Several factors determine how much dog training costs. People train their dogs for several reasons, such as obedience, becoming a service dog, hunting, or protection. Where you live also affects the cost of professional dog training. The average cost of dog training can range from $30 to $150 a class.
We’ll cover why dog training is essential, how to find a good dog trainer and factors that can affect the cost of your dog training session. By having a general idea of what to expect, you should be able to find a good dog trainer in your price range.
What Age Should You Train a Dog
The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) recommends that owners begin socialization classes when puppies are seven to eight weeks old. You can also start teaching them simple commands. During this time, it is critical to socialize your puppy the correct way to avoid specific behavioral problems as they get older, such as:
Puppy Socialization classes can range between $30 - $80 per session, depending on the program. AVSAB recommends starting obedience training at six months old when the puppy’s attention span can be more receptive.
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Related Link: When To Get Puppy Vaccinations and Why
Factors that Affect the Cost of Dog Training
There are several factors besides your location that affect the cost of dog training:
- Type of Dog Training: This is the most significant factor. It is much cheaper for obedience training vs. service dog training. The main reason for this is because the programs last longer and the trainers have very specialized skills that increase the fee.
- Private: Private training sessions will be significantly more expensive than group training sessions, but they are also more effective. Private training costs between $45 to $120 per hour.
- Group: Group training classes cost between $30 to $80 per session, but your dog doesn’t get the dedicated one-on-one training. Some dogs do great in group settings, and it also helps socialize your puppy with other dogs.
- Board and Train: Board and train sessions can last months or years, depending on their training. Hunting dogs may train for a couple of months where you pay a monthly fee of $500+. Service dogs can take years to teach where the cost is around $1000+ a month.
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How to Find a Great Dog Trainer
When looking for a dog trainer, you should be motivated to find a trainer based on more than just cost. There are several things you should look for when deciding on a trainer:
- Teaching Methodology: The best trainers use the positive reinforcement method that rewards the dog for good behavior rather than punishing the dog.
- Qualifications: The best dog trainers get a degree in animal behavior and have certifications such as CTC, KPA, VSPDT, PMCT, or VSA-CDT that usually appear next to their name or title. You’ll also want a trainer with professional dog training memberships with national associations like the CCPDT, IAABC, or PPG.
- Continuing Education: The best dog trainers keep their certifications current and list their continuing education credits.
Do Dog Trainers Need Certification?
Currently, in the US, dog trainers do not need to be certified to train dogs. While the states don’t mandate that a trainer is certified, most dog trainers hold certifications from the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers. Also, note that you may pay more for their additional training if the certified trainer has specific techniques or disciplines.
How Much Does Dog Training Cost at Petco vs. PetSmart?
Petco and PetSmart both have 6-week dog training programs. Both programs are pretty reputable, although you should look at reviews for your specific area. The cost for each of these programs is:
- Petco: $109 for 6 weeks
- PetSmart: $120 for 6 weeks
You can often find coupons or deals for their dog training programs. These programs are significantly cheaper than private, professional dog training class.
How Much Does Service Dog Training Cost
Service dog training is very specialized and usually costs more than regular behavioral training. The average cost of service dog training is about $120 per hour. For most service dog training, you will typically pay for board and train where your dog will live with the trainer for a few months or years to learn the skills necessary for the service.
The type of service training your dog will complete significantly affects the price:
- Therapy Dog Training Cost: $30 per session
- Guide Dog Training Cost: $45,000- $60,000 for two year program
- Hearing Dog Training Cost: $1000 for the training program (These dogs are often given for free)
- Protection Dog Training Cost: $120 per hour
- Search and Rescue Dog Training Cost: $2,500 - $5,000
- Hunting Dog Training Cost: $600 - $1000 per month
Profession Dog Training is Worth the Cost
Depending on your budget, there are a variety of dog training programs to choose from, whether you take your dog to Petco’s six-week program or need your dog to enroll in a service dog program. It’s essential to train your dog well to avoid common behavioral problems and improve the relationship with your dog.
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