16 Amazing Dog Trainer Academies in the US

Dog trainers choose a career in the field because they are animal lovers and adore canines the most. The goal of an obedience dog trainer is to see a harmonious and loving relationship between pet parent and dog.

Would-be trainers typically start the certification process by volunteering at dog shelters, adoption centers, and veterinary clinics to gain experience with pooches of all ages and sizes under varying circumstances. 

Then, it’s time for the certification process and the learning of skills. Schools, like these 16 Dog Trainer Academies listed here, offer a variety of innovative programs geared toward understanding and strengthening the bond between human and canine.


1. Starmark Academy
  • Located in Hutto, Texas
  • 4, 8, and 12-week courses are offered with tuition the fee ranging from $5795 to $9795
  • Students stay at the facility to train

Would-be dog trainers bring along an untrained dog to instruct or can be assigned a local shelter dog. In fact, Starmark Academy prides itself on working with Texas homeless shelters to train dogs in need, readying them for placement in homes. Students can learn to be canine training specialists, with courses including advanced behavior, kennel management, and competitive obedience.


2. School for Dog Trainers at Highland Canine Training LLC
  • Located in Harmony, North Carolina
  • A 6-week course in detection dog training costs $5850
  • To become a service dog trainer over 18 weeks, the tuition is $13,775
  • Courses are taken in person

This 50+acre, state of the art campus is home to students as they study hands-on to become K9 police dog trainers, search and rescue dog trainers, and more. Those new to the industry may study as long as 24 weeks. Those already in the field of dog training can take one of the 6-week courses at Highland Canine Training LLC.


3. The Academy for Dog Trainers
  • The head office is in Emeryville, California
  • Course tuition, if prepaid, is $6825, and students have a two-year maximum to complete the course.
  • Online instruction is offered

With a team of dog training school owners and experts located worldwide, the Academy for Dog Trainers offers an intensive course covering topics like dealing with aggressive or fearful dogs and client counseling. Twelve to fifteen hours per week are spent attending online webinars and participating in video coaching.


4. Catch Canine Trainers Academy
  • Located in Little Falls, New Jersey
  • The Master Class Training, for example, costs $5370 and gives students Certified Dog Trainer status
  • Flexible online dog trainer courses are given at the student’s pace, with instruction typically taking place over a period of 6 to a maximum of 18 months

Combining at-home instruction with on-campus courses is a definite possibility with the Catch Canine Trainers Academy. Innovative curriculum inclusions are varied, from covering dog body language to business management. Mentor trainers are available as part of the course fee.


5. The Tom Rose School
  • Located in High Ridge, Missouri
  • The instruction takes place over 15 weeks and costs $13, 475
  • Training is done on-site at the school campus

The Tom Rose School offers extensive training in multiple disciplines. Students are required to pass testing in AKC agility, specific odor detection, therapy dog international, and private class instruction, among others. Lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on experience await aspiring graduates.


6. Animal Behavior College
  • Located in Valencia, California
  • The length of the courses range from 7 to 21 weeks and cost from $2995 to $9700
  • Flexible options are to study on campus or online

Shelter dogs benefit from on-campus students who strive to help dogs in need. Online trainers to be are matched with shelters in their area, participating in Animal Behavior College’s “Students Saving Lives” campaign. Mentor dog trainers are involved as well.


7. Top Tier K9
  • Located in Madison, Florida
  • Courses vary in length depending on the tier and range from $1650 to $3950
  • Living and travel expenses are extra if you choose to train at the campus
  • Courses are also given online

A variety of interests can be fulfilled at Top Tier K9. Soon-to-be trainers can explore options as a service dog trainer, pet trainer, and certified safe catch decoy/helper. Business development and project management courses are also available.


8. Royal Dog Academy
  • Located in Beverly Hills and Northridge, California
  • Prices vary according to the depth of the course; theoretical dog training costs $2000
  • $20,000 will give certification as a military/police/security/ dog trainer expert and includes 150 hours of practice
  • Students can train online or at the school

Students can work on practice hours at the school or at an affiliate school, and there are locations all over the United States. Search and tracking dog trainer, basic obedience trainer, or K9 police trainer are a few of the careers to choose from. Trainees at the Royal Dog Academy can receive instruction on opening their own dog training school.


