Is it worth it to buy a trained dog? Here’s What to Do Next

How old is your puppy?

You might know the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You can indeed teach older dogs to learn new skills— but it just may take more time.

For example, an eight-week-old puppy who attends training classes every week will likely understand basic obedience and commands within a few weeks. On the other hand, an older dog who is used to a certain lifestyle may take months to relearn obedience skills.

What is your dog’s temperament?

Your dog’s temperament is essentially the way your dog responds to people, situations, and stimuli. That’s why the training method you choose will depend on how they look at the world and their personality type.

Generally speaking, it takes anywhere between 12 to 16 weeks to cover basics like attention and focus skills, commands like walking on a leash, “sit,” “stay,” and basic proofing.

But you can put all these worries to the side when you decide to buy a pre-trained puppy.

Puppies with training have 100 to 200 hours of training under their belt before they go to their forever homes.

This means you save on months of researching trainers, attending training sessions, and practicing your pup’s skills while also trying to juggle your busy schedule.

How Much Does It Cost to Train a Dog?

Although exact price points vary depending on where you live and the type of training you’re seeking, here are some basic costs:

  • The average cost of group dog training is $30 to $80 per class.
  • Private, one-on-one dog training with a certified trainer may cost between $100 to $130 per hour.
  • Dog obedience training schools cost $200 to $600 per week. Meanwhile, boot camp kennel training runs from $500 to $1,250 per week.
  • Pre-trained puppies who receive 100 hours of training are around $2,500. For 200 hours of training, the price is about $7,500.
  • When you break down and compare costs, you’ll see that 100 hours of private training costs $13,000. Similarly, 100 hours of group training costs $8,000. So, buying a pre-trained puppy at $2,500 is worth every cent.

    Personal Protection dogs- Buying fully trained vs training your own from a pup.

    All dogs are good dogs, but not all dogs are well-trained pets. There are dogs that bark when the doorbell rings. Dogs that pull while on walks. Dogs that chase the family cat. Some pet owners chalk up their pets’ behavior to mere doggy antics, but sometimes bad behavior requires professional help.

    Take Ginger, a rescue puppy that would poop when someone picked her up. When strangers came near, she’d hide under the porch or tremble. This was how she expressed her fear of the world around her—a fear that made training her difficult, said Kim Kavin, Ginger’s owner and author of The Dog Merchants: Inside the Big Business of Breeders, Pet Stores, and Rescuers. At a loss, Kavin sought the help of a dog trainer (well, five different trainers) when Ginger turned 1 year old.

    “It was trial and error,” said Kavin, who also noted that methodologies vary among professionals. “You need to find someone willing to work with you. We had to adapt to Ginger’s peculiarities, which not a lot of trainers will allow you to do.”

    Dog trainers can be helpful for dogs of different ages with different issues, from fear to aggression to problems mastering basic commands. And hiring one shouldn’t be considered a reflection of an owner’s failure. Sassafras Lowrey, a certified trick dog instructor, said, “Working with a trainer isn’t a sign that something went wrong or that someone is failing at properly managing their dog. Rather, it’s a sign that you deeply love and value your dog and want to have a better relationship.”

    Strengthening that bond between owner and dog starts with finding the pet professional who is right for you. Here’s how to connect with the right dog trainer and follow through with their help.

    Whereas some newbie puppy owners enroll their pets in “obedience school,” some lifelong dog owners rely on their own know-how when they add a new dog to their pack. However, pet experts agree that every dog (and even experienced dog owners) can benefit from a dog trainer’s expertise.

    “Starting with a trainer once a dog enters a household can help build their resilience and create a relationship more quickly,” said Erin Askeland, a Denver-based animal health and behavior consultant with the pet-care franchise Camp Bow Wow.

    Another good time to seek a professional’s advice is when your dog stops following commands. A pet trainer can bring a fresh perspective, which owners need when training roadblocks appear.

    Finding a professional dog trainer in your area isn’t as simple as browsing Yelp reviews. Pet professionals go by several titles, such as “behavior counselor,” “pet trainer,” “pet psychologist,” or “pet therapist.” There’s also no state or federal certification needed to be a dog trainer in the United States, though bills have been introduced in Massachusetts and New Jersey.

    Certifications will help you parse through page after page of online listings—but you shouldn’t depend on the credentials alone. Experts also suggest calling references and researching a dog trainer’s training philosophy. And if that first training session leaves you unsure about the fit, it’s okay to say “no thanks.”

    “Don’t be afraid to be picky,” Lowrey said. “If a trainer does or says something that makes you or your dog uncomfortable, leave and find someone new to work with.”