Welcome to the Kentucky Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2023. This is a list of the top dog trainers in Kentucky 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. 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 compiled 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 100% 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.
After starting my career and really cutting my teeth in a big box store 15 years ago, I learned how to help people of all different walks of life. I joined the crew at Manners Matter about 4 years ago where I am able to offer a wider array of classes and help people with more challenging issues.
Certifications: CPDT-KA, CGC Evaluator
More info about service provided: Private lessons, group classes, seminars, and day training at Manners Matter
Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity of all kinds, fearfulness, and anxiety cases
Training methods: I offer behavior consultations for people whose dogs have fear, anxiety, reactivity issues and more. I work closely with local veterinarians to help establish an appropriate behavior modification and management plan to help achieve realistic goals for each individual case.
Why I became a dog trainer: I became a dog trainer after having a near incident with my own dog at my very first ever obedience class that was compulsion based. That moment stuck with me for years and made me question our approach with dogs. I truly wanted to learn better, do better, then use that knowledge to help others avoid the pitfall I experienced.
My favorite part of being a dog trainer: My favorite part of being a dog trainer is when I run into my clients having great moments with their dogs around our community.
My #1 dog training tip: Stay humble.
Service areas: Lexington/Fayette County, Jessamine County, Bourbon Co and beyond
Mandy Eakins, owner and head trainer of Manners Matter Dog Training and Daycare, is a multi certified trainer through the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers and The Karen Pryor Training Academy. Mandy is also an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and a Faculty Advisor for the Victoria Stilwell Dog Trainer Academy. Training dogs for over 25 years, she has done everything from search and rescue work, to showing at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
Certifications: Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers- Knowledge Assessed
Karen Pryor Academy Graduate
American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Evaluator
More info about service provided: Offering group classes, private lessons, and day training. We also offer a small group dog daycare.
Behavioral issue focus: We commonly work with fearful, anxious, and reactive dogs.
Training methods: Our training is LIMA based.
Why I became a dog trainer: My hobby of showing and training dogs became a passion that drove me to learn more about training. Through that education it morphed into a profession.
My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Watching owners start to understand their dog in a way that strengthens their relationship.
My #1 dog training tip: Watch your dog, look for the good behavior.
Service areas: Central Kentucky area. Lexington, Nicholasville, Versailles, Lancaster and surrounding areas.
My name is Andrea Breault. I live in Lexington, Kentucky with my husband and our animals. I have a degree in animal studies and psychology. I started my dog training career at a dog daycare and training facility in the area five years ago. When not training other people's dogs, I work with mine and enjoy pet photography.
More info about service provided: Day training for puppies and adult dogs, daycare, basic obedience cues, distraction training
Behavioral issue focus: Giving puppies a good start to living in our human world. Helping humans navigate potty training, nipping and biting, crate training. Our day train covers basic obedience and helping guardians learn how to train at home. Dogs who need counter conditioning/desensitization to people or dogs in the real world.
Training methods: Weekly homework for the guardians, checks-in via in person coaching at the end of each week
Why I became a dog trainer: I enjoyed studying about elements of training while in school at EKU and did one class about dog training then I was intrigued. I found the job I have now and it helped grow my passion. Helping dogs and their guardians set themselves up for success is always rewarding.
My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Building a relationship with the dogs and their humans. Studying how to be a better trainer is also a passion.
My #1 dog training tip: Play with your dog more
Service areas: Lexington and Nicholasville
When not training, I teach online fashion merchandising and design courses; I am a Master Clothing Volunteer with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension program, and I enjoy hiking, kayaking, and traveling.
Certifications: KPA-CTP, AKC CGC Evaluator, Ph.D. in Human and Community Development, Certificate in University Teaching
More info about service provided:
My current specialization is the puppy stage of a dog's development, and helping set caretakers and their puppies up for success from the beginning. My puppy classes include Puppy Club and AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy. These cover socialization, enrichment, house training, distraction training, body language education, cooperative care, age appropriate behavior training, and more as needed by the participants.
