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Cost of Dog Training by State

Cost of Dog Training by State

The cost of training a dog to be a service dog varies by region. We’ll help you choose the right service by comparing the prices of different training options and giving you an estimate based on your state or region.

Training costs vary by how hands-on the professionals are

When looking for training programs or classes, keep in mind that not all trainers offer the same services. Generally, dog trainers fall into three types:

  1. Professional trainers who teach self-training (the handler trains the dog with the help of the professional trainer)
  2. Professional trainers who train the dog themselves (whether through private sessions, group sessions, or “board and train” programs)
  3. Professional trainers who train dogs and sell already trained dogs (without offering training services for the dog you may already have)

In this article, we’ll examine the cost of the first two types of trainers. The first one, self-training, is the more affordable option, and is reflected in the lower end of the price range, while the second option is more expensive and usually falls toward the higher end of the price range. The third option usually starts at $25,000 but can go even higher than that, but we are only going to look at training services, not trained dogs for sale. The base number of hours used to calculate hourly rates in the table below is 48 hours per program.

To find dog trainers near you, check out this page

Prices vary by level of professional involvement

Overall, the lower-end prices, from $40 to $100 an hour, reflect the cost of self-training a dog with the help of a professional, where you are hands-on and actively involved throughout the process. Higher-end prices from $200 to $600 an hour are rough estimates of board-and-train programs, where you deliver your dog to the trainer for on-premises training at the facility or for private and/or group sessions that don’t require your involvement.

Cost of Dog Training by State
The amount of hands-on training by the handler depends on the chosen training program, but generally, more involvement means lower costs.

Dog training can take weeks or months

We used 48 hours of training as the baseline to estimate hourly rates to make them comparable, but each trainer and each program have varying durations.

Some dog trainers offer a basic package that involves around 4 sessions of basic training and 2–4 sessions of more advanced training, with the following sessions priced on a per-session basis (anywhere from $50 to $100/hour). These sessions are spread over the course of weeks or months, taking anywhere between 9 months and 2 years, depending on the skill level the dog will get and how old the dog is when starting the training. Cascade Service Dogs in Washington (state) estimate that self-training your dog takes around 9–12 months. Programs that only last a few weeks usually only provide basic training, which doesn’t guarantee that the dog will pass a public access test. Read more on the public access test here.

For example, Faithfully K9 in Colorado charges a flat $85/session or free for Active Duty and Veterans, but as a nonprofit, they acknowledge that this covers only half the cost of the training and that the total cost (to them) comes out to $10,000 per dog. Other trainers specify a total duration for the whole training (for example, 8 weeks), or they recommend a certain number of training hours for you and your dog (usually several hundred hours if done entirely at home). Take Certified Canine Services in New York, for example — they start with a 6-week basic service dog program before moving on to task training, which is more individualized and tailored to your specific dog.

Many trainers don’t list their prices publicly (and prices vary by dog)

Since every dog is different, many experienced trainers have different prices based on your dog’s age, size, and breed. Most dog trainers offer different types of training, including non-service types like obedience training and non-psychiatric service training as well. For this reason, they don’t write a blanket price for all training on their website, and prefer that you reach out to them so they can understand more about the tasks you would need your service dog to perform and what kind of dog you have. Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask if you don’t find the information you need!

About the Author: The writing team at Service Dog Certifications is made up of folks who really know their stuff when it comes to disability laws and assistance animals. Many of our writers and editors have service dogs themselves and share insights from their own experiences. All of us have a passion for disability rights and animals.

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