Getting your dog trained properly is never a bad idea. Even a well-behaved puppy can usually use a bit of extra attention, while older dogs who might have lived a life of fairly solid behavior can always learn a few new tricks. Getting a dog trained is a great way to ensure not only that he or she will be on his or her best behavior, but that your dog can learn how to behave in a way that will increase his or her quality of life.
With that said, it does make sense to look into how much dog training is going to cost you. The bad news is that there’s probably not a simple answer that’s going to satisfy everyone. The good news, though, is that you can look at various types of dog training to figure out what your costs ought to be and what you and your dog are likely to get out of the training process.
How Much Do Different Types of Training Cost?
There’s no one type of dog training. In fact, there are enough types of training that trying to put a simple label on all of them is really a disservice to most dogs and their owners. Before you start trying to figure out an overall price for getting your dog properly, trained, you’ll want to start by looking at the different types of dog training and figuring out how much each one tends to run.
The Class Model
Perhaps the most popular and cost-effective way to train your dog is to attend a group class. These classes vary significantly between locations, with some costing as much as one hundred dollars per session and others costing as little as twenty-five dollars per session. You should generally assume an average of fifty dollars per hour with a typical group training session, though your mileage may vary here.
It should be noted that there are a number of big-box pet stores that offer training classes that charge by the full class rather than by the hour. These classes tend to have some incredibly low prices, especially when they go on special. Petsmart and PetCo are both fairly well known for having classes that will end up running you somewhere around twenty dollars per session, generally with a six-week commitment. These classes are usually an excellent starting point for those who are looking for basic dog training.
The School Model
Next up is the school model. The school model will usually require you to bring your dog up to a dog training school and to leave him or her with a teacher. The basic obedience school is usually going to charge you by the week, and you could pay as much as six hundred dollars for an in-depth training program.
If you choose a “stay-away” option, however, you should generally expect to pay much more than you would pay even for a private training session. Your dog will receive a significant amount of in-depth instruction during these courses, but you’re going to pay for the experience. These boot camps tend to run a minimum of five hundred dollars per week, with many camps asking dog owners to pay somewhere in the area of one thousand dollars per week to get their dogs the help they need.
If you’re not sure that that training your dog with others is a good idea, you can generally get some kind of private training. Private training is perhaps the type of training that varies the most between trainers. It’s usually impossible to find a private trainer who will work with your dog for less than fifty dollars per session, but you may be able to get a deal at a pet store for a set number of sessions that work out to a lower price.
With that said, it’s often easier to make arrangements to deal with your pet’s specific training needs if you do choose to go with a private trainer. Some trainers will work with your dogs at a pet store or even at a school, while others might come to your home. The amount of flexibility that you can get with one of these trainers cannot be beaten, though you will often end up paying more if you go with a trainer who has a great reputation in your community.
Service dogs require special training, and thus you may end up paying significantly more than you might expect for your dog to get certified. With that said, many communities do offer programs to help you get your dog trained to provide valuable services. As always, though, it’s a good idea to look at what you might be expected to pay out of pocket to get your dog trained.
Training your dog to be a therapeutic companion or emotional support animal is usually the least expensive form of training. In fact, you can usually take an entire eight-hour course for under three hundred dollars. Training your dog to be a guard dog, on the other hand, is significantly more expensive and tends to run well over one hundred dollars per hour.
The most expensive training is also those that tend to be the most in-depth. Training your dog to be a guide dog, for example, will usually cost around a thousand dollars to complete the course. Fortunately, it’s usually fairly easy to find groups that will help you to defray this cost.
The most expensive training is for search and rescue dogs. The training these dogs need is incredibly in-depth and good training can literally end up being a matter of life and death both for the dogs and for those who they are supposed to rescue. It’s not unusual for search and rescue courses to cost over five thousand dollars.
Getting Your Money’s Worth
As you can see, training your dog is not likely to be an inexpensive proposition. If you are going to spend this kind of money, it’s usually a good idea for you to get your money’s worth. Doing so usually requires taking some time to ask yourself some basic questions and to make sure that you’re able to get the right kind of training. Below are a few tips that will help you to ensure that the money you spend on training is not going to go to waste.
