Dog trainers do their job because they love dogs, not because they expect gifts, riches, or fame. But if your dog trainer has made a huge difference in your pup’s life (or if your bestie is a dog trainer and you want to get her something special), you might be ready to surprise her with a gift this holiday season.
Whether your dog trainer is your spouse, friend, or “just” your trainer, you might want to spread the holiday cheer this year or at your pup’s graduation ceremony. Many of my friends are dog trainers, so I’m always trying to think of good gifts for the dog trainers around me.
We asked hundreds of dog trainers to weigh in on what they love getting from their clients, friends, and family. This list outlines the top picks for dog trainer gifts.
Gifts Any Dog Trainer Will Love
Fancy Treats: Like Ruffwear, Chewy is a leader in dog training supplies. This online warehouse has amazing supplies of treats, high-quality food, and fun toys for dogs (and cats). Your trainer (and her dog) will be drooling over the fancy treats and meals offered from Chewy.com.
Rabbit Fur Toys: Dog trainers love good dog toys. From aggression cases to agility competitors, toys help us connect with our dogs for fun and for function. We all know how fast dogs like to shred toys and their trainers tend to lose them. Your dog trainer will love a well-made and useful toy.
Journey Dog Training's Pick: Rabbit-fur tug toys are extra-fun for dogs. This option has nice bungee on it, helping make the tug game fun for a dog and less jolting for the handler.
Gifts for Overworked Dog Trainers
Who doesn't love wine? I haven't met any dog trainers (yet) who wouldn't appreciate a cute bottle of wine or six pack of beer. Bonus point if it's got dogs on the label!
Wine is almost always a good choice, but this can be especially nice if you know that your trainer has been working with some tough cases lately.
Journey Dog Training's Pick: Go for Two Bad Labs Wine. It's a universal favorite with a name like that!
Since dog trainers spend so much time in their cars driving from home to home (and staying up late writing out training plans), we're a sleepy bunch. A good travel coffee mug is always a thoughtful gift -- and even better if it's got dogs on it!
Journey Dog Training's Pick: The Yeti Rambler Travel Mug is incredibly well-made. It looks plain, but it's one of the best out there!
Gifts for Active Dogs and Their Trainers
Not all dog trainers love running, but almost every dog trainer who likes running loves running with her dog. Waist running leashes can get a bit pricey, but the bungee wears out every few years. A shiny new leash will really brighten up your trainer's day, even if she already has one!
The Ruffwear Roamer leash is one of the best-constructed waist leashes out there (like most Ruffwear gear). The bungee is resilient and it comes in enough colors to suit most trainers.
Doggie Treadmills can take up a lot of space, so be sure that your trainer has room for one. But many trainers are short on time despite owning active dogs - and this can be a godsend in cold winter months.
Many trainers with active dogs are constantly looking for new ways to challenge their dogs. FitPaws equipment, like a wobble board, always comes in handy for that goal!
Gifts for Bookworm Dog Trainers
There's almost endless reading to do as a dog trainer. This field is constantly growing and changing, and most dog trainers struggle a bit to keep up with the books! Dogwise is a leading publisher in dog training books. Your trainer will love getting a discount on her next order! Click here to look at the gift card options.
Two new books in 2019 that are super popular include Awesome Obedience by Hannah Brannigan and Cooperative Care by Deb Jones. Your trainer friend will be impressed that you're so up-to-date on the new books!
Alternative Dog Trainer Gift: Many trainers spend a lot of time in the car. An Audible gift card will let your trainer get an excellent training book (I just finished The Education of Will) to read while she's driving from client to client!
Gifts for Outdoorsy Dog Trainers
There's just too much good stuff on Ruffwear to pick. Since some trainers already have quite a bit of gear, it can be hard to know what to get. A gift card lets your dog trainer pick her own present. Even better, it's easy to pool money with your class to get a bigger gift card!
Biothane leashes are also a fabulous idea for outdoorsy dog trainers. This material is lightweight and doesn't collect dirt or moisture, making it perfect for long hikes in the woods.
GPS collars aren't cheap - but they're absolutely fabulous for peace of mind if your trainer friend spends a lot of time off-leash with their dogs. The Garmin Astro is the best on the market, but it's expensive.
Other options that work off of cell phone networks or Bluetooth will work if your trainer friend doesn't go too far off the grid.
Gifts for the Established Dog Trainer
Dog trainers have a lot of things in (and on) our hands. It seems like there's never enough hands for a clicker, a leash, treats, and toys. The Hurrta Dog Trainer's Vest is made to be lightweight, solving the pockets problem even in warmish weather. This fancy vest isn't cheap, but it's a super-thoughtful gift from a class or a few family members.
Many trainers really benefit from filming their training sessions - both with their own dogs and for clients. A GoPro will help immensely here. Since they're not (usually) doing extreme sports, an older model will do just fine. Gorilla pods and chest mounts make it even more useful!
Many trainers also really love using dremels to trim their dog's nails. These tools aren't that expensive, but they're very thoughtful and useful. Diamond tips help the dremel work quickly to trim nails with less stress.
Gifts for the Group Class Dog Trainer
Each remote treat dispenser has its pros and cons, but they're all amazing gifts for any dog trainers out there. It's impossible to pick just one that would make a trainer's day (or year)!
Klimbs can be quite pricey - but they're infinitely useful. Many trainers are reticent to drop the money on a Klimb, but really yearn for one. They're incredibly useful in group classes to help teach dogs to stay put.
Finally, a grooming table is something that many trainers wish they had! Whether it's at home or in the group class setting, a grooming table will definitely come in handy. These don't come cheap, so pool money with other students to save money!
Gifts for the Dog Sports Trainer
Some trainers don't just specialize in puppies, obedience, or aggression - they do sports with their dogs.
If this is your trainer, odds are she'll LOVE a fan for her dogs or a cooling cover for her car. This allows her to leave her dog in the peace and quiet of the car while knowing he's a comfortable temperature.
What did you surprise the dog trainer in your life with this year? We'd love to add to this list!
Kayla is from Ashland, Wisconsin but lives in Missoula Montana. She holds a degree in biology from Colorado College and has spent years working in zoos, animal shelters, and as a private dog trainer. When not working on Journey Dog Training, Kayla works at Working Dogs for Conservation. She is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant. She shares her life with her border collie Barley.