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The Best Dog Trainers in Kansas City, MO of 2023

Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

March 29, 2022

Dog Trainers

Welcome to the Kansas City, MO Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2023. This is a list of the top dog trainers in Kansas City 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 Missouri 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 Kansas City, MO Dog Trainers in 2023

Karol Jean Thies

Helping change dogs (and their caretaker's lives) in the greater metro area of Kansas City, MO since 2021. Using only fear free and force free methods based in science to help dogs and people better coexist.

Certifications: CTC (Certificate of Training and Counciling), Fear Free Trainer

Services include:

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

Behavioral issue focus: Dogs with Big Feelings are my speciality

Why I became a dog trainer: I was fascinated by dog behavior during college with my first dog daycare job in 2007. I wanted to be a veterinarian as a child, so I've always had an interest in helping animals, but gravitated towards behavior as I got older. I want to teach the way that I learn best, in an encouraging and fun fear free environment.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I love helping people have epiphanies about how amazing their dogs are. I also love helping dogs feel more comfortable about the world around them and better trust humans that are here to help them.

My #1 dog training tip: Train the way you would like to learn! Be kind, patient, and encouraging.

Service areas: Greater Kansas City Metro area


Laura (Devine) Hills

Laura is the founder and owner of The Dogs' Spot Dog Training Center and Boutique, a 15,000 square foot facility in North Kansas City, Missouri, established in 2006. The Dogs' Spot's mission is to provide the premiere spot for Kansas City's community of dog lovers who want to employ the art and science of positive reinforcement, find that unique connection with their dog, and make new friends along the way.

She and her staff offer a wide array of group classes and private training for puppies, adolescent and adult dogs, including basic manners, Canine Good Citizen, Agility, K9 Nose Work, Flyball, Reactive Dog, and much more. Laura partners with the local rescue community by participating in, and sponsoring, many dog events throughout the city, providing educational resources, professional services, and speaking on topics related to canine training and behavior.

In addition, Laura is affiliated with three dog training organizations: the Victoria Stilwell Academy, Catch Trainer's Academy, and Animal Behavior College. She is a mentor for all three and a faculty advisor for the Victoria Stilwell Academy. She recently coauthored a book called Your Puppy and You - a Step by Step Guide to Raising a Freak'n Awesome Dog.Laura lives with four dogs: Guinness, Fiona, Poppet and Hamish and a very supportive husband, Kirby.

Certifications: KPA-CTP, CPDT-KSA, CCFT, CTDI, VSPDT, Certified Fear Free Trainer

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training

Website: https://www.TheDogsSpot.com


Dani LaFredo

I got into dog training to help show people that their dogs can be taught to be well-mannered, confident members of their household in a way that is calm and considerate of the dog's needs. I focus on what the dog needs and how the dog is feeling and then shape that into the perfect, individualized training and enrichment plan for that specific dog. My goal is a happy, confident, well-adjusted animal with good manners both inside and outside of the home.

Certified through The Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training and Behavior, I will only ever use positive reinforcement techniques when working with any dog. Science shows us that this type of training is the best way to create a happy dog that is eager to listen to cues and work with you. I focus on that unbreakable bond between dog and handler for a relationship that works for everyone (human and canine)!

Certifications: Victoria Stilwell Academy for Training & Behavior
Graduate of Michael Shikasho Aggression in Dogs Mastercourse

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: I work with dogs and their owners to help them to be able to live peacefully together through basic training, potty training, walk and trains, reactivity training, etc.

Behavioral issue focus:

Reactivity
Jumping
Excited Greetings

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping people understand the needs of their dogs

Service areas: Lenexa, KS
Overland Park, KS
Shawnee, KS
Mission, KS
Spring Hill, KS
Olathe, KS
Gardner, KS

Website: https://www.theconfidentcaninekc.com


Meggin Finkeldei

I am certified through CCPDT and am currently working toward my CBATI-KA certification. I have three dogs of my own who have behavioral needs as well as two amazing human children. I love helping people develop positive relationships with their dogs and leading them to a fear free life.

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: I work at D.O.G. with behavioral dogs as a private trainer through positive reinforcement methods and choice led training.

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity to humans and dogs as well as overexcitement and general anxiety.

Training methods: I work with clients starting with a consultation and then follow them with a customized training plan.

Why I became a dog trainer: I love helping dogs that struggle in our world which can be overwhelming to them. I also enjoy my human clients just as much!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Watching dogs and their guardians have a healthy relationship with less frustration on both sides.

