Getting your dog trained is important for any responsible owner, which requires patience and consistency, but how much does it cost and how long will it take?
Dog training costs and times vary depending on the level of training you opt for. Group dog training normally costs $150 - 250 and will take 8 weeks to complete. Private dog training will cost $250 - 1,000 and will take 8 weeks as well. However, service dog training can cost upwards of $40,000.
If you are like most aspiring dog owners, the thought of having an adorable puppy running around your house has probably got you buzzing. With that being said, you should also consider that having a dog is a major responsibility for an owner, which is why you want to take the time to invest in your pup by getting them properly trained. Regardless of the level of training you pursue, learning the basics will always be a must to ensure that your dog does not have behavior issues in life. Let’s dive into the specifics of dog training so that you are prepared for how much time it will take and how much you can expect to pay.
To ensure that your dog is receiving professional training, try to work with an organization or private trainer that is certified by an official program such as The Certification Council For Professional Dog Trainers.
Cost & Time For Dog Training
Before you begin looking for organizations that you want to entrust your dog’s training with, you should reflect on the overall type of training that you want your dog to receive. Having your pup adequately trained is something that all dog owners should invest in, but at the end of the day, not all dogs need to have high-level training.
In most cases, you can get away with learning the basics so that your dog can pull off some standard tricks and is compliant with obedient commands. However, going the extra mile and having your dog trained extensively is never a bad idea and will likely result in a much better-behaved pet.
The most important thing that you should consider as the owner is that no matter what level of training you end up going with, the long-term success of any training program will be determined by you! The reason for this is that dog training needs to be reinforced by the owner from day one and needs to be implemented consistently in the dog’s routine. Failure to reinforce training on your end can result in a much longer amount of time needed to train your dog and perhaps even a repeat in professional training - which can end up costing a lot.
The best way to get the most out of your money and your time is to start training early on when your dog is still a puppy. While you should take it slow at first, the most basic dog training should start when your pup is just 2 months old. As your puppy starts to get the hang of it, you should begin more formal training when it gets to be about 6 months old.
Group Dog Training
One of the most common ways to get your dog trained these days is to sign up for a group dog training course. Opting for group dog training comes with a lot of benefits and it’s actually one of the cheapest ways to get professional training for your pup.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $150 - 250 for this type of training and it generally takes 8 weeks to complete. However, if your schedule does not allow for consistent attendance to a group training program, you will find that you can likely attend at your convenience with most courses. In this case, you can pay as you go, which will cost roughly $25 - $35 per class.
With that being said, you should always keep in mind that dog training is all about consistency. If you are unable to commit to regularly attending a professional group training program, your pup may not end up getting the adequate training it needs to reinforce positive behavior.
This will result in lackluster training, which may mean that you will need to spend more time and money on additional training. To avoid this, it’s best to set time aside to attend your group’s program as set out by the course.
As you look into group training for your dog, you will likely find that there are a number of different course options available - some are introductory/beginner courses and some are intermediate to advanced. Let’s take a closer look at some of the different group dog training courses available.
Beginner Group Course
Each dog training organization will vary slightly in what they offer in their programs and will also fluctuate in cost and length. A basic beginner course will set you back anywhere from $150 - 250 and will generally take 6 to 8 weeks to complete.
This is the most fundamental type of dog training that your pup should get in order to be compliant with obedience commands. A beginner group course will take your dog through all of the essentials, which will become a platform for any additional training you pursue later on. In a beginner course you can expect to have your pup trained with the following commands:
In addition, your group trainer will likely incorporate clicker training. It’s important not to overwhelm your pup with too much training right away, as this can become frustrating for you and them, which is why your trainer will take a direct yet casual approach in regards to most of these techniques.
You can also expect to go through proper leash training. This is to ensure that your pup is well behaved when going out on a leash and that they do not run wild the second they are let outside. Another very important aspect of any beginner group course is to teach your dog basic socialization. This is one of the great benefits of joining a group course, as getting your pup used to people, as well as other dogs will come inherently with the program.
After you have completed your 6 - 8 week group beginner course, you should note that the most important part of your training will come from how well you continue to implement what you and your dog learned during the course. Instilling this training is how you will reinforce good behavior and obedience in the long run. At-home training should be continued for the next 3- 6 months minimum.
Intermediate Group Courses
Once your pup has gone through basic training, you should be able to carry out introductory commands and have a foundation of obedience. Some dog owners settle for this level of training, but it’s highly advised that you continue to pursue further training to ensure that your dog has a full grasp of positive behavior.
Taking an intermediate group course is the next step to training your dog and will cost roughly $250. This course is generally a bit longer and will run for 7 to 8 weeks minimum. This will be a more rigorous course and will teach your dog to do more tricks but also to be more independent.
While beginner group courses focus on basic training that combines tricks and obedience with a leash on, an intermediate course generally aims to take the leash off. The reason for this is to challenge your dog’s behavior without as much guidance from the owner. You want to be sure that your pup is going to do what’s right even when you don’t instruct them to - especially when you are not around.
