We appreciate your patience, due to COVID-19 – No group classes are available just yet.

Private lessons, Consultations, Board and Train and Day Training ARE ALL available.


Here at Top Notch Dog Training we appreciate and respect the human-animal bond. We strive to create a positive learning experience for individuals at both ends of the leash. Our goal is to provide the dog’s real trainer, YOU, the tools to build communication and trust between you and your dog.

Using aversive-free, positive training methods through operant conditioning we ‘mark’ and ‘reward’ behaviors the trainer wants to see more of in exchange for something the dog wants. This makes it more likely that the desired behavior will be repeated. Learning is greatly accelerated because your dog is fully involved with the learning process.

Punishment creates anxiety and avoidance, when the dog is more focused on avoiding the punishment than obtaining the reward. Therefore, punishment does not build mutual trust and respect or build a strong relationship.

Our training coaches combine a love of dogs with scientific knowledge, extensive training, certification, and years of experience.

See our Calendar of Classes and Requirements. Visit our resources page for recommended websites and books.

You’ll find more information about our training methods toward the bottom of this page.

Training Services

Teach your dog to become a well mannered member of the family! Top Notch Dog Training offers a wide range of fun and effective training.

Private Training


In addition to group classes, we recognize that sometimes, for various reasons, classes are not always the best approach for everyone. Busy schedules or dog behavioral issues shouldn’t stand in the way of having a happy and well-adjusted dog as a member of your family.

We are happy to offer private training lessons at your home tailored to fit your needs. We use the same positive approach that is taught in our group classes but you will have the benefit of one-on-one instruction.

$255  |  Base price within the local area for three 1-hour sessions, additional travel fee will apply outside the local area.

For more information please give us a call at (209)523-3138 or email thepack@topnotchdogs.com.

"I love the positive training methods used at Top Notch Kennels. The trainers guide you through each step, resulting in a dog everyone can love! With the help of various classes and Lisa, Champion Jagger and I are competing in obedience trials!"

~Heidi Giordano

Behavioral Consultations


Behavioral consultations will address why undesired behavior is happening and how to modify it appropriately. A 60-minute private session with a certified behavior counselor will provide you with the knowledge and positive techniques needed to overcome behavioral challenges.

If you notice that your dog begins to have a behavioral issue, please call us as soon as possible to schedule a consultation. You may also choose to schedule a consultation anytime to learn how to prevent behavioral issues from occurring. Identifying the cause of issues early on can make the difference between a happy, enjoyable relationship with your dog and a stressful, constant battle with your canine companion.

Below are some behavioral issues we can help you with:

Basic obedience, shy or fearful behaviors, fear-aggression, dog-dog issues, remedial socialization, issues between dogs and children, aggression toward people, aggression toward dogs or other animals, house training, excessive barking, digging, destructive behaviors, jumping, nipping, separation distress or anxiety, obsessive behaviors, coming when called…

$95  |  Base price within the local area for a 1-hour consultation, additional travel fee will apply outside the local area, and/or reactive or aggressive behavioral issues.

For more information please give us a call at (209)523-3138 or email thepack@topnotchdogs.com.

Day Training


We offer a day training program for your dog while boarding for a few days or during your dog’s play day. It all depending on the extent of the training desired. Day training is held at our facility with our trainer working one-on-one with your dog. Your dog can learn new behaviors, tricks or fine tune the ones already known.

We begin with a minimum of 4 sessions within a 10 day period; this includes an appointment with our trainer to review your dog’s progress and training techniques for continued at-home management. All behaviors are acquired through effective positive training methods. After, the initial set of four training sessions, your dog is able to benefit from single sessions during daycare, grooming or boarding.

This program is run by Certified Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT’s) and Karen Pryor Certified Training Partners (KPA-CTP’s).

Let your dog stay, play and learn here at Top Notch Kennels!

$45  |  Each training session

For more information please give us a call at (209)523-3138 or email thepack@topnotchdogs.com.


Board and Train


This program is a great option for the busy family without time to train for a well-mannered dog.

