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The Best Dog Trainers in Harrisburg, PA of 2023

Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

May 27, 2023

Dog Trainers

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

Deborah Byloff

Deb Byloff has been blessed by dogs choosing to be in her life since she was very young. She spent her growing-up years searching for ways to help her own dogs by identifying and solving their problems and helping them enjoy life by playing games with them and teaching them behaviors. Her interest and passion have only grown since then, and she has been helping others do the same for their dogs for many years.

Through the years, Deb has made it a mission to expand her knowledge by attending as many live and virtual training seminars as possible. Among those from whom she has learned are John Rogerson and Jeannine Rash of Papillonia Dog Training Academy, and she also attended consultations by behaviorist Pat Miller at Peaceable Paws.

Deb has been professionally training dogs since 2000. From 2006 to the present, she has been instructing at Papillonia Dog Training Academy where she teaches Basic Obedience, Canine Good Citizen, Rally Obedience, Tricks, and Canine Musical Freestyle. Deb has been teaching freestyle since 2003, has formed a freestyle club, and hosts annual competitions since 2003.

In 2006 she started a program at the York SPCA where she guided a team of trainers to identity and solve problems that the shelter dogs had to make them more adoptable. The SPCA dog walkers were interested in the program and joined the project. The team's primary goal was to help the shelter dogs be more stable with a secondary goal of teaching them the elements of the AKC CGC. Once the team's training card was placed on a shelter dog's cage, the canine was in demand and usually found a home before the team could CGC them. Deb also hosted monthly live seminars that were open to the public to solve dog problems and keep them in their homes. Both live programs at the SPCA ended in 2020. Deb co-hosted virtual seminars in 2021 and now co-writes bi-monthly articles for the SPCA newsletter.

Deb has honed her skills of identifying and solving dog problems, but she feels that the most important thing she has realized is that both dogs and people learn in a variety of ways. She is adept at finding individual teaching methods for people who seek her help. Because she tailors her methods for each client and each dog, Deb's students go home with practical guidelines for training their dogs in their everyday lives. Her training motto is 'I can't make any dog do anything, but I can make them want to do it'.

Deb is not a person who craves the spotlight but is honored that she must have made a difference in someone's life that they nominated her. She will return that honor by participating in this program but feels the most important aspect of the program is to put positive training in the spotlight so that people having problems with their dogs or who want to train them a skill will know where to seek help.

Services include:

  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Basic Obedience, Canine Good Citizen, Rally Obedience, Tricks, and Canine Musical Freestyle

Behavioral issue focus: Dogs that have fear and anxiety

Training methods: Group classes and private lessons available

Why I became a dog trainer: I have been training dogs since childhood

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping the dog and owner understand each other.

My #1 dog training tip: Love and treasure the dog that you have

Service areas: Red Lion PA and surrounding areas

Shauntay Shadrach

I grew up on a small farmette in Maryland, where I fell in love with animals! At 14 years of age, I started volunteering at my local Ambulance Hall, which kicked off my nursing career. I obtained my EMT-B, EMT-I, CNA, and GNA by the age of 18 through my local Technical High School. After high school, I went to College for Health Administration and Practical Nursing. I received my Practical Nursing, Home Health Care, and Pharmacy Technician certifications as I worked in various hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacy's and performed in-home patient care.

In my late 20's, I volunteered and worked at two Veterinarian's offices. At the age of 32 and after 17 years in the medical field, I decided to change careers. I opened my own in-home Daycare business. I successfully managed that for 5 years while I studied to become a professional dog trainer. It was the best decision of my life!

Certifications: PMCT, Fear-Free, KPA, VSA, APDT, PPG

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Force-Free, Fear-Free basic manners and behavior modification services, socialization, puppy training

Behavioral issue focus: Under socialized, guarding, handling, leash work, counter conditioning to people, animals and places.

Training methods: Phone consults, behavioral modification plans, protocols, and private in-home training - All force-free, fear-free, and non-aversive.

Why I became a dog trainer: I love animals and dogs are my favorite besides dolphins ;^)! I want to help humans and dogs co-exist on a more enjoyable level without fear and pain being involved!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Watching dog owners have 'ah-ha' moments with their beloved pets-opens lines of communication for the human and canines to understand one another better.

My #1 dog training tip: Reward the behaviors you want to see more of!

Service areas: Jersey Shore, Lock Haven, Avis, Williamsport, Mill Hall, PA


Sniffspot Harrisburg Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are Harrisburg dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in Harrisburg 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 Harrisburg 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 Harrisburg?

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 Harrisburg 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 Harrisburg cost?

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

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

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 Pennsylvania was $30,779 per year and $14.80 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 Pennsylvania Cities

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

Allentown, PA
Lancaster, PA
Philadelphia, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Reading, PA
Scranton, PA

See The Best Dog Trainers In Other States Near Pennsylvania

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

New Jersey
New York

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Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

May 27, 2023

Dog Trainers

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