Find a Certified Dog Trainer
Unfortunately, not every dog trainer is certified to work with animals. Being a dog trainer isn’t as highly regulated as any other profession and virtually anyone can claim to be a trainer. That does not, however, mean that there are not individuals who have been privately certified.
The Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers is an independent body that certifies trainers. They set the standards for teaching obedience classes and those trainers who are certified are usually held to a high level of professional accountability. Try to find a trainer who is CCPDT certified if possible – most pet store trainers do have this certification, as do many people who do the job professionally.
Start at the Right Time
It’s never a bad idea to get an early start on training. With that said, a very young puppy probably isn’t going to get too much out of a standard obedience class. While you can and should start working on basic commands like sit or stay as soon say you can, you’re going to want to wait until your puppy is around six months old to start him or her in classes.
While six months might seem young for a training class, you must remember that puppies start to develop problem behaviors very early on. The roots of behaviors both obnoxious and dangerous start to grow very early, so try to make sure that you can get your dog in as soon after that six-month mark as possible.
Go in with a Goal
It’s also a very good idea to try to figure out why you are training your dog. Not only is this going to help you make sure that you pick the right kind of training, but it’s also going to help you to communicate with your dog’s instructor so that you can see the kind of changes that you need to see in your pet.
It’s especially important to let your trainer know if you are working on your dog’s aggressive tendencies. It generally takes the help of a dog behaviorist to get to the root of why your dog is being aggressive and it also tends to take some specialized types of training to ensure that your dog can shake those habits. Most importantly, though, you need to let your trainer know if your dog has special training needs so that he or she can decide whether or not he or she is actually qualified to provide that kind of training.
Look into Training Methods
Finally, you’ll want to take a moment to think about the kinds of dog training with which you feel comfortable. While every trainer has methods that work very well for them, it’s ultimately your responsibility to figure out whether or not those methods are right for your dog.
The biggest divide in the dog training community is between those who use reward-based (or positive reinforcement) training and those who use punishment-based training. Positive reinforcement training is the kind of training that involves rewarding your dog for good behaviors. Punishment training, on the other hand, tends to be the kind of training that involves some kind of punishment (often a shock) for your dog’s bad behaviors.
While there is obviously a moral element to what you choose, it is also a good idea to look at what scientific studies say on this matter. Studies have widely shown that reward-based training tends to not only be more effective for dogs but that it tends to have a longer-lasting effect. Punishment-based forms of training may have fantastic short-term impacts, but they can actually lead to some unpleasant consequences down the road.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does dog training cost at PetSmart?
PetSmart typically charges around one hundred and twenty dollars for a six-week group training course. There are several other price points, though, for those who prefer one-on-one training or who have dogs that have special training needs. It’s always a good idea to check with a representative to see if PetSmart is doing any specials or if there are any classes that might potentially suit your dog.
Is paying for dog training worth it?
Dog training is definitely worth paying for. Not only will it help you to control some of your dog’s most problematic behavior, but it can actually help him or her to stay safe. Good dog training isn’t just for your dog, either; in fact, good dog training teaches you how to be a better pet owner so that you can give your dog a more fulfilling life. Though not every dog needs an in-depth course, it’s never a bad idea to get your dog trained by a professional.
How much does dog training cost at Petco?
PetCo typically charges about $109 for a six-week, one-hour-a-week group training course. With that said, PetCo does tend to have quite a few specials on training and you can often get this six-week course for about $80. PetCo does also offer some other types of specialized training, and the rates are going to differ greatly depending on what your dog needs and where the store is located.
How much does it cost to get your dog certified?
This largely depends on the kind of certification for which you are looking. Emotional support animals can generally be certified for around three hundred dollars. Getting your dog search and rescue certified, though, is rarely going to cost you less than seven thousand dollars. Getting your dog certified as a seeing-eye dog or a hearing dog might cost as much as ten thousand dollars depending on where you go, with even more intensive types of certification running upwards of twenty thousand dollars per dog.