Trainers have many styles, techniques and pricing structures. The most important things to keep in mind are:

  1. There is no such thing as too old or too young to start!
  2. Training is 30% about the dog, 70% about the owner/handler
    • Each handler (owner) is different and every dog is different – therefore we forge relationships with each differently!  Aiming to become the best handler you can be with help from professional help will give you the BEST SUCCESS!
  3. Find a trainer who you can connect with and understand
    • Since the trainer’s main job is training YOU, it’s important that you can understand them and trust what they’re telling you.
  4. Training is all about repetition.
    • They say a dog needs to repeat a command 30 times with a cue before they’ve learned it. This sounds like a lot; however, it does’t mean you need to set aside 2 hours a day.  Start with 5-10 minutes at a time and train/practice in short bursts throughout the day! A great way to time training sessions is every commercial break while watching TV.
  5. If you’ve bought/adopted/rescued a puppy (under 1 year old), hunker down!  The training journey has just begun!! Be willing to invest the time, patience and expense to help your dog be the best dog he/she can be!

Nationwide Pet store trainers

Both PetCo and PetSMART typically have in-store training classes. They’re on the cheaper end of the spectrum and provide a great environment with lots of strange smells, sounds and people in and around classes; socialization.  Trainers in these types of facilities come with a variety of training experience and a limited amount of space.  Choose your trainer wisely.


Show recommendations in Western Washington
Trainers on this list are in alphabetical order.

A Savvy Dog Training

( – Lynnwood, Mill Creek and Woodinville – Great all around trainers, classes for obedience, agility and reactive dogs.

Nitro K9

( – Edmonds and most of King County – Lots of packages and classes.

One Command K9

( – Lacey, WA –  Specializes in general obedience

PacWest K9

( – Tacoma, WA – Gina comes highly recommended by other shepherd owners –  offers general obedience and several dog sports.

Puppy Perfectors

( – Seattle, WA – Comes highly recommended for puppy obedience and beginning agility classes.

Riverdog Canine Coach

( Issaquah, WA – Great for general obedience as well as dog sports. They are one of the better options out there for puppy classes as well.

Sparks K9

(  Monroe, WA – A great resource for both puppies and adults alike! They have specialized classes for reactive dogs as well.

Take the Lead

( – King County – General obedience with specialization in reactivity.


Show recommendations in Western Oregon
Listed alphabetically

Huffman K9 Obedience – Canby, OR – Jensen Huffman brings over 18 years of training experience to the public.  Services range from puppy classes and group obedience to classes to classes/sessions for dogs with reactivity and severe dog/people aggression; service dog training and personal protection training and more.

Pet Village Ltd – Salem, OR – Jennifer brings a lifetime of experience with German Shepherd Dogs, earning her international judges license to judge working dogs in 2007; known to be the youngest to achieve that honor in U.S.  Variety of classes are offered puppy classes, general obedience agility and more.

Online Video courses

Show online video recommendations
Online video courses can be an option to aid you as you navigate your relationship with your dog.  Not recommended as the only method of training, these sites can be very helpful!

( Leerburg is a collection of training material from a large number of trainers with a variety of knowledge and ability.

( Mike Ritland, the author of Team Dog, SEAL Dogs and a few other books, has started a new training site like Leerburg.  He has been featured across America in various newspapers and television shows.