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What is the Cost of Dog Training? (2023 Price Guide)

Kristin Hitchcock

By Kristin Hitchcock

woman training a service dog

Dog training is required for owning any breed of dog. While some dogs are naturally better behaved than others, all dogs deserve to be taught some basic commands. Not only is it a great bonding experience, but it also helps keep your canine safe. You should plan to put any puppy or adopted dog into a dog training class to ensure they reach their full potential.

Dog training can be expensive, though. There are many different types of training, which all have different costs, so you can expect anything from $20 to $200 for a session. The more classes you do, the more expensive the training will be. Your area also matters as cities and urban areas tend to have more expensive classes.

Let’s look at how much you can expect dog training to cost.

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The Importance of Dog Training

Dog training is an essential part of owning a dog—all dogs require training, even smaller and well-behaved breeds. Some canines may be easier to train than others. However, even dogs that will never win an obedience award need to have some dog training. You don’t have to take master classes with all dogs, but all dogs should have some basic classes at the very least.

Training classes are vital to keeping your dog well-behaved and under control. Training teaches your dog some basic commands that are vital for living in the real world. Dogs should learn several commands, including:

  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Lay Down
  • Leave
  • Heel
  • And whatever other commands you need!

Classes aren’t just about learning commands, though. They’re also about socialization. The more people and situations you introduce your dog to, the less fearful and reactive they will be later. Socialization is vital for dogs—even more so than training. Therefore, we highly recommend group classes. These are cheaper, but they also do better for most dogs. Group classes provide dogs with a safe environment to meet other dogs and people.

How Much Does Dog Training Cost?

Young female owner is training and teaching commands to her lovely labrador retriever dog
Image Credit: HQuality, ShutterStock

Dog training can cost a range of different prices, depending on what training classes you’re buying. A basic training course that teaches things like sitting and walking on a leash will cost anywhere from $75 to $200 for the whole course. Typically, the course runs over multiple weeks, so you’re getting multiple classes for this price.

To teach your dog all the commands they need to know, you’ll need to work through several different courses (probably). Each course will cost $75 to $200, but you may get a discount by purchasing multiple courses at once. For instance, you may be able to get all the courses for $500 even if they cost $200 individually.

This assumes your taking group classes and go to class weekly. Most of these classes will last about 6 weeks. However, this may differ depending on the exact classes and company.

Stay-and-train classes involve leaving your dog with a trainer, who will train the dog before handing them back over to you. This is often considered the “best” type of dog training. However, just because the dog listens to the trainer doesn’t mean they will listen to you. Traditional dog classes are much more about teaching you how to handle a dog.

Individual Classes $50 – $100 per session
Group Classes $75 – $200 for a course
Drop-in-classes $20 – $75 per session
Stay-and-Train $4,000+ for several days

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Additional Costs to Anticipate

Most dogs will go through several different group courses, learn all they need to know, and never need training again. However, not all dogs will go through this series of courses. Complications can pop up occasionally. Training should begin as early as possible and be paired with socialization to avoid issues later. However, if you adopt a dog later in life or don’t start training right away, you may have to deal with extra training costs.

Some very territorial dogs need individual classes before moving into group classes. They may be too reactionary to handle group classes at first. These costs also don’t include behavioral therapy, which may be needed for dogs with serious problems. Aggression falls into this category. However, so does anxiety. Not all dogs need behavioral therapy, as it is often a last resort for dogs with serious problems.

These costs also don’t include any specialized classes. Protection dogs, trick classes, and similar specialty courses will add to your overall training costs.

Do You Need a Dog Trainer?

Not everyone needs a dog trainer. If you’re an experienced dog owner and have gone through a training course several times already, you can often re-do it from memory with your new dog. Group training classes are far more about teaching the owner and socialization. You will need to socialize your dog elsewhere, though. Furthermore, doing group classes is a great way to keep you accountable. If you don’t think you’ll train without the pressure of a group class, then you may want to sign up for classes anyway.

If you don’t know how to train a dog, hiring a dog trainer is highly recommended. We recommend group classes for dogs with guarding instincts, such as German Shepherds—even if you’ve gone through classes yourself before. Don’t underestimate the value of socialization in group classes.

How Many Training Sessions Does a Dog Need?

dog training outdoor
Image Credit: Nomad_Soul, Shutterstock

Generally, you’ll need at least six classes to teach your dog the very basics. However, this won’t include all of the recommended commands. For that, you’ll probably have to do 18 or so classes. When in group classes, there is often a set command to learn or practice at each class. However, if you’re doing independent classes, you may be able to go at your own pace. It all depends on what your dog struggles with.

If you want your dog to learn very complicated commands, then you’ll likely need double the classes to accomplish those goals. Speak to a trainer if you want your dog to go beyond the usual.

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Conclusion

For a complete group series of classes, you can expect to pay around $75 to $200. This session should last about six weeks, though different companies set it up differently. Therefore, you may end up paying out of this range or per class. More expensive classes exist, too. Stay-and-train services cost the most at over $4,000. However, there is little work on the owner’s part, which is why they are so expensive.

Dogs with behavioral problems may need extra classes, and they may be more expensive. Behavioral therapy can cost thousands and thousands of dollars, so plan accordingly.


Featured Image Credit: Pearl PhotoPix, Shutterstock

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