The Best Dog Trainers in Illinois of 2022

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Welcome to the Illinois Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2022. This is a list of the top dog trainers in Illinois based on votes from the Sniffspot community and the general public. Over 45,000 votes were used in compiling this list. We have only included the top trainers with sufficient votes and the trainers are ordered in terms of the number of votes received. Trainers that tied are ranked in reverse alphabetical order based on first name. All dog trainers on this list are positive reinforcement only, as defined by no force, fear, intimidation, or aversive methods used

This list is compiled by Sniffspot, which is the largest network of private dog parks for rent in the world. Each of the thousands of Sniffspot dog parks are hosted by locals on private land with 100% private bookings to maximize safety for guests and their dogs. Sniffspot offers various types of dog parks, including fenced, water parks, indoor dog parks, dog beaches and more. Sniffspot has worked closely with dog trainers to create safe spaces for dogs and our top trainer lists are a natural extension of that relationship. You can browse Sniffspot’s local dog parks here.

The Best Illinois Dog Trainers in 2022

Shir Limazati

When I was younger, I always heard people say – “I’ll give you one more chance ” I used to think , what if that’s not enough? I knew when I grew up I would tell others – you can have as many chances as it takes”, I definitely didn’t think I was ready for a dog, but when I needed him, he was suddenly there.

I had experienced rough roads, a high stress corporate job and a few too many traumatic life changing events in a short period of time. Then one fateful day I met a little nine week old chocolate lab that changed it all. I wasn’t prepared for a dog. I could barely take care of myself. But I took one look at him and we decided to give each other another chance. And that became his name.

I am someone who believes that challenge brings change, and that things are simple but never easy. I never took the easy route, even when I thought I was. As someone who started a whole new career during her middle aged years, there is nothing you can tell me that would convince me that something is impossible to attain. Having a dog is a life time commitment. Having me at your side? It’s like having a village cheering you on to keep your commitment, by reminding you why you made it in the first place.

Certifications: ABCDT, CPDT-KA

Services include:
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
Behavioral issue focus:

We work with common puppy behaviors – nipping, jumping , barking. We also work with attention seeking behaviors – begging , demand barking , scratching. We specialize in dogs with anxiety – dogs who are shy with new people , and also leash reactive dogs.

Training methods:

We are 100% positive reinforcement and use clicker training in our sessions. Each client receives a free 30 minute phone consultation to go over their dog’s story and your goals. Most clients sign up for 5 sessions , in which we meet every other week at your home or an offsite location for an hour.

Shir brings her laptop to every session and writes all notes from your session. Notes are emailed to you at the end of every session and every client gets 24/7 text support in between sessions. Every client receives homework which is encouraged to be worked on for an hour a day , broken up into 15 minute chunks.

Service area:

ACT serves most Chicago neighborhoods and some northern suburbs. From Evanston to the north , to Streeterville to the south.

Website: https://www.anotherchancetraining.com


Judit Arroyo

Judit was only 17 years old when she found herself in over her head with her first dog, Puffy. Always a timid pup, at two years old he became very aggressive and reactive towards people and other dogs. Not willing to give up on her dog and not able to afford training Judit was determined to learn the art of dog training. In 2002 she launched her career as a professional dog trainer when he applied for a dog training internship in one of Chicago’s only training schools at that time and was then hired to be part of their training staff.

While other teenagers were hanging out with friends, Judit was spending her Friday nights accompanying her mentor to obedience trials, her Saturdays observing obedience classes, and her Sundays volunteering at shelters and assisting her second mentor certifying therapy dogs. Fast forward more than a decade and a half, and Judit’s passion for dogs and behavior continues to grow. After receiving her BA in Sociology with a Psychology minor, Judit continued her dog-training career. In her 15 years of hands-on experience, Judit served as Director of Training for a daycare facility in the South-loop for 10 years, led the training program for Animal Career Academy for 6 years, and served as the dog/handler-team test evaluator for Sit Stay Read for 10 years.