During the day, I train the Manners Matter dogs participating in social, physical, and mental enrichment programs, behavior training, and trick-of-the-month programs.
Training methods: Coming from the philosophy that when we know better, we can do better, I enjoy helping caretakers get to know themselves and their dogs better. Changing habits and/or a mindset is a challenging task. I view my role as a dog trainer as that of a coach to the caretakers, helping them successfully make the changes necessary to meet their goals and provide the best possible life for their dogs.
Why I became a dog trainer: I have been learning to communicate with my own dogs since I was 12, however, my formal work as a trainer started in 2015 with the Hearts of Gold mobility assistance service dogs and West Virginia University. I fell in love with science-based and positive reinforcement training and helping owners and dogs create develop strong bonds of understanding.
Since then, I have become a Karen Pryor Academy Professional Dog Trainer graduate and Certified Training Partner, and I am currently pursuing my Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, Inc. Knowledge Assessed certification.
My favorite part of being a dog trainer: My favorite part of being a dog trainer is helping people understand what their dog's body language and behaviors are telling us, and then helping them communicate back to their dogs in an effective manner.
My #1 dog training tip: Watch your dog. They tell us so much in their bodies and behaviors that we miss if we don't work on our own observation skills.
Service areas: Lexington, Nicholasville, and surrounding areas
I have been training dogs since 2011 and have earned multiple certifications within that time. I started at PetSmart and broke away in 2014 once I hit the ceiling there. I have a soft spot for Dobermans and Belgians. I love teaching group classes and lately I've been learning the sport of Rally. My goal is to always learn and grow as a dog trainer and behavior consultant!
Certifications: CDBC; CBCC-KA; CPDT-KSA; IAABC-ADT, Fear Free Certified Professional
More info about service provided: I offer group classes, private lessons, and day training at Bluegrass Dog Training as well as behavior consultations at PetVet365.
Behavioral issue focus: Aggression, reactivity, fear based behaviors, leash pulling, jumping, barking, potty training, and more
Training methods: I rely on positive reinforcement and follow LIMA principles. Behavior modification plans and training plans are made if appropriate/needed. Registration for group and private lessons can be made at Bluegrassdogtraining.com. Behavior consult inquiries can contact PetVet365.
Why I became a dog trainer: The same reason we all have, because we love dogs and we want to see their lives with their owners improve.
My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I love seeing the light bulb go off for both the dogs and the humans! When everything clicks, that's why I do what I do.
My #1 dog training tip: Look for five good things your dog does a day organically (so because they made a good decision, not because you told them to) and reward your dog with a treat (or toy or very enthusiastic praise).
Service areas: Fayette County, KY and surrounding areas
I started training and showing my own dogs in 1984 and over the years my dogs have earned titles in AKC obedience, tracking, agility, tricks. I started teaching other people to train their dogs in 2000. My methods have evolved over the years and I try to keep current in continuing education. I am also a presenter for the Family Paws program. I have a Master's Degree in Behavioral Science and worked as a Master's level psychologist for over 25 years.
Certifications: Certified Dog Behavior Consultant
More info about service provided: Private lessons for dog with behavior issues such as aggression, reactivity, fearfulness, potty training, and classes and private lessons in basic manners, agility training, Canine Good citizen training, Tricks.
Behavioral issue focus: Aggression, reactivity, fearfulness.
Training methods: For private lessons, I get a lot of information and behavioral history about the dog and his behaviors. Then we do exercises with the dog. I am certified by the IAABC and I believe in using positive methods and LIMA; knowing the dog's environmental triggers and learning history helps me design a training plan to address the behaviors and teach the dog more appropriate ways to behave as well as discuss managing the environment to get the behavior we want.
Why I became a dog trainer: I've always loved working with my own dogs and I also enjoy working with people. Dog training is a way to do both. I enjoy being a part of strengthening people's relationship with their dogs.
My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing dogs and their people become a team.
My #1 dog training tip: When teaching your dog, set them up to win and be aware of what they're telling you, training is two-way communication. In learning, consistency and predictability helps everyone feel more secure.
