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The Best Dog Trainers in Spokane, WA of 2023

Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

June 05, 2023

Dog Trainers

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

Travis Byrnes

Travis provides private training lessons and behavior consults in your home or at the training studio. He enjoys helping new puppy owners and adoptive families get off on the right paw with their new friends. He has a special way with shy and fearful dogs and inspires confidence in his human clients, too. He can help you understand your dog, and help your dog understand you.

As a parent of three children, sighthounds and cats, his specialty is helping families navigate the challenges of raising a puppy or dog in a busy household with children and other animals, helping build healthy communication and repair relationships that have gone awry. Travis is often accompanied by his lovely helper dog Lili, a Silken Windhound, who helps work with dogs who are fearful, reactive, or over-excited.

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Service areas: Puppy training


Diane Baker

Diane taught with Carol & Dana at Lilac City Dog Training and The Family Dog in the early 90's and has been a DITR instructor since we opened our doors in April of 1996. Diane has a soft spot for rescue dogs and helping them find success in with their new families. Her interests are competing in Canine Freestyle (dancing with your dog) and Rally FrEe.

Diane loves tricks, games and relay races and brings them to all of her classes, especially the Foundations 2 Fabulous and Holiday Manners classes. Her classes are always fun and will leave you and your dog smiling. Diane coordinates all performances of the Ruff Revue dance troupe, bringing smiles to area nursing homes!


APDT member, NADOI endorsed instructor
Freestyle class instructor
Ruff Revue member

More info about service provided: Her interests are competing in Canine Freestyle (dancing with your dog) and Rally FrEe.


Carol Byrnes

Carol attended her first dog training class in 1974 and started teaching as a volunteer at a local club in 1978, where Carol began her instructing career and over many years served as an officer, board member, and assistant director of training. She helped develop their first Puppy Preschool curriculum. Carol has been involved with training and showing dogs in both conformation and obedience since 1974. During the 80's they were founding members of the Inland Empire Doberman Pinscher Club and Doberman Rescue.

While following every show circuit competing in AKC conformation and obedience and hanging ribbons on the wall was once a focus, Carol & Dana started traveling great distances to spend weekends at behavior seminars instead of show rings. They discovered clicker training.
Captivated by the study of canine behavior, they found their calling: teaching families to better understand their pets. They abandoned their choke chains and military style "forward & halt" training in favor of motivational no-force methods that focused on building great relationships between families and their pets and haven't looked back.

Carol & husband Dana instructed for The Family Dog from 1992-96 and opened Diamonds in the Ruff in 1996 with the goal of providing positive, dog and people friendly training for Spokane's pet owners. Their goal is to not just teach the mechanics of training, but provide instruction that helps their students develop an understanding of how dogs learn and view the world.

In the community:
In 1991, Carol began work with Spokane area hospitals to research and draft protocols for the first pet-assisted therapy programs which continue to this day. Carol's whippet Rio was the first dog to set paw in a Spokane hospital in 1992. They were well-known by staff and patients at Deaconess, Sacred Heart, St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute, Shriner's Hospital for Crippled Children and Sunshine Gardens elderly care center, where Carol & Dana provided pet-assisted therapy visits with their whippets Rio, Spinner, & Eddie for many years. Carol served as a certified Pet Partners evaluator for the Delta Society in Renton to provide Pet Partners® aptitude and temperament screening for potential pet-assisted therapy animals until 2001.

On Screen
In January of 2007, Carol's Beagle/Rat Terrier mix Stanley was chosen by North by Northwest productions to play the role of "Buster" in a Lifetime movie channel production "The Family Holiday" which was released Nov 6, 2007. He was later cast as "unconscious dog in an elevator" along with several other Diamonds in the Ruff instructors' and students' dogs in the movie "Falling Up" released in 2008.

What is My Dog Saying?
Carol released a CD of her canine communication Power Point presentation "What is My Dog Saying?" in 2008, selling hundreds of copies all over the world in a matter of months. It is part of the curriculum of the International Institute for Animal Assisted Play Therapy and available for purchase through director Rise Van Fleet's online store. In 2009 Karen Pryor contacted Carol to sell her CDs through Sunshine Books on Karen's online store at It is also available through Carol has presented her workshop on reading body language and understanding canine communication for the Washington Animal Care & Control Association in Oct 2007 and for the Intermountain Search Dogs annual Washington Dog Meet in Sept 2008.

In 2011, Carol started work on "What is My Dog Saying - at the Dog Park?" which was released in the fall of 2011. In January of 2012 she began work on "What is My Cat Saying?" in collaboration with cat behavior specialist, Jacqueline Munera of Positive Cattitudes which was released in the fall of 2013.

Carol's current passion is leading the training team at the Airway Heights Corrections Center's Pawsitive Dog Prison Training Program where offenders attend weekly training and behavior lessons and train shelter dogs to help them become more adoptable.

Not only are the dogs learning to be better companions, but they are teachers, too, teaching these men lessons of kindness, empathy and patience. Of all the training assignments she has ever had in her training career, Carol says this program is the most rewarding project she has ever done.

