Have you brought home a new puppy recently? Perhaps you found the perfect pooch at a shelter or want to start using your dog on the farm or as a hunting companion. If that’s the case, you’ll likely be enlisting the help of a trainer. After finding the perfect match and starting to see some results, you might find yourself wondering if you should give your dog trainer a tip.
So, do you tip dog trainers? Dog trainers are service professionals who set their own rates, and tipping is not required. While tips are not expected by most trainers, if your trainer goes above and beyond their basic duties or you see a great turnout in your dog’s behavior, a tip is a great way to show appreciation that most trainers will accept with gratitude.
The perfect amount, when to tip, and how to provide the tip are the result of several factors.
So let’s now explore these very things and all that goes into tipping your dog trainer.
Should You Tip Your Dog Trainer?
Tipping your dog trainer is not a required part of receiving training services, but it is an option for showing your trainer appreciation for their work. Tipping in the service industry has been common for years in many places, and dog trainers are no exception to this.
A skilled dog trainer is a service professional who has dedicated time, research, and practice to master their career.
They have to know a wide range of techniques and approaches to handling different animal behaviors.
Some dog trainers have specialized education in different training styles and dog performance outcomes – such as training hunting dogs, agility dogs, or herding dogs.
Tipping your dog trainer shows an understanding of the work they put in behind the scenes to help you and your dog.
Do Dog Trainers Expect To Be Tipped?
A love for animals is what led most dog trainers to their professional careers. Most trainers are happy to perform their job for the upfront rates they charge their customers without any additional need to be tipped. As such, most do not expect to be tipped.
Private trainers set their own fees, and trainers working for larger companies have agreed to their pay arrangement with their overseeing company.
Dog trainers do not expect to receive and make a living off tips, but a tip can be a nice surprise when it happens.
Dog training may seem like fun and frolicking with a dog or a dog and its owner, but it isn’t without risk.
Dog trainers work with dogs who have a variety of behavioral concerns and needs.
Dogs can be unexpectedly aggressive, they may scratch or claw to express themselves during training, and quality training can be physically and mentally demanding.
A trainer must remain calm under stress and the pressure of wanting to provide you with the perfect family member.
All of these things add together to make a career that can be as demanding as it is rewarding, and a tip from an appreciative client might be the very thing a trainer needs at the end of a trying day.
How Much Should You Tip Your Dog Trainer?
As with many other tipping scenarios, a rate of 15% – 20% of a training session is often a good amount to tip your dog trainer for a standard tip. If you buy your training by the hour, you may want to pay the equivalent of a half-hour extra of work. If you pay for a package of sessions at once, a percentage-based tip at the end of the package is also a great way to calculate a tip.
When thinking about the tip amount, you will want to consider the above situations surrounding how you pay your normal training fees.
You may also want to consider picking a set amount you tip at the end of each session or group of sessions.
The biggest determining factor in how much your tip your trainer should be your budget.
You want to tip your trainer enough to show genuine appreciation for their work, but not so much that trying to tip becomes a stressful factor in your relationship with your trainer.
Trainers appreciate tips of all sizes when given with a thankful heart.
Do You Tip Dog Trainers Every Time?
The schedule you follow for tipping your dog trainer is based on your personal choice and what works best with your lifestyle and budget. As previously stated, most trainers are not in search of tips after every session. By choosing a regular interval to tip your trainer, you can budget for the expense and make sure your message of appreciation is well received by your trainer.
Even if you have a set plan for tipping your trainer, there are some occasions you may want to consider adding a tip spur of the moment.
Let us now look at some common examples of some:
After Aggression Behavior
If your dog has demonstrated unexpected aggression towards your trainer, but your trainer remains positive and willing to work with your dog, and the behavior improves, a tip may be a good idea.
If you have tried out more than one trainer with limited success and find one that begins making notable progress towards your goals, a tip is a great thank you.
Gives Extra Time
If your trainer extends a session without being asked or charging extra or provides a training tool free of charge, a tip is also appropriate.
As a dog owner who has used a trainer in the past, I have found a tip at the end of a puppy training course or at times where a trainer has put in voluntary extra work to help me tackle a challenge with my dog’s behavior to be a nice show of my gratitude.
When To Tip Dog Trainers
There are several options for when to give your dog trainer a tip. Many trainers sell their services as a set number of personally scheduled sessions or number of weekly training sessions. When a package of training comes to an end, it is a great time to give your dog trainer a tip. If your dog has been boarding at a training facility, the day you pick up your dog is an appropriate tipping opportunity. If you are tipping a long-standing trainer during a special occasion or holiday, a tip can be given when you discuss the special event.
If you are working with a dog trainer who is part of a larger company, they may need to receive tips as an add-on to their invoice at the time payment is accepted.
Adding on a tip to a bill at the time of payment is almost always an acceptable tipping time.
Any time you tip your dog trainer, make sure they know that you intend for the money to be a tip of gratitude for their work.
This prevents a trainer from thinking you are paying towards more training sessions or have accidentally overpaid for their work.
Something as simple as including a note of thanks or verbally complimenting their work as you tip lets them know that your extra dollars are a special incentive just for them.
When You May Want To Tip Your Dog Trainer More
You might want to tip your dog trainer more if they have helped you solve a long-standing issue with your dog, if they work well with a dog who has a history of aggression, if your trainer teaches helpful secondary commands during specialized training, or around holidays for long-standing trainer relationships.
On top of tipping your trainer a set amount on a regular basis or at the end of sessions, there might be moments that you could consider tipping your dog trainer a bit more.
Some dogs are harder to train than others and may not mesh well with every trainer they meet.
If you have tried several trainers or attempted to fix a behavior issue on your own without success and find a trainer who makes progress on the issue, a nice-sized tip when you see results is a fantastic idea.
If you have a dog with a history of aggression, it can sometimes be difficult to find a trainer willing to take on this challenge – both because these problems can be hard to improve and because of the risk of physical injury.
When you find a trainer with patience and positivity for working with your dog, an extra tip should be considered.
In some training scenarios, you may work with one trainer for an extended period of time.
If you have worked with a trainer for several months and a holiday or special occasion like a birthday comes around, you could consider a tip as both a thank you and a gift.
How To Pay Your Dog Trainer A Tip
After making a choice to tip your trainer and picking an amount to give, the last thing to know is the appropriate way to pay your dog trainer.
Similar to many tipping situations, adding on money to a scheduled payment is a secure choice for tipping your dog trainer.
This can be done by simply paying extra in the form you make your normal payments by cash, check, or a written tip on a credit card receipt. Make sure to include some sort of written or verbal thank you with your tip.
As mentioned earlier, if your trainer works as part of a larger company, make sure to check the company’s policy on tips.
Most companies are happy to see their trainers rewarded with tips, but some may have policies against trainers accepting cash incentives for their work.
In these scenarios, a gift card, small physical gift, or even a heartfelt call or letter of appreciation sent to the company and mentioning your trainer by name are good alternative options.
If you are unsure of the best way to tip your trainer, it never hurts to be straightforward and ask them.
Asking this way makes your intentions clear to the trainer without making them feel as though they pressured you into tipping a certain amount or at a certain time.
A partnership with a great dog trainer is truly priceless when it comes to building a great working relationship with your dog.
From the basics of teaching a puppy how to be a good family member to high-end specialty skills, dog trainers are passionate about what they do and the people they serve.
While a tip is not the expectation for the trainers of the world, they are a nice thank-you to receive.
It’s the same with tipping dog walkers, sitters, boarders – if you can and if it feels right, you should.
But not every time, nor should they expect it.
Perhaps a little different with groomers, but that’s generally the exception here.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.