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The Best Dog Trainers in Pensacola, FL of 2023

Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

May 11, 2023

Dog Trainers

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

Makayla Garcia

Growing up as a military brat and having served several years in the Air Force I have lived in five countries, five states, and one territory before settling down in Florida in 2017. I am now the proud owner of East Bay Dog Spot, a five-star dog training facility in Gulf Breeze offering an array of group classes and private dog training.

My training is a reflection of who I am, teaching with kindness and patience. With a passion for both dogs and their owners I am also the Vice President and a founding member of the Friends of Santa Rosa County Animal Shelter, a local non-profit that supports our county animal shelter through funds, community outreach, and pet safety net programs.

Certifications: AKC CGC Evaluator, APDT Member

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: As the owner of East Bay Dog Spot, my team and I offer an array of group classes and private training programs to meet the need of any pet owner. Group classes range from Puppy and Beginner classes all the way up to Advanced or Reactivity classes. Group classes and private lessons are primarily held at our training facility in Gulf Breeze (In Home sessions are limited). Because I believe that training continues long after classes end, existing clients have ongoing access to trainers, our training library, monthly pack walks and workshops.

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity, separation anxiety, and general manners and obedience

Training methods: All my training is force free and positive reinforcement based. I assist owners on selecting the best program for them and their dogs whether that is private training or a group class. Private clients receive customized training plans to address any problem behaviors.

Why I became a dog trainer: Like most trainers, I was raised around dogs my whole life. My parents owned rottweilers most of my life and also helped train guide dogs. I've always loved dogs and began working with them in a local doggy daycare after separating the Air Force.

I quickly realized that I wanted to do more than just be around dogs, I wanted to help them and their owners. I was fortunate to find a wonderful mentor in the local area that helped develop my knowledge and understanding of dogs to guide me into becoming the dog trainer I am today!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: My favorite part of dog training is seeing the impact my work has. Dogs who were on the brink of rehoming being able to live harmoniously in their house. Frustrated owners finally feeling confident about what they need to do and understanding why their dog behaves the way it does. I love animals, and I am blessed with the opportunity to help dogs, people, and my community with my knowledge.

My #1 dog training tip: Set your dog up for success! Whether you're introducing a new skill or addressing a behavioral problem, manage the environment and take baby steps so your dog can't fail.

Service areas: Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, Navarre, Milton


Christie Mendoza

Trainer for 5 years - love competing in agility and rally

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Puppy and Obedience Training, Reactive Rover training, AKC CGC and Rally classes

Behavioral issue focus: Leash reactivity

Training methods: positive reinforcement training - counterconditioning and desensitization for reactive rover class

Why I became a dog trainer: Because I had a very reactive scared puppy and wanted to understand the best way to help him become a confident dog

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing the bond that dog and owners can make through training together. Seeing a scared reactive young dog gain confidence.

My #1 dog training tip: Reward and reinforce the dog for the behaviors you want to see vs telling the dog no or correcting the dog.

Service areas: Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, Navarre


Sniffspot Pensacola Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are Pensacola dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in Pensacola 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 Pensacola 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 Pensacola?

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 Pensacola 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 Pensacola cost?

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

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

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 In Other Florida Cities

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

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Miami, FL
North Port, FL
Tampa, FL

See The Best Dog Trainers In Other States Near Florida

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


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Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

May 11, 2023

Dog Trainers

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