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The Best Dog Trainers in Hartford, CT of 2023

Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

May 10, 2023

Dog Trainers

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

Elizabeth Ingalls

I've been involved in canine welfare in a variety of roles over the last 20 years. From rescue volunteer with multiple rescues, to Executive Director of Big Fluffy Dog Rescue, to behavior consultant, my desire has always been to improve the lives of dogs.

I have a BA in Biology from Bay Path University which enriches my understanding of the natural world. My training only utilizes humane, evidence-based methods, knowing they are the key to improving and maintaining the human-dog bond.

A vast majority of my experience has been with livestock guardian breeds, particularly Great Pyrenees. Over the last decade, they've become much more popular as pets, which has created a need for a trainer who understands their guardian personalities and motivations. Of course, I work with all breeds of dogs and the people who love them.

My goal is to help clients approach dog training and behavior modification holistically. By taking into account your dog's unique life experiences, breed, and mindset, each training plan is individualized. We will work together to use positive reinforcement to motivate changes in behavior that result in a fulfilling relationship between you and your dog

Certifications: CDBC- Certified Dog Behavior Consultant- IAABC
PPG Canine Training Professional

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: I work with aggression and anxiety cases, as well as puppy and adult foundational training. I work with clients both in person and remotely. I love and work with all dogs, but also specialize in working with livestock guardian breeds (Great Pyrenees etc.) in pet homes.

Behavioral issue focus: Human directed aggression (owner directed and stranger directed), Reactivity, Resource Guarding, Intrahousehold aggression, Fearful and anxious behaviors, Successful transitions into new homes for rescue dogs, and setting puppies and their families up for a lifetime of success.

Training methods: I use humane based training methods for all dogs. I work with clients both locally and from around the world and we start with an intake behavior consultation. This allows me to learn about your dog's history, what they are doing and why, and what we need to do to change it. Initial sessions focus on safety and management (if needed), ensuring your dogs needs are met, and the 1st steps of a behavior modification plan. After that- training plans are customized to you and your dog's needs and goals.

Why I became a dog trainer: To enhance the lives of dogs and their people. My focus is on relationship building so that both the dog and the human can live a safe, peaceful, fulfilled life.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Celebrating my client's success. There's nothing that makes me happier than a video or message that shares a proud moment for my client and/or their dog.

My #1 dog training tip: Be kind and meet your dog's needs

Service areas: Enfield CT, North Central CT, Western MA, New Hampshire Seacoast, Suffield CT, Stafford CT, Somers CT, Longmeadow MA, East Longmeadow MA, Windsor CT, East Windsor CT and virtually with clients, world wide.


Laura DeMaio Roy

Laura has a deep passion and love for working with service dogs and their handlers. She decided to dedicate her life to working with service dogs following a number of meaningful volunteer positions with service dog organizations.

After working as a guide dog mobility instructor (GDMI) for 6 years, she founded DOGGY.U in 2016 to provide access to free and low-cost service dog resources.

Through DOGGY.U she has been able to help foster and support an inclusive community for service dog owner-trainers and professional trainers. Her talent and expertise are in-demand as a public speaker at ADA conferences, dog training conferences, as well as corporate trainings.

She's been a featured guest blogger for national pet food retailers as well as a guest expert for local television shows. As part of her commitment to staying on the forefront of science-based training, she regularly attends seminars and conferences.

Laura believes that training should be fun for both dog and human!


Guide Dog Mobility Instructor (GDMI)
AKC CGC Evaluator
Certified Trick Dog Instructor (CTDI)

Services include:

  • Service dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: DOGGY.U provides FREE online dog training resources, low-cost access to the DOGGY.U Community with 100+ training videos and live Q&As, service dog training courses, and online coaching.

Behavioral issue focus: Service Dog Resources: Public Access Training and Task Training (psychiatric, mobility, blind/VI, ASD, ADHD, PTSD & more)

Training methods: Free online training videos for pet and service dogs, dog travel, and trick training. DOGGY.U Patreon Community members get access to monthly live Q&As, special topic lives, and a video library of 100+ exclusive training videos. Private coaching includes service dog breeder and prospect selection, coaching other service dog trainers, public access work and task training with live zooms and video training review.

