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The Best Dog Trainers in Philadelphia, PA of 2023

Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

March 29, 2022

Dog Trainers

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

Erin Marion

I have over twelve years of experience working with dogs. I am a certified professional dog trainer, (CPDT-KA), a Karen Pryor clicker training partner, and am certified in pet first aid.

I love all dogs and all aspects of working with dogs. I have worked in a wide range of dog-related areas - large vet hospitals, day care facilities, feed stores, dog training academies and rescues. Throughout the last 12 years I have gained a wide range of knowledge about dog behavior, health, emotional care, training, and nutrition. This broad experience has helped me immensely in understanding dogs and made me a better trainer.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP

Services include:

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

More info about service provided:

Even though I train all types of dogs I specialize in working with dogs who are deaf, blind or both. I offer in-person one on one sessions and virtual sessions as well. I also offer a in-home teenage day school where I work with clients dogs on my property by providing socialization and training by a professional dog trainer.
I am here to provide assistance to dog guardians in the first few months of bringing their dog home and continuing their training into the first few years. I teach all of my clients how to work through puppy-hood and then adolescence using positive reinforcement and reward based training methods.

Behavioral issue focus:

Behavioral issues that I most commonly work with are dog guardians looking to be able to affectively communicate with their dogs who are deaf, blind or both. I coach guardians on how to provide safe socialization opportunities, basic obedience, resource guard prevention, auto check-in's and startle prevention.

With dogs that can see and hear I most commonly work through pet dog issues such as under-socialization, age related behaviors during adolescence, recall and over all basic manners.

Training methods:

I train all dogs (including my own) using science based methods. I am a LIMA positive reinforcement based trainer. When first meeting a client I always provide a free consultation call to give us both a chance to get to know one another. If we both find each other to be a good fit I start with an hour long virtual zoom meeting where we can go over all the basics without the distraction of me in the room with your dog. We go over example videos, PDF's and anything that I find will be helpful in that particular dogs case. To me, each case is different, not every dog has the same training plan. I create training plans according to that specific client and client's dogs needs. I typically like to meet once a week or bi-weekly. In between lessons I like to keep a communication line open so I can review video homework and am able to answer questions.

None of my clients are taught, nor do I train using shock collars, prong collars or choke chains.

Why I became a dog trainer:

I have been a “Dog Lady” for as long as I can remember, but it all came together for me after adopting my first dog, Otis. When he and I first became our own little pack, he had some major anxiety and aggression issues. I knew I needed to learn more about dog training in order to really help him.

We began the Karen Pryor clicker training program together, where I was able to help Otis overcome his anxiety and aggression issues. It was with Otis that I realized being a dog trainer and training with positive reinforcement was my true calling. I then raised my Australian Shepherd, Dahlia and multiple foster puppies with those same methods. I have continued to hone my craft throughout the last decade. In 2018, my training expanded to incorporate special needs dogs when I fostered my first deaf and blind puppy. In 2020 I adopted Darla, who was born with limited hearing and almost no ability to see. In 2022 I adopted Clark a completely blind rough coat collie. After multiple disabled foster dogs and now currently having my own blind and deaf dogs I am extremely passionate about helping special needs pets and their guardians connect by using force-free training methods.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer:

My favorite part of being a dog trainer is getting a chance to coach dog guardians how to communicate to their dogs. Many dog guardians who adopt a dog who is deaf, blind or both feel extremely over whelmed on how to truly "talk" to their dog. Watching someone be able to work with a dog who is deaf and blind and have the dog fully participating and enjoying the training is what makes my job so special.

I of course love dogs and wanted to be a dog trainer because I had such a passion for them. However it is the people that I have gotten to meet along the way that makes being a dog trainer the job of a lifetime.

My #1 dog training tip: When bringing home a dog that is disabled it's important to assist and guide them through a humans world however it is detrimental to feel bad for them. These dogs are truly capable of so much that you will hinder their ability to grow by always holding them back.

