Welcome to the San Jose, CA Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2023. This is a list of the top dog trainers in San Jose 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 California 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.
I am dedicated to helping pet dog owners solve their behavior problems and ‚Äúlove their well-trained dogs‚Äù through my unique combination of experience, education, knowledge, and skills. I pursued a Master's degree in Human and Animal Cognition (Psychology) and then founded Stacy's Wag'N'Train in 1998. I have been continuing my education, refining my knowledge and my skills, since then, through mentorship programs, volunteering at the Humane Society, and working with my own dogs as well as with clients'. I teach Dogbiz' Dog Walking Academy, and I am currently working on Office Buddies, a book about having dogs in the workplace.
Certifications: MA, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, CAP2
More info about service provided: I help pet dogs and their owners! I specialize in reactivity training and helping shy or fearful dogs, as well as puppy training!
Behavioral issue focus: I help dogs who bark or lunge at strangers, other dogs, guests and family members; those who are fearful; and those who are wild and impulsive!
Training methods: I am a former dolphin trainer dedicated to using humane, positive training methods that take the dog's emotional needs into account - and the owner's as well! My training programs start with a consultation to find out the owner's goals and the dog's issues, and then we build some solid foundation of attention and focus. On this foundation we can build new skills for the dog to use in response to old triggers.
Why I became a dog trainer: I was asked to teach classes at the SF/SPCA when I was volunteering at the city shelter, and fell in love with helping pet owners find their dogs' greatest potential!
My favorite part of being a dog trainer: My favorite is watching unruly and fearful puppies and dogs learn to navigate their worlds calmly and confidently, allowing their owners to enjoy their company even more!
My #1 dog training tip: Evaluate your timing, your rate of reinforcement, and your criteria. Make sure you are rewarding the moment/action you mean to; that you are rewarding those actions more than the environment is rewarding the old default actions; and that you are setting your expectations small enough to achieve success yet high enough to create progress!
Service areas: Santa Clara County/Silicon Valley
I'm a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), and Professional Member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and Pet Professional Guild (PPG). With over 20 years of professional experience in dog training, I stay on top of the latest scientific discoveries in learning and behavior, and work to remain knowledgeable and up-to-date with consistent continuing education.
Certifications: CPDT-KA; PPG Member; CGC Evaluator;
More info about service provided: I offer group training classes at the Humane Society Silicon Valley at all levels, from basic obedience to advanced and competitive dog sports. I also offer dog behavior consulting for a variety of dog behavior problems including dog aggression, reactivity, destructiveness, and child/dog relationships.
Behavioral issue focus: I work with leash reactivity and aggression toward people and other dogs. I also work on behavioral issues related to dogs with other animals, such as household cats.
Training methods: In my behavior consultations, I take a full history and perform a functional assessment prior to giving any recommendations. I also work with the clients to establish clear and reasonable goals for the program.
The methods I use are dog-friendly and science-based, emphasizing positive reinforcement for desirable behaviors. In some cases, I may refer to a veterinarian to rule out medical issues for certain behavior problems.
Along the way, I give my clients clear training plans, with written follow-ups to our meetings.
Why I became a dog trainer: I started training my own dogs from the age of 12. It wasn't until a few years after college, however, that I became involved in the profession of dog training. In 1992, I joined a Flyball and Agility club, and began teaching pet dog training classes to earn money for competition fees. I worked part time in the dog training field, earning my CPDT certification in 2003. In 2004 I finally "took the plunge" and launched into the full-time career of dog training and dog behavior counseling.
My favorite part of being a dog trainer: My favorite part of being a dog trainer is to see those owners, who struggle so much at first, finally get that breakthrough to success. Seeing a happy dog parent with a happy and well-adjusted dog is so fulfilling for me. This is also why I so enjoy teaching the sports classes - because this relationship is solidified in these classes, and it's such a joy to see.
My #1 dog training tip: Your dog is not stubborn! Replace the term "stubborn" with "insufficiently motivated", and your training will be transformed.