She writes about dog behavior and two of her articles have been published in The APDT Chronicle of the Dog. Judit’s Reactive Dog class was modeled in The APDT Chronicle of the Dog, and she was the on-set trainer for the forthcoming movie, Beast. She has competed in Rally-O, CPE, and AKC Agility with her Miniature Aussie, Lilu Manai. In addition, Judit has co-authored a manuscript for dog trainers on working with human clients. Judit has also written a manuscript on training urban dogs, and one on troubleshooting problematic dog behaviors.

Education is a big part of Judit’s passion and commitment to the welfare of dogs. She currently sits on the board for the Inner Pup Org as their behaviorist, and travels yearly to New Orleans to volunteer in their three-week education program at local schools. When she is not teaching, blogging, or training, Judit enjoys weekly trips to the forest preserve with her dogs, Lilu and her adopted American Bulldog, Saint. She enjoys her daily fetching outings with Lilu and sign language training with Saint, who is deaf. You can also find her posting photos and running Lilu and Saint’s Instagram page.

Puffy lived 15 wonderful and happy years- he will always remain Judit’s inspiration to learn and help other people who find themselves in the same boat she was 16 years ago.

Certifications: Certified professional dog trainer

Services include:

  • In home training
Behavioral issue focus:

Separation anxiety, general anxiety, fear aggression, leash reactivity, dog aggression, people aggression, hyperactivity and more.

Training methods:

I teach group classes, behavior consultations both in-person and virtual as well.

Service area:

Chicago, IL

Website: https://anythingispawzible.com/


Nancy Paolucci

Nancy graduated from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa with a degree in Marketing and found herself in the world of promotional products where she met her husband. They adopted their first dog in 2007 and Nancy never looked back. She delved into training and dog behavior research, realizing her dream of working with dogs. In March of 2013, she completed a six month behavior and training program at CanineLink Academy in Chicago and began training with AnimalSense.

In 2017 she became a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, CPDT-KA and continues to learn and grow as a trainer. Although she loves working with puppies, Nancy has a soft spot for dogs with both anxiety and reactivity issues, having had rescue dogs with both. She has taken Agility, Nosework and Dock Diving classes with her own dogs, past and present. Present including Gunner, a yellow lab and COVID pup, Rocco, an English Bulldog/Pittie mix.

Certifications: CPDT-KA (certified professional dog trainer, knowledge assessed)

Services include:
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
Behavioral issue focus:

Leash Reactivity, Multi Dog Households, Fear reactivity to people and other dogs, shy dogs

Training methods:

Positive Reinforcement utilizing management, training and counter conditioning/desensitization approaches. All lessons conclude with written follow up and supportive resources.

Service area:

North Shore of Chicago (North Side Chicago Neighborhoods, O’Hare area, Park Ridge, Glenview, Northbrook, Skokie, Wilmette and Winnetka)

Website: http://www.animalsense.com


Gina Nichols

Dog Obedience by Gina, LLC (D.O.G.) is owned and operated by Gina Nichols. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), Fear Free Certified and an honors graduate of Animal Behavior College where I earned my certification as an Animal Behavior Certified Dog Trainer.

My commitment to these programs provided me with a formal education in canine obedience, training and understanding behavior and its motives. My certifications, education and experience provide me the skills required to effectively and humanely train your dog while keeping alive the spark that makes your dog so special to you.In addition to my certifications, I have a certificate of completion in Pet CPR and First Aid. I am a Professional Member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, the Pet Professional Guild, International Association Animal Behavior Consultants and I am bonded and insured.

Certifications: CPDT-KA, Fear Free Certified, ABCDT

Services include:
  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
Behavioral issue focus:

Common issues such as jumping, counter-surfing, inappropriate chewing, digging, potty training, bolting, pulling on leash, leash reactivity, puppy biting can all be eliminated using techniques that are really a positive experience for your dog as well as the human.

We can also work with you to help your fearful and/or reactive dog learn to trust. We will do this with patience and kindness, giving your dog the time and space to learn to feel comfortable in situations that are making him feel UNcomfortable.

Training methods:

The training techniques we use are always positive, science-based, happy and let’s not forget, FUN for the dogs as well as the humans.

We use treats, toys and praise as rewards when he learns to do the things “we humans” consider to be polite. My goal is to teach you to look at your dog as an individual and to have the best relationship possible.

