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The Best Dog Trainers in Missouri of 2023

Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

June 22, 2023

Dog Trainers

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

Jennen Herbst

I am a trainer in Columbia, MO. I do offer training for different types of things. I have started to expand more into reactive training which is the reason I originally wanted to go into training. I do like working with younger dogs as well to try to avoid these types of issues as they get older.

In college, I was actually pre-med. After I graduated with my bachelor's degree in "Medicinal Chemistry", I got a job in the healthcare field when I ended up working for about 8 years. However, around the time I started that job, I also adopted my first dog.

I had no intention of adopting her and actually said I would foster her, get her adopted, and then get a black lab like I had wanted. Instead, this completely white pit bull mix and I just celebrated her 10th Gotcha Day and she is my best friend and 4 legged assistant. She was a handful in her younger years so the basic manners and skills program is named after her. Training her and the dog I adopted a little less than a year later made me realize this is the path I actually wanted to take.

The second dog I adopted was not the happy go lucky dog like my first girl Margot. I quickly realized she had some behavior issues. I originally thought she was aggressive but soon learned a lot of her behaviors came out of reacting more in a situation due to her being anxious. I had no idea what to do so went to work with some trainers. They used different methods that I do not use now because they made me feel uncomfortable with the training process. I then started to research alternative methods which is when I found the information on positive based/force free training.

From there, using those methods, my Meia and I build a very strong bond and she became an amazing dogs. She never had a lot of friends but she could go out in public to a lot of places with me.

From there, I decided to dabble in training and got into it even more. Meia passed on Halloween of 2019. When this happened, I made the decision to go into training full time and let her legacy live on. The pet store I was working at part time was actually building a new location with a training room in which made it seems like the stars had aligned. She had a program named after her to help reactive dogs (Managing Exciting Interactions Appropriately).

I then adopted a dog almost 2 years ago who came to me nervous of life. This helped me work some of the training methods into a confidence building program which has made me learn even more and I am really enjoying it.
I also graduated with a Masters in Public Health (animal focused) last year. In that program, I designed multiple education program that I hope to find ways to incorporate in areas around me. The one I am most proud of is a program for kids to help them learn how to interact with dogs to avoid bites.

Certifications: CPDT - KA; Fear Free; AKC

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Manners and skills; group classes; one-on-one lessons, puppy "problems"; distraction training; confidence building

Behavioral issue focus: Mostly reactive (both dog and human) but also a lot of nervous dogs

Training methods: I am a fear free trainer. For behavior/reactive issue dogs, I like to start with an initial consultation in order to personalize a training plan that I feel will help the dog out in the most effective way. I try to work with the owner to best fit their lifestyle. I also avoid pushing the dogs past their threshold. To do this, I tend to do shorter lessons since sometimes dogs can only focus for so long or get too stressed with longer sessions.

Once they get to a place where both the owner and I are comfortable then we work into more group/real world situations. For general manners and skills, we set up a personalized training plan for them as well, working on the specific behaviors/skills they want to work on. For confidence building, we spend a lot of time on exposures, cooperative care, and helping them get comfortable in as many situations as possible. Each of the training programs for these is named after one of my dogs as each of them has been challenging in these areas.

Why I became a dog trainer: What I learned from my first two dogs on how to train dogs, made me want to share that knowledge with others. I concentrate a lot on building a bond and making sure there is mutual trust so that it is easier for both the dog and owner to navigate different situations. Having used multiple types of training methods, I wanted to expand the use of positive/fear free methods more.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Watching the dogs grow and developing relationships with both the dogs and owners that I work with. While I knew I would be helping dogs, I did not realize the strong relationships I would also build with the owners.

My #1 dog training tip: Keep training as positive as possible and avoid pushing a dog too far, too soon which can break the bond and trust they have in the owner.

Service areas: Boone County - Columbia, Ashland, Hallsville

Website: https://www.lizziandroccos.com/our-services/dog-training/


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


Karol Jean Thies

Helping change dogs (and their caretaker's lives) in the greater metro area of Kansas City, MO since 2021. Using only fear free and force free methods based in science to help dogs and people better coexist.