Service areas: Chester County, Montgomery County, West Brandywine, East Brandywine, West Chester, Parkesburg

Website: https://www.downtoearthdoglady.com


Sarah Weber

Sarah Weber
Animal Trainer
CPDT-KA, IAABC-ADT, PDT, CCAA, CCCS, APDT
Sarah's background is pretty diverse in the animal field. She has worked in all aspects of canine behavior as a Sales Specialist for local pet stores as well as dog grooming. She has worked as a Boarding and Daycare Operations Manager, Canine Handler, and Shift Lead at Penn Vet Working Dog Center through the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Sarah works by accessing genetics, breed, lifestyle, physical and mental health in dogs to fully understand why they behave the way they do. Sarah puts a heavy focus on emotional well-being, calmness and engagement to help foster positive experiences with her canine and human clients.

When Sarah is not working, she enjoys camping, hiking, yoga and rock-climbing, all while spending time with her two dogs.

Sarah holds numerous certifications, degrees, and accreditations, nationally and internationally, which includes:

Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed, (CPDT-KA)
International Association of Animal Behavioral Consultants - Accredited Dog Trainer
Association of Professional Dog Trainers Accredited Dog Trainer, AKC Evaluator
Certified Canine Athletic Advisor
Certified Canine Conditioning Specialist
Professional Dog Trainer & Kennel Manager - Starmark Academy of Animal Behavior
Absolute Dogs - Pro Dog Trainer Academy
School of Canine Science - Canine Science Specialist

Certifications: Certified Professional Dog Trainer- Knowledge Assessed, International Association of Animal Behavioral Consultants-Accredited Dog Trainer, Association of Pet Dog Trainers- Member, AKC Evaluator, Certified Canine Athletic Advisor, Certified Canine Conditioning Specialist, Professional Dog Trainer- Absolute Dogs, Pet First Aid Certified, The Dog Gurus- Member, Master in Aggression

Services include:

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

More info about service provided:

Group Classes- 2 to 6 dogs 1-hour classes held weekly. Price Varies based on class type. Class will begin with a 10-minute warm up session, during which the trainer will greet and briefly check over each puppy. The main body of the class will focus on training goals appropriate to the dogs, and then finish with a cool down session, just like a gym class! All of our classes are "Drop In" which means you pay per class and can come to as many classes as you would like.

What to bring to group class:
Your Dog
A leash, Harness or Collar
200 dog treats
A treat pouch, we love this brand, Petsafe Treat Pouch
Your dog's favorite toy
Basic & Advanced Obedience Saturdays 10 am to 11 am
Perfect for dogs and owners who want to work on distance, duration and distraction skills. We have a new concept and skill list each week. A consultation session is required
Cost: $65 per class, per dog

Baby Prep 101 Class Expecting a tiny human? live with tiny humans? Just want your pup exposed to all things, tiny kiddos? This is the class for you! We will focus on positive interactions with cribs, strollers, bikes, toys, loud sounds, feeding time, handling skills, leash manners, management techniques and more. We do NOT require a consultation session for this class, but we do expect your dog to be able to work in the presence of other dogs
Cost: $45 per class, per dog

Puppy Prep 101 ClassLearn the basics in a fun twist! Work on engagement with your pet while around other puppies! Discussion and hands on skills for things like potty training, teething, nipping, play management and more!
Cost: $65 per class per dog
$20 for puppies enrolled in our weekly puppy prep program

Nose Work Class
Have a dog that loves to sniff? A pup that can’t keep their nose off the ground? Imprinting and teaching them to find odor is a fantastic way to work their brains by meeting biological needs! We imprint on Clove, Birch, Anise, Cypress.
Cost: $35 per class, per dog

Day Training
30-minute training sessions without the owner present while your dog is boarding or in daycare at VCA Wellington. Focusing on agility, nose work and or training sessions!
30 minutes - $45

Puppy Prep Program-
For all puppies 9 weeks or older! This is a 12-week program including daycare and training three times a week, held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at VCA Wellington. This includes three training sessions, lunch break and three group play sessions. We also offer the program 1-3 days a week. However, pups get the biggest benefit coming all three days a week. School starts at 9 am and ends at 4 pm. Pups are welcome here 7 am to 6:45 pm

Puppy Daycare

Age Requirements: 10 weeks old to 6 months old

Vaccine Requirements to start: Require a minimum of 2 rounds of DHPP & 1 Round of Bordetella to START the program. We also require a clear fecal test.

