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The Best Dog Trainers in Portland, OR of 2023

Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

June 22, 2023

Dog Trainers

Welcome to the Portland, OR Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2023. This is a list of the top dog trainers in Portland 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 Oregon 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 Portland, OR Dog Trainers in 2023

Jamie Walthers

Jamie is a Portland native who has always had a passion for animals and behavior. She received her BA from PSU where she started her career in social work before finding her way into her true passion of working with dogs and helping them and their people have better relationships.

She founded Sit Stay Fit, a Portland based dog training facility, with Jenna over a decade ago and is excited to bring her knowledge of training and enthusiasm for working with dogs to Central Oregon. She is making the move with her wife and their pack of six glorious dogs who are eager to welcome your pups into their home for adventures and training.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Services include:

  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided:

In Central Oregon, I offer Board & Train. Adventure Boarding & In home Private trainings through Wild Intentions.

In Portland, I co-own Sit Stay Fit. We offer day training, group classes, play groups, private trainings, Board & Train and more.

I love working with new puppies, getting them started on the right track, but also have a love of working with fearful or reactive dogs, helping them build confidence in the world.

Behavioral issue focus: Fear, reactivity, impulse control

Training methods: I am a positive reinforcement based trainer. All behavioral consultations, private trainings & Board & Trains come with a training plan.

Why I became a dog trainer: Nothing makes my heart happier than helping people better understand their dogs so that they can live their best life possible.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I love helping build a dog's confidence or better assist their person to understand them so that their world can expand to its fullest potential.

My #1 dog training tip: Be a team with you dog! By this, I mean listen to what they are telling you by reading their body language, go at their pace and engage with them as you navigate the human world.

Service areas: Portland metro, Bend, Redmond, Sunriver

Website: https://wildintentionsbend.com


Kaia Wilson

I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA)(FDM Family Dog Mediator) who has been working with dogs professionally since 2013. I have high hopes for changing the way people see and understand our (captive) canine comrades!

My mission as a dog trainer is to provide human dog guardians with a clear understanding of how dogs learn, techniques and protocols for affecting behavior using fun, compassion-centered methods, and to support the dog and the human side of the relationship while we go on this journey together.

When I'm not training dogs, I'm playing music with my band of the last 30 years, cooking with lots of spices, playing ping pong, and co-dog-pendently making sure my own dogs lives are as fulfilling as can be.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, FDM

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: I focus on finding ways to achieve household harmony between canines and humans that meet everyones needs; I prescribe a combination of training (aka humans teaching dogs cool skills) and various enrichment and management additions to help achieve that.

Behavioral issue focus: I love working with sensitive/fearful dogs and building confidence and a sense of security. I'm often working with leash reactivity, neophobia, separation distress and more.

Training methods: I utilize positive reinforcement, force and fear free training methods. I build out step by step processes for the guardian to work on with their dogs, supporting the human side of the equation with open lines of communication, progress reports, and various forms of supplemental learning aids.

Why I became a dog trainer: I became a dog trainer because I love dogs and I wanted to help improve the quality of their lives in our human households.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: My favorite part of being a dog trainer is improving quality of life for humans and their dogs, dogs and their humans!

My #1 dog training tip: ENRICHMENT, find out what enriches and nourishes your dog and provide them opportunities for those things, and your training/behavior modification goals will be so much easier to achieve.

Service areas: I primarily serve Portland, Oregon, with brief stints in Los Angeles and Eugene

Website: https://dogspeed.dog


Lorenzo JW Fox

Lorenzo grew up on a petting zoo and cattle farm in Kentucky surrounded by a variety of animals- everything from camels and coatimundis, to arctic foxes and water buffalo. He obtained his BA from Portland State University in 2012, and then dove into the world of behavior.

After nearly a decade of working with kids, teens, and young adults in adventure guiding, wilderness therapy, juvenile incarceration, residential treatment, and crisis centers, Lorenzo now works with animals. He utilizes play, consent, choice, clear communication, and the building of predictable patterns so that both humans and animals can thrive. Exploring a relational and ethological approach, Lorenzo specializes in resolving challenging and complex behavior struggles- including aggressive behaviors, fears and phobias, and separation-related distress.

With his own dogs, he enjoys sports like agility, tracking, nosework, dock diving, hiking, climbing, and laying in the sun for hours. He also spends time and energy improving husbandry and enrichment for his aging cockatiel, 9-foot boa, and baby tarantulas.

Certifications: CPDT-KA; SAPT; FDM; Fear Free

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Virtual training; in-person training; large indoor facility; private training; in-person group classes; virtual group classes; webinars; reactive-dog friendly group classes (parkour, tricks, etc); constructional aggression training

Behavioral issue focus: Behavior modification; complex behavior issues; aggression; fears/ phobias; abnormal repetitive behaviors; separation-related distress; bite history; reactivity; veterinary phobia; cooperative care/ handling/ husbandry

Training methods: Wrap-around care and consultation w/ board-certified veterinary behaviorist; hands-on cooperative care and husbandry training; in-depth behavior health assessments to inform training plan; detailed plans including videos, written instructions, and communication with trainer between sessions; robust referral program for further health assessment related to behavior modification; flexible remote and in-person training; full online client portal to access all training plans and veterinary behavior information

Why I became a dog trainer: Because dogs need humans in order to survive, and humans need dogs in order to thrive. Because dogs deserve humans who do better as they know better.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Witnessing the moments of depth and intimacy when trust begins to grow between dogs and their guardians.
Facilitating trauma recovery for dogs AND humans.

My #1 dog training tip: Listen to and advocate for your dog, no matter what; learn the self-regulation and self-awareness skills you expect your dog to develop.

Service areas: Portland, OR & remote training (anywhere)

Website: https://www.synergybehavior.com


Christina Perez

I am a PNW native who has been training dogs in Portland for 13 years. I work for Wonder Puppy- Puppy Parenting Center, in NW Portland. I have a teenage rescue Border Collie Mix puppy named Fern, who is my best teacher and adventure buddy.

I love helping people get through puppyhood by seeing behavior from their dog's perspective, having realistic expectations of what their dog is capable of based on their developmental stage, and channeling patience, and compassion, when supporting their dogs. Also, laughter is key. My hope is that through working with me people can see training as not just a thing we do the first two years of our dog's lives, but more so a mentality and lifestyle that lasts a lifetime.

Certifications: CPDT- KA

Services include:

  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: I provide Group Classes, Private Training, and Puppy Socials. I work for a Puppy Parenting Center and my specialty is working with Adolescent Dogs and Dogs who struggle with impulse control, overexcitement, and reactivity.

Behavioral issue focus: Jumping, Mouthing, Barking, Leash Reactivity, Impulsivity around Dogs and People, Fearfulness around Dogs and People

Training methods: I adhere to LIMA, Force Free, Rewards Based, Science Based training. I use management, clicker training, treats, toys, classical conditioning and desensitization.

Why I became a dog trainer: Originally it was because I felt a strong connection to dogs and knew a career working alongside them would be incredibly fulfilling. Now, I feel that as positive reinforcement dog trainers we are their biggest advocates, and helping better educate the public in compassionate training and care feels essential.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Watching how clear communication between the human and dog can allow such incredible bonding and joy to be experienced.

My #1 dog training tip: Whenever possible, have fun with your dog!

Service areas: Portland

Website: https://www.wonder-puppy.com


Kelsey Weber

I am a Certified Dog Trainer and Family Dog Mediator, specializing in helping families with their pet dogs. Most commonly, I work with puppies, anxious/fearful dogs, and reactive dogs through positive, humane training methods.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, ABCDT, FDM

Services include:

  • Reactive dog training

Website: https://www.pawsitivelytraineddogs.com


Stephanie Collingsworth

With more than 20 years of experience working as a certified trainer to help dogs and owners with kind, practical solutions to a wide range of training and behavior issues. I strive to be a compassionate teacher and I love coaching humans on how to listen to, and communicate more effectively with, their animal companions.

