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The Best Dog Trainers in St. Louis, MO of 2023

Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

May 24, 2023

Dog Trainers

Welcome to the St. Louis, MO Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2023. This is a list of the top dog trainers in St. Louis 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 Missouri 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 St. Louis, MO Dog Trainers in 2023

Cait Patton

I'm Cait! I've been working with dogs for 20 years now! I have big goals of helping people understand scientific based methods and the benefits of doing so. I have not always been a solely R+ trainer, and I believe my honest was and ability to have open conversations about this has opened a lot of doors to help bridge the misunderstanding of what R+ is and the types of dogs it will work for. I love tackling the misconception that R+ won't work for specific behaviors or breeds. As owner and head trainer at Good Dog Enrichment and Training I love getting to work with a variety of clients and strive to help them meet all their dogs needs and strengthening the bond they have with their dog.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, Fear Free Certified, CGC, Currently studying for PhD in veterinary medicine and behavioral health, working on obtaining CBCC-KA

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Protection/guard dog training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Herding training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training
  • Agility training

More info about service provided: I specialize in utilizing R+ training methods specifically in behavior modification as well as traditional obedience training. I am known for my work with reactive, aggressive, and fearful pups utilizing only R+ techniques. I work with dogs to help learn how to properly play and interact with other dogs. I also teach a variety of dog sport and advanced training skills using only R+. My business (Good Dog Enrichment and Training) is uniquely known for our wide array of services in day training, private lessons, in homes, and classes. In addition, I volunteer 15 hours a week in a partnership with CARE STL working with their long timers to help them get adopted.

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity and aggression to both people and dogs is my primary focus. I work on helping educate people in understanding core behaviors, not just what they consider problematic. I then strategically work with their vets to create a comprehensive behavioral plan. I teach reactive dog classes as well to further help people understand their reactive/aggressive dog. I only utilize R+ techniques to do so!

Training methods: We always start with a consultation to ensure the dog lands in the right program (day training, private lessons, in homes, or classes). Depending on the severity of the issue, we partner with the dog’s vet to create a collaborative approach. During our first meeting, we identify short term and long terms goals of the owner and help outline a structured behavioral plan which is both realistic for the owner and beneficial for the dog.

Why I became a dog trainer:

I grew up at a dog boarding and training facility! I got my first real job working with dogs by obtaining a workers permit at age 15 and I’ve worked with dogs full time ever since! I ventured into dog training specifically after my stepdad was diagnosed with cancer and was in need of a service dog. I trained my GSD to aid him in mobility and medical
alert. After that I became interested in behavior modification and after a few years working in the balanced realm, began to phase out adversives completely before working intensely with a behaviorist to better understand scientific based techniques and their role in rehabilitating behavioral cases. Immediately after that work, I made the switch to R+ and haven’t looked back!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing the dog and their human thrive together. So many people want to have such a strong bond with their dog but struggle to understand how to accomplish that. I also love working with dogs at the shelter and tackling behaviors that might keep them from finding a forever home. With the partnership with our local animal shelter CARE STL, We started a program called 'Rescue Me'. It targets specific dogs who have been at the shelter for longer stays. We've been able to successfully train, and home some of the shelters longest stay residents!

My #1 dog training tip: Look at things from the dogs point of view! When we slow down to think what they might be thinking or what is causing them to behave a certain way, it greatly impacts our understanding of the specific dog and how we can adjust our training to benefit them!

Service areas: St. Louis (city, county, and areas of Illinois)

Website: https://www.gooddogstl.com


Jody Epstein

I have a masters degree in behavior and am proud to be the only board certified applied animal behaviorist in the eastern half of Missouri. I also hold my Certified Behavior Consultant Canine and Certified Professional Dog Trainer (knowledge assessed) certifications, and I am a Fear Free Certified Professional dog trainer as well. I have been training professionally for 16 years.

I served one year as the behavior manager for small humane society. I moved to Missouri in 2018 to take on the role of Head Training Instructor at the Academy of Pet Careers - the only full-time, hands-on positive reinforcement dog training trade school in the country that we know of. After earning my ACAAB in 2021, I shifted my focus back to seeing private clients so that I could help as many people struggling with behavior challenges in their homes as possible. It has been my pleasure to serve the greater St. Charles area these past two years.

Certifications: ACAAB, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, FFCP

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: I provide in-home and remote behavior services to address a variety of concerns including timid/fearful dogs, stranger danger, dog-directed reactivity, and resource guarding. I also offer basic skills and manners training.

Behavioral issue focus: While my favorite dogs to work with are the timid/fearful dogs, the majority of my work is with dogs showing stranger-danger reactivity and dog-directed reactivity/leash reactivity. I also frequently work with resource guarding issues.

Training methods: An initial consultation allows me to learn about the life, health, and behavior history of the dog. This also allows me to observe the dog directly. Using the information gathered during the consultation, I design a management plan to prevent the dog practicing the undesired behavior as well as a behavior and training plan to help the humans help their pups work through the behavior challenges and find a more comfortable life together.

I use a variety of counter conditioning protocols to help the dog make new associations with those things that trigger their behavior outbursts. This results in a more confident and resilient dog. I do not utilize any tools or techniques that rely on fear or pain to suppress behaviors.