Full Vaccine Requirements:
Rabies
DHPP Combination- Distemper, Adenovirus, Hepatitis, Parvo, Para-influenza
Bordetella
Bivalent Influenza (H3N2/H3N8)
Flea and Tick Preventative

We highly recommend:
Leptospirosis
Lyme

Puppy Daycare is held Monday- Friday at VCA Wellington & Family Pet Resort from 8 am until 4pm. This is separate from our group play daycare program. All Puppies play, rest and interact in a separate space from adult dogs for health and safety reasons.

Our Puppy Daycare is a more intimate, slower paced program to help the developing puppy brain. We have a heavy focus on puppy developmental stages:socialization period, fear impact period, juvenile period, adolescent period. We place our puppies with adolescent and adult dog’s who have graduated from our training programs. These are select dogs who are able to teach puppies how to safely and appropriately play.

Once your dog graduates from Puppy daycare, they are welcome to attend our adult group play! They will need to schedule an evaluation prior to joining our Adult group.

This program does NOT include teaching training skills like sit, down, leash manners, leave it, drop etc. Our Puppy Prep Training Program runs alongside our Puppy Daycare. If you prefer our Trainers work with your pup on training skills, you will be charged accordingly along with given homework.

Enrichment Daycare

Our Enrichment Daycare builds on genetically predisposed behaviors in a positive way. We challenge natural drives such as: chasing, sniffing, carrying objects, chewing, herding, climbing, etc. By challenging these natural behaviors, we help curb destructive or maladaptive behaviors such as chewing furniture, destroying objects, jumping, and more.
Each enrichment activity is designed to provide an engaging, natural outlet while working on your dog’s physical and mental needs.
This program is appropriate for dogs who prefer the presence of humans only, smaller groups of dogs, or who get overstimulated in larger group settings.

This includes (3) enrichment sessions and a lunch break during the day. Enrichment sessions can include small group play, fitness & agility, massage, nose work, chase games, herding games, and more. We also use FitPAWS® and Blue-9™ equipment designed to tone up your dog’s body, increase core strength, stabilize weak areas, improve body awareness, coordination, range of motion, confidence, our bond with your dog, etc. Our Certified Canine Conditioning Specialist also offers canine massage. This helps promote softer, more glossy coats. Canine massage can also help relax pets and calm hyperactivity.

Vaccine Requirements: Rabies DHPP Combination- Distemper, Adenovirus, Hepatitis, Parvo, Parainfluenza Bordetella Bivalent Influenza (H3N2/H3N8) Flea and Tick Preventative

Behavioral issue focus: Aggression to dogs, strangers, humans in the home, dogs in the home, puppy training, separation anxiety, obsessive compulsive behavior, reactivity to: familiar/unfamiliar dogs/people, objects,novelty, dog to dog behavior, group play evaluations, dog to baby relationship, herding, nipping, biting, attention seeking barking

Training methods:

The first step to scheduling would be a Consultation Session. This would be held at our facility in Newtown Square 3921 Miller Road, Newtown Square, PA, 19073. It is an hour-long session with the dog and owners, designed to better understand your dog, family and overall training goals. During this session, we will teach you about canine behavior, why your dog does what it does, and how to prevent & manage behavioral concerns. Afterwards, we will prepare a full training plan tailored to your dog and send it to you via email.
We offer day school, private lessons, group classes, board and trains based on what we feel is best for the dog. we offer 24/7 365 day support for our clientele

Why I became a dog trainer: amazing question! I became a dog trainer for a lot of reasons. The first, I actually really wanted to go to vet school. however, being dyslexic, I did not have the support at 17 that I have at 25. I transitioned into law enforcement studies to be a canine handler when I feel in love with dog training at penn vet working dog center as a volunteer and then kennel lead. Growing up, I always wanted to work with animals, I was a pet sitter, dog walker, kennel attendant, vet assistant etc. My first family dog was really was set the story for becoming a dog trainer. One of my clients tells me that I have the best "Why you should hire me" story. I was raised one of 7 kids. We were all under the age of 14 when my parents got us our first family dog. A 10 week old "native American Indian dog" if you know anything about the breed- not a good match for young kids and first time as adult dog owners. He was a loving dog to me.... he hated everyone else. I was in 2nd & 3rd grade when we had him. Looking back... he resources guarded spaces, food, objects, people (me), he had stranger directed aggression, conflict aggression and handling concerns. He absolutely hated my father. Long story, short. One night he ended up biting my youngest brother in the eye and he was medvaced to CHOP in philadelphia for emergency surgery. He thankfully retained his eyesight and healed! As for our dog, Lucas, He went on a 10 day bite hold. He relastically should have been euthanized then. At 9 days, they found a single guy, unmarried, no kids to take him... life happens and he ended up getting married and having a baby. He surreneded Lucas to a local sheltered where he was deemed unadoptable and behaviorally euthanized. I became a dog trainer to make sure history doesnt repeat itself. That we have dogs in the correct homes, that we keep dogs and humans safe. I became a dog trainer to support the best quality of life dog all dogs, and humans.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: There are so many things. It is very difficult to pick a favorite. I think the joy I can help bring to dogs lives. Whether it is a foster/shelter dog or a dog already placed in a home. There are so many wonderful people I have met through dog training!

