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The Best Dog Trainers in Wisconsin of 2023

Merlin Noble photo

Merlin Noble

March 29, 2022

Dog Trainers

Welcome to the Wisconsin Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2023. This is a list of the top dog trainers in Wisconsin based on votes from the Sniffspot community and the general public. Over 55,000 votes were used in compiling this list. We have only included the top trainers with sufficient votes and the trainers are ordered in terms of the number of votes received. Trainers that tied are ranked in reverse alphabetical order based on first name. All dog trainers on this list are positive reinforcement only, as defined by no force, fear, intimidation, or aversive methods used. To learn more about our dog trainer contest, feel free to view the dog trainer contest post.

Dog training is one of the most important activities someone can do with their dog. Many come to dog training through a specific issue they want addressed, anything from barking to separation anxiety. Some have adopted dogs from animal shelters with an abusive experience and some just have happy puppies looking for everyday life skills. Trainers can help with all kinds of specific skills and issues, from leash manners to territorial aggression to anxiety around skateboards to common puppy challenges. However, what many discover is that working with a trainer is actually a way for a pet owner to deepen their relationship with their dog. The enhanced communication skills that result can increase quality of life, be a rewarding experience, be a social experience and lead to more harmonious relationships. Knowing that one’s dog is having a happier life can dramatically improve peace of mind. As the saying goes: happy dog, happy life. And it extends further than just the dog, to the pet owners. Owner empowerment can actually improve the relationship between owners. And finding the right trainer can make all the difference in the experience.

This list is compiled by Sniffspot, which is the largest network of private dog parks for rent in the world. Each of the thousands of Sniffspot dog parks are hosted by locals on private land with 100% private bookings to maximize safety for guests and their dogs. Sniffspot offers various types of dog parks, including fenced, water parks, indoor dog parks, dog beaches and more. Sniffspot has worked closely with dog trainers to create safe spaces for dogs and our top trainer lists are a natural extension of that relationship. You can browse Sniffspot's local dog parks here.

The Best Wisconsin Dog Trainers in 2023

Lynsie Bernier

Lynsie Bernier is the owner of Ideal DOG and brings 30 years in the animal care field to the business. Lynsie has worked in nearly every capacity of professional animal care since 1993.

Over the last 18 years Lynsie has focused her career on dog training and behavior. Her credentials and memberships include:

Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA)
Approved AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator
Approved Member of The Pet Professional Guild
Approved Member of Force Free Trainers of Wisconsin
Approved Tester/Observer Alliance of Therapy Dogs
Lynsie has developed several unique training services for Ideal DOG, each designed to achieve specific results. Her approach is not one size fits all. Lynsie is passionate about helping dogs and their families. She competes at a National level with her own dogs and can help you reach your goals as well. Let her or one of our other talented Certified trainers show you how to train your Ideal DOG!

Certifications:  Certified Professional Dog Trainer- Knowledge Assessed, CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training
  • Agility training

More info about service provided: We offer modern DOG Training using advanced methods. Our professional dog training services include group classes from puppy to competition sports such as agility, scent work and rally obedience, private lessons, full service day school training, and behavior counseling. Our programs focus on creating well rounded, highly educated dogs and teaching owners to work with their dogs in a positive, productive way.

Behavioral issue focus:

Private Behavior Modification / Custom Training Specialties
Personalized plans to work on specific behavior problems
We handle the following behavior issues and more:

House training (including crate/confinement training and marking)
Jumping up, mouthing, and pushy attention seeking behavior
Leash reactivity (lunging/barking)
Destructive chewing
Digging
Excessive barking
Anxiety
Running away and boundary training
Counter surfing, food stealing and garbage raiding
Handling problems (vet exam, nail trim issues, grooming difficulties etc.)
Possession guarding
Fearfulness/shyness
Acclimation to a new home (for rescued/adopted dogs)
Dog/Dog reactivity- socialization with unfamiliar and multi dog household management
Growling/Snapping/Nipping- cases that involve injury are referred to a CDBC
Threatening behavior towards strangers
Sound sensitivity
Behavior Evaluation for pet or working dog selection( from a breeder or shelter)
Litter Evaluation for best placement

Training methods: We are Certified Professional Dog Trainers who use positive reinforcement and follow LIMA. We offer behavior consultations and lessons at our training facilities, in your home, over phone or ZOOM.