Why I became a dog trainer: To help individuals increase their independence with a service dog by their side.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Showing handlers how fun training can be! Unlocking a dog's potential.

My #1 dog training tip: Patience and a sense of humor will serve you well in dog training. Slow is fast. Fundamentals first.

Service areas: Online/Remote Service Dog Training


Casey Coughlin

Casey Coughlin specializes in solving difficult behavior problems, positively starting puppies, and building strong relationships with your dog. She loves working with reactive and sensitive dogs.

Casey has been surrounded by animals since childhood and grew up competing nationally in multiple equestrian events. She attended college at the University of Findlay for Equestrian Studies and later went on to develop and lead the riding instruction program at Nash Hill Equestrian Center, in Gowanda, NY. It was there that Casey picked out her first puppy of her own, a Border Collie/Lab Mix named Riley. Riley was an expert farm dog but lost his job when Casey moved back to suburbia to finish her studies. This was when Casey's love for training and dog sports started. Riley had a new career as a trick, agility, and disc dog!

Around the same time, a young neglected English Mastiff joined the family. Through helping Sophie recover, Casey learned the power of positive reinforcement training in rehabilitating dogs with severe behavior problems, allowing Sophie to go from people phobic and dog aggressive to confident family companion.

Casey is committed to furthering her education and promoting science-based humane training, she has completed Dr. Susan Friedman's behavioral change course 'Living and Learning with Animals' (2019), enjoys attending Clicker Expo, instructed for the Fenzi Pet Professional Program (2019, 2020), and has contributed and collaborated with several dog podcasts, including Cog-Dog Radio and Fenzi Dog Sport Podcast. Casey has taught seminars across the country and Canada on topics ranging from behavioral wellness to solving dog reactivity.

Casey is positive, upbeat, and confident that she can help change your family's relationship with your dog. She currently lives in Windsor, CT with her partner Kristin and their family.

Certifications: LLA Course Graduate

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Puppy training
  • Agility training

More info about service provided: Private in-home positive reinforcement-based training ranging from service dog foundational training, to reactive dog training, to family manners training.

Behavioral issue focus: I commonly work with leash reactivity, environmental sensitivity, and fear-based aggression.

Training methods: I am a reinforcement-based trainer, who constructs creative management plans that helps owner and dogs streamline their communication without the use of inhumane training aids. While active management helps lessen unwanted behaviors, we train and build skills that then can take the place of management and build fluid communication between the dog and handler.

Why I became a dog trainer: To help people better understand their dogs.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Providing relief to both sides of the leash :)

My #1 dog training tip: Focus on behavior as information and feedback about how your dog is feeling and how much they understand your teaching.

Service areas: Hartford County and some surrounding towns


Melody Sunflower

Former veterinary technician, been training dogs and work in veterinary medicine for 18 years. I'm passionate about helping people find balance and joy with their dogs.

Certifications: Fear Free Certified

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Private Training, positive reinforcement training, loose leash walking, behavior, reactivity, basic obedience

Behavioral issue focus: Fear, anxiety, reactivity, potty training, jumping, leash walking

Training methods: All positive reinforcement based. No prong collars or shock collars ever.

Why I became a dog trainer: To help save dogs from being relinquished due to behavior.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: The relationships I have created with my clients and their dogs.

My #1 dog training tip: Make sure your body language matches your words. Be a good leader for your dog. Clear and consistent expectations.

Service areas: Glastonbury and surrounding areas


Sniffspot Hartford Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are Hartford dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in Hartford 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 Hartford 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 Hartford?

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 Hartford 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 Hartford cost?

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

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

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 Connecticut was $31,563 per year and $15.17 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.

Sniffspot Dog running on field

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Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

May 10, 2023

Dog Trainers

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