Certifications: CTC (Certificate of Training and Counciling), Fear Free Trainer

Services include:

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

Behavioral issue focus: Dogs with Big Feelings are my speciality

Why I became a dog trainer: I was fascinated by dog behavior during college with my first dog daycare job in 2007. I wanted to be a veterinarian as a child, so I've always had an interest in helping animals, but gravitated towards behavior as I got older. I want to teach the way that I learn best, in an encouraging and fun fear free environment.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I love helping people have epiphanies about how amazing their dogs are. I also love helping dogs feel more comfortable about the world around them and better trust humans that are here to help them.

My #1 dog training tip: Train the way you would like to learn! Be kind, patient, and encouraging.

Service areas: Greater Kansas City Metro area


Cindy Ludwig

Experienced, master's prepared professional adult educator; experienced, licensed medical professional; professional dog trainer since 2007; graduate education and training in dog and wolf behavior and behavior modification in dogs; experience working with dogs in shelters for more than 30 years; experience training and certifying service dog teams for ADI-accredited organization; expertise in clicker training as a Karen Pryor Academy graduate and Certified Training Partner; author, speaker, workshop presenter, consultant, and book reviewer

Certifications: KPA-CTP, CPDT-KA, AKC CGC/STAR Puppy/Trick Dog Evaluator

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: Basic to advanced force-free professional dog training and behavior modification employing best practices in accordance with the Joint Practice Standards adopted by the APDT, CCPDT, IAABC, KPA; position statements of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior; and the recommendations of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. Methods used include applied behavior analysis and use of a marker signal. Private training packages available, tailored to individual needs. This type of training can be used to achieve precise, reliable and long-lasting results with relatively little training time, compared to compulsion methods. Dogs learn to learn and they learn to love learning!

Behavioral issue focus: Fear, anxiety, including separation anxiety, aggression toward people and other animals, jumping on people and countertops, puppy biting, chewing and destructive behavior, house soiling, pulling on leash

Training methods: Training and behavior modification is individualized, but in a nutshell, utilizes operant and classical conditioning with heavy reliance on positive reinforcement, environmental management, replacement behaviors and use of a marker signal. Equipment does not include aversive collars or verbal or physical correction. As an experienced master's prepared professional adult educator, I apply the principles of adult education in my training sessions. The 8-week curriculum has been carefully constructed and refined over many years, but if clients desire, they can purchase as few as one lesson.

Why I became a dog trainer: I have loved dogs since I was a young child, and love teaching.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Connecting with dogs and their people, and seeing the amazing improvement!

My #1 dog training tip: Teach them right the first time!

Service areas: Springfield, Missouri area; virtual services available

Website: https://www.clicker.solutions


Kai Murphey

Owner/Founder of The Devoted Dog (April 2021). BS in Wildlife Conservation, MS in Animal Behavior and Neurobiology.

I started working with dogs as a young teen fostering shy, feral and reactive dogs that needed help building trust in people before they could be homed. I then worked with birds of prey as a volunteer at The University of Minnesota Raptor Center where I was introduced to clicker training. I took the training methods I'd learned working with the birds and my experience working with foster dogs to start training psychiatric service dogs while I was completing my graduate program in animal behavior and neurobiology.

When I founded The Devoted Dog, I partnered with Unchained Melodies Dog Rescue to continue working with dogs in need of rehabilitative training and with Woof's Play & Stay to work with dogs in a daycare setting. I am now completing my Karen Pryor certification and working toward other certifications in Fear Free training and Aggressive Dog training.

Certifications: Pet Tech CPR & First Aid (May 2022), Canine Good Citizen Evaluator (May 2023), Karen Prior Certified Training Partner (December 2023)

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Obedience Classes, private in-home lessons, Agility Classes, daycare training, basic cues, advanced recall, service dog training, behavior modification, leash-reactivity training, anxiety/aggression in dogs, clicker training, distraction training, public access training

Behavioral issue focus: leash-reactivity, resource guarding, people aggression, dog aggression, general anxiety, crate anxiety, separation anxiety, barrier reactivity, poor socialization

Training methods: positive reinforcement training, clicker training, behavior consultations, training plans, counter-conditioning, behavior modification, exposure training

Why I became a dog trainer: I saw a need in my community that I could fill. I already had experience as a trainer in a non-professional capacity thanks to my volunteer work with foster dogs, birds of prey, and service dog training, and I obtained a higher education in Wildlife Management and Animal Behavior that I had intended to put to use as an educator at a zoo, nature center, or university.

Instead, I started The Devoted Dog to help my local community. Columbia, MO is a very dog-friendly city, and we have many people who own dogs but need help training them. Most other trainers in the area follow the "dominance theory" which is based on a debunked scientific study that doesn't apply to dog behavior and can lead to behavioral issues that then need correction.