My extensive experience working as a private trainer, as part of the behavior team at the Animal Behavior Clinic, and as a behavior evaluator and counselor at a county animal shelter, has shaped my comprehensive, welfare-focused approach to dog training & behavior consulting.

Certifications: CBCC-KA Certified Behavior Consultant Canine

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Offering virtual and in-home training and behavior modification services for a wide variety of complex and simple behavior and training goals.

Behavioral issue focus: Leash reactivity, fear based behaviors, anxiety based behaviors, separation anxiety, cooperative care, basic manners, multi-pet households, and more

Training methods: Science based solutions that focus on biological factors, individual traits, and life experiences that make each dog one-of-a-kind.

Why I became a dog trainer: I wanted to help dogs thrive in their homes by teaching their human family members how to communicate effectively and better understand their dog's needs.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping dogs and people find joy in their relationship!

My #1 dog training tip: Meet your dog where they are at.

Service areas: Clackamas, Washington, Multnomah, and Clark counties

Website: https://www.instinctdogtraining.com


Christina Gray

The two-legged heart behind GHK9, Christina's worked professionally with dogs for 10+ years as a private trainer, reactivity specialist, board-and-train provider, class instructor, puppy playgroup leader and consultant. She loves behavior science, animal rescue and coaching humans as well as dogs. Her heart belongs to her Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Certifications: IAABC-ADT, FDM, Ph.D.

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: puppy socials, basic-advanced skills, reactivity, foundations for working dogs, adolescent dogs

Behavioral issue focus: I work with people who are having a hard time understanding their dog's behavior or are having a hard time living with their dog, and with people who want to set their dog up for success in life

Training methods: consultation, training plan, behavior modification, training skills for beginners and experienced dog handlers, 1:1 training with dogs, support for veterinary behaviorist plans. Cooperative care, start buttons, relationship building, confidence and canine-specific needs based force free training

Why I became a dog trainer: To help people and dogs live their best life together

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Learning and growing along with my clients

My #1 dog training tip: Listen to the dog

Website: https://greatheartk9.com


Heidi VanDerVoorn

Heidi, CPDT-KA, KPA has worked professionally with dogs for the past 2 years as a private trainer, puppy group consultant, and day trainer at Noble Woof. She is extremely knowledgeable in adolescent and puppy behavior, with a passion for R+ behavior science. Prior to becoming a dog trainer she was immersed in the corporate world, managing global events and field marketing programs for companies like Cisco and Dell Technologies.

She developed a passion towards training dogs in 2013 when she became the proud owner of a Tamaskan, a rare Northern breed with a wolf-like appearance bred from Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, and German Shepherds. Tamaskans are a smart and energetic working breed, and she quickly realized that the dog needed a lot of enrichment and training.

She enrolled in as many classes and workshops as she could to improve her skills as a trainer. The challenge of these classes and the enjoyment of seeing her dog succeed inspired her to continue developing her own natural abilities. She now has another 4 year old Tamaskan and between the two of them she actively enjoys many dog-sports including Bikejoring, Rally Obedience, Agility, Trick Training, Nose Work, and Barn Hunt. Navarre, her 10 year old Tamaskan, has received his Novice, Intermediated, Advanced, and Expert Trick Dog, Rally Novice (RN), Nose Work (NW1), and Barn Hunt (RATS) titles.

Heidi is extremely active in the Noble Woof community, and has managed the behavior chat line and supporting the Puppy Classes and Socials. When she is not actively working on completing her dog training certifications she enjoys hiking, backpacking, camping, cross country skiing and paddle-boarding with her dogs.

Certifications: KPA, CPDT-KA

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Private Sessions, Day Training, Basic Foundations, Potty Training, Distractions, Off Leash

Behavioral issue focus: Basic Foundational Skills

Training methods: Initial behavior consultations to identify overall goals. Clients receive access to their own personal Google drive to have dedicated access to all videos and handouts. Thorough recap after each session that defines skill and behavior through positive reinforcement.

Why I became a dog trainer: To help guardians understand dog behavior and to be an advocate for dogs

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing dogs thrive with enrichment that they never had before and their behavior being modified or learning new skills.

My #1 dog training tip: Management!

Service areas: Portland - Multnomah and Washington Counties

Website: https://www.noblewoof.com/


Brie Blakeman

Brie Blakeman, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, is a certified professional behavior consultant and dog trainer. She is also a board member of the acclaimed Whole Dog Academy Dog Training School, and member of the Pet Professional Guild. Brie started her professional career as a full time coach for the Training and Behavior Department at The Oregon Humane Society. It was during her time there she discovered a passion for not just training dogs, but coaching the humans who raise and love them.

Raising her own two Siberian Huskies with complex and challenging behavior issues put Brie in a unique position to hone her skills working with 'out of the box' behavior cases that require comprehensive and in-depth understanding of behavior modification and learning theory. It was during this time she discovered her love for working complex behavior cases centering around dog reactivity, vet phobia, and aggression.

To boost her knowledge Brie attended and graduated from leading aggression expert Michael Shikashio's Aggression in Dogs Master Course, and studied cooperative care training with Laura Monaco Torrelli. Brie continues her studies by regularly attending the most current, up to date conferences on canine behavior taught by today's leading experts in animal behavior.

While Brie received her first professional certification in 2017, she credits her skill to a lifetime of working with and training animals.

As a child, she raised her family's standard poodles, rats, and parrots, spending all her free time training them to perform a wide variety of behaviors from potty training to tricks. At the age of 12 she started training western horses to perform dressage/hunter Jumper which taught her a lot about how human body language, handling, and relationship with the animal plays a large role in behavior outcomes.

Her background as a public speaker and educator has given her a unique ability to recognize subtle shifts that can be made to enhance the lives of both the human and canine end of the leash. This is supported with a deep passion for breaking down challenging concepts and methodologies into practical everyday use.

Alongside running her own business, Brie and her two huskies enjoy Skijoring, Rally Obedience, and Trick Training. Her three year old Siberian Husky Yuka has earned her Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Expert Trick Dog Titles.

Brie's greatest teachers have and will always be the dogs and humans she has the honor of working with every day.

Brie credits her knowledge and work to Susan Friedman, Karen Pryor, Laura Monaco Torrelli, Leslie McDevitt, Suzanne Clothier, Jean Donaldson, Tanya Roberts, Donna Hill, Emma Parsons, Emily Larson, Annika McDade, Dr. Chris Pachel, Hannah Branigan, Grisha Stewart, Ken Ramirez, Pamela Reid, Patricia B. McConnell and many more!

Credentials:
Certified Behavior Consultant (CBCC-KA), through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers
Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers
Aggression In Dogs Master Course Graduate
VCA Northwest Veterinary Specialist Pet First Aid/CPR
Bachelors of Arts in Business Development and Interdisciplinary Arts

Certifications: CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Our certified dog trainers use clicker training and focus on strengthening the human-animal bond while addressing behavior issues large and small. We offer private in-home coaching, drop-off tutoring, group classes, puppy socials, and have a specialized day training camp. Our Day Training & Enrichment program in SE Montavilla offers dogs ages 6 months and older a day training program with opportunities for dynamic enrichment & training with a certified professional. This program provides ample time and space for both indoor and outdoor enrichment activities and follows a rhythmic schedule that fosters intrinsic canine learning in a peaceful and nurturing setting. The focus of the program is to give dogs the chance to develop and learn at their natural pace.

Behavioral issue focus: Separation Anxiety, Aggression, Reactivity, Puppy Training & Socialization, Cooperative Care & Husbandry

Training methods:

We help you develop healthy training habits that will support your goals & relationship for life.

Our certified dog trainers use clicker training to strengthen the human-animal bond and improve behavior outcomes.

With our 'BMET' pedagogy, we help you understand why your dog is the way they are, and how the four pillars of body language, management, exercise/enrichment & teamwork can influence their behavior.

