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The Best Dog Trainers in Lansing, MI of 2023

Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

May 23, 2023

Dog Trainers

Welcome to the Lansing, MI Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2023. This is a list of the top dog trainers in Lansing 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 Michigan 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.

Dagny Kaspar

I'm Dagny! I've been a scientist from day one, and graduated from MSU with a BS in Genetics. Along the way, I met my mentor and discovered that dog training is a perfect blend of my two passions: dogs and science. Thus began my dog training career. I've learned from and practiced with experts in the field. I've studied (and will continue to study) the science behind canine behavior, evolution, and learning because I am so passionate about the topic.

I never expected to do this as a profession, but after years of other people asking me to help them with their dogs, I finally created The Pals Canine Academy (named after my childhood dog, Pal) in an effort to improve the lives of people and their dogs. I've been helping families around my community for almost 5 years now. This is what I was meant to do!

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: The bulk of my work is in-home private lessons as these continue to be the most effective. I also offer lessons hosted at my local dog training center, classes on occasion, virtual consultations, a complete virtual dog training beginner's course, and board-and-train services.

I have also made some instructional YouTube videos, created one podcast episode (so far) about the science of dogs, spoken on the local radio about dog training, and been featured on our local pet store's Facebook page for training advice. As far as what I teach, I mainly work on manners, focus, recall, potty training, in-public behavior, listening skills (actually doing what their person asks of them), and making sure dogs are well-integrated into their families and know what is expected of them.

Most of my work is either solving relationship issues between people and their dogs that result in problem behaviors or socialization work to address reactivity. I am passionate about helping people understand their dogs better, and vice versa. I also have taught classes focusing on puppy, beginner, intermediate, and agility for confidence and fun! But the class I love teaching the most is one I invented called "Social Skills" and we focus on dog-dog interactions and socialization.

Behavioral issue focus: Most of the behavioral issues I see are jumping up, demanding behavior, destructive behavior, pottying in the house, ignoring recall, separation anxiety, lack of impulse control, reactivity, pulling on the leash, chasing the household cats, not getting along with other dogs in the household, digging, eating things off the ground, and lack of confidence.

Training methods: My process always starts with an introductory behavior consultation during which we discuss all questions, all problem behaviors, history, training goals, and first steps. I email various resources after the consultation to support the training plan. Moving forward, I usually see clients every 2 or 3 weeks for a couple months to check in on training progress, make sure everything is going according to plan, and adjust anything that needs changing.

For my methods, I focus on positive reinforcement for desired behaviors and addressing the dog's emotional needs. We always start with a lot of treats and emotional rewards (puppy parties, as I like to call them) and then after a while, the behaviors we reward become habit and the dogs WANT to listen to us because they want to please us. I leverage the dog's natural tendencies to make big changes in their behavior in a way that makes sense to them. I make sure to explain to the humans not just how we are going to make changes but why these methods work. We go into the science of behavior and break things down into understandable concepts. I never use shock collars, prong collars, harsh corrections, "dominance techniques", or violence of any kind because it's inhumane and simply not necessary. Our dogs have a natural need to be with us and be loved by us and that requires trust. Using violence destroys that trust and leaves the dog in a state of self-preservation, which is not only wrong but dangerous. My methods always prioritize preserving the trust between people and their dogs.

Why I became a dog trainer: I became a dog trainer because I can see all around me dogs trying to communicate with their humans, humans misunderstanding their dog's intentions, and tense relationships between humans and their dogs because of these misunderstandings and communication failures. Our dogs just want to love and be loved but they all have different needs and none of them are born with the ability to understand our language, customs, or expectations. I wanted to help people see their dogs for who they are so they could understand each other better. I believe the strongest relationships in life are built on clear, effective communication. Our relationships with our dogs are no different.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: My favorite part of my job is watching the relationship between humans and their dogs grow and blossom. The dogs gain confidence and show more of their personalities. The humans start to hear what their dogs are trying to tell them. The humans also start gaining confidence and are able to solve problems as they arise because they understand their dog's motivations. Watching a dog and human form a language between the two of them and start working together is the most beautiful thing to behold. There are no other animals in the world quite like dogs and fostering that relationship is a uniquely rewarding experience that I wouldn't trade for the world.

My #1 dog training tip: Don't assume that you know your dog's motivation! We have a strong tendency to project our own feelings and quirks onto our dogs. This is almost always detrimental to the relationship because if we're not seeing the real problem, we're not able to fix it. If you think your dog is doing something to make you mad, to get back at you, or out of jealousy, you're probably heading down the wrong path.

Service areas: Lansing, East Lansing, St Joseph, Dewitt, Mason, Charlotte, Grand Ledge, Haslett, Okemos, Bath, Williamston, Perry, Owosso, Eagle


Sniffspot Lansing Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are Lansing dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in Lansing 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 Lansing 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 Lansing?

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 Lansing 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 Lansing cost?

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

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

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 Michigan was $32,963 per year and $15.85 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.

See The Best Dog Trainers In Other Michigan Cities

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

Ann Arbor, MI
Detroit, MI
Flint, MI
Traverse City, MI

Sniffspot Dog running on field

Get safe exercise for your dog by renting a private dog park near you

See The Best Dog Trainers In Other States Near Michigan

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


Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

May 23, 2023

Dog Trainers

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