Service areas: South Santa Clara County, Milpitas, Remote
Kaajal (aka 'KT') loves puppies and is dedicated to getting new puppy guardians off on the right paw and guiding her students through the tough early days of owning a dog. Her goal? Transforming each bundle of raw puppy energy into the perfect adult companion.
She also loves helping people have a well-behaved adult dog that knows how to be part of the family. She's dedicated her training career to helping her clients achieve just that.
She feels a special connection with dogs that are fearful, anxious, nervous, believe that the world is 'unsafe' and then resort to aggression to communicate.
Kaajal is a big believer in continuing education and frequently attends workshops, conferences and seminars to hone her knowledge and skill set to bring the latest scientific understanding of dog behavior and training to her work. Committed to providing the most effective, convenient solutions to her clients - dog training needs, she uses gentle, effective and fast training methods that work to develop enjoyable relationships between people in their dogs. This sets them up for a lifetime of good behavior for their people
More info about service provided: Group Puppy & Dog Training Classes, Private Puppy & Dog Training for Manners, Board and Train, Day School for Puppies & Adult Dogs, Behavior Modification for Fear & Aggression.
Behavioral issue focus: Human Aggression, Leash Reactivity, Resource Guarding
Why I became a dog trainer: Diesel, (my soul dog and the sole inspiration behind D For Dog) is a 7.5-year old Pit bull. He's the best teacher and mentor I could ask for. Diesel came to me when he was literally 6 days old. He has come a long way from his fear of the world in general, leash reactivity, sound sensitivity, was a classic 'Dog In Need Of Space'. Today he is a better adjusted dog and absolutely loves puppies. He's helped me raise many Board & Train and Day School puppies, teaching them appropriate dog-dog communication, the concept of sharing, confidence building in different situations, besides social skills. He is a fantastic puppy teacher. Diesel loves Nose Work, Free Style, Playing with me and lots of Snuggle time.
My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Changing behavior, Improving lives - one dog family at a time.
My #1 dog training tip: It's very important to understand 'what our dog is communicating' at any given point in time.
Service areas: California South Bay Area, including San Jose, Willow Glen, Santa Clara, Monte Sereno, Sunnyvale, Milpitas, Campbell, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Los Altos, Cupertino, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton.
Nathalie started her professional dog career in 2007 as a dog hiker by taking up to 10 dogs on-leash to local parks and preserves. She continued her education in dog training and dog behavior and specializes in fearful, anxious and aggressive dogs. Nathalie's approach to dogs is based on the dog's need using reward based training methods which are non-confrontational and non-violent methods.
In 2021 Nathalie and her good friend and colleague Kimberly McCarty opened a dog training center in Campbell.
Certifications: CPDT-KA, Fear Free Certified, Dog Aggression Certification
More info about service provided: We provide manners classes, puppy socials and classes, day camp (day care plus training), scent work, reactive dog training and private 1-on-1 sessions.
Behavioral issue focus: Fear, anxiety and aggression issues are our specialty.
Training methods: Reward based dog training as recommended by the AVSAB (American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviorist). Behavior consultations start with an evaluation, setting up a training plan (that gets adjusted as needed) and reaching the end goal.
Why I became a dog trainer: It just happened. I rolled right into the field.
My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Working with dogs every single day. I get paid for a job I love. What more could I ask for?
My #1 dog training tip: Reward every behavior you like especially when you have a puppy. The more a desired behavior gets rewarded the more likely the dog is going to offer that behavior again.
Service areas: San Jose, Campbell, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Cupertino
Hound Haven owner Peggy McCarty is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer. She earned a Certificate in Training and Counseling (CTC) from the San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers. Graduating from the Academy (considered the "Harvard for dog trainers") under the instruction of Jean Donaldson.
She also studied with Malena DeMartini, an expert in the field of Separation Anxiety. Peggy completed the intensive program to become a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT).
Peggy also attended the Karen Pryor Academy. Through KPA she furthered her skills working not only with dogs but other species. The emphasis on using clickers (marker trianing) is an intigral piece of KPA.
Peggy is also a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), a professional member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG), a professional member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), and a graduate of the DogTec Dog Walking Academy.