My #1 dog training tip: Learn to understand your dog and their body language.

Service areas: Kansas City Metro Area

Website: https://www.dogwizard.com


Tracy Martin

At the heart of Martin Training & Behavior is the founder and owner, Tracy Martin. Tracy has served the pets of Kansas City since 2006 as a pet sitter and dog walker and since 2012 as a dog trainer.

Tracy holds undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Anthropology and a Masters in Experimental Psychology.

Tracy is an honors graduate of the prestigious Academy for Dog Trainers, a two-year, intensive program where she increased her knowledge of animal learning theory, applied animal behavior, behavior modification and counseling. She is one of two CTC's in Kansas.

Tracy is certified through Malena DeMartini's three-month, landmark Separation Anxiety course for dog trainers, where she learned the specifics of applying behavior modification techniques to the canine disorder of home alone distress. Tracy is the only Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer in the Kansas City Metro.

Tracy is certified from two prestigious UK based scent work organizations to teach pet dog scent work and is a Certified Nose Work Instructor® with the National Association of Canine Scent Work.

Tracy is a Fear Free Certified Professional trainer, committed to guiding dogs and their families gently and intelligently.

Tracy shares her life with three black and tan Littles: Doc Holliday, Maybel, and Herrick, all who are helping her learn about the world through the dog's nose.

Certifications: MA, CTC, CSAT, CNWI, FFCT

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Providing pet dog training for dogs up to adult, plus K9 Nose Work and Separation Anxiety training for all dogs

Behavioral issue focus: Basic obedience, fear/anxiety, separation anxiety

Training methods: All training starts with a virtual consultation. In home sessions are available near Kansas City, KS. Group classes are available in North Kansas City, MO. Virtual training is available for anywhere. Private training clients receive summaries and handouts. Group class clients receive handouts.

Why I became a dog trainer: To improve the relationships of families and their dogs.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Watching a previously shy or worried dog blossom and learn they are capable.

My #1 dog training tip: Listen to what your dog is saying-don't make them shout

Service areas: Kansas City, KS, Piper, KS, Shawnee, KS, Merriam, KS, Basehor, KS, Bonner Springs, KS, Mission, KS, North Kansas City, MO

Website: https://www.martintrainingbehavior.com


Karen DiCostanzo

I'm Karen DiCostanzo, KPA CTP, CPDT-KA, certified professional dog trainer and behavior consultant. I want to help you live your best life with your dog! Learning the art and science of training animals has forever changed my life in an extremely positive way.

I'd like to show you how to enrich your relationship with your canine companion while achieving your dog training goals!

All great relationships are based on effective two-way communication. For this reason, one of the first things I'll teach you is how to understand your dog's communication signals and, in turn, express yourself in ways your dog finds both clear and pleasant.
From Crazy Dogs to Calm Ones.


Many years ago, I became intensely interested in dog training and behavior modification after adopting a rescue dog - my first dog ever. It was a baptism by fire: I soon learned that in addition to serious health issues, he suffered from a panic disorder called separation distress.

Later, I adopted a large dog who drove me nuts with nuisance barking, lunging and pulling like crazy on leash, jumping all over people, chasing small animals, reacting to people and dogs, and more, so I definitely feel my clients' pain!
I learned to 'speak dog' to address my own dogs' issues, and today, I share my insights with those who want to work toward their dog training goals while deepening the bonds of love, trust, and understanding they share with their pets.

Fear-Free Certified Professional
I use a modern, holistic, relationship-based approach and have seen my training methods dramatically improve the lives of hundreds of dogs and their humans! My education background started with an intensive professional dog training apprenticeship with a certified professional dog trainer. After that, I logged hundreds of hours of hands-on teaching and training so that I could earn my professional certification credential (CPDT-KA) through the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) in 2017. The following year, I became a Certified Fear Free Professional through Fear Free Pets, and in 2019, I earned a professional credential as a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP). I'm also an approved AKC CGC Evaluator. In 2021, I earned a certificate in Dr. Susan Friedman's highly regarded Living and Learning with Animals Course in applied behavior analysis, and I'm currently working toward a professional certification in canine behavior consulting.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, AKC CGC Evaluator

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: We provide training help to address or proactively prevent problem behaviors like reactivity, aggression, skittishness, and separation issues. We also offer puppy training, along with ESA/service dog training. In-home and remote private lessons offered, along with day training. All breeds, sizes, and ages are welcome. Appointments available weekdays, evenings, and weekends to accommodate busy schedules!