I want to spread an understanding of dog behavior and improve the bonds between dogs and their handlers, help dogs that have been rescued from abusive and neglectful situations, and provide training that can make the lives of dogs and people better!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I love seeing dogs that were struggling improve! When I work with a dog that is too anxious to be around other dogs, highly leash reactive, or any other extreme behavioral issue, and over the course of our lessons we reach a point where they can walk side-by-side with another dog, or turn their attention to their handler without reacting as they see a trigger pass them, or accept a person into their home that they were previously fearful of or trying to attack, I feel fulfilled.

My #1 dog training tip: One of the most important things to work on with a dog is their impulse control, and you can do this with "leave it" games. Present opportunities for your dog to make their own choice - to act on an impulse or not - and control the outcome of that choice. Ensure that a decision to act on the impulse is not rewarded (ex. if they try to grab food on the ground, they can't get it), but decisions to ignore what they wanted and instead pay attention to you DOES get rewarded.

Service areas: Columbia, MO and Boone County, MO

Website: https://www.thedevoteddog.org


Agnes Kavalecz

Born in 1978 in Hungary and the love for animals showed its signs early on, as I started to saved animals when I was a child. Graduated high school and worked in Hungary till 2004.

Started my dog training carrier in 2016 in the USA, and I never looked back.

Certifications: Catch Certified Dog Trainer, Family Paws Parent Educator

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: Basic Obedience, Behavior Modification, private sessions, potty training, Puppy Basics, Day training, Advanced training, training around distractions, service dog training

Behavioral issue focus: Fear related reactivity, in home dog aggression, dog reactivity, stranger danger, pray drive

Training methods: Using positive reinforcement, force-free training. After the guardian fills out the information request form we set up a phone consultation to learn more about the dog and guardian. The training plan is tailored to the specific dog and pet parent. Pet parents receive email and phone support, written or video homework.

Why I became a dog trainer: My late Rusty girl was a real challenge and I wanted to become someone who helps her. It become my passion. She passed away in 2020.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping pet guardians to understand their beloved dogs better. To help dogs to live a fuller, happier life. Their success is what motivates me!

My #1 dog training tip: Reward what you like to see!

Service areas: Waynesville, St Robert, Fort Leonard Wood, Dixon, Richland, Rolla, Lebanon, Pulaski County

Website: https://www.letsgetpawsitive.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


Laura (Devine) Hills

Laura is the founder and owner of The Dogs' Spot Dog Training Center and Boutique, a 15,000 square foot facility in North Kansas City, Missouri, established in 2006. The Dogs' Spot's mission is to provide the premiere spot for Kansas City's community of dog lovers who want to employ the art and science of positive reinforcement, find that unique connection with their dog, and make new friends along the way.

She and her staff offer a wide array of group classes and private training for puppies, adolescent and adult dogs, including basic manners, Canine Good Citizen, Agility, K9 Nose Work, Flyball, Reactive Dog, and much more. Laura partners with the local rescue community by participating in, and sponsoring, many dog events throughout the city, providing educational resources, professional services, and speaking on topics related to canine training and behavior.

In addition, Laura is affiliated with three dog training organizations: the Victoria Stilwell Academy, Catch Trainer's Academy, and Animal Behavior College. She is a mentor for all three and a faculty advisor for the Victoria Stilwell Academy. She recently coauthored a book called Your Puppy and You - a Step by Step Guide to Raising a Freak'n Awesome Dog.Laura lives with four dogs: Guinness, Fiona, Poppet and Hamish and a very supportive husband, Kirby.

Certifications: KPA-CTP, CPDT-KSA, CCFT, CTDI, VSPDT, Certified Fear Free Trainer

Services include:

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

Website: https://www.TheDogsSpot.com


Dani LaFredo

I got into dog training to help show people that their dogs can be taught to be well-mannered, confident members of their household in a way that is calm and considerate of the dog's needs. I focus on what the dog needs and how the dog is feeling and then shape that into the perfect, individualized training and enrichment plan for that specific dog. My goal is a happy, confident, well-adjusted animal with good manners both inside and outside of the home.

Certified through The Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training and Behavior, I will only ever use positive reinforcement techniques when working with any dog. Science shows us that this type of training is the best way to create a happy dog that is eager to listen to cues and work with you. I focus on that unbreakable bond between dog and handler for a relationship that works for everyone (human and canine)!