WE OFFER PRIVATE TUTORING & COACHING:

Tutoring is when a trainer works solely with the dog to onboard and refine the skills they need to thrive.

Coaching is when a trainer works with you to teach you how to train, understand, and maintain your dog’s new skills.

Training sessions are structured to achieve goals while helping you understand why we do things the way we do. We teach you how to work with your dog rather than against him or her, utilizing whatever motivates your dog (food, toys, attention, the environment) to get timely and consistent results.

We believe in fostering harmonious relationships through empathic teaching practices guided by ethics and science. The training we do with you is a collaboration and we promise to remain open to learning through each stage of the process with you. We also pride ourselves in helping guardians see the roadmap ahead of them so we can all set realistic expectations for ourselves and our dog. It is our goal that you should never feel lost on this journey, and to support you each step of the way.

DROP OFF DAY TRAINING CAMP:

Our Day Training & Enrichment program in SE Montavilla offers dogs ages 6 months and older a day training program with opportunities for dynamic enrichment & training with a certified professional. This program provides ample time and space for both indoor and outdoor enrichment activities and follows a rhythmic schedule that fosters intrinsic canine learning in a peaceful and nurturing setting. The focus of the program is to give dogs the chance to develop and learn at their natural pace.

PUPPY SOCIALIZATION & SKILL CLASSES:

A leading cause of behavior problems in adult dogs is improper socialization. Our drop off puppy socialization classes are led by certified professionals who will help your puppy form positive associations with other dogs, people, surfaces, sounds, and handling.

We also offer group skills classes for all ages, so you can learn along with your dog.

Why I became a dog trainer:

I became a dog trainer because of my ever-growing passion for helping both dogs and people not just survive together but to THRIVE. Raising my two Siberian Huskies with complex and challenging behaviors put me in a unique position to hone skills of working with 'out of the box' behavior cases that require comprehensive and in-depth understanding of behavior modification and learning theory. 

This paired with my background as a public speaker and educator gave me a unique ability to recognize and communicate subtle shifts that can be made to enhance the lives of both the human and canine end of the leash.

This, matched with a deep passion for breaking down challenging concepts and methodologies into practical everyday use lead me to pursue this as a career.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: My favorite part of being a dog trainer is seeing my clients shift from initially just wanting to change who their dog is, to appreciating, loving, and wanting to support the dog they have in front of them. I also routinely see my clients begin to apply the theories and methodologies of positive reinforcement training to other, non-dog, areas of their life. It is not uncommon for folks to express to me "Working with you and my dog in this way has changed me as a person. I have a new and holistic perspective on building healthy and secure relationships with people and animals throughout all areas of my life."

Service areas: Multnomah County

Website: https://www.noblewoof.com


Hayley Martinez

Hayley Martinez is a multi-certified dog trainer who has worked with dogs professionally since 2005. She opened Nakama Dog Training in 2016 and is a co-founder of the advocacy group Force Free Oregon. She has a passion for helping dogs with severe fears and frustrations so they can live a happy life with their families.

Hayley is committed to continuing her education and most recently became one of the world's first Certifed Predation Substitute Training Instructors.

Hayley currently lives in Beaverton, Oregon with her husband, her chihuahua mix Kylo and her cat Naya.

Certifications: IAABC-ADT, FFCP, Predation Substitute Training Instructor, Aggression in Dogs Master Course

Services include:

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

More info about service provided:

Private, in-home training sessions, day training sessions, virtual training sessions, training walks.
Specializing in fear, reactivity and aggression. Also offering training in basic manners, leash manners, cooperative care, predatory behavior and impulse control

Behavioral issue focus:

Fear-based behaviors: phobias, extreme shyness, reactivity to humans or other dogs
Aggression: aggression towards humans, other dogs, other animals. Also resource guarding and predatory behavior.
Impulse Control: hyperactivity and frustration behaviors

Training methods:

I am a force-free trainer, which means I do not use any aversive tools or techniques to train. I strive to find a balance between allowing a dog to express natural behaviors while also being able to co-exist in harmony with their guardians.

I offer multiple training programs. For aggression or fear cases, a pre-training evaluation is required before a dog can sign up for a full program.

Why I became a dog trainer: I wanted to help dogs stay in their homes and live happy, fulfilling lives.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I love to see my clients and their dogs learn and grow together.

My #1 dog training tip: Allow your dog to have a voice in their training! If your dog is comfortable and a willing participant, they will enjoy learning and make progress so much more quickly.

Service areas: Portland Metro Area, Multnomah and Washington County

Website: https://www.nakamadogtraining.com


Kate Johnson

As a certified professional trainer, Kate prides herself in continually expanding her knowledge of dog behavior and training techniques through obtaining certifications, attending workshops and conferences, reading the latest literature and networking with colleagues to remain on the cutting edge of the science of dog behavior.

Kate is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) under the Certification Council of Pet Dog Trainers (CCPDT), a Certified Family Dog Mediator from Kim Brophey's Applied Ethology L.E.G.S. program.

A Family Dog Mediator (FDM) is an individual that has completed Kim Brophey's Applied Ethology L.E.G.S. program. FDM's assess each animal based on their L.E.G.S.- which includes each dog's Learning, Environment, Genetics, and Self - as each plays a critical role in the animal's behavior.

Kate is a Whole Dog Academy Graduate of the Foundational Dog Trainer Certificate Program where she studied: dog training & behavior, learning theory, ethology, canine body language, husbandry, safety along with other related courses.

Kate has taken or attended a variety of continuing education courses and conferences on topics such as behavior, socialization, ethology, fear & anxiety, impulse control, obedience and building drive & motivation.

Kate also continues to work on her hands-on skills in training with her own dog, Powells, as this is a true passion of hers and because Powells loves training and it makes him a very happy boy.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, CFDM

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: private in-home training. puppy specialist, adolescent training, foundational skills, basic skills, leash reactivity

Behavioral issue focus: puppy raising, puppy socialization, adolescent training, foundational skills, leash reactivity

Training methods: positive reinforcement, fear free training, initial behavior consultation, training plan and follow up sessions

Why I became a dog trainer: Kate has always had a love for animals and the outdoors. After 18 years working in office administration, she decided to follow her love of animals and nature and start a new career working with dogs. Kate practices force-free, fear-free, positive training and is committed to and uses the most current, gentle, science-based, positive training and behavior modification techniques.

Kate enjoys instructing in-home private training, off leash enrichment adventure groups and running puppy socials but has found a real passion for helping families welcome puppies into their homes during their puppy's critical socialization period of development. Kate loves helping families with kids and other pets welcome a new puppy as smoothly and safely as possible into their homes. Kate excels in consulting with puppy families and then building a training and socialization plan specific to their unique needs and training goals.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Kate found a real passion for helping families welcome puppies into their homes during their puppy's critical socialization period of development. Kate loves helping families with kids and other pets welcome a new puppy as smoothly and safely as possible into their homes. Kate also LOVES running weekly puppy socials and helping to build social resilience in puppies during this important development stage.

My #1 dog training tip: REWARD YOUR DOG!

Service areas: Portland Metro

Website:  https://www.rainorshinecaninepdx.com/


Sara McLoudrey

Sara McLoudrey owns Decisive Moment Pet Consulting and has been a professional dog trainer since 2004. Sara is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC with IAABC), CPDT-KSA, Fear Free Certified Professional Level 1 Elite and Certified Trainer, Low-Stress Handling Certified, Pet End of Life Doula, FitPaws Master Trainer, and TagTeach Level 3. For Sara, it is inspiring to help continue and promote this growth mindset for fellow trainers, behavior consultants, and pet guardians.

In addition to Decisive Moment Pet Consulting, she is the former Head Trainer at Synergy Veterinary Behavior. Her professional animal training career started by founding ROOT Dog Training in suburban Chicago. In 2016, she sold ROOT, moved to Portland, and joined the team at Synergy Veterinary Behavior.