With this service, your dog stays with us at our facility.  Our certified trainers work with your dog using positive reinforcement based techniques while learning practical behaviors to be a well-adjusted member of the family. Your dog will be trained around people, other dogs and in various environments.

The family will have regularly scheduled training sessions to give you an opportunity to learn more about the training and canine behavior.  We teach you the same methods we use in training your dog. Working with you ensures that the new, desired behavior will transfer to your environment. Two weeks after your dog returns home, your trainer will schedule a follow up session at home to ensure a continued smooth transition for you and your dog.

Your dog will be introduced to basic manners, some of which include sit, down, stay, come when called, walking politely on leash, on your mat and wait. During your initial meeting with your dog’s trainer, you will be able to discuss priorities and specific desires.

This program is run by Certified Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT’s) and Karen Pryor Certified Training Partners (KPA-CTP’s).

2-week board and train  |  $1250
3-week board and train  |  $1875
4-week board and train  |  $2400
6-week board and train  |  $3600
8-week board and train  |  $4400

Additional travel fee will apply outside the local area for the final follow up lesson in your home.

If you would like to find out more information regarding the Board and Train program or any of our training options please email thepack@topnotchdogs.com or give us a call at (209)523-3138.


Great Beginnings Puppy Class

The most critical time for puppy socialization is the first 3 months of life! This is the primary window of opportunity for puppies to adapt to new people, other puppies, sounds, objects, situations and experiences. During this period of development it is important to expose puppies safely and positively, without causing fear or stress. At this critical early age of development, such socialization will need to take place before they are fully vaccinated. We provide puppies and parents with the safest possible sanitized and controlled environment to get the exposure they need in order to develop into happy, well-adjusted adult dogs.

Incomplete or improper socialization during this important time can increase the risk of behavioral problems later in life including fear and aggression. Behavioral problems are the number one cause of relinquishment to shelters. The statistics show that behavioral issues, not infectious diseases, are the number one cause of death for dogs under the age of three years.

Puppies can start socialization classes as early as 8 weeks of age. Puppies should have received at least  one set of vaccines prior to the first class and a first deworming. We personally verify all puppies are on a vaccination plan with a veterinarian.

Socialize your puppy with new people, other puppies, and a host of different objects, sounds and situations. Learn how to positively introduce basic cues such as sit, down, come, etc. and how to address common puppy behaviors such as mouthing, housetraining, chewing, etc.

Earn your puppy the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Medal

$200  |  Puppy class sessions consist of six 1-hour weekly classes for six consecutive weeks.

The importance of early puppy socialization and why it should be a first priority. A veterinary behaviorist’s view encouraging veterinarians and puppy guardians to make puppy socialization a first priority. Read this open letter from Dr. R.K. Anderson, DVM, Diplomat of American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and Diplomat of American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.

Veterinarian experts in animal behavior caution that the risk of developing behavioral problems—especially aggression—outweighs the risk of developing disease in otherwise healthy puppies. Puppy vaccinations and early socialization should go together.

Good Manners Group Classes

We offer several levels of obedience classes, covering a wide range of behaviors that make for a well behaved dog at home, and out in public. Open to dogs 4 months of age and up that are dog and people friendly.

If you are concerned about your dog behaving aggressively around people or other dogs, please call our office for more information.  If group classes are not immediately appropriate for your dog, we will inform you of our options available for specific training and behavior modification.

Good Manners classes are limited to a maximum number of 8 dogs with a minimum of 2 trainers.

  • Good Manners Level 1 – Clever Dog
    Training is all on a 6 foot leash. Behaviors covered: Sit, Down, Come, Polite Leash Walking, No Jumping. Open to all dogs 4 months of age and up.
  • Good Manners Level 2 – Bright Dog
    Training is all on a 6 foot leash. Behaviors covered: Sit/Stay, Down/Stay, Polite Leash Walking w/ Automatic Sit when coming to a stop, Wait, On Your Mat, Come and more. Open to Clever Dog graduates.
  • Good Manners Level 3 – Exceptional Dog
    Training is on a 6 foot leash and 30 foot long line. Behaviors covered: Advanced Come, Distance On Your Mat, Advanced Leash Walking, Hand Signals for Sit, Down, long distance Down/Stay and more, Polite People Greetings. Open to Bright Dog graduates with trainer approval.

