From poodles in Page to pugs in Parkes, Canberra is home to many beloved four-legged companions. And what is not to love? Their gentle nature, playfulness, and endless affection sees the humble hound top the list as Australia’s favourite household pet.
That said, if you have ever had to deal with dowdy dog behaviour you will know how frustrating it can be. Endless barking, incessant jumping, and a world-wide toilet can make even the most experienced owner restless. Not to mention socialising with family, and dare I suggest other dogs?
Whatever the age or stage of your darling dog, I am sure that they (and you!) could benefit from some helping hands. This is where an experienced dog trainer can make the world of difference. Dog trainers are masters of behavioural modification. They use their knowledge of breed-based characteristics and an observant eye to vastly improve the nature of dogs.
And that’s not all. A well-trained dog reaps the emotional, physical, and mental benefits that comes with this type of stimulation. So, if mechanical, environmental, or reward lead training seems like too much just remember your dog will be better for it.
So where does one start? The good news is that we’ve shortlisted the best dog trainers that Canberra has to offer a mere few scrolls below.
What makes a great dog trainer?
Great dog trainers are canine lovers possessing a natural affinity with all breeds great and small. They are masters of behavioural training and can make even the most obnoxious pup a sheer delight. Here is what we think makes a great dog trainer:
- Natural affinity with dogs. The best professional dog trainers are truly passionate about our furry four-legged friends. This is so important as effective dog training requires a deep understanding of natural dog behaviours, abilities, and habits. Without this insight getting the right outcome can be quite difficult indeed.
- Qualified & experienced. Your dog’s wellbeing is never something that should be left in the hands of amateurs. When searching for the perfect trainer always prioritise qualifications and experience. While formal qualifications are not mandatory, they are most certainly advantageous. Look for a certificate III in Dog Training and Behaviour or a certificate IV in Companion Animal Services. Another good measure of your trainer is membership with peak industry body, the National Dog Trainers Federation.
- Positive methods. Let’s be honest; dog training is not exactly play time for your pooch. While great dog trainers make it as fun as possible, training can be laborious work for your dog. Learning new things is challenging, and the lengthy sessions may make it hard for your dog to concentrate. Positive training methods seek to reward dogs for exhibiting the correct behaviours, and encourages future displays.
- Observant. Much like us humans, no two dogs are ever the same. Their temperament and overall nature differs by breed, age, and from one dog to another. As such, careful and considered observation is needed to assess each dog and their individual needs. An observant dog trainer will effectively read your dogs cues and tailor techniques to ensure they yield the best response. Dog training is by no means a one size fits all approach, so seek a trainer that uses observation to their advantage.
- Compassionate. Certainly, all great dog trainers possess compassion in spades. This intuitive empathy ensures that a dog’s needs are always first and foremost in the mind of their trainer. Working at a lightspeed pace or pushing a dog too hard can have disastrous results. Equally, many dogs may come with predisposed anxiety or fear which needs to be treated carefully. A sensitive approach to communication and training all help to achieve the right outcomes.
The best dog trainers in Canberra
RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.
To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.
The RSPCA ACT runs a dog and puppy training school, committed to the education, welfare and training of pet dogs and their owners. RSPCA qualified instructors use force-free, rewards-based training and aim to build strong foundations of trust, respect and consistency.
Training courses, which cover puppies and dogs of all ages, include puppy socialisation, puppy basics, adult basics and senior basics.
Group training is designed for dogs of different ages and abilities. They’re limited to a maximum of eight dogs per course, so participants and dogs receive more individual help and attention.
RSPCA ACT training focuses on manners, impulse control, confidence building, how to sit, drop, how to walk with a loose lead and how to introduce dogs to each other. It provides owners with the skills to foster a fulfilling relationship with their dogs.
Wayne Capper wrote on Google, “The people are awesome and the service they provide is second-to-none and absolutely vital to our community.”
Bow Tie Dog Training is passionate about providing quality services to owners and their dogs—private one-on-one training, group walks and dog sitting. With training, Bow Tie supports obedience and behavioural issues. Group walks are perfect for exercise and socialising (hikes vary in difficulty and length). Dog sitting is at client homes and includes a walk and plenty of pats.
On Google, Pennie Culpan wrote, “Highly recommend Bow Tie Dog Training … super knowledgeable, helpful, and really cares about animal (and human) clients.”
For over forty years, the Belconnen Dog Obedience Club has been helping owners nurture their dogs to develop happy and healthy behaviours. As a not-for-profit organisation they are run by experienced and knowledgeable dog-loving volunteers.
Well regarded for their canine companion classes, the Belconnen Dog Obedience Club also offers ancillary activities from agility, to disc dog, and even dog sports. With four levels of training available the Belconnen Dog Obedience Club makes for an excellent choice.
Lu Weck has this to say about the club on Google, “Really down to earth trainers, completely approachable with intelligent, passionate and patient advice. Because it’s run on the backs of volunteers you know that they are there for the right reasons.”
Positioned as one of Australia’s premium dog behaviour and training companies, Sit Drop Stay Canberra offers holistic psychology-based techniques.
This approach utilises energy, body language, emotions, and presence to compliment purely mechanical training techniques. The overall philosophy is based on fostering better dog-owner relationships.
Services are offered on a private basis and includes dog training, behavioural modification, and in-home puppy training. For tailored sessions with the whole family in the comfort of your own home look to Sit Drop Stay Canberra.
Carrington Melbourne had this to say on Google, “Ally was absolutely fantastic! Our pup had non stop barking and while we knew it would be a few weeks before she was better, Ally managed to reduce barking the day she left!….”
The ACT Companion Dog Club is a not-for-profit organisation run by volunteers who are passionate about dogs and improving dog behaviour. They offer comprehensive obedience and behaviour training, as well as a raft of activities from fly ball to dancing and more.
The team champions positive training methods to reshape behaviours in healthy and supportive ways. Suitable for pooches young and old, their training and sports classes will transform a mischievous dog into the perfect four-legged companion.
As Bashir Muhammad said on Google, “It’s a good place to train your dog friend to make them a better family member.”
Since the facilities inception over six years ago, Paws2Play have built a stellar reputation for their dog training, socialisation, and daycare services. Offering an extensive range of classes, Paws2Play caters to every age and ability level from puppy manners right through to masters training.
Classes are run by qualified, knowledgeable, and experienced trainers who utilise positive reinforcement techniques. For courses anchored in fun and practicality, look to Paws2Play for building confident and resilient dogs.
Craig Harvey shared this short but sweet review on Google, “Great spot for puppy training.”
There’s a lot that comes with providing the best care for your pet. Check out our articles on the best dog groomers, the best vets, the best emergency after-hours vets, and the best pet shops and pet supplies for more helpful information on Canberra’s best pet services!
If you’re interested in finding somewhere for your pet to stay whilst you’re away, our articles on Canberra’s best dog walkers and pet sitters and best dog boarding kennels and catteries may be helpful.
Finally, if you’re looking to adopt another furry friend, our article on the best places for rescue dogs in Canberra may be of interest to you.
Your experience with dog trainers in Canberra
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Have you had experience with any of the dog trainers listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.