Over the years, Sara has completed with positively trained dogs in retriever field tests, high-level competition and rally obedience (Utility and RAE level), conformation, and elite level nose work. Sara shares her life with Lindy and Punky, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers.

Certifications:

Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC)
CPDT-KSA
Fear Free Certified Professional Trainer and Level 1 Elite
Low Stress Handling Silver Certified
Pet End of Life Doula
TagTeach Level 3
FitPaws Master Trainer

Services include:

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

More info about service provided:

I offer virtual behavior modification consults and continuing therapy sessions. My practice specializes in Care with Consent (cooperative care), human-directed aggression, resource guarding, helping senior dogs thrive, and living with intact dogs.

Interactive group classes are offered virtually and in person in the Portland, OR, metro area.

The virtual classes are focused on Care with Consent training from foundations, nail care, muzzle training, and more.

My in person classes focus on parkour and competition level nose work.

Behavioral issue focus:

I offer virtual Behavioral Consults on various “problem” and common dog behaviors. My training specialties are Care with Consent (cooperative care), human-directed aggression, resource guarding, helping senior dogs thrive, and living with intact dogs.

While I specialize in these topics, of course, I see all types of severe behavior cases, except separation anxiety

Training methods: I have been a proud positive reinforcement, force-free, professional animal trainer for 19 years.

Even though I focus on severe behavioral issues, my goal is to provide a safe, supportive, and fun environment to help both dogs and their people.

After an initial consult, I offer virtual behavioral therapy packages tailored to each client.

Why I became a dog trainer: Like so many dog trainers my dog training life started by accident. I was volunteering at a punishment-based/shock collar service dog organization. There I met my eventual partner Mark. Mark brought Bailey, a dog-reactive, shock collar-wearing, service dog to our family. I am forever grateful for Bailey, and his behavioral struggles. Bailey’s heavy-handed training as a service dog was at the root of his behavioral issues.

Bailey pushed me to seek out a different way. In 1999 I found myself at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Behavioral Department. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was starting my journey as a trainer and behavior consultant.

I became passionate about positive reinforcement training. I never wanted another dog treated the way Bailey was in the name of training!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Since I work with severe behavior cases, my favorite moment is when the clients realize there is hope. There is hope to helping their dog, hope to giving their dog a better life, and hope to make lasting transformations.

My #1 dog training tip: Be more generous.

Be more generous with your treats, your interactions with your dog, to yourself, and to the dog you have now. Be generous, even if it is not the dog, you dreamed of sharing your life with.

Service areas: Virtual Consultant based in Portland, OR

I do offer some in-person classes and follow-up behavior modification in the Portland metro area

Website: https://www.decisivemomentconsulting.com/


Jennifer Joyce (Dynamite Doggies!)

I left the music industry in 1999 to begin working with dogs. After adopting a very special dog (Merlin) I got my training certification at the Academy for Dog Trainers. I have over 20 years experience working with shy, fearful and aggressive dogs. Our team has a combined 30 years experience.

Certifications: Certificate in Pet Dog Training & Counseling, Group Dog Walking Certificate, First Aid Training Certification

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: We work with all types of dogs, experiencing a wide range of complex behavior issues, as well as simple to complex obedience issues. Structure and compassion are our core tenets.

Behavioral issue focus: Shy, fearful, and aggressive dogs are always welcome!

Training methods: We use gentle, force-free methods in our one-on-one training sessions, and coach human clients on the same methods.

Why I became a dog trainer: I was inspired by my own dog, Merlin. He experienced a high level of anxiety and fear, and needed specialized help. It made sense for me to be the one to help him, so I enrolled in The Academy for Dog Trainers.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping dogs and their people who love them.

My #1 dog training tip: There is always a more clear, and gentler way.

Service areas: Portland, OR, Los Angeles, CA, Remote Online

Website:  https://www.dynamitedoggies.com


Kathryn Burge

Professional dog trainer since 2013. Licensed, Bonded and Insured

Certifications: CPPS /Pet first Aid and CPR

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Puppy socialization and leash aggression

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity

Training methods: Positive Reinforcement only

Why I became a dog trainer: Volunteering at the Oregon Humane Society in the kennels with troubled dogs that in most cases were surrendered because of behavioral issues gave me the confidence to want to work with people to partner with their dogs instead of giving them up.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: When a client says why didn't the other 10 trainers I've worked with share with us what you just taught us. This has happened time and time again.

My #1 dog training tip: Your dogs walk is their walk not yours!

Service areas: Lake Oswego

Website: https://www.lopetsitting.com


Torie Silletto

As a lifelong animal welfare advocate, I never have and never will use pain or fear to make a dog behave. It has been unequivocally proven by decades of research that dogs who enjoy training, and trust their trainer, behave better.

I began my career with the San Francisco SPCA Behavior & Training team, where I worked extensively and exclusively with the most challenging shelter dogs. I also specialized in enrichment and welfare, puppy socialization, as well as teaching and mentoring staff and volunteers. I further honed my skills at the East Bay SPCA where I taught public dog training classes.

Dogs today are our dearly beloved family members. I am passionate about providing them the highest quality care available. In addition to 10 years of firsthand experience, I've earned numerous professional certifications to demonstrate my knowledge and competence in my field.

Dog training is unregulated in the United States. This means absolutely anyone can hang up a shingle and charge for their services.

I entered the field because I passionately opposed the barbaric animal abuse being sold to the public as training. I was also sorely disappointed with the lack of knowledge and competency required to do business. As a result, I invested in the most comprehensive education available, and gained hands-on work experience training dogs in shelter.

I develop a relationship with my clients based on transparency and trust. I truly want what is best for you and your dog, and I am committed to ethical business practices.

Certifications: CTC (Certificate in Training & Counseling), PCBC-A (Professional Canine Behavior Consultant-Accredited), CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed), Separation Anxiety Pro Trainer

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: I specialize in leash reactivity, fear & aggression, and puppy socialization to prevent these issues from developing as adults.

Training methods: I strictly use humane training methods. There will be no pain, fear, or force during any interaction with your dog. Clients begin with an initial consultation where I will take a thorough history, provide a behavior assessment and relevant education, implement management strategies to prevent the problem from occurring, and create a custom training plan tailored to your dog's needs and your personal goals. Follow up sessions consist of me training your dog myself, or coaching you through the process. Many clients prefer a blend of both.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Being your dog's new favorite person (besides you, of course!)

My #1 dog training tip: Do not hurt or scare your dog. This will ultimately create or worsen fear & aggression and destroy the human & animal bond.

Service areas: Portland, OR and virtual sessions nationwide

Website: https://www.diamonddogspdx.com


Dawn Jansen

Dawn was led to the Tellington TTouch work in 2001 by her rescue Doberman, Chris. Chris was a large, red Doberman who was a gentle soul, and not very confident around other dogs. Someone suggested to Dawn that she try the Tellington TTouch Training Method, so she found a weekend workshop and was so amazed by the change in Chris in just 2 days, that she signed up for a week-long training. At the end of that training, she knew she wanted to be a Practitioner and share this amazing technique with others. She completed the Companion Animal Practitioner Program in 2003 and opened her TTouch Practice - The Pawsitive Companion. She was awarded the status of Companion Animal Instructor in 2021.

Dawn works with private clients, conducts workshops and TTouch Practitioner trainings. She has had several rescue dogs with a variety of behavioral concerns, so she can speak with compassion and experience with clients who are struggling with the same concerns. She enjoys helping pet guardians learn to observe their animals to identify early signs of stress, fear, and discomfort so they quickly respond and help the animal feel more comfortable and confident. She is passionate about helping people recognize that their animal's behavior is a form of communication and helping them learn how to understand and respond to that communication to build the animal's trust and confidence.

Dawn lives in Beaverton, Oregon with her husband, and 7-year-old rescued mix-breed dog, Tucker. She enjoys golf, horse riding, and spending time in nature.