$200  |  Good Manners sessions consist of six 1-hour weekly classes for six consecutive weeks. (Great Beginnings Puppy Class graduates receive a 10% discount.)

"Our Sookie is a Top Notch Kennels fan! The great staff have helped us with training, grooming, and treat her like family when she stays with them. We are always comfortable putting her in their capable hands."

~Rick and Teresa Kaepernick

Agility Lite Classes

These courses are loosely based on traditional agility, and since they are in no way designed for the handler that wants to compete in agility, we’ve gone completely creative and focused on FUN! We combine traditional agility obstacles with some of our very own ideas, with the result being a fun and relaxed set up, aimed at creating a thrilling learning environment that strengthens the communication and bond between you and your dog. Great for dogs that appreciate mental stimulation and/or need more physical activity. Handlers get to improve their teaching skills, and revel in their dog’s achievements and success!

  • Agility Lite Level 1 – Nimble Dog
    Obstacles covered include ramps, stairs, bar jump, weave poles, straight tunnel, tire jump, ladder and pause box. : Must be a Level 1 Clever Dog obedience class graduate. Dog-friendly dogs only – dogs that present a risk to other dogs will be excused from class with no refund.
  • Agility Lite Level 2 – Lively Dog
    Obstacles covered include back chute, curved tunnels, broad jump, teeter board and crawl chute. Requirements: Must be a Level 1 Nimble Dog graduate. Dog-friendly dogs only – dogs that present a risk to other dogs will be excused from class with no refund.
  • Agility Lite Level 3 – Dynamic Dog
    This class provides some superb challenges! Dogs are taught new exercises and obstacles – Crawl and Back Up in a straight line, for example. We also focus on more challenging courses to run – obstacle discrimination, and longer chains of obstacles! A great time is guaranteed to be had by all! And of course, we will get you and your dog on video for all of your family and friends to enjoy – come join us!
    Requirements: Must be a Level 2 Lively Dog graduate. Dog-friendly dogs only – dogs that present a risk to other dogs will be excused from class with no refund.

$140  |  Agility sessions consist of four 1-hour weekly classes for four consecutive weeks.

AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Class

AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) course and testing: open to Bright Dog graduates. 5 weeks of training exercises and then the 6th week we will conduct the CGC test.

$200  |  CGC sessions consist of six 1-hour weekly classes for six consecutive weeks.

"August loves going to doggie class. He stakes his post at the front door, and practically leaps into the car to go!"

~Lori O'Dell

Below you will find some information and examples of our progressive, scientifically proven, positive reinforcement and clicker training methods.

Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior

Dominance Theory – Teaching or Intimidation? AVSAB is concerned with the recent re-emergence of dominance theory and forcing dogs and other animals into submission as a means of preventing and correcting behavior problems. This is the Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.

Dominance and Dog Training by The Association of Professional Dog Trainers

The Association of Professional Dog Trainers wishes to inform the dog owning public about the ramifications of a reliance on dominance theory as it relates to understanding dogs, interpreting their behavior, and living harmoniously with our canine companions.

How to Stop Unwanted Behavior
Courtesy of Kikopup

With progressive and positive training methods, a common question is, “What am I supposed to do when my dog is doing something wrong?”   An effective solution is to choose a positive, friendly noise that you can train and use to get your dog’s attention, called a positive interrupter.

About Karen Pryor Clicker Training

Karen Pryor Clicker Training (KPCT) is a leader in the field of animal training and a recognized world leader in the science and application of marker-based positive reinforcement, or what is often call “clicker training.” KPCT operates Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior, the ClickerExpo educational conferences, and its popular website, clickertraining.com. Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partners hold classes and work with pet owners and their dogs at locations across the globe.

Trainer Credentials and Affiliations

Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA)

Professional member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT)

PetTech CPR and Pet First Aid Certified

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi