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The Best Dog Trainers in South Carolina of 2023

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Merlin Noble

March 29, 2022

Dog Trainers

Welcome to the South Carolina Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2023. This is a list of the top dog trainers in South Carolina 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. 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 compiled 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 100% 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 South Carolina Dog Trainers in 2023

Sue Conkin

I have been training dogs for 25 years and have been in the current location in Downtown Simpsonville for 12 years. I have competed successfully in Agility, Rally Obedience, and Scent Work. After working with aggression and difficult dogs for years, my associate trainer and I have decided to focus our efforts on helping families raise amazing puppies.

Certifications: Certified Control Unleashed Instructor

Services include:

  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: We specialize in training puppies from 8 weeks through 1 year of age. We can help with House Training, Chew Training, Crate Training, Relaxation, and Obedience. Group and Private Training is available.

Behavioral issue focus: We work with puppy behaviors. Biting, jumping, chewing, stealing object, and more.

Training methods: We offer programs for puppies between 8 weeks and 12 months of age. Group classes, private lessons, and virtual training. We are Force Free, teaching you how to use food, toys, and play to train your puppy.

Why I became a dog trainer: After working as a horse trainer and riding instructor for over 30 years, I needed a career change. I was already competing in Agility and dog training was a natural progression. I love dogs and I love teaching people about them.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping people develop a strong relationship with their dog, and change a puppy with problem behaviors into a dog that is a pleasure to live with.

My #1 dog training tip: Notice what your dog is doing right and make that rewarding. Behaviors that are rewarded are repeated.

Service areas: Greater Greenville SC


Jenna Pellerito

I’ve been a trainer for 5 years and started my career with dogs 8 years ago working in a doggie day care. I soon became a certified dog trainer and started my first job as a behavior specialist in a shelter. I then moved on to start my own business training inside pet parents homes and coaching them towards the best life with their dog.

Certifications: CCBC-KA, ABCDT, Fear free certified trainer

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: In person private coaching, virtual coaching, day training

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity, aggression, fear based behaviors, puppy training and socialization, basic life skills/cues, excessive barking, leash pulling, obedience training

Training methods: All training is done primarily with positive reinforcement. We train with science based, force free methods.

Why I became a dog trainer: I love dogs more than life itself! I have always been so passionate about animals. I found training and behavior incredibly interesting and dove into it as soon as I could. I couldn't imagine doing anything else!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Watching a dogs behavior transform through positive and kind training methods. I also love watching their bond with their human grow stronger with each lesson. It's so beautiful to be able to help people through really difficult times with their dogs and coach them towards a better relationship

My #1 dog training tip: Treat your dog how you would like to be treated if you were in their place.

Service areas: Richland county, Lexington county


Christine Baker

My work & volunteer experience include veterinary medicine, daycare & boarding, animal rescue & welfare, shelter behavior & enrichment, emergency response deployment, youth programs, and working dogs. I am committed to continuing education & improvement, attending training programs, seminars, workshops, & conferences. I obtained independent, standardized certification, and am a member of multiple professional organizations with a variety of voluntary credentials.

In 2019, I left the behavior department an open-admission shelter & ventured into the world of small business & entrepreneurship as Owner/Operator of Bright Mind Canine Services. My free time is mainly spent enjoying the Lowcountry with my two foster-fail dogs, Faith & Lydia - my greatest teachers & favorite learners!

Certifications: CPDT-KA, UW-AAB, SBA, FDM, FFCP, LSHC-S, AKC CGC Evaluator

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: I help clients via private sessions, group classes, day training, and stay-and-trains, with a focus on behavior modification, emotional regulation, and cooperative care.

Behavioral issue focus: I've been immersed in animal behavior full-time since moving to James Island in 2016, particularly the humane treatment of 'problem' dogs. I specialize in shelter behavior and animal welfare. I work with issues ranging from puppy socialization and enrichment, to fear, anxiety, reactivity, and aggression.

Training methods: Using proven, evidence-based methods, I teach owners to beat the 'puppy overwhelm' and help them to actually enjoy their dogs again. I focus on improving the human-animal bond for families and the pets they love, building a trusting and reliable partnership through a flexible coaching format that helps all types of learners to succeed. My training methods follow LIMA protocols based on the Humane Hierarchy, and position statements on current best practices from industry leaders AVSAB, AAHA, etc.

Why I became a dog trainer: I look forward to improving my client's quality of life - both people AND their pets.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I love watching two different species learning to speak each other's languages.

My #1 dog training tip: Remember, we call dogs man's best friend! Treat your relationship with just as much care and intention, and the possibilities are endless.

Service areas: Carolina Bay, West Ashley, greater Charleston County


Trish Ryan

Trish Ryan
Passionate. Patient. Positive. Pet-lover. These are just a few of the characteristics that describe me. I know each dog is different, and I'll work with yours to give them the specific guidance through proven positive methods. Whether you're thinking about getting a new furry friend or already have one I provide the tools to set you and your pup up for success.

Certifications: PMCT, Fear Free Professional

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Day Training, in home sessions, classes, play and train

Behavioral issue focus: Fear, reactivity

Training methods: Fear Free, Force Free, Positive Reinforcement Training

Why I became a dog trainer: Have always been an animal lover

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing success for both the dog and their family

My #1 dog training tip: Less is More

Service areas: Horry County SC, Brunswick County NC


Anja Heise

I’m a speech therapist for more than 25 years and a dog trainer for almost 10 years. I have 3 kids, a dog and a cat.

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: I train with body language and positive reinforcement. It doesn't matter what breed, age or male/female.

Behavioral issue focus: I often work with dogs and humans for a better relationship. I can see a lack of respectful behavior.

Training methods: At first I train the humans to learn the signs from their dogs. And to get the dogs attention to get their eye contact and train the dogs to be more sensitive for listening.

Why I became a dog trainer: I love to be and to communicate with dogs and I want to see a better life for every dog and his owner.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing the humans in understanding their dogs.

My #1 dog training tip: Stay consistent and reliable.

Service areas: Greer, Duncan, Lyman

Sniffspot South Carolina Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are South Carolina dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in South Carolina 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 South Carolina 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 South Carolina?

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 South Carolina 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 South Carolina cost?

South Carolina 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 South Carolina dog trainer. How can I get listed here?

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

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 South Carolina was $35,082 per year and $16.87 per hour. It is impossible to say how much a dog trainer can earn with a full-service professional dog training company, because the size and profitability of companies can vary widely.

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See The Best Dog Trainers By City In South Carolina

Charleston, SC
Columbia, SC
Greeneville, SC
Greenville, SC
Myrtle Beach, SC

See The Best Dog Trainers In Other States Near South Carolina

North Carolina

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Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

March 29, 2022

Dog Trainers

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