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The Best Dog Trainers in Houston, TX of 2023

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Merlin Noble

May 29, 2023

Dog Trainers

Welcome to the Houston, TX Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2023. This is a list of the top dog trainers in Houston 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.

The Best Houston, TX Dog Trainers in 2023

Jennifer Caves

I have my M.Psy, CGC, FPPE and am always soaking up continued education experiences. I have a passion for rescue and partner with many rescues locally and throughout the state to create educational programs and support their fosters and adopters. I have been working professionally with dogs for 15 years. I also run a small non-profit Sanctuary for feral dogs and cats and a few behavioral animals. Our motto is, "Where Passion Meets Purpose." We live that code in our work with our clients and with the animals we have the privilege of helping.

Certifications: Masters in Psychology, M. Psy., CGC, FPPE

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training
  • Agility training

More info about service provided: We provide holistic, positive reinforcement relationship building to reach any behavior or training goals. We specialize in all behavior modification and training.

Behavioral issue focus: Reactive dogs, fearful dogs, obedience issues, puppies, resource guarding, prey drive, separation anxiety and deaf and blind dogs.

Training methods: We offer Zoom and phone consultations that create an initial customized behavior plan and then we proceed with in persons as needed. Our work is comprehensive, relationship-centric and just as much about teaching the pet parent as it is the dog.

Why I became a dog trainer: To help give back to the community and create more ethical education on how animals learn and deserve to be treated in their life along side us.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: The dogs!

My #1 dog training tip: Learn canine-body language and the science of how dogs learn.

Service areas: In person, DFW Area and Surrounding areas. Virtually, world-wide.


Nancy Kelly

I've been training professionally for over 30 years. I hold a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M and will complete my master's degree in behavioral psychology in 2023. I've had my CPDT-KA certification for 10 years, meaning I had to show education, experience, and training results and pass a comprehensive exam on animal training. I've competed with my own dogs in conformation, obedience, and rally; I've trained service dogs and family dogs and cats.

I enjoy taking my current mannerly dog with me wherever I go - he's visited 11 states at the age of 3, stayed in hotels, visited national parks, restaurants, and tourist attractions. I've racked up hundreds of hours of continuing education over the years, and continue to do so - check out my resume at

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Do you want the best possible lifelong relationship with the dog of your dreams? I have a wealth of education and experience in applied behavior analysis to share with you in a way that works for you and your dog to learn to be partners. Are you getting a new dog or puppy? Start training with me when you first bring your new dog or puppy home! Do you already have the dog of your dreams but you haven't yet gotten around to doing the training necessary to really feel that? Today is the first day of the rest of your life with your dog - let's work together to make your dreams come true.

Behavioral issue focus: Does your dog appear to not "listen" or have "selective deafness"? Maybe he's listening, but he just doesn't understand what you're talking about. I'll help you sort out how your dog is perceiving the world along with what you want him to do and create a training plan to achieve your goals. In most cases, foundation skills are missing so that's where we begin. Learning to be your dog's partner allows you to observe what's going on with him in a new way. Training for you and your dog together is the most effective way to work through behavioral issues like barking, bad manners at the front door, jumping on you and your guests, and making poor choices in general. With a strong foundation of skills and a repertoire of good choice-making, your dog can truly be a pleasure to live with.

Training methods: I am committed to science-based, positive reinforcement training and I'll teach you to do it skillfully. I start with an initial consultation in which we analyze problems and characterize your household and lifestyle, and then I'll recommend a training package, often the Beyond Basic Manners Curriculum. I often begin directly with Beyond Basic Manners if foundation skills are not where they need to be, because we need those foundation skills to solve behavioral problems. I provide detailed training plans and homework assignments that are easy to understand and perform and that give long-lasting results. The best training happens in small, detailed successes that we can build on. I stay in close communication with you throughout your training package through virtual training sessions, telephone homework reviews and coaching, and daily check-ins as needed.