Certifications: Victoria Stilwell Academy for Training & Behavior
Graduate of Michael Shikasho Aggression in Dogs Mastercourse

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: I work with dogs and their owners to help them to be able to live peacefully together through basic training, potty training, walk and trains, reactivity training, etc.

Behavioral issue focus:

Reactivity
Jumping
Excited Greetings

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping people understand the needs of their dogs

Service areas: Lenexa, KS
Overland Park, KS
Shawnee, KS
Mission, KS
Spring Hill, KS
Olathe, KS
Gardner, KS

Website: https://www.theconfidentcaninekc.com


Meggin Finkeldei

I am certified through CCPDT and am currently working toward my CBATI-KA certification. I have three dogs of my own who have behavioral needs as well as two amazing human children. I love helping people develop positive relationships with their dogs and leading them to a fear free life.

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: I work at D.O.G. with behavioral dogs as a private trainer through positive reinforcement methods and choice led training.

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity to humans and dogs as well as overexcitement and general anxiety.

Training methods: I work with clients starting with a consultation and then follow them with a customized training plan.

Why I became a dog trainer: I love helping dogs that struggle in our world which can be overwhelming to them. I also enjoy my human clients just as much!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Watching dogs and their guardians have a healthy relationship with less frustration on both sides.

My #1 dog training tip: Learn to understand your dog and their body language.

Service areas: Kansas City Metro Area

Website: https://www.dogwizard.com


Karen DiCostanzo

I'm Karen DiCostanzo, KPA CTP, CPDT-KA, certified professional dog trainer and behavior consultant. I want to help you live your best life with your dog! Learning the art and science of training animals has forever changed my life in an extremely positive way. I'd like to show you how to enrich your relationship with your canine companion while achieving your dog training goals!

All great relationships are based on effective two-way communication. For this reason, one of the first things I'll teach you is how to understand your dog's communication signals and, in turn, express yourself in ways your dog finds both clear and pleasant.
From Crazy Dogs to Calm Ones.

Many years ago, I became intensely interested in dog training and behavior modification after adopting a rescue dog - my first dog ever. It was a baptism by fire: I soon learned that in addition to serious health issues, he suffered from a panic disorder called separation distress.

Later, I adopted a large dog who drove me nuts with nuisance barking, lunging and pulling like crazy on leash, jumping all over people, chasing small animals, reacting to people and dogs, and more, so I definitely feel my clients' pain!
I learned to 'speak dog' to address my own dogs' issues, and today, I share my insights with those who want to work toward their dog training goals while deepening the bonds of love, trust, and understanding they share with their pets.
Fear-Free Certified Professional
I use a modern, holistic, relationship-based approach and have seen my training methods dramatically improve the lives of hundreds of dogs and their humans! My education background started with an intensive professional dog training apprenticeship with a certified professional dog trainer. After that, I logged hundreds of hours of hands-on teaching and training so that I could earn my professional certification credential (CPDT-KA) through the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) in 2017. The following year, I became a Certified Fear Free Professional through Fear Free Pets, and in 2019, I earned a professional credential as a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP). I'm also an approved AKC CGC Evaluator. In 2021, I earned a certificate in Dr. Susan Friedman's highly regarded Living and Learning with Animals Course in applied behavior analysis, and I'm currently working toward a professional certification in canine behavior consulting.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, AKC CGC Evaluator

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: We provide training help to address or proactively prevent problem behaviors like reactivity, aggression, skittishness, and separation issues. We also offer puppy training, along with ESA/service dog training. In-home and remote private lessons offered, along with day training. All breeds, sizes, and ages are welcome. Appointments available weekdays, evenings, and weekends to accommodate busy schedules!

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity, aggression, skittishness, separation anxiety, impulsivity and hyperactivity

Training methods: We use a positive reinforcement training approach to help solve or avoid undesirable behaviors while teaching life skills and manners. We start with an initial consultation in which we discuss the effective use of management techniques and veterinary intervention, if appropriate, along with hands-on training to teach your dog desirable behaviors. Based on our initial consultation, we will coach you through easy-to-follow training instructions designed to meet your dog training goals. After each training session, you’ll receive a short summary, including resources and next steps to practice with your pup.

