We all love bringing home a new furry member of the family but there are many things to consider before we welcome a pup into our home! Whether your new best friend is young or old, large or small, you will need to consider some training options.
While most of us are not expecting a highly trained police dog or medical alert dog, it can be nice to know you have control in situations where things are getting a little tense.
Some of us may train our dogs at home but for those of us turning to a professional for guidance, how much will this cost?
The cost of professional dog training can quickly add up, especially if you choose a professional with many years of experience.
Do I need a professional dog trainer?
Now the answer to this depends on so many important factors and it is also good to note that if you have tried a dog trainer for your dog in the past and it didn’t work then perhaps the trainer just wasn’t a good match for you and your dog.
If this is your first dog or perhaps a slightly more challenging breed then it is definitely a sensible idea to invest in a decent puppy school and perhaps even regular training sessions afterward with a trainer.
Small bad habits when left uncorrected can quickly escalate with many dogs and turn into an unmanageable problem.
Adopting a dog is usually much more successful and enjoyable if you continue training with your dog consistently into adulthood.
You would also find the help of a professional dog trainer useful if you are adopting a dog with behavioral issues.
Now not all behavioral issues are something that should put you off from adopting a dog. Many can be easily managed with a few training sessions and small lifestyle changes. In many cases, a rescue center would even be able to help you find a dog trainer who specializes in the issues you have with your dog.
If you are a very experienced dog owner you probably feel confident that you can handle your dog alone. However, not all dog training is for behavioral issues or to teach your dog to sit and stay! Sessions with a dog trainer can be an excellent form of mental stimulation for your pup and a great way for the two of you to bond together.
So while seeking a professional dog trainer is not always a necessity, it can be a fun source of enrichment for the whole family!
Is puppy school worth the investment?
Maybe in your area or local vet’s office, you have seen dog trainers offering puppy school services and regular classes for younger dogs.
This can be really awesome for first-time dog owners or just young dog owners who would like to take on more of the responsibility of dog ownership. Is it worth the investment? That depends on how much you get out of it.
If you choose to enroll in a puppy program it is vital that you understand just attending the lessons is not all it takes to train your dog. More motivated and intelligent dogs will possibly pick up some of the training just from weekly sessions but it takes a daily commitment to properly educate a puppy.
You have to be sure that you can afford the monetary investment and the time commitment when you sign up for classes.
What about specific training for example retrieving or agility?
If you are a hunting enthusiast looking for your next gun dog or a dog agility enthusiast looking for their next partner then dog training really is ideal for you.
Even with the most impressive bloodlines, your dog will need a little guidance on whatever activity you choose to do with them. From a safety point of view if you decide to use your dog for hunting it is recommended you have a very strong recall and stay command. This is the minimum for any dog that will be around wild animals or loaded guns.
For activities like agility, fly ball, and obedience classes a professional dog trainer can just give you the guidance needed to be extra competitive! Even if you just take part for fun, a professional can make the learning process go a lot more smoothly.
If you are extra lucky your dog trainer may even have their own training facility with a fenced-in area to work with your dog. Having this safe space to practice skills like recall makes the cost of a professional trainer even more worth it!
What should I consider when finding a dog trainer?
You need to be totally honest with any professional you are thinking of hiring. They need to know your dog’s history, any problems and your experience level for the training to be effective. It is also important to respect the professional and make them completely aware of any potential safety issues they make have with your dog.
This is not a usual issue dog trainers have with dogs but it is important that you remember your dog is an animal with their own feelings and a trainer will begin as a stranger to them which some dogs find quite overwhelming.
If you are having particular issues with your dog’s behaviors or would like to take part in an activity that is a little more specific then it is good to search for a trainer who specializes in these areas. Ask around at the local dog park, do a quick google search and even check with your vet to see if anybody has any recommendations.
A trainer will not fix all of the problems in one session! You must commit to the program fully to see the best results!
How much does it cost to train service dogs?
The price of training a service dog can be insanely high due to the extremely specialist skills a dog needs to master. Anywhere up to $40,000 but sometimes even higher if the needs of the owner are very complex. We have a more detailed article about the cost of service dog training that you can read here.
How much does it cost to train a dog?
So you have many options when picking a dog trainer. You can choose from a variety of experience levels, a trainer who comes to you, a trainer that you go to personally or even stay-away boot camps for your dog that involve a kennel and daily training.
You may also look into group sessions or individual sessions. There are dog schools where you will be placed into a class with your dog and the other classmates will have a similar experience level to you and your dog. This can be a fun social activity as well as giving your dog some puppy playmates to hang out with!
Of course, depending on which route you choose, the price varies tremendously. If you pick individual puppy training with a professional trainer you could be looking at spending between $1,000 and $2,000 per year! This can be even more if you choose a highly experienced trainer, stay-away puppy school, or live in a particularly expensive area. More premium individual training services with a support network outside of your one-to-one classes and some even offer a support phone line that can be up to $4,000 per year!
A basic group training class which normally lasts up to twelve weeks can cost up to $200 and is more than enough for your dog to learn basic commands like sit, lie down and stay. This can be a really handy option if you are on a budget and have a little more time to invest in practicing with your dog at home in between classes. The group training can be a great way to meet doggy friends and like-minded humans which can also be a nice bonus!
Stay-away boot camps are where we get into the super expensive budget option. They offer full boarding facilities for your pup and an opportunity to learn all the basic house rules as well as commands. This can be awesome if you spend a lot of time outside of your home and don’t want your puppy to learn bad bathroom habits while you are away. This can cost up to $4,000 for a few weeks and you would need to continue the work with your pup when they get home!
For a one-time consultation, most dog trainers charge up to $400 and this service usually includes a basic behavioral assessment of your dog, watching how you interact with your dog, and discussing a plan of action for your dog’s training. They can even include a follow-up visit at this price depending on where you live. This is a great way to get a feel from a dog trainer and to see how your dog reacts before jumping into a long-term training plan or course.
When choosing a dog trainer, try to look for one with suitable certifications instead of someone who just calls themself a dog trainer. Look for someone who is passionate about their education and their work and who truly cares about the animals they are working with! Ask around for any reviews amongst people you may know and don’t be afraid to check the internet when deciding on a trainer.
Remember a dog trainer is different from a dog behaviorist. A trainer is used for education. They will teach your dog commands, cues, and tricks that can benefit your everyday life but also act as a form of mental stimulation for your pup!
A behaviorist is used when your dog is exhibiting unexplained and unwanted behaviors. They treat anxiety, fear, and aggression issues instead of training your dog to complete tricks. It is important to know what you want to achieve with your dog before you choose a professional to help!
Dog or Human training at home
Of course, it is important to understand that usually, it is the humans that need training! A dog will only do what they are told and if the human giving the commands is new to dog training it can get a little confusing.
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to find some really useful resources to train your dog is online! There are many free youtube videos out there from reputable trainers that can help you train your dog at home. This can be such a great option and many owners find it incredibly rewarding to learn how to train their dogs by themself.
There are also many online courses available which can also end up being cheaper than face-to-face dog training. This is another wonderful way to learn how you can train dogs in the comfort of your own home. It is fantastic for dogs or owners who get a little anxious around new people and new places.
Some social media platforms also have useful resources that shouldn’t be overlooked. TikTok has recently become home to many younger dog trainers who share some super cool videos on the basics of dog training. It can be a cheap, easy, and fun way to train yourself to train your dog!