Why I became a dog trainer: A lifetime of working in the animal care field including sheltering, I realized the best way to help animals and people was from the ground up. Teaching animals and people effective communication leads to happier pets and people in everything we do together. From sharing our home, getting the health care and grooming they need, to sharing the outside world, training makes life with dogs the best it can be!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Teaching humans about dog behavior, body language and learning/communication turns on a lightbulb so everything is clearer.

My #1 dog training tip: Be keen observers of your dog's communication and voice, listen closely and respond compassionately always.

Service areas: Oshkosh, Winnebago County, Northeastern WI

Website: https://idealdogtrainer.com/


Katie Morgan

With DBF since: 1999

Areas of expertise: Families with dogs and children, general training, puppies and reactive/ aggressive dogs

Education: Bachelor's degree in zoology and psychology from UW-Madison

I have always had a passion for animals. My grandfather was a large animal veterinarian. As time went on I was going to pursue a degree as a veterinary technician. A local veterinarian directed me to Patricia McConnell. I read a few of her booklets and tried some of her techniques and saw immediate results. I switched from veterinary technician program to a bachelor’s degree with the intention of becoming an animal behaviorist.

My family and I moved to the country in 2013. We enjoy the fresh air and hard work of country life.

I currently share my home with a young active miniature poodle named Rona. My previous dog, Madi, was one of the most loyal wonderful Boxers anyone could have known. In her younger years she was a star in a production at American Players Theater in Spring Green, WI.

Certifications:  ABCDT

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Obedience and Manners, reactive dog, dock diving, lure coursing, treibball, puppy training. In home sessions, 1 on 1 facility sessions and group classes.

Behavioral issue focus: Reactive or aggressive dogs (fear/anxiety/genetic aggression).

Training methods: Positive reinforcement, force free with focus on the relationship centered training approach.

Why I became a dog trainer: Dogs have been an important part of my life, and I wanted to help others provide for their dogs in the use of positive training methods.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Being a support person to those who need it.

My #1 dog training tip: Training starts the moment your dog comes into your house, and ends the day they pass away.

Service areas: Chicago suburbs, Rockford, roscoe, rockton, south Beloit, Beloit.


Shannon Skolaski

With DBF since: 1999

Areas of expertise: Families with dogs and children, general training, puppies and reactive/ aggressive dogs

Education: Bachelor’s degree in zoology and psychology from UW-Madison

I have always had a passion for animals. My grandfather was a large animal veterinarian. As time went on I was going to pursue a degree as a veterinary technician. A local veterinarian directed me to Patricia McConnell. I read a few of her booklets and tried some of her techniques and saw immediate results. I switched from veterinary technician program to a bachelor's degree with the intention of becoming an animal behaviorist.

My family and I moved to the country in 2013. We enjoy the fresh air and hard work of country life.

I currently share my home with a young active miniature poodle named Rona. My previous dog, Madi, was one of the most loyal wonderful Boxers anyone could have known. In her younger years she was a star in a production at American Players Theater in Spring Green, WI.

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: We are experts at getting to the bottom of why your dog is behaving the way he or she is – and we help owners discover the positive steps to take to change a dog’s behavior.We are one of the few programs in the country to combine ethology and psychology in the development of humane and effective treatment plans for dog training and dog behavior problems.We have evolved over the years and extended our offerings to clients based on their needs. We provide a full range of classes that range from puppy and family dog training to specific behavioral training and dog agility classes.

Behavioral issue focus:

Any issue can be addressed in an appointment, but more common problems include:

aggression (toward family members, visitors or unfamiliar people, other dogs or animals)
resource guarding
anxiety (separation or generalized)
sound phobias (thunderstorm, etc.)
barking
destructiveness
fear/shyness
housetraining
hyperactivity

Training methods:

The term 'positive' has at least two meanings in dog training. One is positive, as in dog-friendly. In that sense, Dog's Best Friend Training is all about positive dog training. We train with food reinforcement or clicker training and do not use force, shouting, or other 'negative' forms of coercion to train dogs.