My #1 dog training tip: The rules of engagement! Eye contact, clear communication, and passion for your partner (dog or human) are key

Service areas: Montgomery County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Newtown Square, Wayne, Radnor, Upper Merion, Eagleville, Havertown, Lower Merion

Website: https://vcahospitals.com


Peet Johnson

Ive grown up with dogs, they've always been there for me and I've always been there for them. I started my training journey in my 20's but didn't actively pursue it full time until 2 years ago when I joined the Philly Unleashed team! I'm CPDT-KA certified and am passionate about helping our dogs live their best lives with us!

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Reactive dog classes, private lessons, boarding, impulse control

Behavioral issue focus: On leash aggression, dog and people reactivity, inter household aggression

Training methods: I offer training plans including behavior modification, basic training, and behavior consultations using only positive reinforcement and science based approaches.

Why I became a dog trainer: I love dogs! I also adopted a special needs dog and needed to do more than basic obedience with him, then I rescued a reactive dog and I wanted her to enjoy her life with as little stress and anxiety as possible.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping create a language between the people and their dogs! Training creates such a strong bond and helps both parties understand each other!

My #1 dog training tip: Reward what you want, ignore everything else!

Service areas: The greater Philadelphia area

Website: https://phillyunleashed.com


Cassi Bee

Originally from New England, I now live in NJ with my partner and our cattle dog mix, Bugsy. I am a positive reinforcement dog trainer who works to help dogs better understand their people, and people to better understand their dogs using upbeat but important training plans focusing on foundation, reinforcement and pattern building. I also really enjoy teaching tricks and sports (for fun!) to teams who would like to work on their dog's confidence, whether they need a little bit more or just a place to channel it all!

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Private Lessons, Group Classes, Behavior Walks, Teail Meetups and Workshops available

Behavioral issue focus: reactive, nervous, shy, over friendly, excitable, working breed pets, etc.

Training methods: Behavior consults for behavior modification plans; sports sessions run on a program.

Why I became a dog trainer: I had a variety of pets in my childhood and was drawn to dogs and horses at an early age. After participating in a 4H group that focused on dog training and AKC shows, that fueled my fire to learn more about animal behavior and teamwork between dogs, horses and their handlers.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: The connections I am able to help to create and strengthen between dogs and their humans.

My #1 dog training tip: Learning is never linear, so trust the training!

Service areas: South Jersey, Central Jersey, Philadelphia

Website: https://phillyunleashed.com


Casey Buckley

I'm a former trauma therapist and social worker. I'm a service dog handler. I've been training dogs over 10 years. I specialize in work with reactive, anxious, fearful and/or abused and neglected dogs

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Basic obedience, leash reactivity, fear aggression, service dog training (psych , mobility, medical alert), scent training, dog parquor

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity, anxiety, fear based behaviors, guarding , separation anxiety

Training methods: I'm a force free, fear free trainer

Why I became a dog trainer: I began my work as a service dog trainer because I trained my own service dog and was interested in working with more behavioral concerns

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing clients become more skilled in managing and meeting their dogs needs

My #1 dog training tip: Work with the dog in front of you and don't compare to other dogs.

Service areas: Philadelphia, west, south west center city

Website: https://www.wpcreativepets.com


Michael Badial

Michael's love of dogs and dog behavior started in his childhood when he could be found spending hours a day with his Rottweiler/Shepherd mix, Mariah. As he traveled the neighborhood with friends, Mariah was never far behind.

