How Much Does Dog Training Cost? Options That Work for You and Your Dog

Four Minutes
Sep 12, 2022

Training your dog can enrich your pet’s life and yours by bringing you closer together. But where do you start? Group training classes are usually more affordable and readily available at humane societies, pet stores, and other community centers. Personal dog trainers offer expertise, intimacy, and engagement that often packs a more significant impact on particularly troublesome behaviors.

No matter which route you choose, you should expect to pay for multiple sessions before you see results. Before you choose to fork over hundreds of dollars, you should decide what you’re looking for in a dog training experience. Here are some of the options that may work for you and your pet. Below are dog training costs at a glance:³


Average Expense


Group Classes

$150 – $200


Personal Trainers

$1,500 – $2,000

Boarding or “Stay and Train”


Group Dog Training Classes

Group dog training classes are an excellent option for folks tight on cash. These courses can cost as low as $20 a session to as high as $200 for multi-week programs. Costs depend on the location, the age range of the dogs, and the trainers available.

Another major benefit of group classes is the opportunity to socialize your dog and maybe meet new dog parents, too! You can build a positive relationship with your dog by learning basic commands, like “heel” and “follow.”

Look for these classes at pet stores; they run specials that may knock a few dollars off the entire course, but you’re typically expected to pay for the whole course at once.⁴ Community centers and humane societies also offer group dog training classes for puppies and older dogs who need to learn basic commands, obedience, and leash training.

Puppy training

Dogs of all ages can benefit from regular training sessions, including senior dogs. But if you have an energetic puppy on your hands, this is the perfect time to train them. Ask your shelter or breeder if they have recommendations for puppy training programs.

Keep in mind that some courses have age and vaccination requirements before you can enroll. If your puppy is too young, consider looking online for training methods that may resonate with you, like clicker training, so you can teach your puppy essential commands at home. Use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior early so they’ll be ready for their first day of puppy school.

Russell Terrier chasing a plastic ring during a game of fetch.

Private Dog Training

Is your dog anxious around fellow canines? Does that anxiety show up as aggression? A professional, private dog trainer may be a good option for your family since many group classes won’t allow aggressive dogs to enroll for safety reasons. If you aren’t able to attend a group class, ask the instructor if they offer private lessons. Many will be eager to work with your pup.

No matter your reasoning, private dog training can offer you in-home exercises to address very specific issues like counter surfing or barking at guests at the door. Dog trainers will often work with your kids as well, taking the time to train the family and the dog together.

Take your time hiring a trainer that fits your needs because the industry is highly unregulated.⁵ Ask questions about what methods they use: rewards-based, punishment based, or a mix of both. Studies in Portugal found that using punishment-based or mixed-method causes unnecessary stress on dogs, plus it may cause dogs to react negatively in ambiguous situations.⁶ In short, make sure you hire someone you can trust not to stress your dog out.

Service Dog Training

In general, specialized service training for your dog will cost several thousand dollars, as they often involve boarding and “stay and train” services. The cost depends on what kind of service or task they’ll learn to perform. Here are a few examples and what you may expect to pay in these instances:⁴

  • Emotional Support Dog: Also known as a therapy dog, these courses will teach your pup how to support family members through daily emotional or mental triggers. Typically, these courses take up to 8 hours and can cost under $300. Keep in mind that there are different types of courses, including psychiatric service dog classes, which may cost more.⁷
  • Guard Dog: Costs for a guard dog training course depend on what you need. You could simply add a protection class to standard dog obedience training, which will teach your dog to alert you to intruders. However, if you want a well-trained protection dog, you may end up shelling out $24,000 over 24 months.⁸
  • Guide Dogs: Experts recommend applying for a free or discounted service dog based on your need rather than training a dog you already own.⁴’⁷ These dogs often cost upwards of $40,000 to train from a puppy; training your dog can cost between $300 to $400 per session.⁹
  • Search and Rescue Dogs: Training your dog for search and rescue can take up to 2 years of weekly training, totaling roughly $10,000.10

Luckily, nonprofits across the country have stepped up to the challenge of training our animal friends. Look for nonprofit or volunteer-based organizations that offer free or heavily discounted courses to train your service dog.⁴

A Trained Dog is a Happy Dog

Training your dog is an essential part of building a healthy, positive relationship with them. Figure out what you need from a dog training course or a personal trainer before you commit to the training. Remember that training takes time, but it’s worth the investment to keep your dog safe and improve their quality of life.

While you’re ensuring they behave well, make sure you don’t forget dog insurance! MetLife’s Pet Insurance may cover their veterinary care, like your puppy’s vaccines, as well as unexpected accidents and illnesses.1,2 You don’t have to lose thousands keeping your pup healthy. Get a free quote today to find out how we can help you.

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1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.

3 “How Much Does Dog Training Cost? It Depends on What Your Pup Needs,” The Daily Paws

4 “How Much Does Dog Training Cost?,” The Pampered Pup

5 “How to Find & Choose a Dog Trainer,” American Kennel Club

6 “Study: Punishment-Based Training Is Stressful For Dogs,” American Animal Hospital Association

7 “Service Dogs, Working Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Emotional Support Dogs: What’s the Difference?,” American Kennel Club

8 “How Much Does A Protection Dog Training Cost?,” Siri Pet

9 “Information for Becoming a K9 SAR Team,” Search and Rescue Dogs of the United States

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