Certifications: Certified Tellington TTouch Instructor

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: I use positive force-free, fear-free techniques to build trust and confidence. I can train basic cues, loose leash walking, addressing reactivity, helping shy and fearful dogs gain confidence, calming hyperactive dogs, preparing your dog for bringing a baby into the home and more

Behavioral issue focus: I work with dogs who are reactive to other animals or people, leash-pulling, excessive vocalization, fear, anxiety and more

Training methods: My practice is based in the Tellington TTouch Training method which uses fear-free and force-free techniques to build trust and confidence in your dog. Each dog is individual so I assess the dog and determine what tools and techniques might work best to address the concern. I teach the dog's handler the techniques so they can work with the dog on their own between sessions so progress is made more quickly.

Why I became a dog trainer: I found the Tellington TTouch Training Method which helped my dog gain confidence and learn to be ok around other dogs. Having had reactive, fearful dogs, and seeing how effective this training method is, I wanted to help other people help their dogs so they could have a joyful, comfortable relationship with their dogs and their dogs could stay in their forever homes.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing people's relationship with their dog change when they understand their dog better, and can help their dog become more calm, confident and comfortable.

My #1 dog training tip: A dog's behavior is their way of communicating. Learn to understand their communication by observing your dog's body language and behavior so you can understand what they are trying to communicate and figure out what they need to become more calm, confident and comfortable.

Service areas: Beaverton, Hillsboro, Forest Grove, Tigard, Tualatin, Sherwood, Portland Metro Area, Vancouver

Website: https://www.pawsitivecompanion.com


Patty Bensene

I've been training for over 25 years, companion obedience, puppy and behavior classes. The last 15 years has been mainly focused on all aspects of agility including serious competition and relationship building.

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training
  • Agility training

More info about service provided: I teach competition agility, companion obedience, puppy skills and behavior classes. Most classes start as private then as skills of the handler and dog improve I will move you into a group class so you can practice and refine your skills in a distracting environment. I teach classes in Oregon City, Monday through Thursday, morning to evening.

Behavioral issue focus: Reactive dogs or over stimulated dogs. Dogs with no focus or drive.

Training methods: I like to lure dogs into behavior or let them offer desired behaviors for rewards. I want the dogs to think for themselves offering appropriate behaviors/tasks to solicit rewards whether its a treat, toy, touching or verbal.

Why I became a dog trainer: I became a trainer because I've always been interested in the animal/human communication and bonding process. I've had family dogs my entire life but as a young adult I wanted my own dog. Although I thought my first dog was the greatest dog ever, she had some serious problems. I wanted to know how people managed to have such "perfect" dogs and so began my journey into the world of dog knowledge and training.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Watching a dog blossom into the great dog they were meant to be and the joy of the owner/handler being able to take credit for the success.

My #1 dog training tip: Do not force your dog to do anything. Teach them to learn and they will be successful at any task you train them for.

Service areas: Multnomah, Marion, Washington, Clackamas County, OR.
Clark County , WA

Website: https://ffdogschool.com


Sniffspot Dog running on field

Get safe exercise for your dog by renting a private dog park near you

Angela Grey

I'm a dog trainer, lifelong dog-lover, and puppy enthusiast. My love for dogs began when I was a very young child and blossomed when I received a wonderful book about dogs from a dear family friend on my ninth birthday (thanks, Deb!). It was from that moment that I knew I wanted to work with dogs, but wasn't sure which path to pursue. It wasn't until my beloved Pit Bull, Bones, entered my life ten years ago that I realized my truest passion is dog training.

As a dog trainer, I am interested in many different areas of training, but currently I am most passionate about helping new puppy owners get training and socialization started on the right foot, teaching old dogs new tricks (for lack of a better term), and most importantly, finding ways for owners to genuinely enjoy the training process.

I happily live in southeast Portland with my partner Dane, our three dogs, Klayton, Mars, and Gnther, and one exceptionally patient cat, Garry.

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • Board and train
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Private training, Day training, Puppy preparation, Adventures, Board and Train,

Training methods: Private training, Day training, Puppy preparation, Adventures, Board and Train,

Website: https://greydaydogs.com/


Casey Newton

Casey is the founder and owner of Wonder Puppy. She is a national-award winner in the field of dog training; an internationally-recognized expert and speaker on canine behavior and training for the Association of Professional Dog Trainers; and the Curriculum Director for Whole Dog Academy, a non-profit dedicated to improving the human-canine bond.

Services include:

  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: early canine socialization + basic skills training \| play education \| group classes

Behavioral issue focus: All things puppy and adolescence! (ex. jumping, play biting, and hyperactivity)

Training methods: I use reward-based training. I prefer free-shaping and capturing using the clicker.

Why I became a dog trainer: I want dogs to be seen, understood, and respected for who they are as unique individuals. I also want to improve the human-canine bond from early puppyhood to prevent dogs from going to the shelter.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I love helping do my part to make the world a kinder place. I specifically love play in particular and to study it.

My #1 dog training tip: Socialize early!

Service areas: Greater Portland Area

Website: https://wonder-puppy.com


Robynn Harris

Have you ever heard a dog trainer say something like, 'I hate people. If I could only work with the dog I would be so much happier.'? I have. And it really hurt my feelings. After all, I was, and am, a person who often needs help training my dogs.

I love dogs. And cats. And really all animals. I especially love people. I have always struggled with the moniker, 'dog trainer,' because while I do train dogs, mostly what I do is teach humans how to cohabit with their dogs in ways that makes them, and their dog(s), happy. This is a moving target because every person (and dog) is a beautiful and unique being that has unique needs depending on their time, finances, location, family life, work life, etc, etc. I love taking the time to figure out what works best for every dog team - and that starts with the humans.

I have been especially blessed because when I started dog training the science was already clear: pain and punishment do not work. I have never taught with choke chains or shock collars. I have never taught 'dominance' or 'alpha' ideas. Very early on I had the enormous pleasure of working with people like Terry Ryan, Ris VanFleet, and Valli Parthasarathy who laid a foundation of science, kindness, and curiosity for me to build upon. (Look them up - they are amazing!) I stumbled into dog training when I took a therapy dog prep class. The trainer taught in such a way I was mesmerized. She asked her dog if she 'wanted to work.' The idea of asking a dog to do something instead of 'commanding' the dog blew my mind and touched my heart. I knew almost immediately I wanted to teach others about this 'new' way of training animals.

As my dog training skills were being developed so were my Animal Assisted Intervention (therapy dog) skills. My dog, Schatzi, and I became a registered AAI team with Pet Partners. Throughout the years Schatzi and I brought comfort and joy to people in schools, prisons, hospitals, medical clinics, summer events, AAPT workshops, and too many events to count. I applied for a Therapy Dog Title from the AKC and got hooked on striving towards achieving more titles.

Titles in themselves, the piece of paper or letters after my dog's name, are not very important to me. However, I have come to appreciate what a title means. A title demonstrates that I've worked with my dog in such a way that we excelled at something. It means we've put hours, sometimes hundreds of hours, into accomplishing a goal. All dogs can earn a title or two (even reactive dogs) - it demonstrates the dedication of time between human and dog to learn and communicate new behaviors. I thoroughly enjoy helping humans instruct their dogs in such a way that they too can earn titles such as CGCs, Trick Dogs, Rally, or anything else they want to strive for.

The dog training community has often struggled with terminology for trainers who do not use pain, fear, or force in their techniques. At the moment we seem to have landed on 'LIMA.' LIMA stands for Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive. In a nutshell, LIMA trainers do not hit, choke, or shock dogs. We look for ways to reinforce behaviors with something the animal loves. Maybe I can stop a dog from doing something by yelling, hitting, or scaring her but if I instead teach a dog to do something else, with butt scratches or food, both of our hearts and souls will feel better about it. (The research has shown those behaviors will be longer lasting too!) This is often called positive reinforcement training though, scientifically, there's a whole lot more than just positive reinforcement being used.