You can expect the curriculum of an intermediate group course to review everything that you learned during the beginner program to guarantee that the basics are instilled. Once you have completed the review, your dog will be taught new tricks, as well as obedience training.
Each organization will tend to create its own custom program for intermediate training courses. You will likely find the following types of training in an intermediate group:
- Obstacle Training
- Advanced Clicker Training
- Advanced Dog Tricks
- Sensory Perception Training
- Positive Behavior Training
Many people that opt for intermediate training want to truly invest in their dog, which is why you often see pet owners pursuing multiple types of advanced courses. Taking this extensive approach to training can result in costs of $600 - 1,000 and may take anywhere from 3 to 12 months to complete, depending on how many advanced courses you end up taking.
Private Dog Training
If you are not keen on signing up for a group dog training program, your next best option is to find a private trainer. There are a number of reasons why people choose a private trainer over a group - with the biggest being personalized training. When dealing with a large dog training group, it can be challenging to get as much attention from your instructor as your dog may need.
With a private dog trainer, you know that your pup is in good hands and that it will get training that is thorough. However, going with this kind of personalized training does require you to invest more into your dog financially than a group course. You can expect to pay anywhere from $250 to 1,000 for a private trainer. The length of the course will vary depending on the organization you end up choosing, but you will likely be involved in a 6 to 8-week course.
Much like with group training, your private instructor will take your dog through a similar curriculum. The difference is that your trainer will be much more involved with guiding you and your dog during the process. Let’s explore the different types of training you would get with a private instructor.
Beginner Private Course
Your beginner course with a private trainer should cost around $250 - 650 and is generally around 6 weeks. During this period, your trainer will meet with you weekly to train your dog in various introductory tricks.
Your trainer will guide you on how to instill positive behaviors so that your dog is not rowdy and overly hyper. In addition, there will likely be some basic incorporation of clicker training. An area of focus will be to get your pup to respond well to all of these new commands while on and off the leash. You can expect all of the basic tricks to be taught as in group training:
If you are having behavioral issues with your dog and want assurance that training will resolve them, going with a private trainer is the way to go. Group training is great but it can lack the personalized focus that a private instructor can offer. In addition, private courses generally offer a follow-up service. This means that the length of your course can get an extension in case the overall training still needs to be polished.
Intermediate Private Courses
You will find that intermediate private courses can vary in their curriculum but most will focus on fine-tuning positive behaviors. These private courses can cost anywhere from $750 - 1,000 and will likely take 8 weeks to complete.
Your dog will learn new tricks during this course and will also have a review of all the old tricks. The trainer will also test your dog’s behavioral training from the first course to ensure that the previous training was successful before moving on to intermediate training.
Your instructor will pursue a lot of training that is either with a leash off or training that is outside of the house. The reason for this is to challenge your dog’s positive behavior in new environments, which it may not be comfortable with. If your pup is responding in a relaxed and obedient manner to commands with conditions such as loud noises, other dogs, and other people, then a major part of the intermediate training will have been fulfilled.
However, it’s often the case that dogs can be anxious or aggressive in these situations, which will result in your trainer pursuing behavior correctness training. A lot of this will focus on exposure therapy to get your dog familiarized with new environments and conditions.
This sort of training is especially vital for owners with dogs that have had behavioral issues from some form of trauma.
While an average intermediate private course will normally last 8 weeks and cost upwards of $1,000, you will find that it can actually cost considerably more and take a lot longer if your pup is having serious behavioral issues and is struggling with obedience. In this situation, your instructor will advise additional training, which can last 6 months to a year and cost $2,000 - 4,000.
Another popular way to get your dog trained up is to sign up for a camp. This approach involves dropping off your pup at a camp with professional trainers where they will conduct thorough and personalized training for your dog.
These camps can be quite different from one another as far as price and duration, but typically, you can expect to pay $1,000 to 2,000 for a two-week training program. The conditions of training camps also vary, as some involve you dropping off your pup for the duration of the program - whereas others require that you pick up your dog at the end of each day.
While these programs are significantly shorter than most other courses, the level of training your dog gets is much more rigorous. Most other courses will run for 6 to 8 weeks with a session occurring once per week. A training camp generally has training occurring every day of the workweek. These training camps are especially popular among people who have a busy schedule and are not able to train their dogs properly on a daily basis.
The curriculum of a training camp is usually a combination of basic training, as well as intermediate. Your pup will learn basic tricks, positive behaviors and will also be socialized with other dogs and humans. If you are considering this approach, you may want to have some basic training out of the way before opting for a camp.
Given the short timeframe of a training camp, it may be wise to have your dog familiar with some behaviors before signing up. The reason for this is that so much new information in a camp and your dog may simply get overwhelmed by the amount of training it receives in such a short amount of time.
Service Dog Training
There is no form of dog training more rigorous and extensive than service dog training. These animals are more than just pets and are legitimate professionals capable of saving lives.
