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How Much Does Dog Training Cost?

If you have ever been in the presence of an out-of-control dog, you already understand the importance of dog training. 

Training can bring order to the art of pet ownership, making things easier around the house for you and your pet. 

If you are new at dog ownership, you can of course try to train your pooch all by yourself, but as many pet owners will quickly tell you, this sounds a lot easier than it actually is. 

Hiring a professional trainer that will work with both you and your dog to establish basic rules and commands is a very good investment, one that will continue to show returns throughout the lifespan of your dog. 

To help get you started, here we will highlight the various types of training that are available to you, as well as the goals and importance associated with each type. 

We will also outline the basic costs of dog training—costs associated with everything from basic housebreaking to advanced agility training.

Types of Dog Training and Their Cost

There are many different types of dog training. 

Each category depends on the different goals you hope to achieve for you and your pet—and each type has various costs depending on those aims. 

There is personalized, one-on-one obedience training, which can take place at a specific location chosen by the trainer or at your place of residence. 

Additionally, there is family dog training, which also takes place at your home; and group dog training, performed with other participants and dogs at a given training facility. 

With Board and Training, you’ll be expected to leave your dog behind for a period of time, and Online Dog Training offers you obedience and other tips through a remote Internet-based experience. 

Finally, there is specialized training. 

This type of training goes well beyond basic obedience skills and commands. 

Through this type of training, your instructor will teach your dog how to perform on an agility course, for example. 

There are also licensed trainers who will work with you and your pet to provide the necessary education that leads to titles like therapy dog, guide dog, hearing dog (working with the hearing impaired), guard dog and search and rescue dog. 

Below we will go into some more detail about each of these popular training categories and the costs associated with them.

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Personalized Obedience Training

Personalized obedience training is perhaps the most sought-after type of class. 

When you enroll in this type of behavior seminar, it means just you, your dog and the instructor are all involved. 

The setting for personalized obedience training can vary. 

Your instructor can conduct classes at their training facility, at your home or, most likely, both. 

Very popular among dog owners, personal obedience training is typically structured in the following way:

  • Meet and Greet.  During the meet and greet portion of the training, the instructor will usually come to your home to meet you—and be introduced to your dog.  There the teacher can observe your dog, examine what it knows and does not know in terms of skill, and identify any problem behaviors.  You will have the opportunity to explain your goals and expectations from the training, and from there, the trainer will develop a training regimen and schedule for your pet.  He or she will also explain the costs associated with the program.
  • Away Training.  During the “away training” portion of the program, you will be required to bring your pooch to the instructor according to the schedule the two of you have worked out.  Once there, the tutor will begin the obedience training.  In some cases, you may just drop your dog off to work with the instructor alone, and in others, you may be required to stay.  Usually, there is a combination of the two strategies. 
  • Home Training.  In this final portion of the class, your trainer will typically come to your home.  Armed with the new skills your dog has learned throughout the course, you will now work with your instructor to transfer those skills to your home setting.

Although certainly not the most affordable form of dog obedience training, this personalized, one-to-one approach is usually one of the most effective instruction methods.

So just how much can you expect to pay when opting for a private, personalized dog training experience? 

Well, the prices can vary depending on the type of training being done and the fee structure of the educator. 

According to estimates, the current cost for personalized obedience training ranges from $50 to $200 per session. 

These prices can fluctuate based on where you reside.

Family Dog Training

Family dog training is structured in much the same way as personalized training, but both the “meet and greet” and “home” portions of the class should be attended by every member of your immediate family.  

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Family dog training will allow every invested party to learn the same commands and develop the expectations for your pet when each of those commands is issued. 

Like a small child, a young dog needs continuity and consistency, and without these two crucial traits it is highly unlikely that obedience training will deliver the desired results. 

For example, if your desire is to keep your pet from jumping on the sofa, this rule has to be enforced by every member of the family. 

Otherwise, your dog will just get confused and is likely to become even more unruly.

Since family training is still a private and personalized course of instruction, the fee structure for these classes is virtually the same as we described above—about $50-$200 per session. 

Again, this will vary depending on your location, the types of skills being imparted, and the fee structure of your instructor.

Group Obedience Training

The most cost-effective, in-person form of instruction is known as “Group Obedience Training.”

Here the trainer will work with several dogs and owners simultaneously, essentially defraying the costs among all trainees. 

The typical goal of these classes is to teach you how to apply the basic commands to your pet. 

These include “sit,” “down,” “stay,” “come,” and “heel.”  

Group obedience training has some drawbacks, especially if your pooch is very young and rambunctious. 

The class may be held with 5-10 dogs and their owners.

The presence of other dogs and people may be too distracting for some high-spirited dogs, and you may spend all your time tussling with your pet rather than learning. 

Regardless, the obedience tips you learn to apply at home—where there are no distractions—might just be worth the time, money and energy you expend.

As we mentioned, group training is almost always cheaper than private instruction. 

Some certified dog trainers will list a per-session fee, while others will offer a fee for the entire course. 

The latter is usually more affordable, but if you decide to drop out before the course has completed, don’t expect any refunds. 

Per-session costs usually range from $50 to $75, while the price for an entire course will generally run you anywhere from $300-$600.

Online Dog Training

In today’s technologically-advanced world, the Internet has become a very significant teaching and learning tool. 

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And fortunately, dog training is not immune to these popular advancements. 

With online dog training, you will essentially learn the basic obedience skills and commands either with the help of a remote instructor or through a series of videos. 

This can be a very cost-effective way to get started, but like group dog training, it does have its limitations. 

The most noteworthy drawback is the absence of a teacher in your home—someone with professional dog training experience who can personalize and contour your dog’s education to the environment it inhabits. 

Still, if you are simply looking for the basic skills to get started, the Internet can be a great training resource.

While some video forms of online dog training are free, that will not be the case should you hire an expert to work with you remotely. 

These classes, like group training, tend to offer both per-session and whole-course fee structures, with costs averaging $50 to $300, respectively.

Board and Train

With board and train education, you will drop your dog off for several days, sometimes up to a month. 

Here your dog will receive a rigorous 24-hour course of training that includes housebreaking and a wide array of obedience skills. 

If you opt for board and train classes, the costs can be very substantial— ($2,000 per course or more)—but very worth it.

Specialized Dog Training

Specialized dog training involves courses that typically lead to some type of certification. 

These classes are usually taught by experts in their respective fields. 

Pooches can be trained for things like agility courses, hunting, guard assignments and dog shows, or they can earn certification as:

  • Therapy dogs.  Therapy dogs are used in hospitals and nursing homes to help comfort the sick and lonely.
  • Guide dogs.  Dogs that help guide the blind as they navigate their world.
  • Hearing dogs.  These dogs are trained to alert their hearing-impaired owners to certain crucial sounds they must heed.
  • Search and rescue dogs.  These dogs earn certifications to help seek out people who become lost or injured in the wilderness.

To become fully certified in any of these specialized classifications, the costs can vary greatly. 

In a lot of cases, the fees are paid by the groups who provide these dogs to the people and organizations that need them. 

Often, the cost can exceed several thousand dollars given the amount and quality of training these specific dogs require.

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