Service areas: Lexington, Louisville, Nicholasville, Paris, Georgetown KY
Christina Wakefield started teaching in 1998 and her specialty is teaching Dog Agility classes of all levels, including distance skills. She's taught a vast variety of breeds from chihuahua's to great danes to mixes of all kinds. Her goal is to combine an informative and structured class, that's a lot of fun for both dog and handler. C
hristina has competed at the National level in AKC, USDAA, and TDAA. Christina put an ADCH on her border collie Ticket, a TACH on her rat terrier Oreo, a TACH and TACH2 on Brian's border collie Tess, and several TACH's, MACH, PACH, and 2 TNAC's (Teacup National Agility Champion - winning TDAA Nationals 2 years in a row) on her boston terrier, Stitch. Stitch also won High in Trial at the TDAA Nationals in 2015. In 2016, Christina and Stitch were the #1 ranked boston terrier performance team in AKC and earned the right to compete at the AKC Invitationals in Orlando, FL, where they completed 4 clear rounds and were fast enough to be able to run in Finals!
Christina is a TDAA agility judge (and judged the TDAA Nationals in 2018) and a Hide 'N Seek judge. She does trial secretary work for AKC Herding, CPE Agility, and Hide 'N Seek. Christina has also competed in AKC, ASCA and AHBA Herding (her border collie, Ticket had points toward a Herding Championship and won many High in Trial and Reserve High in Trial and her border collies Finn and Ace are now competing), competitive obedience in AKC and ASCA, Rally in AKC, conformation in ASCA, Hide 'N Seek and Barn Hunt.
Certifications: Competed at the National level in AKC, USDAA, and TDAA.
My goal is to help my clients achieve harmonious, enjoyable lives with their dogs. Isn't that what we dream of when we adopt a puppy or dog?
Having adopted most of my pets from shelters and rescue groups, I've experienced many of the problems and frustrations that my clients face. I know how good it feels to see a timid dog gain confidence and to see a dog learn to walk peacefully past another dog instead of barking and lunging. I love helping my clients share that experience of success.
I've been training my own dogs since the age of ten and have been committed to using force free methods since 1998. I began teaching dog training in 1999 as an apprentice and started an independent training business in 2005.
I've participated with my dogs in service projects and group activities including nursing home visits with a certified therapy dog.
I became a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner in 2013. As part of this experience, I added cat training to my repertoire. I obtained my CPDT-KA certification from the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers in 2019, a Fear Free Professional certification in 2019 and a Control Unleashed Instructor certification in 2023. I continue to hone my training skills through workshops, webinars and conferences.
With a Ph.D. in biology, I also am employed in biomedical research in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. I enjoy the synergy between my training in biological science and the evidence-based approach to pet training that I learned through Karen Pryor Academy and my continuing education.
Certifications: CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, CCUI, Fear Free Professional
More info about service provided: I offer private training tailored to your needs and situation. I also offer group classes for basic manners and small group outdoor classes for graduates of my private and group programs. I expect to offer day training starting in autumn of 2023
Behavioral issue focus: Big Feelings: fearfulness, barking/lunging, resource guarding are the most common issues. Also everyday manners issues: polite greeting instead of jumping up, walking nicely on leash instead of pulling.
Training methods: Behavior cases begin with a consultation to get background, advise on safety measures and start some foundation exercises. I train with positive reinforcement and an emphasis on meeting the needs of all participants - dog and humans.
Why I became a dog trainer: I love to help dogs and their people learn how to find more enjoyment in their lives together
My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing dogs and people have light bulb moments
My #1 dog training tip: Start with a small, easy success and build on that.
Service areas: Lexington
How are Kentucky dog trainers selected for this list?
These are the top dog trainers in Kentucky 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 Kentucky 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 Kentucky?
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 Kentucky 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 Kentucky cost?
Kentucky 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 Kentucky dog trainer. How can I get listed here?
As long as you have a training facility or do in person training in Kentucky 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 Kentucky?
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 Kentucky was $27,650 per year and $13.29 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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