For this reason, it takes a service dog a minimum of 6 months to be properly trained and in many cases, it can take up to 2 years.
The cost of training a service dog is roughly $150 - $300 per hour - depending on the type of training the dog needs. This means that the total cost of training a service dog can be anywhere from $15,000 to $40,000 - or even higher. With that being said, there is quite a bit of fluctuation in cost and training duration for service dogs, as these animals are trained to perform a lot of different functions. Let’s take a closer look at service dogs and their training:
One of the primary functions of many service dogs is to be there to provide mental and psychological support for their owners.
People that suffer from PTSD, Autism, or general anxiety receive great benefits from having a service dog that is trained to support their mental well-being.
These pups are generally easier to train and can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $,20,000. The duration of this training takes about 6 to 8 months, but it can be more if the person in need has specific care needs that are outside the norm of standard training.
Seeing Eye Dog
The traditional use of service dogs in the medical industry was to provide guidance for those who are blind.
These service dogs are there to ensure that their owner is safe to walk around on their own without the need of human care.
Unlike most service dogs, seeing-eye dogs are actually free for their owner. The amount of time it takes to train a seeing-eye dog is usually 6 months.
A common function of service dogs is to rescue people in dangerous conditions. These heroic pups are used by the police, military, security departments, and other organizations that deal with humanitarian crises.
Rescue dogs are the most expensive service dogs and can cost as much as $40,000 -$50,000.
The duration of this training varies greatly depending on the level of expertise the dog receives. You can expect at least one year of training for these animals - with common training courses taking 2 years.
Factors To Consider
There is a lot to take in when training dogs and the overall level of training your pup gets will ultimately be decided by you, which is why you should consider how you want your dog’s behavior to be early on. This is especially critical for dogs that are experiencing behavioral issues that need correcting.
With that being said, training is always best when started during puppy months. You will find your dog is much more susceptible to learning new things and changing behavioral patterns when it is young. This will result in you only needing to pay for training once, which will save you money and time. However, there are some additional factors you should consider when training your dog.
Most courses that you opt for will incorporate basic training, which covers tricks, obedience, and good behavior, but most will not put a huge focus on potty training your pup.
This means that most of the training your dog gets in regards to going potty will have to come from your end. The good news is that potty training is free. Unless you do a poor job and are left with needing to buy cleaning products and maybe even replacing your carpet.
To avoid this, you want to hop on potty training right away. This means creating associations of where to properly go potty from the minute you get your puppy. When done properly, potty training is generally completed within 6 months of you getting your dog.
However, failure to potty train your dog can result in potty training taking years - if ever at all. Owners that find themselves in this situation wind up having to pay hundreds of dollars on behavioral correctness training for professional instructors.
As the classic expression goes, ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’. While this is not always the case, it does carry a lot of weight.
If you have a new puppy in your life and are not hopping on training right away, you are risking creating poor behavioral patterns in your dog that will be around for all of its life. With that being said, you want to train your dog as much as possible within the first 3 -18 months of its life. This will help you save time and money in the long run on any training you do pursue.
However, if you are getting an older dog, you are not out of luck for training. It is possible to effectively train a mature dog (within reason). This sort of training is much more challenging and can cost more and take longer.
Depending on the behavior of your mature dog, you can expect to pay $300 - 2,000 for training, which should take anywhere from 3 months to a year. The best way to assure your mature dog can receive adequate training is to begin training them before they are 5 years old.
As mentioned before, taking your dog in for professional training is only half the battle. As the owner, you will be required to invest your time in training your dog to reinforce positive behaviors. This sort of personal training will take you months if not years to finalize.
Many dog owners take it upon themselves to train their dogs on their own without professional help. While it is hard to beat the value and care of a professional trainer, it is possible to train your dog on your own.
This approach is technically free but will still require a minimum of 4 to 8 weeks to instill basic training. Fulfilling intermediate training with your pup will likely take at least 6-8 months.
To ensure that your pup gets adequate training at home, you should research training techniques from professionals.
If you have already had experience training dogs before then this could be a great option for you.
Training every dog, regardless of its breed, is a must. Each dog will benefit from basic training and behavioral correctness, but you will find that some dogs respond better to training than others.
Some breeds such as German Shepards, Retrievers, and Border Collies will naturally show obedience and display intelligence. These dogs are particularly easy to train, which results in needing to spend less money for repeated training and less time to reinforce behaviors.
With that being said, some breeds such as Bulldogs, Bull Mastiffs, and Chow Chows are much more obstinate and stubborn when it comes to training. If you have not become attached to a certain breed and want to spend less time and money on training, then opting for a dog that is easier to train is the way to go.
About THE AUTHOR
I have had dogs my whole life and have always trained my own dogs with patience and positive reinforcement. My dogs are my life. My family always had dogs growing up. I've trained dogs for clients while working at a local dog daycare. I hope that my research and experiences are helpful to you as I share them here.Read More About Russell Wright