Words matters. Most LIMA trainers now use the word 'cue' instead of 'command.' This reminds us that we are in a relationship with our dog and not a militaristic command structure. I teach that all cues are communication. By now we have all heard someone write or speak about how communication is the key to lasting, loving, relationships. This is true for people and animals! Communicating with someone who doesn't even speak human can be quite challenging at times - but it can be done. I teach humans how to ask their dogs for consent. I teach humans how to listen for answers to their questions. And I teach humans how accurate communication with their dogs can keep them both safe and have fun together.

Fun and play is HUGE in my training techniques. If either party isn't having fun it's a lot like the old joke about never teaching a pig to sing: It wastes your time and annoys the pig. This is true for all training but especially true for fitness training.

The COVID years granted me an enormous amount of time just when online education exploded. I added some new education to my Bible education and became an Animal Chaplain. I became a 'CAMadvocate' when I completed a Canine Arthritis Management course for canine professionals. Most excitingly for me in many ways though was when I passed all my tests, and case studies, and became a Certified Canine Fitness Trainer through the University of TN School of Veterinary Medicine. This program taught me canine anatomy & physiology, body mechanics, injury prevention, nutrition, exercises, safe & effective use of fitness equipment, and how to create a fitness program designed specific to each dog team's needs.

All of that education solidified in my mind and heart the desire to, 'help animals live as long as possible, in as little pain as possible.' Animals hurt, and get hurt, from time to time. Love in the Bible is an action, a verb, not an emotion or word to say. I believe we DO love. In this context it means we provide the best veterinary medicine for our pets, it means we practice healthy/fitness behaviors in our day to day lives, and it means, in the end, providing a, 'good death,' when the time comes to say good-bye.

When I first started working with my therapy dog at the hospital I discovered many people wanted to talk with me about their pets who had died. At the time these conversations were very difficult for me. I didn't want to hear 'dead dog stories.' When we started working at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility I heard many similar stories with a twist. The adults in custody would often speak to me about losing their pets because they had been taken away to jail and eventually prison. The feelings of loss were the same though.

As a person of faith it is easy for me to look back and see YHWH/the Universe preparing me for the work I completely enjoy and feel comfortable doing now: Helping people understand and cope with the loss of their animal companions. There's never an easy straight forward plan with grief. Grief is as unique as each of us. I am truly honored when someone includes me on their grief journey.

When it came time for me to create a formal business with my somewhat unique ideas I knew from the start I wanted to create a nonprofit. All of us love our animals, but in today's world money can be tight, to say the least. The most frustrating thing for me when I was working for others was the fact that I was not empowered to offer discounts on the classes I was teaching. (No judgement! Those folks needed to pay their bills too.) I knew I wanted to create not just a dog training business, I wanted to create a community where I could serve, could minister, to those in need.

Assembly of the Wandering Shepherd was created in such a way I can serve people and animals, often those most in need. On the dog training side I volunteer for AWS which allows us to keep our prices low. We provide scholarships for foster dogs, newly adopted dogs, disabled dogs, dog-reactive dogs, and senior dogs. These dogs and their humans are often the most in need of guidance and fun things to do together.

I have created a unique Olfactory Fun program that provides the opportunity for dog-reactive dogs to get into a classroom (all by themselves) and be the glorious dogs they are. Too many dog-reactive dogs and their humans do not get the opportunity to attend dog classes. This is a fun class where dogs learn about being dogs and the humans learn how to support their dogs. This is also a great class for dogs who have retired from sports. Sometimes the human of a retired canine athlete can feel sad and alone when they no longer have trials to attend. This class provides for, and cares about, the human and the dog as they navigate some of life's challenges.

I want people to start thinking about the death of their dogs as soon as possible. Society had taught us that this is impolite conversation. Sadly this has left most of us with the inability to navigate the tough decisions that need to be made as our animal companions inch closer to 'the great mystery' called death. In my classes, death and dying are a part of life and by talking about it we can incorporate more life into our living days.

I don't just talk about death in classes. I am available to talk about this tough subject in personal, face-to-face gatherings. We can discuss the details of physical death or the more ethereal thoughts that we all ponder. I can help those all-important humans find ways to celebrate the life lost. We have infrastructure for this with humans but it is harder to find for our pets. (For some of us this is important for wild critters too. 'Roadkill' is often the butt of jokes but for some of us we prefer to offer some kind of ceremony or prayer for those lost lives.)

I am truly blessed to have traveled my amazing journey. I continue to improve upon my skills and education. As a result the services I provide are always growing. I call myself a 'dog trainer' but please know - I love the human half of animal guardianship just as much as the animal half. I know if I teach the human to have a loving relationship filled with communication with their animal, that will not only benefit their current pet, but all the pets to come. And despite the pain we all feel when a cherished pet dies, I hope each of us continues to bring animals into our homes. I can think of nothing more rewarding than sharing my home with animals and basking in the love they receive and provide in turn.

I believe in science and I believe in love. Love and science working together can accomplish the greatest of things.

Certifications: Certified Canine Fitness Trainer, Certified End-Of-Life Companion Animal Doula, Licensed Pet Partners Instructor, AKC CGC Evaluator, AKC Fit Dog Instructor, Animal Chaplain

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: I provide training in all basic/good manners skills and cues. I specialize in Canine Fitness and Conditioning and in a unique type of nose/scent work I created called Olfactory Fun. I really enjoy having older/senior dogs in my Canine Fitness and Olfactory Fun classes. My goal is to have dogs live as long as possible, in as little pain as possible, and and those two classes combined provide mental and physical health to dogs of all ages. To ensure a bit more fun I also really enjoy Trick Dog classes.

Behavioral issue focus: I enjoy coaching people through those tricky adolescent and newly adopted years where "problem" behaviors such as potty training, separation anxiety, poor leash manners, dog-reactivity, and other challenges can start to develop. I'm happy to include or refer to trainers who specialize in behavior modification but many of these challenges can be overcome when/if they are first recognized and that's where I can help the handler the most.

Training methods:

Fun and play is HUGE in my training techniques. I follow LIMA standards and believe cues are all about communication. Dogs love to please us but often times the challenge for them is not knowing what we want. When I can help a human and dog communicate many behavioral challenges disappear.

I offer weekly or monthly fitness training plans for those who are interested in canine conditioning. I can work with dog's post surgery (once they are cleared to exercise) to help build muscle mass and endurance that is often lost during the recovery process. Fitness lessons during the week can be part of a risk reduction plan for "weekend warriors."

I teach group classes and private lessons to accommodate a variety of schedules. I have often found humans just need a couple of coaching sessions to tweak a thing or two to complete the education they already have allowing them to have a better relationship with their dog(s).

I offer free consultations to folks who are not sure of their next steps. Sometimes this is about what to do next in training, sometimes this is inquiring about therapy dog work, and sometimes this is helping someone navigate more specialized training. I really enjoy meeting human/dog teams and helping them see the possibilities in what activities they might enjoy doing together.

I never charge for guidance I provide via email. Sometimes people just need a link to an article or YouTube video to put the pieces they already have in the right places.

Why I became a dog trainer: 2013

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I love helping dogs and humans have fun together and enjoy each other's company.

My #1 dog training tip: Have fun!

Service areas: Greater Gresham Area, Portland Metro

Website: https://www.assemblyofthewanderingshepherd.org/


Timothy Thai

Timothy Thai worked very closely with renowned Animal Behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin (DVM, MS) at U.C Davis. What started off as a 3 month internship became a full time paid job after Timothy showed his dedication to rehabilitating dogs a priority in his life. "Working 8+ hours a day alongside Dr. Sophia Yin, 40 hours a week, was one of the best education experiences I could ever ask for." We took on the most aggressive cases, the most anxious dogs, and observed how a Veterinarian Behaviorist worked her magic (or should we say science.)