Why I became a dog trainer:

Many years ago, I became intensely interested in dog training and behavior modification after adopting a rescue dog—my first dog ever. It was a baptism by fire: I soon learned that in addition to serious health issues, he suffered from a panic disorder called separation distress.
Later, I adopted a large dog who drove me nuts with nuisance barking, lunging and pulling like crazy on leash, jumping all over people, chasing small animals, reacting to people and dogs, and more, so I definitely feel my clients’ pain!

In 2022, I adopted a large dog who exhibits hyper, impulsive behavior on an all-too-frequent basis. Helping him has allowed me to empathize with my clients whose dogs have these same behavior issues.

I learned to 'speak dog' to address my own dogs' issues, and today, I share my insights with those who want to work toward their dog training goals while deepening the bonds of love, trust, and understanding they share with their pets.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer:

Learning the art and science of training animals has forever changed my life in an extremely positive way. I love sharing what I've learned to help my clients and their dogs live their best lives together!

I greatly enjoy helping my clients enrich their relationships with their canine companions while achieving their dog training goals. All great relationships are based on effective two-way communication. For this reason, I teach my clients how to understand their dog's communication signals and, in turn, communicate clearly with their dogs with kindness and compassion.

My #1 dog training tip: We all know that dogs need daily physical exercise, but not everyone realizes that dogs desperately need ample mental enrichment every day. This means giving them activities that enable them to slow down and think. Decompression "sniffaris," foraging for food (indoors or outdoors), and nose work games are excellent for this.

Service areas: Kansas: Johnson County, Wyandotte County, Miami County, Douglas County, Franklin County, Leavenworth County
Missouri: Jackson County, Clay County, Platte County

Website: https://CanineConsent.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 training@icarestl.org, 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/


Chris White

My journey into the world of dog training began in 2006. I was changing jobs every few years, but I could not find a job that left me feeling happy and fulfilled. I decided to chase a dream: to get into the animal industry. After some research I choose dog training. I took the plunge; I made a call to Animal Behavior College, talked my best friend into co-signing for my small tuition loan, and never looked back.

I have been blessed with many great mentors who helped me develop, grow, and mature into a responsible adult. Two of the greatest mentors I ever had were Jane and Al Boeck, the original owners of D.O.G. It was my privilege to learn from them, and it was an honor to be entrusted with taking over their business.

I can honestly say that I love what I do, and value the opportunity to chase a passion every day.

I hope that you find the success and enjoyment from Dog Obedience Group like I have. Our team is thrilled to share our enthusiasm and commitment with you every day!

Certifications: KPA-CTP, CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • Puppy training
  • Agility training

More info about service provided: Obedience training

Service areas: Blue Springs

Website: https://dogwizard.com/


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/


Barbara Miller

MBA, Karen Pryor Certified clicker trainer since 2009, CPDT-KA in 2011, NACSW Certified Nose Work Instructor , Fear Free Trainer. Professional Trainers Workshop at Shedd Aquarium (Ken Ramirez) ; Living and Learning with Animals (Dr. Susan Freedman); Fenzi Sports Academy training camps, (Albany OR 2016, Purina Farms 2017, Wilmington OH 2018) ; 2017 Association of Professional Dog Trainers conference speaker (short- "Why I dont teach off" ) yearly conferences APTD and Clicker Expos, ongoing education to keep current on all techniques. Basic dog nerd, what can I say?

Certifications: CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, CNWI, Elite Fear Free Trainer

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Specialists in young puppy socialization and training. Focus on developing a family dog. Also certified NACSW K9 Nose Work classes.

Behavioral issue focus: Crate training, Young puppy development/socialization, fear reactivity

Training methods: We are force free trainers, using markers and positive reinforcement to develop cooperative dogs. Behavior modification includes de-sensitization and counter conditioning as well as basic training. We work in conjunction with your vet to develop a successful behavioral modification training plan.

Why I became a dog trainer: Lived with dogs my entire life, its a natural evolution. Passionate about positive training.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Puppy wrangling.

My #1 dog training tip: Focus on what you WANT the dog to do, train for that.

Service areas: Kansas City Metro area, Jackson Co, Clay Co, Platte CO, Johnson Co, Wyandotte Co.

Website: https://bksdogtraining.com


Sniffspot Missouri Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are Missouri dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in Missouri 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 Missouri 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 Missouri?

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 Missouri 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 Missouri cost?

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

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

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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Merlin Noble

June 22, 2023

Dog Trainers

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