While working as a meter reader in California, Michael was faced daily with dogs in yards that wanted to attack and defend their property. Wanting to be efficient and safe at his job, he learned ways to put the dogs at ease and train them to trust him.

After moving to PA in 2006, he managed a busy 200+ run dog kennel. This invaluable time spent observing dog behavior gives him incredible insight into how dogs communicate not only with each other but also with us.

Using his experience rehabilitating an aggressive Mastiff mix he inherited when he moved, Michael began a rescue dedicated to re-training aggressive dogs.

This began his career in dog training and sent him on the path to becoming dual certified as a Certified Behavior Consultant (CBCC-KA) and a Certified Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). With over 15 years of experience training dogs, Michael still continues his education daily and takes great pride in mentoring up and coming new trainers. He's a mentor for both Catch Trainers Academy and Animal Behavior College.

Certifications: CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Best Paw Forward offers comprehensive training services with a wonderful staff of positive dog trainers. We provide the area's only positive board & train and day school service with continuing support and classes for clients including exclusive daycare. Private lessons and group classes are also available. Our puppy socialization school is the only of its kind for dogs to learn in a safe, friendly environment. We work with puppies through adulthood and have extensive experience with behavior challenges.

Behavioral issue focus: I am experienced with all types of fear, reactivity and aggression. With over 15 years of experience including running a rescue for aggressive dogs and managing an over 200 run kennel in addition to helping thousands of clients of the years, I have been successful in improving the lives of dogs and especially their owners for many years.

Training methods: Our training is rooted in fun and relationship. Positive reinforcement is key for both the dog and owner to find solutions that are practical and work in everyday life. The first step is always a phone consultation and then we get to work on making progress toward goals.

Why I became a dog trainer: To help dogs and owners to live a better life in harmony together.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Witnessing families understand and enjoy their dog more while allowing the dog the freedom to be a dog.

My #1 dog training tip: Spend quality time with your dog. You'd be surprised how far just 15 minutes a day of one on one time with your dog - no distractions - can improve your relationship and understanding of one another. This is crucial in creating harmony and teamwork between any two beings.

Service areas: Based in Perkasie, PA and offering services at our location or in home within 25 minutes of our facility, covering parts of Bucks & Montgomery Counties in Pennsylvania

Website: https://www.bestpawforwardinc.com


Grace Heck

Grace is the owner and founder of Hounds of Heck. She started in Agility with her Mixed Breed dog Riley, and now competes with 3 Border Collies (Finnick, Rue, and Ember). Grace's loves getting the opportunity to travel the world and compete with her dogs! Grace and Finnick are the 2022 UKI US Open Masters Series National Champions, and were selected as Alternates for the 2022 WAO Team USA.

Certifications: 2022 UKI Master's Series National Champion, WAO Team USA 2022 Alternate

Services include:

  • Puppy training
  • Agility training

More info about service provided: Good Dog Skills classes (manners, CGC, AKC Star Puppy), Competition Obedience classes, Rally classes, Agility classes, Disc Dog classes, private training in Manners Agility Rally Obedience and Disc, Sport specific seminars, Trials and Events

Behavioral issue focus: We do not perform behavioral training

Training methods: Positive reinforcement based methods. Clients can join one of our group classes or book a private consultation.

Why I became a dog trainer: I became a dog trainer to share my analytical coaching style with fellow agility enthusiasts.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Watching teams grow and master new skills.

My #1 dog training tip: Engagement is the key to success.

Service areas: The Hounds of Heck facility is located in Stockton, NJ. All classes, privates, seminars, and events are held at this location.

Website: https://www.houndsofheck.com


Nancy T

I am a certified trainer and canine behavioral specialist for the past 14 years with a true passion for working with dogs I started my business Peace In The Pack to help dogs with behavioral issues to learn, understand and to become confident and peaceful I love to work from the canine's point of view to help them learn from their perspective It always works!

I call my dogs my teachers and professors because I still learn from every case. I teach my Peace In The Pack canine behavioral courses at Camden County College and at Rowan at Gloucester RCGC and at Audubon Community Ed I have been the resident canine expert and pet reporter on KYW Newsradio for nine years and have been an expert witness to speak on canine behavior on various cases.