Timothy wants to continue to spread Dr. Sophia Yin's legacy wherever he goes and anybody who works with him can see his passion in helping the community, the same way Dr. Sophia Yin gave back to the entire dog community with her extensive research and sharing of knowledge.

Working on campus at Guide Dogs for The Blind in San. Rafael, CA was a part of the dog dream. Timothy went on to work as a Canine Neonatal Technician, helping raise future Guide Dogs. It takes on average 251 volunteers and experts to help raise one Guide Dog. ‚"I was extremely lucky to have always surrounded myself and learn from many talented people of various animal science background."

Outside of rehabilitating dogs, Timothy spends his time studying psychology, neuroscience, and behavior. He works in his spare time as a Behavior Therapist working with kids on the spectrum. He believes that that low income communities and schools are deserving of the same high quality services as anyone else and is often trying to figure out how to create a sustainable business model achieving this.

Timothy pulls his wide knowledge of +R training from his experience with Dr. Sophia Yin, Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, Karen Pryor Clicker Academy, his work at SPCALA Humane Society.

Certifications: Animal Behavior Assistant

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: 1-on-1 Behavior Modification Training, Personalized Training Focused Dog Walks, Puppy Socialization

Website: https://www.dogbasicspdx.com/


Terri

years training professionally 9

certifications + such

CPDT-KA/Certified Professional Dog Trainer–Knowledge Assessed

graduate, Whole Dog Academy

member, Pet Professional Guild

evaluator, AKC/American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen

American Red Cross Pet First Aid/CPR Certificate

classes Social Puppy \| Day Camp \| Good/Great Puppy

specialties early canine socialization + training \| play education \| shy + timid dogs

most highly valued reward when things slow down and I get to absorb each moment fully

favorite daily habit a hike in the woods with the dogs

favorite behavior to teach DOWN - love shaping it and watching the puppy learn to problem solve

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Social Puppy \| Day Camp \| Good/Great Puppy

Behavioral issue focus: early canine socialization + training \| play education \| shy + timid dogs

Training methods: DOWN - love shaping it and watching the puppy learn to problem solve

Website: https://www.wonder-puppy.com/


Meaghan Summerbell

Meaghan is an all around Dog-Guru. Raised by Akitas, they were prepped for a life in the animal training industry since birth. With a background in daycare, boarding & training, Meaghan has worked with thousands of dogs over the last 7 years, with hundreds of dog breeds and mixes. Their training experience extends to cats, horses, goats, and more!

Meghan is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed, a Karen Pryor Academy Clicker Training Partner, a Certified Trick Dog Instructor, and a CGC evaluator. They are working towards becoming a certified canine behavior consultant and certified separation anxiety trainer (CSAT). Meaghan finds working with fearful dogs especially rewarding.

At home, they have four rescue dogs and two rescue cats. Meaghan co-founded the GoodPaws dog training app in 2020, and joined as co-owner for Urban Pawsibilities in 2021.

Certifications: KPA CTP, CPDT-KA, CTDI, CGC EVALUATOR

Services include:

  • Board and train

More info about service provided: Day care training

Website: https://www.urbanpawsibilities.com/


Lisa Plymale

Before starting Happy-Go-Lucky in 1999, Lisa trained atanother positive-style training facility and worked with elementary school students as a sign language interpreter. She's been teaching a variety of classes and doing private lessons for more than 20 years now. Lisa continues her education in the field by regularly attending classes, herding and agility lessons, and seminars -not to mention submersing herself in any new dog book she can get her hands on. Her most influential authors include Temple Grandin, Ray and Lorna Coppinger, Jean Donaldson, Turid Rugaas, Patricia McConnell and Ian Dunbar.

When talking about why she does it, Lisa says, 'I really enjoy working with people and their dogs. To see them begin to work together with increased understanding and confidence is incredibly rewarding - not to mention a lot of fun!' Lisa has three dogs, sheep, ducks and a llama that keep her busy on her farm in Battle Ground.

Services include:

  • Agility training

Website: https://www.happygoluckydog.com/


Jenna Kirby

Dogs have always been a part Jenna's life, though a career working with them was not the original plan. While Jenna worked her way to a degree from Portland State University, she worked in local dog training and daycare facilities, where she discovered that her interests in skills aligned working with dogs and she was certified in 2006.

She loves helping owners better connect with their dogs to bring out the best in their behavior for a life of adventure and fun together. Her love of outdoor activities, especially those including dogs, have taken her to Central Oregon where she will reside in Spring of 2023. She is still available to transport overnight dogs for longer stays. You can also book her with SSF's sister business in Bend, Wild Intentions.

Certifications: Co-Owner, Certified Professional Dog Trainer

Services include:

  • Board and train
  • Puppy training

Website:  https://www.sitstayfit.com/


Hannah Blumenfeld

Pup Star Training provides personalized dog training and behavior consulting using humane, force-free methods in order to enhance the relationship between guardians and their dogs.

Certifications: CDBC, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: I offer in-home private training as well as puppy socials in a veterinary clinic.

Behavioral issue focus: reactivity; fearful and nervous dogs

Training methods: I only use force-free, humane training methods.

Why I became a dog trainer: I became a dog trainer because I loved the connection my dog had with her trainers! I wanted to learn how to build that connection with my own dog, and then help other people build a similar connection with their dogs.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I love helping dogs develop increased confidence and resiliency.

My #1 dog training tip: Don't worry about training specific skills. Enjoy spending time with your dog doing whatever they enjoy!

Service areas: Portland, Oregon

Website: https://pupstartraining.com/


Katrin Greim

Katrin Greim, MA, CTC, CPDT-KA, is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Knowledge-Assessed and the owner and founder of Plucky Puppy. She received her Certificate in Training and Counseling with honors from the San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers in 2007. She also graduated from the Canine Behavior Academy at the Marin Humane Society.

In addition to providing private training, behavior consultations, and day training, she offers boarding and training in her home and has taught Learning Theory to aspiring dog trainers at the Whole Dog Academy. Katrin is a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, an AKC certified Canine Good Citizen evaluator and certified in Pet First Aid and CPR, and has been training dogs since 2006. She shares her life with her two young children and a German Shepherd puppy, and myriad plucky puppies who pass through her home for boarding and training.

Certifications: MA, CTC, CPDT-KA

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Puppy socials, puppy training classes, adult training classes, day training, daycare and training, board and training, dog adventures, private training, group training

Behavioral issue focus: anxiety, resource guarding, reactivity, separation anxiety, fearfulness, aggression towards dogs or people

Training methods: Positive reinforcement training; behavior consultations include written follow up summary and instructions

Service areas: Portland and surrounding areas

Website: https://pluckypuppy.com


Doug Duncan

I started dog training after attending the Academy for Dog Trainers with Jean Donaldson. I've worked with many trainers all over the world, and have learned from many people and dogs over the more than 15 years I've been training. I own and operate Doggy Business Dog Training in Portland, Oregon where I work with fearful, anxious, and aggressive behaviors in dogs.

Certifications: CTC, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: I work with fearful, anxious, and aggressive behaviors in dogs primarily in one-on-one sessions with the dog's people. Though I do also train dogs individually when that serves the situation. I adjust to the needs of the people, and the dogs, I'm working with.

Behavioral issue focus: Generally speaking, I work with dogs who are uncomfortable with things in their environment, be that new people, other dogs, new situations, or any such environmental stimuli.

Training methods: I start with an initial consultation where I learn more about what the dog is doing and why. I take time to assess each dog, and to explain my assessment process, along with how I develop a training plan. Every dog is different, as is everyone's situation. My training plans involve training the dog along with the dog's people so that they can learn more about what helps, and because they are the dog's primary care givers. I have found that the best success comes when we as the dog's care givers are involved in the training.

Why I became a dog trainer: I started as a dog walker and pet sitter, and just loved the work. I couldn't believe I could work with dogs every day AND get paid for it. I am lucky I get to do what I do.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Engaging and educating the people who live with their dogs. In the beginning, my primary draw was the dogs. But after just a few years, I learned to really enjoy helping people too. I love helping people better understand and work with their beloved pets.

