How much does dog obedience school cost, and is it really worth the price?
If you’re a new dog owner wondering the same thing, I’ve got you covered.
Today, we’ll talk about the typical costs of different types of dog obedience classes as well as whether it’s really worth it to send your dog to school.
We’ll also discuss some alternatives for those who can’t quite swing the fees.
Ready? Good, let’s start.
What does dog obedience school cost?
Let me begin by saying that the cost of dog obedience school varies widely from state to state, town to town, and even trainer to trainer.
The information below will give you a good general idea of how much to set aside, though.
I looked at numerous sources to calculate average costs. These include:
- PetSmart, since they’re nationwide and the price seems the same throughout all of their locations (I checked a few zip codes).
- Fees for trainers in larger cities with a higher cost of living (NYC & LA)
- Fees typical of smaller cities and towns with a lower cost of living (I used Evansville, IN, as I have family there who could verify costs for me).
We’ll break it down into two sections: basic training and specialized training.
Under each section, we’ll break it down even further and go over costs associated with the most common types of dog training classes.
Take a look at the table below, then read on for more details.
Average Costs for Basic Dog Training Classes
Unless otherwise noted, all prices are for 6-week programs in a group setting.
All prices are subject to fluctuate slightly. If they drastically change, I’ll update this post.
1. Cost of Basic Puppy Training Classes
Let’s start with the one the basics, since puppy training is the most popular of all the classes.
Depending on where you live, expect to pay between $100-375 for basic puppy training classes in a group setting.
Trainers in small towns tend to run on the lower side (I’ve seen a few for as low as $75, but $100 is a good average).
However, rates at private puppy training schools in larger cities are significantly higher. Expect to pay between $250-375.
PetSmart also offers a 6-week basic puppy training class for $119 in all locations that I checked (including 90210, which is the only “fancy” zip code I know!).
2. Basic Adult Dog Training Classes Cost
Basic adult dog training classes teach the same concepts as basic puppy training, except, obviously, to adult dogs.
Costs for basic adult training (also called “manners training” by some schools) ranges from $100-450.
Again, trainers in smaller towns run around $100, while big city schools hit between $350-450.
You can also take adult dog training classes at PetSmart for $119, so if you’re in the city and can’t swing local training schools, you always have that option.
3. Intermediate Dog Training Classes Fees
Intermediate training is good for dogs who know the basics but need help mastering them in different situations or with more distractions.
Expect to pay between $80-350 for intermediate dog training classes.
While small town trainers tend to charge less for advanced classes, the big city trainers that I looked at don’t really drop the price for more experienced dogs.
Once again, you always have the $119 PetSmart option.
4. Cost of Advanced & Trick Training Classes
Once we get to the advanced manners and trick training classes, prices finally start to go down a bit.
Expect to pay between $50-275 for trick training classes for your dog, depending on your location and the school.
Some of the small town trainers that I looked at offer advanced “attention” training and basic trick training for as little as $50.
On the other hand, my “base” schools for cities ran closer to the $275 end, with some coming in at $350+.
PetSmart offers an advanced training class for, you guessed it, $119. However their idea of advanced training is more like an extension of intermediate lessons versus actual tricks.
5. Agility Dog Training Costs
While agility dog training could fall under “specialized” training since it’s a must for prospective show dogs, I’m including it in the basics because it’s beneficial for all dogs
Agility training classes range from about $65-350 for group classes, depending on your location.
Some training schools will also rent you time on their course, which is a great option if you want to give agility training a try on your own.
For example, one trainer in my area charges $185 for a 6-week course. However, I can also just pay $15 to use their course for 30 minutes on my own with my dog.
Average Costs for Specialized Dog Training Classes
As we move beyond the basics and into specialized training, we’re really going to see a big jump in class fees.
6. Therapy Dog Training Fees
If you want to train your dog to become a therapy dog, this is the class you’ll need.
Expect to pay between $100-300 for therapy dog training, depending both on your location and your dog’s current level of training.
Keep in mind that therapy dogs are NOT service dogs (we’ll cover those in a moment). They’re more like “comfort dogs.”
While certification isn’t always necessary, most hospitals and nursing homes won’t allow your dog to visit without some sort of evidence that he can behave. 🙂
That’s where therapy training classes come in to play, as you’ll typically leave course with a certificate that says, “Hey, this dog has good manners & won’t jump on the patients!”
Okay, so it won’t say that specifically, but it’s the gist!
7. Service Dog Training Costs
Whether you’re planning on training your dog to help you with your own qualified disability or to become a service dog for others, he’ll need specialized training to teach him what to do.
Service dog training classes range from about $500-1000+, depending on your dog’s current training level, your location & type of class.
Those fees are for “DIY” service dog training classes that really only teach the basics. Intensive service dog training schools can cost upwards of $25,000.
However, thanks to grants, scholarships and donations, you may qualify for a free service dog (or free training for your dog).
There’s just too much involved in service dog training to get super specific here, so if you want to learn more the AKC has a great article on the topic.
8. Costs for Classes Dealing with Behavioral Issues
Training dogs with behavioral problems usually involves one-on-one sessions versus classes, so it can get pretty pricey.
Expect to pay about $90-400 PER SESSION for typical classes to address bad behavior.
If your dog is aggressive, fees may be even higher. The good news? Those fees often cover in-home training, so you don’t have to take your dog out to school.
9. Residential Dog Training Fees
I am not a fan of residential dog training facilities (aka boarding schools or dog boot camp) at all. I’ll tell you why in a minute, but first, the prices:
Dog boarding school typically costs between $1,000-$5,000 for a two-week camp.
While these intensive training schools may help address a major problem, there’s one huge issue: you’re not involved at all.
Furthermore, your dog learns to obey commands in a very specific environment and may not transfer that knowledge to your own home.
If you have a “problem dog,” you’re better off paying for one-on-one training in your home.
10. Costs for private training classes
If you think finding average ranges for regular group classes is hard, try doing it for one-on-one classes!
Costs range from as little as $50 per session all the way up to $500+ for a single session, depending on the type of training, the experience of the trainer, and your location.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: if your dog gets along well with other animals and people, stick to group classes. They’re good for socializing!
If Fido bites, is terrified of other dogs, or is generally totally unruly, go with private lessons until you conquer the major issue, then try group classes.
Now that we have a general idea of dog obedience school costs, let’s discuss if they’re really worth it!
Is it really worth the price?
Is dog obedience school worth the cost? Yes! No! Maybe! Don’t you love it when I get all vague on you? I’ll explain.
Yes, it’s totally worth the cost if you have an unruly dog that needs special training or don’t feel confident in your own puppy training abilities.
Some classes, like basic and intermediate training are almost always worth it because they also give you a chance to socialize your dog.
Others, like sending your dog off to boarding school, are very rarely worth the cost when there are better options right at home.
Beyond that, you really have to decide for yourself if it’s worth the cost.
Personally, I wouldn’t pay $275 for a class to teach my dog to fetch. I’d also be more inclined to rent agility course time than actually pay for a class.
Seriously, though, you have to decide. There are no wrong answers. Do what is best for your dog and your family.