9. Tarheel Canine Training School
  • Located in Sanford, North Carolina
  • Two-week accelerated classes to 6-month Master courses are offered
  • Correspondence courses in some topics are as low as $650
  • A Master trainer course is $15,750

The student to teacher ratio at Tarheel Canine is 3:1, and there is the opportunity to work with dogs of all breeds and sizes. Some of the dogs arrive from Europe to be trained as K9 police dogs, bug detection dogs, protection dogs, and more. Additionally, clients drop off their canine buddies for board and train programs.


10. National K-9 Learning Center
  • Located in Columbus, Ohio
  • The Master trainer course is priced at $9995 (plus housing) and takes 6 weeks
  • To become a professional obedience trainer over 3 weeks, the fee is $5595 plus housing
  • This is an on-campus school

The campus of the National K-9 Learning Center has a one-acre training field for hands-on practice as well as an indoor training space. Pupils bring their own untrained dog, or one belonging to a friend. As well, dogs from local families take part in the training for those who do not have a dog. All canines live on residence with the students.


11. Karen Pryor Academy
  • Located in Waltham, Massachusetts, and course instructors are located world-over
  • The tuition is $5300 for a 6-month program
  • Modules are taken online and the required in-person workshops are in various states

Karen Pryor Academy combines online teaching, video instruction, and workshops for a unique experience that fully prepares the student for a career as a dog trainer. The time commitment for online work and training is 10 to 20 hours. Having a quiet, non-reactive canine to work with is required.


12. Jo-Thor’s Dog Trainer’s Academy
  • Located in Alpharetta, Georgia
  • Dog Trainer 101 courses are given over 280 hours for $3,800
  • The Master dog educator/trainer course is $10,500 over 800 hours
  • Students can study online or in person

Jo-Thor’s is an academy with unique course offerings such as learning to train dogs for movies and commercials. The school is a dog talent agency, too. Basic to Master’s training is taught here, as well as instruction on nutrition, first, aid, behavioral problems, and running a dog care business.


13. Rocky Mountain Regional Dog Training Academy
  • Located in Denver, Colorado
  • Courses 3, 6, and 12 months in length are offered with tuition ranging from $2,600 to $10,000
  • Trainers take classes in person

Pupils at the RMRDTA get 50+ hours of hands-on training with dogs of various sizes and breeds, including shelter and rescue dogs awaiting adoption. Mentor trainers work with students and canines to draw the best out of students and pups alike.


14. Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training and Behavior
  • Located in Atlanta, Georgia
  • $3,950 is the fee for over 100 hours of curriculum training
  • The course typically takes 6 months but can be completed in up to 12 months
  • Classes are given online with the option of an in-person workshop

Instructors and mentors from all over the world make up the faculty of the academy. The philosophy of the Victoria Stilwell Academy is “Educate, Engage, Empower,” with the end goal of equipping dog trainers to change dogs’ lives in a positive way.


15. The Dog Trainer College
  • Located in Spencer, Indiana
  • A variety of courses are taught with prices starting at $3,475 for basic obedience
  • The Master trainer course is 20 weeks long and costs $15,900
  • Behavior and obedience certification can be obtained online, and all other classes are on-campus

Attendees at the Dog Trainer College will pay extra for reasonably priced housing. Lectures, tests, and innovative hands-on training take place at the rural campus. Pupils can bring up to two dogs with them to train or can have the use of an eager dog provided by the school.


16. Animal Behavior Institute
  • Located in Durham, North Carolina
  • Instruction prices and lengths vary
  • Canine Training and Behavior costs $3,555 plus books and involves three courses as well as 40 hours of experience at a location of your choice (shelter, vet, etc.)
  • Instruction for would-be service dog trainers spans five courses and 40 hours of experience for a price of $5,925
  • Training is given online

This creative distance education program involves engagement with instructors and fellow classmates in an online environment. The Animal Behavior Institute provides weekly feedback and the chance to work on collaborative projects. Animal-assisted therapy is also taught here.


Enthusiastic dog trainers on the Wag! platform have put their best foot forward when it comes to training dogs. Dog trainers with Wag! typically hold different types of certifications such as the ones listed above to instruct special puppies and mature dogs that come their way. Happy to work with canines of every age, size, breed, and ability, local dog trainers are waiting to hear from you.