Why I became a dog trainer: I originally became a dog trainer after I saw what training could do with my own first dog. I continued learning when I had more and more questions about how animals learn and how different training techniques worked. I continue to train because I am fascinated by the power of behavior change in both humans and non-humans, and I love knowing that there's a science of behavior we can rely on to understand how best to teach our furry best friends.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: My favorite part of being a dog trainer is the immense satisfaction and fulfillment I get from my students. When, at the last session of a training package, a student asks me how to approach their next training challenge and starts answering their own question using what I've taught and applying it to a new problem, I am ecstatic. I'm proud of myself but even more thrilled that this human is now able to use behavior science to solve training problems in a way that is fun and functional for the dog. That's what I'm here to do - teach the science of behavior in a way that is useful to my students.

My #1 dog training tip: My #1 dog training tip is "Make it easy for the dog to understand what you want." If it seems like the dog is not "listening," stop, look, and listen yourself - What did you say? What did you do? What else is going on? Your dog is "listening" to filter out the noise and find something that is meaningful to him; if nothing you say is meaningful, it's your job to make it so - and it's not hard to do. Be aware of what you're doing and use positive reinforcement to pair a few, specific words that you want to be meaningful with good things, and this problem will go away.

Service areas: Pasadena, Hobby area, Clear Lake, Pearland, Friendswood, Harris County, Heights, East End, Eado, South Houston, Webster


Joanna Wachowiak-Finlaison

Since starting my journey in animal behavior, first in Kuala Lumpur caring for abandoned dogs & cats, I've made it my mission to show pet parents just how easy it can be to solve behavior issues with the right combination of environment, detailed training plan, and guidance from a trained & certified professional.

As a member of IAABC, Pet Professionals Guild, the Shock Free Coalition, and the Fear Free movement, I'm dedicated to providing Houston area dog and cat parents with the most up-to-date, effective, scientifically-valid, and compassionate behavior and training techniques available. At High Five Animal Training we believe dogs, cats, & their owners thrive by teaching animals to 'behave' because they know how and want to, not out of fear of punishment.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, CCBC, CCUI, Fear Free Certified Trainer

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: I help parents of aggressive, reactive or just overexcited dogs. Find your best life with your dog through private, in-person training and customized programs that include day training sessions for overwhelmed owners.

Behavioral issue focus: I work with dogs that are reactive to other dogs; fearful, anxious or scared of new humans or situations; dogs that react with aggression (including bites) or that guard their resources.

Training methods: My training goal is to strengthen human-dog bond by giving owners knowledge and skills that will give them confidence to help their dogs. Our plan includes management for safety, enrichment for better quality of life and training.

Service areas: Houston Heights, GOOF, Rice Military, Montrose, West University, Midtown, Downtown, River Oaks, Inside The Loop


Lindsey Demko

I am a certified dog trainer through animal behavior College. My husband and I own a dog training company where we come to you and all of the training is done in your home. I find dogs learn best in their own environment.

Certifications: ABC Certified Dog Trainer

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: We train all dogs in their home for anything from puppies, obedience, and behavior modification. As well as aggression and reactivity.

Behavioral issue focus: Puppy, nuances, reactivity, and aggression

Why I became a dog trainer: I started out as a sign language interpreter, but found that I did not like sitting behind a desk all day. I took my love for animals, and understanding of body language, and turned it into my passion

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: My favorite part of being a dog trainer is watching dogs transform into the pets we know they can be

My #1 dog training tip: My number one dog tip is to take it slow and work at the pace of your dog. Make a list of what’s most important to curtail and start with that

Service areas: Houston, Tx


Sniffspot Houston Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are Houston dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in Houston 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 Houston 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 Houston?

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 Houston 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 Houston cost?

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

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

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.

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See The Best Dog Trainers In Other Texas Cities

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

Amarillo, TX
Austin, TX
Dallas, TX
Houston, TX
Katy, TX
Killeen, TX
San Antonio, TX

See The Best Dog Trainers In Other States Near Texas

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

New Mexico

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Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

May 29, 2023

Dog Trainers

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