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity, aggression, skittishness, separation anxiety, impulsivity and hyperactivity

Training methods: We use a positive reinforcement training approach to help solve or avoid undesirable behaviors while teaching life skills and manners. We start with an initial consultation in which we discuss the effective use of management techniques and veterinary intervention, if appropriate, along with hands-on training to teach your dog desirable behaviors. Based on our initial consultation, we will coach you through easy-to-follow training instructions designed to meet your dog training goals. After each training session, you'll receive a short summary, including resources and next steps to practice with your pup.

Why I became a dog trainer: Many years ago, I became intensely interested in dog training and behavior modification after adopting a rescue dog - my first dog ever. It was a baptism by fire: I soon learned that in addition to serious health issues, he suffered from a panic disorder called separation distress.

Later, I adopted a large dog who drove me nuts with nuisance barking, lunging and pulling like crazy on leash, jumping all over people, chasing small animals, reacting to people and dogs, and more, so I definitely feel my clients' pain!

In 2022, I adopted a large dog who exhibits hyper, impulsive behavior on an all-too-frequent basis. Helping him has allowed me to empathize with my clients whose dogs have these same behavior issues.

I learned to 'speak dog' to address my own dogs' issues, and today, I share my insights with those who want to work toward their dog training goals while deepening the bonds of love, trust, and understanding they share with their pets.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer:

Learning the art and science of training animals has forever changed my life in an extremely positive way. I love sharing what I've learned to help my clients and their dogs live their best lives together!

I greatly enjoy helping my clients enrich their relationships with their canine companions while achieving their dog training goals. All great relationships are based on effective two-way communication. For this reason, I teach my clients how to understand their dog's communication signals and, in turn, communicate clearly with their dogs with kindness and compassion.

My #1 dog training tip: We all know that dogs need daily physical exercise, but not everyone realizes that dogs desperately need ample mental enrichment every day. This means giving them activities that enable them to slow down and think. Decompression "sniffaris," foraging for food (indoors or outdoors), and nose work games are excellent for this.

Service areas: Kansas: Johnson County, Wyandotte County, Miami County, Douglas County, Franklin County, Leavenworth County
Missouri: Jackson County, Clay County, Platte County

Website: https://CanineConsent.com


Barbara Miller

MBA, Karen Pryor Certified clicker trainer since 2009, CPDT-KA in 2011, NACSW Certified Nose Work Instructor , Fear Free Trainer. Professional Trainers Workshop at Shedd Aquarium (Ken Ramirez) ; Living and Learning with Animals (Dr. Susan Freedman); Fenzi Sports Academy training camps, (Albany OR 2016, Purina Farms 2017, Wilmington OH 2018) ; 2017 Association of Professional Dog Trainers conference speaker (short- "Why I dont teach off" ) yearly conferences APTD and Clicker Expos, ongoing education to keep current on all techniques. Basic dog nerd, what can I say?

Certifications: CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, CNWI, Elite Fear Free Trainer

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Specialists in young puppy socialization and training. Focus on developing a family dog. Also certified NACSW K9 Nose Work classes.

Behavioral issue focus: Crate training, Young puppy development/socialization, fear reactivity

Training methods: We are force free trainers, using markers and positive reinforcement to develop cooperative dogs. Behavior modification includes de-sensitization and counter conditioning as well as basic training. We work in conjunction with your vet to develop a successful behavioral modification training plan.

Why I became a dog trainer: Lived with dogs my entire life, its a natural evolution. Passionate about positive training.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Puppy wrangling.

My #1 dog training tip: Focus on what you WANT the dog to do, train for that.

Service areas: Kansas City Metro area, Jackson Co, Clay Co, Platte CO, Johnson Co, Wyandotte Co.

Website: https://bksdogtraining.com


Sniffspot Kansas City Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are Kansas City dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in Kansas City 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 Kansas City 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 Kansas City?

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 Kansas City 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 Kansas City cost?

Kansas City 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 Kansas City dog trainer. How can I get listed here?

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

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 Missouri was $32,030 per year and $15.40 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 Missouri Cities

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

Springfield, MO
St. Louis, MO

See The Best Dog Trainers In Other States Near Missouri

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

Arkansas
Illinois
Kentucky
Oklahoma

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Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

March 29, 2022

Dog Trainers

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