Certifications: Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed / APDT Professional member / Associate Member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants / Member of the Association of Animal Behavior Professionals / Charter member of the Association of Force-Free Pet Professionals Guild

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: We offer group training classes, specializing in early puppy education, confidence building, and getting newly adopted dogs off to a great start. Basic skills including come when called, hand signals and verbal cues, sit-down-stay, loose leash walking and attention around distractions. Enrichment activities and behavior problem prevention and solutions. Building great relationships by helping the whole family better understand their dogs and their dogs better understand them. Giving you the tools you need to build a satisfying relationship built on mutual respect and trust through kind and gentle training. Our school also provides a wide variety of advanced classes, including Canine Good Citizen, Freestyle, Pet-Assisted Therapy, Agility, Hiking, Tricks, Parkour and more.

Behavioral issue focus: Excitability, impulse control, calmness and attention around distractions; object and counter thieving, teaching a willing exchange, resource guarding; boredom and destructive behavior; door-dashing & reliable come when called; barking; fear & reactivity, confidence building, trust issues.

Training methods:

Diamonds in the Ruff is a reward-based, force-free training school. Helping our dogs understand what we want and building strong, reliable behaviors using scince-based R+ techniques that do not rely on harsh corrections to get there.

Positive doesn't mean permissive. There will be rules and boundaries. Rather than focusing on stamping out bad habits by correcting and punishing, we will focus on shaping strong and reliable cues to counter unwanted behavior and build good habits that will replace unwanted behavior. Dogs are not "bad" - they just have a few natural canine behaviors that don't fit well in our human lifestyles. We will find jobs and enriching outlets for those behaviors so they are no longer problems for the dog's humans.

We teach our clients to use clear and effective communication and reliable behavior based on a history of generous rewards - food, toys, games, praise and activities. We offer group classes as well as private behavior consultations and private lessons.

Why I became a dog trainer: I was crazy about dogs at very early age but really caught the bug when I attended my first training class with our family's blue heeler when I was a Senior in High School. Holly was reactive toward dogs and people and had problems with resource guarding as well as chasing anything with wheels, including the lawn mower and the vacuum cleaner. After my success with Holly, I took every dog I've owned since to every class that was offered and started competing in dog shows. I was invited to join the dog training club in 1977 where I started helping pet owners better understand their dogs and found my calling. 49 years later, teaching dogs & their people is still my life's work.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing a dog's face light up and their people appreciate the wonderful dog at the end of their leash.

My #1 dog training tip: No matter what the training challenge, try to see the situation through the dog's eyes before you make a training plan.

Service areas: Spokane, Spokane County, Spokane Valley, Millwood, Liberty Lake, Post Falls, Coeur d'Alene, Latah Creek, Mead, Airway Heights, Cheney, Emerson-Garfield, Corbin, Garland


Lisa Lucas

I've been training dogs, professionally, for twenty years. The dog training classroom is my "happy place." But when I am not with dogs, students and clients I can be found in my garden, on a hiking trail or in a music studio.

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: I offer small, personalized group classes in South Stevens County and the Spokane Valley. I also provide individual help for dogs with all sorts of anxiety-related behaviors.

Behavioral issue focus: All behaviors that have anxiety at the core. Reactivity. Resource Guarding. Separation anxiety. Over-stimulated greetings. Hyper-activity.

Training methods: My approach to training is holistic. Behavior is the result of different puzzle pieces coming together in a certain way. Those puzzle pieces are: the behavior of their humans, current living environment, early socialization experiences, physical health (diet and exercise), genetics, temperament and training. My job as a trainer and behavior consultant is to bring all of those pieces into alignment for the happiness and well-being of both ends of the leash.

Why I became a dog trainer: I love dogs...and I like people :-)

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Watching frustration and confusion melt away as people learn how to communicate with their dog friends. And seeing the light go on in a dog's eyes when the communication starts to make sense to them.

My #1 dog training tip: If you are frustrated and your dog "isn't listening" it is because the dog is not understanding what you want. They really and truly do want to work in partnership. If that isn't happening, it's because the human hasn't been an effective teacher. If this is the case, get some help.

Service areas: Serving Spokane and Stevens County


Heather Brush

I have been training for 20+ years. I focus on positive, science based training and finding the easiest, most fun way to reach my clients' goals, while helping them create great relationships with their dogs. I am passionate about education and attend multiple conferences and seminars each year so I can help my clients with the most up to date and successful solutions possible. I have a wide variety of training experience, having started my career working with large cats (lions, tigers, and pumas - oh my!), as well as many other exotic animals (coatimundi, African crested porcupine, Patagonian cavies, prairie dogs, etc) and non exotics (including rabbits, horses, cats, and chickens - I actually ran a chicken training seminar for clients one year, to help them improve their training skills!). I have even trained a fish - a blood parrot cichlid named Simon. Why does my non-dog training matter? Because it has encouraged me to think outside the box, REALLY understand the science behind training, and become the best trainer possible. You might be able to push a friendly dog into a sit (though I don't encourage it), but you probably shouldn't do that to a tiger and can't to a fish. I understand how to work within each individual animals' parameters and help them learn in the best way for them - and their humans. I always encourage people to teach their pets tricks because so many are practical, it's fun and no pressure, and it really helps build that bond that we all want with our pets!