With my extensive background as a professional broadcaster and public speaker, (NBC4 , KYW and various Phila radio stations) I also lecture to help people to better understand canine behavior to help create balance and stability in dogs' lives Its been fulfilling to have worked with bite cases that have rehabilitated and ultimately became therapy dogs! My individual session work is where I can observe one to one and help families communicate better with their best friends

Certifications: ABCDT, CPDT PVMA award recipient

Services include:

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

Website: https://www.Peaceinthepack.com


Laura Harris

Hi! I'm Laura. Thanks for coming to meet me! I have been training and working with animals for 23 years. I started with rehabilitating abused track horses that had come to our barn for rescue and placement. After retiring from working with horses I began to work with dogs.

I have always been focused on positive experiences and outcomes for the animals I train. It is easy for us as humans to see our dog's behavior as an inconvenience to us but what we often fail to notice is that our pup's behavior can tell us a lot about how they are experiencing the world around them. I train by the motto, 'All behavior serves a purpose.' In this way I evaluate the root cause of the behavior and seek to find behaviors that are beneficial to both dog and owner.

I have worked in sheltering designing and implementing behavior modification plans for fearful, under socialized, aroused, reactive, and even aggressive dogs. I am also a member of the Association of Professional Dog trainers and am a Fear Free certified dog trainer. I believe that every dog deserves a chance to succeed in being a member of our families. I can't wait to help you along on that journey!

Certifications: Fear Free Certified

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Puppy Prep School, Foundations, Behavior Care, and Sports programs. Each lesson is custom tailored to your needs and is done in the comfort of your own home. Puppy Prep School is designed to give your puppy a head start at good manners and basic obedience. This program includes housetraining, proper socialization, manners, and more. Foundations is designed for dogs 1 year and older. We will work on good manners and basic obedience in and out of the home. Behavior care is designed to help dogs with behavior concerns up to and including aggression. Sports include many options such as agility or rally obedience for fun!

Behavioral issue focus: Undersocialization, Fearful Behaviors, Over Arousal, Reactivity, Barrier Frustration, Resource Guarding, Aggression, Bite Histories

Training methods: My training process includes an initial consultation, customized learning or behavior plans, your actual lesson, and detailed notes with your concerns, my observations, and any relevant homework instructions listed for future reference. I use only science backed positive reinforcement methods when working with your pet

Why I became a dog trainer: I became a dog trainer because of two very special dogs in my life. My childhood dog Treasure was truely a real life Lassie. I was fascinated by training with her and she sparked my love for training animals at a very young age. I began to work with behavior care animals because of my dog Bert. Bert is a gunshot victim from North Carolina. When I first adopted him he was terrified and reactive to everyone he saw. I resolved to learn everything I could to help him feel safe, secure, and resillient in our world. This ingnited my now 6 year career in sheltering and behavior.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: My favorite part of being a dog trainer is that feeling of triumph and happiness I get to see between my clients and their dogs when communication clicks. If I could bottle that feeling, I would!

My #1 dog training tip: My number 1 dog training tip is, listen to what your dog is telling you. Often times we're really annoyed by our dog's behaviors. Maybe they're chewing our shoes during the day or maybe they're barking or lunging on the leash, either way our dogs are trying to tell us something. The dog that chews shoes my need more mental stimulation during the day. The dog barking and lunging on the leash is asking for more space from a scary thing. It may seem like our dogs are doing these things to be annoying to us but they're actually telling us what they need. All behavior serves a purpose, we just have to be open to listening.

Service areas: Philadelphia, Southern NJ, Central NJ, Northern NJ

Website: https://www.fetchquesttraining.com


Lindsay Chrisitnzie

My name is Lindsay Christinzie and I've been training animals since 2012. At a young age I first set my eyes on a marine mammal trainer training with positive reinforcement in hopes to one day work with dolphins. With an educational background in Marine Biology and Psychology, I realized quickly that working with dogs could provide me so much more than marine mammals ever could.

I lent my skills to help keep animals in their homes, I was devoted to the idea that training dogs could really make a difference in not only the animals life but also the lives of the individuals I worked with. After all, helping people and working with animals was my ultimate goal! Working in both the shelter and rescue environment gave me insight into why owners may choose to no longer keep a pet.