My #1 dog training tip: Make training part of your daily trusting relationship with your dog. Good things will always follow!

Service areas: NE, SE, North Portland, Oregon. Beaverton, Gresham, Lake Oswego. Vancouver, WA.

Website: https://www.DoggyBusiness.net


Emma Brent

Emma is a born and raised Portlandian with a love of learning and a passion for animals. She established Urban Pawsibilities in 2020 with the goal of helping people create a dialogue with their dogs where needs are met, expectations are clear, and behavior is reliable. Emma specializes in puppy socialization and development, and reactivity rehabilitation.

Prior to Urban Pawsibilities, Emma worked as a daycare member and dog trainer at North Portland Club K-9 (where Meaghan was her manager). She has taken, and continues to take, many professional development courses to improve her skills as a dog trainer and a teacher, including Living and Learning with Animals, an Applied Behavior Analysis course, taught by Dr. Susan Friedman, an acclaimed behavior science expert, and Smart Reinforcement, taught by Ken Ramirez, President of the Karen Pryor Academy and world-renowned animal trainer.

Emma has a German Shepherd, named Modoc, who is training for herding and obedience, and a Dutch Shepherd, named Vector, who is training for Mondioring.

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

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

More info about service provided: Emma specializes in puppy socialization and development, and reactivity rehabilitation.

Website: https://www.urbanpawsibilities.com


Brittany Jacobsen

Brittany is a co-founder of BAE dogs. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) who has been working in the field of applied behavior analysis and behavior modification with children since 2009. Brittany completed a dog training internship at the Dog Training Internship Academy in San Francisco, where she learned to train dogs using evidence based force free methods and graduated with a certificate in training and behavior consultation.

Brittany is a member of The Pet Professional Guild, and is fear free certified. She also completed her coursework in Malena Dimartini's Separation Anxiety certification program and is a now a certified CSAT. Brittany has an extensive background in volunteering at rescues and shelters and has volunteered with both Rocket Dog Rescue and the East Bay SPCA. She recently moved to Portland, Oregon and will be volunteering with the Humane Society starting in March 2022.

Brittany became a co-founder of BAE dogs when she realized there was a need for humane dog training services by skilled professionals and believes her unique background as a BCBA contributes to her success. She is a lifelong animal lover. Brittany rescued her own American Staffordshire Terrier, Lola, who has been the best addition to her family. She also has two cats, Lando and Wicket, and would adopt more if she could.

Certifications: BCBA, CTBC, CSAT, Fear Free Certified

Services include:

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

Website: https://www.baedogs.com/


Mia Bonadonna

Mia is a clinical animal behaviorist offering humane, evidence-based support for companion animals and their guardians.

In addition to formal education from California State University (Los Angeles), the University of Edinburgh School of Veterinary Studies, and the Northwest School of Canine Studies in Seattle, she is certified by national organizations including the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, Fear Free Pets, and Fear Free Shelters.

Mia currently contracts with One Tail at a Time - PDX and Fences for Fido in Oregon and Southwest Washington. She specializes in tough behavior cases such as aggression, fear, and unusual behavior.

Certifications: M.Sc., CCS, CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Reactive dog training

Behavioral issue focus: Fear and Aggression, Anxiety and Phobia, Depression, Destructive behavior

Website: https://www.megaheartsdogandcat.com/


Paulina Tahran

I was born in Poland and moved to the US over a decade ago. As soon as I arrived in the US I began volunteering at the local animal shelter. My years of volunteering at the shelter, and fostering a wide variety of dogs with special behavioral needs eventually turned into a full time job at the Oregon Humane Society where I still teach group classes for the public, staff and volunteers. In my free time, I enjoy reading long novels, cooking and exploring local sniff spots with my two rescue Akitas: Ronin and Billy.

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: To see all the training services I offer, please go to: https://www.oregonhumane.org/training/

Behavioral issue focus: While I enjoy helping dogs with a wide variety of behavioral needs, I am particularly interested in working with adolescent, reactive and shy dogs.

Training methods: I am a force free trainer and adhere to LIMA training and behavior modification approach.

Why I became a dog trainer: Many members of my family work as psychologists and therapists, so I have always felt immersed in the behavior modification field. It wasn't until I moved to the US when I realized that I can broaden my horizons and learn how to apply the knowledge I have (and learn much, much more!) to help dogs and their families be happier together.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Seeing the face of a dog guardian light up when they realize that their dog has made progress in their behavior modification journey - or even when they're successful in teaching their dog a fun trick or two :)

My #1 dog training tip: Prevention, not reaction.

Service areas: Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington County

Website: https://www.oregonhumane.org


Terri Spaeth-Merrick

Terri has been involved in nose work since 2009. She recalls seeing a small poster advertising classes: 'K9 Nose Work, a great activity for reactive dogs'. At the time having a young working-lines dog who was very reactive to other dogs was a challenge, all her goals of working titles seemed far out of reach. She signed up for the class immediately with both of her dogs - one reactive and one goofy - both Bernese Mountain Dogs. Terri can say without hesitation that nose work completely changed all three of their lives, for the better - it saved Peaches.

Peaches, the reactive one, started competing in 2010, culminating in her Elite Championship (and 23 nose work titles) with many placements and HIT's, she competed at National Invitationals in 2015, and a Summit trial with placements in 2018 as her 'retirement' run. Peaches also excelled at Draft Work earning her Master Draft Dog and Brace Draft titles.

Ochoco earned 12 Nose work titles almost earning her NW3 Elite before we lost her to cancer, to Ochoco nose work was just pure fun. Working such opposite K9 personalities was a great education. Terri has also successfully competed with several of her student's and friend's dogs, ranging from Beagles to Labradors to Tervurens. She has a new Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, Juniper, who is just starting her nose work career earning her ORT and NW1 in mid 2021 and her NW3 Elite by the end of 2022. Juniper loves hunting and is a joy to work!

Terri attends as many workshops, seminars, webinars and camps on nose work as possible. In 2014 she started teaching, in 2018 became an NACSW CNWI (Certified Nose Work Instructor) with an average of 80 students per week.

Additionally, Terri has provided video or photo service at over 170 trials, allowing her to watch well over 11,000 dogs work odor in a trial setting. An amazing educational opportunity few have had; watching 30+/- dogs work the same search really illustrates what is happening with odor and the ways dogs work it.

She has hosted numerous NACSW trials since 2011. She is also a judge and certifying official for several other organizations and is soon to be approved as an NACSW trial judge.

Her varied experiences over the years have contributed to a solid understanding of how odor moves and how dogs work odor and how to set thoughtful hides.

Certifications: CNWI (NACSW Certified Nose Work Instructor)

More info about service provided: NACSW K9 Nose Work/AKC Scent Work/Sport Scent Detection (Specialized classes in the scent sports only.)

Behavioral issue focus: Most any dog can do K9 Nose Work, whether that is at home in classes just for fun and enrichment, or in a competition setting at the highest levels.

Training methods: Reward Based K9 Nose Work/Scent Work Instruction

Why I became a dog trainer: See previous about info!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Watching the beauty of a dog working a scent problem.

My #1 dog training tip: Relax, breathe, let the dog do its job.

Service areas: Portland, Oregon and surrounding areas.

Website: https://NoseWorkTrial.com

Sniffspot Portland Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are Portland dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in Portland 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 Portland 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 Portland?

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 Portland 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 Portland cost?

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

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

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 Oregon was $29,335 per year and $14.10 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.

Get your dog the safe enrichment they need by renting a Sniffspot

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See The Best Dog Trainers In Other Oregon Cities

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

Bend, OR
Eugene, OR
Salem, OR


See The Best Dog Trainers In Other States Near Oregon

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

California
Nevada
Washington

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Merlin Noble

June 22, 2023

Dog Trainers

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