K9 Training Institute Review: Is the Dog Training Masterclass Worth It?

The K9 Training Institute promises the tactics used by service dog trainers, so your pup can be as well behaved as possible. But critics of K9TI have complained about "heavy-handed" marketing techniques. We'll break it all down in this review.

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What if your dog could be as calm and well-mannered as a service dog? Wouldn’t that be a dream? Well, through K9 Training Institute (K9TI), you can learn the same research-based techniques used on service dogs to train your pup.

And the best part is, K9TI offers a free workshop, so you can get started today without the hefty expense of hiring a personal dog trainer.

K9 Training Institute

K9 Training Institute

  • Attend the FREE video workshop
  • Learn advanced techniques used by experienced dog trainers
  • Train your dog to behave like a service dog

In this review:

What is K9 Training Institute?

K9 Training Institute (K9TI) was founded by Dr. Alexa Diaz, who holds a Ph.D. in Animal Behavior. She spent more than 20 years working for one of the two nationally recognized service dog training organizations in the US.

Her work involves training service dogs to support individuals with mental and physical disabilities, as well as training others in how to train service dogs. She even educated prison inmates on how to train rescue dogs so that they could become support dogs for veterans struggling with PTSD.

Dr. Diaz teaches dogs of all sizes and breeds to be calm, well-mannered, and to take instruction well. Her teaching method is based on animal behavior research and an understanding of dog psychology, such as how they communicate with each other and humans, and how their ancestry informs their ability to complete tasks. This is what makes her methods so remarkably effective.

K9TI offers a free video workshop, so you can learn about the techniques and see what’s possible with your pup. There’s no obligation to purchase anything. Just provide your name and email and you are able to immediately start the workshop. 

And if you want to take a really deep dive into how to totally transform your dog’s behavior, you can even sign up for a more hands-on 10-week dog training masterclass. But, first, we recommend trying the workshop; after all, it’s free.

K9 Training Institute review

The K9 Training Institute makes some big promises about its ability to help you transform your dog’s behavior. But we’ve also encountered many dog owners who are suspicious of K9TI’s marketing tactics, and who wonder if the whole thing is a scam.

So, we went through the course ourselves to create this K9TI review. And we have to be honest—getting your dog to act like a service animal would take a lot of work; but if you show some dedication and follow the course closely, there is a remarkable potential to improve how your dog behaves.

The goal of K9TI

To be clear, K9TI doesn’t certify your dog as a service pet. From the beginning of the free workshop, Dr. Diaz states that her main goals in providing this education are to help you have an obedient dog and to combat all of the bad dog training methods that are commonly taught by well-meaning dog trainers.

Right off the bat, she describes how most people (like me!) deal with a jumping dog. We push the dog down and say “No.” That seems like the obvious response, but it’s wrong! She explains how that response actually encourages the behavior to continue. Then she uses before-and-after videos to visualize the mistake and subsequently, the correct training technique, so you can repeat it with your dog.

Bad training techniques, like the one I am guilty of, exist because of a lack of understanding of animal behavior. Dr. Diaz lays out the framework for understanding how dogs are wired and how to communicate best with them since they don’t speak our language. Only once we understand our dog’s interpretation of our actions can we begin to communicate with them effectively.

K9TI training method

The K9TI training approach is 3-pronged: operant conditioning, use of body language, and the understanding that all dogs have a task to do. Dr. Diaz explains each of these training rules in her workshop.

For example, she describes that all dogs have a job to do, whether you’re giving them one or not. For example, their “job” may be to ward off danger or to seek out food; dogs are on high alert all of the time in order to accomplish their task.

In addition, most dog breeds were bred for specific tasks, like hunting. That job still lies within them even though most dogs today are just companion pets. But, if you don’t give them a desirable job to do, they will find one for themselves, and that usually leads to undesirable behavior.

Dr. Diaz’s main point is that if you don’t understand dog behavior and how they communicate, and if you aren’t using all the available training tools, you are severely limiting your resources, and your dog won’t be as well-behaved as you’d love him or her to be.

What you can expect

The free workshop touches on how to deal with barking, greeting people at the door, leash pulling, and more. It includes before-and-after videos to show you how dramatically a dog’s actions can change after proper training—even if the dog is no longer a puppy. 

And if you want to take the training even further, you’ll have the opportunity to engage with the 10-week K9TI Total Transformation Masterclass. Here’s a short list of things you can expect to learn and teach your dog in the class:

  • Watch & Touch: foundational commands to get your dog’s full attention and keep it (even when there’s a tempting squirrel!)
  • How to teach a dog to be calm
  • How to teach your dog to come when called
  • Proper walking on a leash, no more pulling
  • Greeting people and dogs in public
  • Interpreting dogs’ body language
  • Stopping aggression
  • Curb awareness (so they don’t chase cars or cross a street and get hit)
  • Impulse control
  • Stopping chewing, begging, and nipping
  • Manners, stances, and more!
  • Live Q&A sessions with real trainers to get feedback on your dog

Criticisms of K9TI

The most common complaint we hear about K9TI is the aggressive marketing tactics they use. The institute does put out a lot of advertising and advertorial-type content, and they’ll also email you several promotional offers if you haven’t signed up yet.