Graduating from Animal Behavior College with a certificate to train dogs professionally, I did not halt my education. My clients value my continued pursuit in education as well as my drive to bring the most humane and modern methods to them. I am a supporting member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, as well as a professional member for the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.

I believe in developing a mutual understanding between you and your pet. Caring for an animal in your home is as much about responsibility as it is about love

Certifications: ABCDT, AKC Evaluator

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: I offer private in home and on location dog training services in my life. We work on Canine life and social skills that help promote a harmonious relationship built on trust, kindness and a focus of positive reinforcement. I also offer therapy dog training and task/ public access training for service dogs. I also work with behavior modification in dogs with certain behavioral concerns like reactivity, aggression etc.

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity, stranger danger, intra-household aggression, resource guarding, anxiety, fear/phobia, hyperactivity.

Training methods: I use ethical and scientifically-based training methods. I believe that using a L.I.M.A method promotes long-lasting results with your dog’s skills and encourages confidence. My goal is to always listen to the client and the dog, strive to educate, and ensure I am using the most positive and productive methods possible. We owe this to ourselves, and most importantly, to our dogs. Striving always to teach dogs through the use of Positive Reinforcement first and abiding to this philosophy builds confidence, strengthens the bond and provides the learner the best coping strategies. Being reward based does not equate to being permissive of unwanted behavior; it means to train with LOVE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS & with DISCIPLINE

Why I became a dog trainer: My first rescue dog is the primary push for learning about dogs and dog behavior. When I brought her home as I was still attending college, she had behavior concerns that I had never come across, although I had 'experience'having grown up with plenty of dogs, the experience gave me no advantage. I needed to learn more, and once I started, I simply couldn't stop. She has taught me so much, and I'm grateful for all of her lessons!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: The training challenges, and the reward of seeing a wagging tail and smiling faces.

My #1 dog training tip: Above all else, remember the time here with your dog is short, make sure you're both having fun along the way!

Service areas: Suburban/ Urban/ Agricultural

Website: https://www.thepawsitivetrainer.com/


Carol Millinghausen

I am a native Philadelphian and moved to Montgomery County, PA in 1975. I graduated from Ursinus College with a degree in secondary education and later graduated with honors from the Animal Behavior College. On average I teach up to 10 classes per week as well as continually work with private clients. I attend conferences to maintain the required credits to maintain my Certified Professional Dog Trainer credentials.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, APDT, CDTABC

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: I am a reward based trainer specializing in working with reactive dogs. Classes are offered for pet dogs in puppy socialization, beginner, impulse control for the adolescent dog, canine good citizen prep, therapy dog and reactive dogs. Private, in-home sessions and remote sessions are available.

Behavioral issue focus: I commonly work with inter-household dog fighting, resource guarding, reactivity, fear behaviors such as visitors to the home, avoidance behaviors and fear of children or other dogs.

Training methods: I am a reward based trainer and never do anything that causes fear, pain or punishment. I educate the client on canine body language and instinctive behaviors that can cause the owner concern. I meet privately with clients and follow up with written protocols. Classroom work is supported with comprehensive handouts and u-tubes of me training specific behaviors.

Why I became a dog trainer: For the love of dogs and I had a dog who was just impossible. I hired a behaviorist back in 2004 to work with me and asked her how I could become her. I enrolled at the Animal Behavior College. The work I did with my dog transformed our relationship. I want to help others to do the same.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: The dogs!

My #1 dog training tip: Respect your dog and be patient. Take the time to join a class and train the dog.

Service areas: Abington, Warrington, Hatboro, Chestnut Hill, Cheltenham, Southampton, Feasterville, Warminster PA

Website: https://www.rightstepsdogtraining.com


Sniffspot Philadelphia Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are Philadelphia dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in Philadelphia 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 Philadelphia 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 Philadelphia?

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 Philadelphia 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 Philadelphia cost?

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

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

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 Pennsylvania was $30,779 per year and $14.80 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 Pennsylvania Cities

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

Allentown, PA
Harrisburg, PA
Lancaster, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Reading, PA
Scranton, PA

See The Best Dog Trainers In Other States Near Pennsylvania

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

Maryland
New Jersey
New York
Ohio

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Merlin Noble

March 29, 2022

Dog Trainers

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