Why I became a dog trainer: I struggled with some behavior challenges with my heart-dog, Cashew. When I couldn't find a professional who could help me without causing pain or fear in my beautiful dog, I dedicated my life to learning as much as I could about canine learning and behavior. I returned to graduate school to study the subject. I began training basic skills at a local big box pet store, and continued educating myself in behavior challenges. As my knowledge and skills grew, I began taking on behavior cases and my work has grown from there. My business name, Nutz About Mutz, is an homage to the dog who got me started on this career path.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: The joy on people's face when they see their dog making healthier/safer behavior choices. And the joy I see in the dog when they realize they don't have to be afraid.

My #1 dog training tip: Every interaction is a training interaction. Meaning, every time we engage with a dog, we are telling that dog how to engage with us.

Service areas: St. Charles County, St. Louis City, remote sessions

Website: https://www.NutzAboutMutz.com


Kailey King

I'm obsessed with my cattle dog and my foster-fail rescue mix! We love exploring together. We also welcome foster dogs into our home and we'd love to see our current foster, longest shelter resident, Blaine, find his forever family!

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

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

More info about service provided:

I work at CARE STL, the only open admission no-kill shelter for the city of St. Louis! In February 2022, CARE STL initiated its Training and Enrichment program with two part-time trainers. Our focus was to help foster and adopters with training struggles that pet guardians had once a dog left the shelter environment, as well as to improve the overall well-being of the dogs in shelter care.

Our program was so popular and grew so fast that we added an additional full-time trainer in September 2022 (me, Kailey King!). Since we started tracking data in Apr 2022, we have provided over 2,400 enrichment activities to our shelter dogs in the areas of social, mental, physical, and sensory enrichment. Since Feb 2022, we have conducted 196 training sessions. Of those 196 appointments, only 5 of our dogs remain at our shelter! We have also added group skills classes and look forward to expanding that capability in 2023.

Up until now, all those sessions have been provided free of charge to our adoptive parents. Unfortunately, the number of in-shelter canine residents severely strains our limited resources and the time of our hard-working trainers. We will still continue to offer a FREE basic skills group class to CARE STL alumni. We will offer one FREE private lesson at no charge. Any additional lessons will be charged a nominal fee of $50 per lesson for an onsite session (or $100 for offsite sessions). Advanced skills classes offered in the future will also have a charge.
Group classes will still be available to non-CARE dogs only as capacity allows. Our priority will always be to keep our CARE dogs in their adoptive homes. We will always continue offering training, behavior advice, and other resources to our CARE family as needed at no cost. Our trainers want you and your dog to have a healthy and strong relationship and bond, and we will do everything we can to facilitate that relationship!

Contact our training team anytime with questions or concerns at [email protected], and they will do their best to help you with your canine struggles.

Behavioral issue focus: Anything from puppy socialization and potty training to working on human reactivity, "stranger danger" behaviors, dog reactivity, or separation anxiety. A wide scope!

Training methods: At CARE STL we are proudly force free and positive only as much as we possibly can (given our stressful shelter environment).

Why I became a dog trainer: To better help my "stranger danger" reactive dog after we foster failed him <3 I had been working with animals for years and enrichment has always been a passion of mine. I wanted to learn the best ways to help other people and their pets too.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer:

DOGS = HAPPINESS, how can you not love living in the moment with creatures who do nothing but that?
I love seeing the bonds build between human and dog when they finally start communicating in a way that makes sense to each other.

My #1 dog training tip: HAVE FUN - if it's not fun what is your dog really learning? I want dogs to WANT to do what I ask.

Service areas: St. Louis

Website: https://www.icarestl.org/


Jon Conderman

Jon has been training dogs for about 10 years now, but his whole life has been centered around training animals. He grew up on a farm and often showed farm animals there, as well as trained the farm dogs how to work and herd livestock.
.
Jon has seen all scenarios in his 10+ years of training, including shelter dogs who were on their last chance. He was able to take those dogs, train them up from scratch, ending with a Canine Good Citizen certification!
.
In his free time he fosters and helps train dogs for a local rescue, and spends lots of time with his personal dogs on his family's farm property. He has a Shepherd mix named Simba who is fairly new to him. He also has a Lab mix named Tug who he has had for about 3 years. Tug is a rescue who was actually given away from his previous family and was at the shelter for a while before Jon took him in. He was fearful of people and dogs, but after a lot of training, love and dedication from Jon, Tug can come to The Watering Bowl with his dad.
.
Jon currently has openings for training at St. Peters! He currently has Stay N Trains, Private Lessons and Extra Credit sessions with Group Classes coming in the future.

Services include:

  • Board and train
  • Puppy training

Service areas: St.Louis, St. Peters

Website: https://thewateringbowl.com/


Sniffspot St. Louis Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are St. Louis dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in St. Louis 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 St. Louis 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 St. Louis?

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 St. Louis 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 St. Louis cost?

St. Louis 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 St. Louis dog trainer. How can I get listed here?

As long as you have a training facility or do in person training in St. Louis 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 St. Louis?

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 Missouri was $32,030 per year and $15.40 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 Missouri Cities

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

Kansas City, MO
Springfield, MO

See The Best Dog Trainers In Other States Near Missouri

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

Arkansas
Illinois
Kentucky
Oklahoma

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Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

May 24, 2023

Dog Trainers

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