Service area:

We work remotely as well as in person. My business is located in Belvidere, IL and we service Rockford, Machesney Park, Loves Park, Poplar Grove, Caledonia, Garden Prairie, Cherry Valley, Roscoe, Davis Junction, Rockton, Kingston, Winnebego, Marengo

Website: https://dogobediencebygina.com


Megan Ores-Uhrich

Megan and Jennifer started Capricorn Dog Training, LLC in 2012. After working her magic with many Chicago dogs and their owners, Megan relocated to St. Louis in late 2021. She now works in the behavior department of the Humane Society of Missouri. The dogs and people of Chicago will miss her extraordinary dog behavior and training knowledge. Megan is currently not taking new clients.

Certifications: KPA CTP, CPDT-KA

Services include:
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
Behavioral issue focus:

On leash reactivity, stranger danger, separation anxiety, confidence issues

Training methods:

We meet in the clients home to discuss history and current issues, we discuss management strategy, design a training plan and start training

Service area:

St louis, mo

Website: https://capricorndog.com/


Debbie Bickford

Since 1999, “Debbie’s Dogs” has helped thousands of dog owners train their dogs in Chicago.Many of her students are referrals from past students, Chicago area vets, and rescue organizations. Her studies in psychology at Hofstra University (NY), where she earned a four year BA degree, have played an integral part in her understanding of behavior and training.

Certifications: Certificate in Training and Counseling (CTC) with honors, from the Academy for Dog Trainers, under the direction of world renowned trainer and author Jean Donaldson (“The Culture Clash”, “Dogs are from Neptune”, “Fight”, and “Mine”)

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training

Website: https://debbiesdogs.com/


Randa Clark

At Tailchasers, our mission is “Chasing a better world, one tail at a time.” Our training is based on helping dogs increase the frequency of desirable behaviors and decrease the undesirable behaviors by rewarding the behaviors we want to see and finding alternate behaviors for the behaviors we want to eliminate. We specialize in behavior problems and work with many local rescues to help dogs become more adoptable.

Certifications: Arizona Canine Academy, Pet Tech Instructor, Canine Good Citizen Evaluator

Services include:
  • Aggressive dog training
  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Service dog training
  • Off leash training
Behavioral issue focus:

We spend a lot of our sessions working in improving behavior problems, such as resource guarding, impulse control, leash walking, house manners, and leash reactivity.

Training methods:

We use science based positive reinforcement methods and we help pet owners develop boundaries in the home to help reinforce desired behaviors and eliminate inappropriate behaviors.

Service area:

Northwest suburbs of Chicago including Arlington Heights, Palatine, Barrington, Lake Barrington, Fox River Grove, Kildeer, Lake Zurich, Long Grove, Deer Park, Buffalo Grove, Cary, Crystal Lake, Inverness, Barrington Hills, Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect, Prospect Heights, Wheeling, and Elk Grove Village

Website: https://tailchasersinc.com/


Kyra Browning

Kyra Browning has been working with animals all of her life from riding, training show horses and working with her dogs. She opened Comfy K9’s Kennel in 2010 and has many satisfied clients. Kyra is a CNWI certified K9 Nose Work instructor in Nose Work instruction and scent detection!

Certifications: CNWI certified K9 Nose Work instructor in Nose Work instruction and scent detection!

Services include:

  • Protection/guard dog training

Website: https://www.comfyk9s.com/


Kristina Rosinia

Kristina has a passion for helping families learn how to communicate better with their animals. She is both a technically skilled trainer and compassionate for the humans and animals she supports. A desire for science-based methods and an approach through which animals enjoy learning led Kristina to pursue training with the Karen Pryor Academy (KPA).

The KPA Professional Dog Training Program helped Kristina master the art of rewarding the behaviors we want to see and to better understand how force-free training, using positive reinforcement, creates positive bonds between humans and animals while providing exceptional training results. Kristina has extensive experience training both cats and dogs, has trained hedgehogs and created widely distributed resources on hedgehog body language, and works with a variety of other domesticated animals.