Certifications: CTC, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP, CSAT
Service areas: Santa Clara, CA, SF South Bay from Mountain View to San Jose
Dieuwke (Dee-you-kuh) van der Velde, certified positive reinforcement trainer through Animal Behavior College, interned at Humane Society of Silicon Valley. With a background as a research technician at Stanford, I believe in continuous learning to learn evolving techniques and tools staying abreast to successfully train dogs. I fully subscribe to positive reinforcement training and adopt this mode of behavioral training for puppies to adolescent and adult dogs. I have more then 12 years experience training dogs of all breeds and sizes , which included a three year search & rescue training through CARDA.
I have been fostering through rescue groups since 2009 and have helped puppies and adolescent dogs with varied behavioral issues - from socialization, building confidence, reactivity and have helped the dogs through positive experiences in controlled environments, so they have a structured process to be successfully integrated into their family and community.
I specialize in puppy training, and helping both first time dog owners and families adding a new puppy learn the basics of obedience training so they enjoy the new addition to the family and have a strong bond develop. My training is reward based, using positive reinforcement so humans understand their dog’s needs. I offer both group lessons and private consulting, and have my own training center in West San Jose.
I am eager to get started with training your dog and welcome you to reach out to me today!
Certifications: Animal Behavior College
More info about service provided: We offer, puppy training and AKC STAR puppy classes to adult canine good citizen, tricks, recall and loose leash walking and Nose Work classes. Specialty is in agility and prepping puppies and adult dogs for sports like agility. Private sessions available for reactive dogs and sensitive dogs that both will benefit with confidence boosting exercises.
Behavioral issue focus: We mostly are getting requests to work on dog to dog reactivity and lately dog to human reactivity.
Training methods: Our methods are solely force free, we work on making the dog feel better about our environment and about what we ask them to do. We train the humans to be able to read/ understand their dog. Training plans include weekly home work.
Why I became a dog trainer: Because as a dog hiker, I saw some of my clients using aversive dog trainers, and saw my dogs behaviour go down hill. I needed credentials behind me for people to take heart to what I already knew.
My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I love seeing people 's relationship with their dog become stronger!
My #1 dog training tip: Train the dog you have in front of you
Service areas: We service: San Jose, CA, Morgan Hill, CA, Los Gatos, CA, Campbell, CA and Santa Clara, CA
Sue had always wanted a dog growing up but her mom always said 'I already have too many animals, we don't need a dog'. See there were 6 kids in her family. Only later did Sue find out that her mother was actually scared of dogs after being bit by one as a child. Though dog ownership came later in life, Sue didn't have her own first dog until in her late 20's, she always seemed to be around other people's dogs, taking care of them and noticing the special bonds created between people and their dogs. Something very different than the experience her mother had, something she knew she wanted to experience someday.
Sue went to college at Southern Connecticut State University and studied recreation. She worked with youth for many years until moving to California in 2000. In 2003 wanting a career change and at the time having cats with medical issues and a special needs dog, Sue realized their was a need for pet care for her special furry family members and this started her journey into the world of pet sitting and dog walking. At the same time she started working part time with a local trainer to gain more knowledge which she could pass on to her pet sitting and dog walking clients. This lit a spark in Sue and she attended the SFSPCA Academy for Dog Trainers and earned her Certificate in Training and Counseling. She hasn't looked back since. Sue loves seeing the connection people have with their dogs and thinks communication with them is key to living successful together.
Sue currently shares her home with a very sweet Catahoula named Missee, who is deaf and vision impaired along with 3 cats - one of which she has trained to sit and plays fetch with. Sue and Missee love heading out for hiking and beach excursions, puppy play dates and they recently started participating in Nose Work.
Nancy Le is a certified professional dog trainer that's been serving the South Bay Area for over a decade. She is committed to effective training using force free and reward based training methods. Nancy is an honors graduate of the prestigious Academy for Dog Trainers, 2-year program (CTC). Also known as the "Harvard for Dog Trainers," she continues her education under the guidance of world renowned dog trainer Jean Donaldson.