While this can be annoying, it’s sort of par for the course in the digital age. But when online brands use heavy-handed marketing tactics, it can make you wonder if the whole thing is a scam. However, we have accessed its dog training courses ourselves and we can attest that they are legitimate and useful. We have also verified with other customers that K9TI will honor its 90-day refund guarantee if you’re not satisfied.

The other thing we sometimes hear complaints about is the price. We’ve broken the cost down below.

Although the course isn’t cheap, it’s far less expensive than hiring an actual dog trainer. Of course, this means you’ll have to do the training yourself!

K9TI cost

The K9 Training Institute masterclass costs nothing, so there’s no reason not to try it. It has some genuinely insightful information.

But after completing it, you’ll be offered access to a larger paid series of lessons with hours of additional and more substantial training resources.

The full version of the K9 Training Institute costs $297.00 as of the time of writing, without any discounts or special offers. However, you can divide this into three monthly payments of $99. Or you may be offered a K9TI lite version for less, which excludes the live Q&A sessions. This version of the course isn’t always available, however. All prices are subject to change.

Is K9 Training Institute legitimate?

Yes, K9TI is legit! We know online courses have a bad reputation for being scammy, but we have personally gone through K9TI’s course and even implemented some of their methods for our own dogs. We were very impressed with how insightful the institute’s training methods were. They go well beyond the general advice you’ll find online to really show you how to understand the psychology of your dog, as a service dog trainer would.

K9 Training Institute

K9 Training Institute

  • Attend the FREE video workshop
  • Learn advanced techniques used by experienced dog trainers
  • Train your dog to behave like a service dog

Other K9TI reviews

“I am only on my third lesson with this organization and one of their key lesson commands saved my puppy’s life this week. She managed to pull her leash out of my hand — a mistake of mine that will never happen again — and she took off toward a main road. Because I had been following the lessons, I shouted the command and she stopped, turned around and came barrelling back to me. Thank you K9 Training! You are worth every penny!”

– Lorraine Bernard from Ontario, CA

“Thanks for sharing your free workshop. I was amazed how simple your approach to train dogs is but at the same time it is very scientific. As a medical researcher, I do believe that there is a lot of science behind training our dogs. Once we get that, we will be able to speak the same language with them. I guess that is the secret.”

– Tania from Wales, UK

“I really enjoyed the workshop and it gave me some valuable insights into the world of training and service dogs. The approach was really easy to follow and the videos added credibility to the material. Love the “give your dog a job” concept which I will cherish and adopt.”

– Garry from North Carolina, US

Is K9TI’s Total Transformation masterclass worth it?

That’s an answer only you can give. How much is a lifetime of less leash pulling, less random barking, and less aggression worth to you? What if you could confidently take your dog on a walk without stress, hassle, or embarrassment? What if you never had to apologize to guests for your jumping or barking dog ever again? What if you didn’t have to worry that your dog is a risk to a child or elderly neighbor? What if you had a calm, controlled, and obedient dog?

Many people consider rehoming their dog because the bad behaviors are too much to live with, or because they have children and don’t know how to juggle both. Others lose their pet because they don’t know how to behave near roads or with kids in the neighborhood.

Ask yourself how much better behavior could improve your relationship with your pet and their daily presence in your home. It may depend on how poorly behaved your dog is, but remember to think long-term. Proper training now could create far fewer headaches for you down the road. And the sooner you complete this training, the better. 

To be honest, K9 Training Institute won’t change your dog’s behavior on a dime. It will take work—weeks of daily work, 10 to 15 minutes a day, in fact. 

But even though it’ll take effort, I think it’s worth it. It will fundamentally change the way you see your dog and interact with them. And if you’re taking the initiative to seek out this course in the first place, you already have the desire necessary to excel in your training and make life more pleasant for your family and your dog.

K9TI gives back

One of the missions of Dr. Diaz and K9 Training Institute is to reduce the number of dogs that are given up to shelters and subsequently put down each year because of bad behavior. And when you make a purchase to help your dog, you also help other dogs get a second chance to find a new loving family. K9TI gives a percentage of each purchase to rescue shelters, charities, and animal welfare organizations, such as ASPCA and American Humane. Nonprofits and shelters can also apply to receive aid from the institution.

Dog Trainer Brandon McMillan teaches his MasterClass

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