Certifications:  CCPDT-KA

Services include:

  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: I teach all the basics, like manners and puppy training, private sessions, as well as challenges like reactivity and mild aggression. To be unique, though, I also offer lots of fun things, like introduction to parkour, tricks and games classes, clicker training, and other fun and relationship building, boredom busting activities!

Behavioral issue focus: I love building confidence in shy and fearful dogs. I do a lot of work with dogs who react to other dogs and people, as well as some with mild aggression. I have worked with several disabled dogs (deaf, blind, and blind deaf) as well.

Training methods: I am a science based, positive reinforcement trainer who believes is setting your dog up to succeed and then rewarding that success. With all clients, especially those with challenges, we will discuss management plans, realistic expectations, creating safe and comfortable situations for both dogs and people, multi stage training plans, relationship building and boredom busting activities, and more, depending on client needs.

Why I became a dog trainer: As mentioned in my profile I began training with large cats, unfortunately that job market isn't very large so when a dog training job opened near me I hopped on the opportunity to give it a shot. I have LOVED learning and building my skills as a trainer and am so grateful for all the wonderful clients I've had over the years, so many of whom have become friends. I have continued to train for so long because I really enjoy helping people solve challenges and watching both humans and dogs build confidence, learn and grow. I can't stop grinning on the days when my clients say "That thing we worked on last week? It's working!" I can't imagine not getting to work with and help people like this. And we have so much fun!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Watching people and dogs succeed, grow, and have fun. The look on a client's face when they tell me that their dog didn't have the usual bad reaction for the first time, or that their shy dog went up to someone, or that their dog has really gotten good at a trick is just magic. Watching dogs think - and be given the time to solve the puzzle of "What does my human want?" - and figure things out is just amazing. I love getting to help my clients and their animals be better together. Building a relationship with ANY animal you work with is the most important thing to me.

My #1 dog training tip: With any problem think "Don't do that, do this instead." If your dog is jumping, for example, what behaviors could you train that they CAN'T do while jumping? Then train the different behavior and reward it heavily. Don't bark at the other dog, look at me and eat cookies instead. Don't dig in the yard, dig in this sandbox instead. This is the phrase I ask all of my clients to remember, if they remember nothing else from class, because it is the way to solve all problem behaviors.

Service areas: Spokane


Taryn Winegardner

Taryn’s life is continually enriched through the relationships and activities experienced with her own dog partners. She enjoys a variety of dog sports including nosework, barn hunt, FastCAT, parkour, tricks, and more. She also enjoys fiber arts and finds satisfaction in creating and mending textiles, when she has a spare minute away from playing/training with all the dogs.

Certifications:  IAABC-ADT, CPDT-KA

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: In addition to teaching group classes at Diamonds in the Ruff, Taryn currently sees clients in Coeur d'Alene, ID, Spokane, WA, and the surrounding areas, as well as virtually, offering private lessons and customized training programs to meet your individual needs. She is an AKC CGC Evaluator and Level 3 FIT DOG Instructor, offering virtual and in person trick dog coaching and title evaluations, AKC FIT DOG classes and group walks, as well as in person CGC, CGCA, and CGCU evaluations. Taryn is a Certified Dog Parkour Instructor with IDPKA. She also works with local breeders on early socialization and temperament assessments.

Behavioral issue focus: impulse control, fear based reactivity, cooperative care/husbandry

Training methods: Taryn's training philosophy is centered on building relationships and clear communication through kind training that is designed to be effective and mutually enjoyable. She is passionate about building solid foundations based on teamwork and trust for pet, sport, and working dogs. She is professionally certified and enthusiastically continuing her own education in order to apply current training methods that are tailored to each individual dog and family that she has the opportunity to work with. Taryn also understands many challenges that dogs and trainers who are differently abled may face, and can customize each team's training plan to set up both dog and handler for success.

Why I became a dog trainer: My relationships with my own dogs bring me joy and purpose, as well as a passion for learning everything I can about training and behavior. I enjoy utilizing my experience and education to help others reach their own goals with their dogs.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Celebrating my clients' joy when they see progress and success when working with their dogs.

My #1 dog training tip: Proactively reinforce any behavior that you like and want to see more of!

Service areas: Spokane, WA, Coeur d'Alene, ID and the surrounding areas


Sniffspot Spokane Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are Spokane dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in Spokane 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 Spokane 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 Spokane?

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 Spokane 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 Spokane cost?

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

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

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 Washington was $37,610 per year and $18.08 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 Washington Cities

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

Olympia, WA
Seattle, WA
Vancouver, WA

See The Best Dog Trainers In Other States Near Washington

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


Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

June 05, 2023

Dog Trainers

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