Kristina is dedicated to lifelong learning with animals and works with clients from the time they bring a new pet home, through their desired certifications and continued enrichment throughout a pets life.Kristina has had almost every shape and size of pets personally but also fosters with local rescues. Kristina was previously on the Board of Directors for As Good as Gold (AGaG)‚ Golden Retriever rescue and she fosters with AGaG, PAWS Chicago, the Anticruelty Society and Albert’s Dog Lounge. With hundreds of animals coming through her family on their journey to find a home,

Kristina has personally experienced shy, aggressive, wild, sick and everything in between. Between her personal experiences and thousands of clients, Kristina can empathize with the struggles and stress of everything from a mouthy puppy to a reactive dog, a feisty kitty to nail trimming drama, and just about anything you are dealing with.Kristina is also a Canine Behavior Trainer and Instructor at PAWS Chicago, where she teaches group classes for all obedience levels including training in the wild, cautious canine, relaxing reactivity, and nose work.

Kristina enjoys helping clients learn how to train their pets and focuses sessions on usable behaviors for a well-mannered companion. When you train with Kristina, you will learn how to provide your pet mental stimulation and to have fun along the way. Kristina is a participating trainer for the Humane Alliance of Rescue Trainers, a nonprofit organization consisting of professional animal trainers and behavior consultants who share a passion for supporting animal rescue. As part of this network, Pawsitive Pup Training provides behavior resources to rescue organizations and foster families.Kristina holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida, a Master of Public Health from Washington University in St. Louis and is a graduate of the extensive Karen Pryor Academy dog training professional program.

Kristina is a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Professional (KPA CTP), is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), is a Supporting Member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), and is a Professional Member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT). Kristina is also a graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy ‚’Puppy Start Right for Instructors’ course, specifically focused on socialization and development needs of puppies as they start their training journey and a graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy ‘Shelter Training and Enrichment’ course which focused on helping improve the quality of life and adoptability of shelter animals, as well as making them more successful in their forever homes.

Additionally, Kristina is a graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy ‘Train Your Cat’ course with an expansive knowledge of cat behavior, enrichment and even clicker training your cat! Kristina is also an approved American Kennel Club evaluator for the Canine Good Citizen program, Urban CGC, S.T.A.R. Puppy, Tricks and Home Manners programs.

Certifications: MPH (Master of Public Health), KPA CTP (Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner), CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed)

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training

Website: https://www.pawsitivepuptrainer.com/


Sniffspot Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get in touch with these dog trainers?

Each of the trainer profiles contains a link to their website. You can click through to their website where you can find more contact information.

Are these dog trainers certified professionals?

Each dog trainer’s certifications, if provided, are listed in their profile. Dog training is not regulated at the federal or state level, so there is no standard dog training certification. However, many private institutions offer certifications. Some of the top certifications in the dog training industry are CPDT- KA, IAABC, Karen Pryor Academy – KPA certification, Jean Donaldson’s Academy – CTC certification and Fear Free Certification.

What methods do these dog trainers teach?

There are many methods for teaching dogs. All of the trainers included on this list are positive reinforcement only, as defined by no force, fear, intimidation, or aversive methods used. You can see more information in each trainer’s profile regarding their training services.

How much do these dog trainers cost?

Dog trainers have a wide range of costs for different services. We recommend first picking a trainer that provides the services that you are looking for, then reaching out to them to get up to date pricing.

Is training a dog good for the dog?

Yes! Training has many benefits for dogs. Going through a training process with your dog can improve the bond that you share with them. Also, training can do a lot to improve the confidence of a dog; it gives them more certainty that they understand how the world around them works. And lastly, it’s just fun for the dog and for you. Training can be very stimulating and enriching for a dog.

Can an aggressive dog be trained?

Yes! Any dog behavior can be worked on through training. Aggression is a serious issue, but it is also a term that is used very broadly. Many dogs that are thought to be aggressive are actually reactive, which is a different behavior altogether. If you believe you have an aggressive dog, we recommend reaching out to one of your local top trainers to get their diagnosis and advice.

I am a trainer. How can I get listed here?

We update this list once per year, normally starting in January. Make sure to keep an eye on our social media and sign up for email updates with Sniffspot in order to be in the loop on the next round of nominations.


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