainer" with Dr. Jill Sackman, DACVB; "Covid Puppies"; and "Body Language and Therapy Dogs" and more.
Jenn is a licensed Family Paws Parent Educator! She adores working with families and their dogs.
Certifications: CPDT-KA, FPPE
More info about service provided: We provide at A Pleasant Dog private, group, and day training for everything from puppy kindergarten through advanced sport skills. Our trainers are recognized experts in behavior for anxious and aggressive dog. We also provide continuing education to the veterinary and training communities ; and conduct research in behavior and training to better the lives of people and their animals.
Behavioral issue focus: Obedience and manners, Separation anxiety, fear aggression, sensory processing disorders, resource guarding aggression, conflict aggression, interdog aggression, stereotypy, high arousal behaviors.
Training methods: We use positive reinforcement. Our private training, consultations and behavior consultations involve an initial history taking process through which we develop management and training plans, taking into account the client's goals and priorities for their dogs. When necessary, we are comfortable and frequently worked with veterinarians in veterinary behaviorists as needed.
Why I became a dog trainer: I came to training through rescue 28 years ago, but dogs have always been my passion. I started using positive reinforcement with my dog when I was ten years old.
My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping people understand their dogs so they can improve their lives and enrich the human animal bond.
My #1 dog training tip: Start by addressing your dog's underlying feelings about something before jumping to training obedience.
Service areas: Grand Rapids, Holland, Muskegon, Cadillac, Baldwin, Ludington; Kent County, Ottawa County.
How are Grand Rapids dog trainers selected for this list?
These are the top dog trainers in Grand Rapids 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 Grand Rapids 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 Grand Rapids?
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 Grand Rapids 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 Grand Rapids cost?
Grand Rapids 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 Grand Rapids dog trainer. How can I get listed here?
As long as you have a training facility or do in person training in Grand Rapids 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 Grand Rapids?
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 Michigan was $32,963 per year and $15.85 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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