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The Best Dog Trainers in Lakeland, FL of 2023

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Merlin Noble

May 11, 2023

Dog Trainers

Welcome to the Lakeland, FL Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2023. This is a list of the top dog trainers in Lakeland 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 Florida 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 Lakeland, FL Dog Trainers in 2023

Ariel Lovely

My name is Ariel Lovely and I am a certified dog trainer. Before becoming a dog trainer I worked professionally as a doggy daycare caretaker, a shelter tech, and as an animal control officer.

With my own dogs I compete in dog shows and sporting events, all achieved using positive reinforcement!

I decided to begin my education in the dog training field after owning my own reactive dog and struggling to find humane and effective methods to decrease the behavior. Now I focus on helping dogs and their owners get through the same behavior struggles.

Certifications: IAABC-ADT

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: I specialize in reactivity and fearful dogs however offer a variety of services. I operate under 3 and 5 week training courses designed to offer owners continuous support throughout the training process.

Behavioral issue focus: I commonly work with reactivity and fear/anxiety.

Training methods: I use exclusively positive reinforcement methods. My training plans focus on ensuring owners feel safe and confident while handling their dogs during behavior training, while also ensuring the dogs are comfortable and safe. I do not believe there is any real definition of a 'well trained dog' and instead focus on helping dog owners find what 'well trained' means to them in their home!

Why I became a dog trainer: I was inspired to become a dog trainer after living with my reactive dog Precious, who has since passed in 2022 at the age of 11.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping owners understand why their dog's behavior is happening and giving them the tools they need to not only alleviate the behavior, but build a closer bond with their dog as well.

My #1 dog training tip: Meet your dog's biological needs before focusing on training! Sniffing, running, playing!

Service areas: I train locally in and around Brandon, Florida. As well as virtually from anywhere!


Christiana Parker

Christy has been working as a Professional Figure Skater traveling the world for 12 years. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, she decided to settle down in Florida when she accepted a figure skating contract at Busch Gardens. During this time, she began studying animal behavior in her spare time and hasn't stopped learning since.

Her passion for animals has existed since the day she was born. She believes she was put on this Earth to help animals; specifically, teaching dogs and their families how to build a strong bond through training.

She went on to start working in a dog shelter where she found a profound love for rescue. Christy got hands-on experience rehabilitating, training, and fostering a wide variety of breeds, as well as those exhibiting fear, aggression, anxiety, and reactivity. Christy is an active volunteer for multiple different rescues such as Husky Haven of Florida where she assists in fostering, transport, and performing behavior assessments on dogs entering the rescues.

Christy is proud to share her life with her 5 rescue dogs Keela (Retriever mix), Lumen (Siberian Husky), Teegan (Husky/Malamute mix), her first “foster fail” Zayn (Siberian Husky mix), and the newest addition, Jaxon (Husky mix).

Currently pursuing a Behavior Consultant Certification, she regularly attends dog training seminars, workshops, and jumps at the chance of any additional hands-on training and behavior modification opportunities.

Certifications: CCPDT-KA and Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Behavior modification for separation anxiety, reactivity, human and dog aggression, fear. Basic manners, puppy socialization, board and train, socialization skills for adult dogs, day training, distraction training

Behavioral issue focus: Dog aggression, human aggression, fear, reactivity, separation anxiety

Training methods: I am dedicated to positive reinforcement and welfare/relationship building based training. My training plans are designed to be customized to each individual dog. I recommend a 6-8 week starting point for one-on-one sessions weekly for both behavior consultations and private training.

Why I became a dog trainer: As I started my career in the rescue industry, I realized the biggest reason dogs are typically relinquished is due to unwanted behavior issues. If I am able to help families learn how to better understand their dog and live in harmony together, I am taking one smell step in helping keep dogs in a loving home and out of the shelter.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Watching the bond between a handler and their dog grow into a beautiful, understanding relationship.

My #1 dog training tip: Get your dog on an enrichment plan! Provide daily breed appropriate outlets.

Service areas: Hillsborough county, City of Tampa, Brandon, Seffner, Lutz, Wesley Chapel


Sniffspot Lakeland Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are Lakeland dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in Lakeland 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 Lakeland 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 Lakeland?

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 Lakeland 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 Lakeland cost?

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

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

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 Florida was $27,527 per year and $13.23 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 By City In Florida

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See The Best Dog Trainers In Other States Near Florida


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Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

May 11, 2023

Dog Trainers

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