Petunia, an English Staffy, she was the muse of In Tune Dog Training. Adopted from HSSV while Nancy was volunteering and not planning on adopting a dog! Nancy's struggles with Petunia's training, finding the right trainer/methods, inspired her to seek proper education to help others. Petunia crossed the rainbow bridge Sept 2022, her legacy lives on through Nancy's work.
Petey, an American Staffy mix and a foster fail from SJ ACC. He was a great teacher due to his fear and aggression towards new people and dogs. He's was the goofiest guy who lived out his days stress and fear free. He crossed the rainbow bridge Nov 2022, his legacy lives on through all the fearful dogs that Nancy has the privilege to help everyday.
Honors graduate of the prestigious Academy for Dog Trainers, 2-year program (CTC)
Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT)
Separation Anxiety Professional (SAPRO)
Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT)
Animal Behavior College (ABCDT)
AKC CGC Evaluator
More info about service provided: Day Training
Service areas: South Bay area
I am a dog trainer that is committed to using only humane, education-based training methods that are based on a positive reinforcement & force-free philosophy. I believe that kindness and a relationship built on a foundation of trust and joy are the most important parts of helping a dog and their caregivers work through whatever they are struggling with or need. I believe that we need to look at the WHY of any behavior before we ever look at the HOW of proceeding with behavior modification, skills training, or management.
I currently teach group classes for SIRIUS Puppy & Dog Training and the Humane Society Silicon Valley. I do private training for issues ranging from socializing and teaching puppies to working with adolescent and adult dogs on basic manners and various behavioral struggles, including separation anxiety/isolation distress.
I keep my skills sharp with continuing education to keep up with the latest canine & behavior science. I read and discuss the latest research with other professionals, attend virtual and live conferences and seminars, take live & virtual classes on my own and with my dogs, participate in mentorships to keep learning from top experts in my field, and attend webinars and workshops on a wide on a wide range of topics. You can be sure that I keep my knowledge and skills updated to provide the best training for your pup and you.
I live in the Bay Area with my daughter, partner, and our three dogs.
- CTBC-Certified Trainer & Behavior Consultant
- FDM-Certified Family Dog Mediator
- SAPT-Certified Separation Anxiety Pro Trainer
- CDW-Certified Dog Walker
More info about service provided:
- Puppy 1 and Dog 1 group classes at SIRIUS Puppy & Dog Training
- Beginning Puppy Training and Beginning Manners & Obedience group classes at Humane Society Silicon Valley
- Separation Anxiety/Isolation Distress Training (remote)
- Private in-home training for coaching the people, basic manners, jumping on people, game-based training, recall, loose leash walking, leash reactivity, anxiety, fear (on a case-by-case basis)
Behavioral issue focus:
- Separation Anxiety/Isolation Distress
- Leash Reactivity
- Fear (on a case-by-case basis)
Training methods: All training starts with a virtual behavior and training consultation so that I can get an overall picture of what is happening from the dog's caregivers. How we proceed depends on the behavioral issue or the skills both the person and the dog need to learn.
Why I became a dog trainer: I became a dog trainer & behavior consultant after my partner and I adopted a dog that ended up having profound behavioral struggles. I have a lot of empathy and compassion for dogs and their caregivers. I personally understand how difficult & stressful it can be to live with a dog who struggles and how it can really change your life in so many ways. He was my best teacher and he is the reason I am committed to a positive reinforcement/force-free philosophy in my interactions with dogs and their caregivers.
My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing the relationship between people and their dogs change and get better. Watching the relief of both as they learn to understand each other and navigate life together.
My #1 dog training tip: Learn how dogs communicate with their body language and do your best to understand what they are saying. Keep in mind how good it feels for you when someone really understands you and apply that to understanding what your dog is trying to communicate to you.
Service areas: San Jose, CA, and surrounding areas
How are San Jose dog trainers selected for this list?
These are the top dog trainers in San Jose 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 San Jose 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 San Jose?
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 San Jose 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 San Jose cost?
San Jose 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 San Jose dog trainer. How can I get listed here?
As long as you have a training facility or do in person training in San Jose 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 San Jose?
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 California was $33,714 per year and $16.21 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.
Ordered alphabetically, only included cities where there is enough data to compile a list
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