So, you’ve brought a new dog or puppy into your life.
Congratulations! Dogs make such great companions and many of us really believe that a family isn’t complete without a member of the canine persuasion.
No matter how much you love your dog, if your pooch isn’t well trained, you likely have a lot of challenges dealing with your four-legged family member.
Even basic training can turn the most difficult of pups into well-mannered members of your family.
How do you accomplish this feat, however? Do you spend the money to send your pup to class, do you utilize the vast resources available on the internet and train your dog at home, or do you bring the trainer to your home?
For many people the answer is a matter of cost.
Training your pup at home could be more cost effective for some people, but is it the best option for all families?
Effective training is measured by the behavior of your pup, so taking the time to do the work correctly, can make all the difference.
It can also be very costly if your training choice doesn’t work out.
In this article we’ll look at all three modes of training, and break each down by cost, to help you determine which training option is best for your family and your pocket book.
Training at Home or Taking a Class?
This really is a big question for many dog owners. And, there are times when both options are useful, and both options can be problematic.
Many dog owners feel that giving basic obedience at home is sufficient to meet their needs. Teaching commands like, “sit”, “stay”, “down”, etc shouldn’t be that hard, right?
However, depending on the breed or if you’ve adopted an older dog, the “easy” command might be more difficult than you expect. Training at home is a good option for experienced dog owners.
Many dog owners participate in obedience classes with their first dog and then apply the skills to other dogs that come into the family.
In these cases, at home dog training can be a good option.
However, it is important to remember that consistency is important, and you need to train all of the dogs in your home, the same way, to avoid confusion.
Also, training your dog on your own may require separating your pups for a period each day to make the training successful.
Older dogs can be a distraction to younger pups, making it harder to train the newest member of your family.
Training your pup at home doesn’t work for every family or every dog. First-time dog owners can benefit from the experience and expertise of a professional dog trainer.
Good dog trainers are certified in their craft and have spent many years learning and becoming knowledgeable in training techniques and understanding dog behavior.
An experienced dog trainer can also help you decide the right techniques for your dog.
While a puppy might be great with one method of training, getting an older pup to learn new tricks, might take a completely different approach.
On another note, if your goal is to teach your pup how to be a service animal, or want to train it for a special skill, a trainer is a great option, since they understand the requirements that go along with training your pup for a special skill or to be a service animal.
The best answer to the question, “Do I train my dog on my own or hire a trainer?” is that like people, each dog is different, and each dog has different training needs.
Make sure that you choose the best option for your family and for your pup. And then remember that repetition and consistency are the keys to making either type of training success.
What is the Cost of Training Your Dog with a Trainer?
Hiring a dog trainer, once upon a time, was a luxury for most dog owners.
Not that long ago, most families trained their dogs at home, using books found at the library or techniques that were learned from friends or other family members.
Today, however, dog training is a booming industry, and in most communities, you can easily find an “expert” to help you train your canine family member.
This doesn’t always mean that dog training is “cheap” or accessible to everyone.
We scoured the internet and did some research to find some good average costs for dog training.
Keep in mind, however, that depending on where you live, the cost for hiring a dog trainer may vary. It is also important to remember that you truly do get what you pay for.
More often than not, a “value” trainer may not provide the best outcome, so don’t be afraid to spend a few extra dollars to ensure that your dog gets the best learning opportunity.
The national average for basic dog obedience training is around $50 per hour. On the low end, you can spend as little as $20 per hour or you can spend in excess of $100 per hour.
A good thing to look for when selecting an obedience trainer is whether they participate in the AKC Canine Good Citizen program.
This program provides guidance for trainers on helping dogs and dog owners become polite members of society.
You are likely to get the biggest bang for your buck, by participating in group classes, which on average cost $30 to $50 per class, with classes lasting 45 minutes to one hour.
Expect to spend between $120 and $600 for group training for 6 to 8 weeks of lessons.
These classes will teach you and your dog good positive reinforcement skills that you take home to practice. These are great classes for puppy owners and people who are new to owning dogs.
If you are looking for more specialized training or if you want to send your dog away for a period of time, with the expectation of getting a well-trained dog on the other side, expect to pay significantly more than just a group class with a local trainer.
For these sorts of classes, expect to pay anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars.
Expect to pay similar rates to have private classes at home, with a trainer.
These classes are great options for many people, but in order for them to be successful, you have to follow up with good consistency and repetition at home, or you’ll quickly watch your hard earned dollars vanish under the guise of a naughty pup.
Cost of Dog Training Gear
No matter which you choose, training you dog at home or using a trainer, you are going to need some basic supplies.
- Treats – one of the best ways to get just about any dog to follow your commands is to use some tasty treats. You’re going to want to buy a lot of treats, to maximize focus and learning. Training treats at your local pet supply store will cost around $5 to $8 per package.
- Leash – Select a leash that is between four and six feet in length, and avoid retractable leashes. Depending on the size of your dog, a basic leash will cost you between $5 and $20 dollars.
- Harness – Many dog trainers find that using a harness instead of a collar is a better training tool, especially for pups that tend to pull on a leash. Look to spend between $10 and $50.
- Collar – Your dog should have a collar as well as a harness, especially to hold onto things like ID and vaccine tags. Size is the price factor with collars, too. Expect to spend $5 to $20 for a good collar.
- Portable Mat – When you are going to a group class, a portable mat is helpful for giving your dog a “home base”. You don’t need anything fancy, even a bath towel will do. Our advice, don’t spend more than $20 on a mat.
- Portable Water Bowl – Now that you have a pup, you don’t want to leave home without a portable water bowl. These will set you back $10 to $25.
- Clicker – Clickers are inexpensive and generally accepted by most dog trainers. Some trainers will provide clickers as part of the class fee, but if you’re training on your own, don’t spend more than $4 on a clicker.
- Crates/Barriers/Fences – These are not essential but many dog trainers recommend these for setting up boundaries and safe spaces in your home. These are the most expensive training gear, and will likely cost you $50 or more.
In the end, if you are a good bargain shopper or if you have a tiny dog, look to spend around $70 for the training essentials.
If you like your pup to have the best or have a big dog, be prepared to spend a bit more, we estimate $150 on the low end.
Having a dog can bring so much joy to your world. However, this joy can quickly diminish if your pup isn’t well-behaved.
To ensure that everyone in your home is happy and well adjusted, invest in good training equipment and quality training for your dog.
Training doesn’t have to be expensive, but the end result will be priceless.