In any case, the least of your expenses is going to be the adoption fee, even if the dog comes from a breeder. Proper care of a dog includes feeding, grooming, exercising, veterinary care, your time and patience, and (in a perfect world) training. Training will actually help reduce your veterinary care by allowing your dog to respond to commands, thus avoiding hazards.
Households do exist out there, where free advice can make things worse. Dog training done well, is a skill (some might say an art form). It's a learned skill that has taken hours on hours of practice. For a professional dog trainer, this should mean hours and hours with many dogs that are not the trainer's own dogs!! These should also be random dogs not trained only because the trainer or behaviorists finds them interesting, but trained towards a goal and IMO a standard. When presented with "the problem" or "the issue", trainers who have studied hard know that (unless this is a bomb proof or no issue dog---in which case you are probably not getting the call) communication and a dialogue of skills or commands are needed to begin to address the problem.
A typical jumping problem that does not respond well to ignore it OR stand like a tree, usually could use a stay command. In order to have a stay command, you need to have a sit command. In order for the stay to be useful, training around distance, movement, and distraction are needed. Not something you are likely to learn in a quickly typed comment OR in a single lesson. Owners, being beginners without X many years in handling and training dogs to a measurable standard, need practice on things like leash handling, timing, body posture, and learning to relax and loosen up. As with any skill, these things aren't learned in an hour session, but upon repetition of practicing the skills CORRECTLY. In a lesson for an individual, what is happening is the trainer is coaching the owner on how to train their dog.
Dog training is a business. A business that most of us adore and love no end, but this is not a hobby. This is a profession. If if dog training were free or at a minimal cost, dog trainers would not be able to afford to be dog trainers. However, this is still not why a dog trainer's fee is above minimum wage.
Okay, so why are the fees 60.00 to 100.00 per hour? There is a reason that you are paying well above minimum wage to a respected professional dog trainer.
TIME AND EXPENSE OF EDUCATION: A whole other debate in the dog world is how you go about getting your education. Someday, I will tackle that subject in an in depth article about that. The talented and knowledgeable dog trainers out there have put significant time and expense in acquiring their education. A trainer should not have just trained their own dog, and then had a vision one day to put their shingle out. Putting out the shingle should have had work, sweat, money, time, travel, and some pretty hard knocks behind it. This knowledge is a combination of learned by the guidance of many mentors and learned by just the sheer amount of time that training was practiced. If you have a trainer who is further educated in aggression or behavioral problems, and has had a proven success rate, then that is a bit of help that is hard to find. Education is not just a one time thing for a dog trainer. Education for a dog trainer is something that is acquired every year by pushing themselves out there beyond the safety of their prior knowledge.
TIME OF LESSON PLAN CREATION AND FOLLOW UP: Before the lesson, I prepare and look at my notes as to what was done the last lesson. I create the lesson plan for that day with the individual team in mind. After the lesson, I send my clients the notes on what we did, the very detailed directions, and specific notes on special problems or issues observed during the lesson. I tell my clients to call me if they have a problem during the week. I would rather iron out the problems so that they can practice correctly in between, rather than play catch up on the next lesson. Therefore, my minimum time on one lesson can be three hours and more.
TIME AND EXPENSE OF FACILITY AND CLEANING: Oh yes, dog training businesses have overhead costs!! Some operations even include the cost of the equipment in their fees. There is the cost of maintaining inside and outside practice areas, disinfecting, clean water buckets available at all times, waste bags, pooper scoopers, trash cans in areas, solutions to take care of accidents on the site immediately, electronic cleaning equipment, building costs, depreciation costs, insurance costs, jumps, articles, fences, staff, and it keeps going. If the trainer is traveling, there are all the vehicle costs that go along with it. (tolls, meters, gas, insurance, repairs, parking, maintenance)
TIME AND EXPENSE OF TRAVEL: First of all, it's not just that hour that you are paying for. If there is a good reason, I will go to to my clients (within reasonable distance) for their lessons. The time and expense of travel is something to consider. Also, so many owners are not there for the appointment, late for the appointment, or not prepared for the appointment when the trainer gets there. It can also that no homework has been done, so when the trainer gets there for the appointment, it needs to be cancelled before any further "new" work can be done.
CREATIVITY AND PROBLEM SOLUTION: The above things lend to the creativity and efficient problem solving of a professional. Due to the time spent in the field with a variety of sizes, temperaments, and breeds; a Professional Dog Trainer can get the job done efficiently and effectively. The investment in the dog trainer will also erase the need to find a professional in the future to solve the same problem. However, maybe that Professional Dog Trainer will inspire you to advance your knowledge as well. A Professional Dog Trainer will have improved the situation so that your relationship with your canine companion is much easier and more enjoyable. This will be true for the both of you.
The dog training profession is a profession just like any other. Yes, most of us love all dogs and want to do what we can to help the dog/canine team exist a happy, healthy, and safe existence for the rest of their lives. However, that does not mean we do not need to charge a reasonable fee for our services to cover our costs.
Need a professional dog trainer's help? We are here for you. Just call, e-mail (email@example.com), or fill out our client interview form.