The other use of 'positive' in dog training is as a technical Learning Theory term. In that sense, there is 'positive reinforcement' and 'positive punishment,' among other things. In those terms, 'positive' just means you're giving the dog something, in the mathematical sense of addition. You're giving treats or giving pain/annoyance. So in that usage, 'positive dog trainer' doesn't make sense.

Positive dog training is the way to go!

Why I became a dog trainer: I have always had a passion for animals and a love of teaching. Finding Patricia McConnell opened the best of both worlds.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I enjoy the diversity of every day. My favorite part is helping families understand their dog and really being able to communicate effectively.

My #1 dog training tip: Spend a few minutes every day training and exercising your dog.

Service areas: Dane County and surrounding areas

Website: https://www.dogsbestfriendtraining.com


Angela DePalma

I have been dog training professionally for over 10 ten years. I am certified in dog training and behavior consulting. I also am an AKC Evaluator and have so much fun working with the AKC programs. I love creating working relationships with my clients and their pups and watching them attain their goals whether it may be becoming a therapy dog team or entering trick competitions.

Certifications:  CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, AKC CGC Evaluator

Services include:

  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Therapy dog preparation, puppy training programs, group obedience lessons (certain locations), in-home obedience lessons, and trick training.

Behavioral issue focus: Resource guarding, overexcitement, separation anxiety, jumping, chewing, and barking.

Training methods: Each client receives a personalized training plan unique to themselves.

Why I became a dog trainer: I used to train and show horses and dog training is very closely related. It comes very naturally to me so when the opportunity arose I started dog training while finishing my pre-med degree. The hours worked well with my school schedule and I just never stopped wanting to do it. After finishing my degree I chose to continue on this path and it was a great decision!

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Working with all of my wonderful clients and their pups. I have created some great relationships throughout the years.

My #1 dog training tip: Let your dog have more time to process what you are asking for. I usually tell my classes to ask for a cue and then count to 20 in their head before asking again. Dogs are not fluent in English!

Service areas: Illinois: Park Ridge, Wilmette, Barrington, Winnetka, Inverness, Long Grove, Lake Zurich, Glenview, Hawthorn Woods, Naperville, Geneva, St. Charles, Glen Ellyn, Chicago, Wisconsin: Lake Geneva

Website: https://www.sitstaythrive.com


Brittany Rose

Brittany has always had a strong love of animals, which she fostered from an early age with her participation in horseback riding, as well as her volunteer work at the humane society.

After graduating high school, Brittany went to UW Madison to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine. Dog training wasn’t a popular career option at the time, so veterinary medicine was the career recommended if you wanted to work with animals. After a few years at UW Madison, Brittany realized veterinary medicine wasn’t her passion.

She moved back home to help her parents open their horse farm. While working on the horse farm, she was hired at Petsmart to work as a dog trainer. It was there that she realized her passion was in the learning aspect of animals versus the medical.

She enrolled in Carroll University and graduated in 2017 with her bachelor’s degree in Animal Behavior. She became a certified dog trainer in April 2017 through the Certification of Professional Dog Trainers, and she earned her behavior consultant certification in August 2017 through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. In 2020 she became a member of Force Free Trainers of Wisconsin.

In her spare time, Brittany travels across the United States attending seminars and lectures hosted by experts in the field in order to further her knowledge and skills in animal behavior.

When she is not attending seminars or working, she is usually hiking with her four dogs (Clay, Arya, Ginny, Pink). She also trains and competes in Agility and Disc with Arya, Ginny, and Pink.

Certifications:  CPDT-KA, ACDBC, Force Free Trainers of Wisconsin

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Obedience Classes, Reactive Dog Classes, Puppy Socials, Day Training, Training Walks, Private Lessons, Behavior Consults

Behavioral issue focus: Leash Reactivity, Inter-Household Aggression, Dog Aggression, Human Aggression, Resource Guarding

Training methods:

Day Training includes videos and emails after each session
Training Walks include emails after each session
Behavior Consults include comprehensive email after session as well as follow-up session
Clients are allowed to record me explaining exercises and giving demonstrations in private lessons and group classes

Why I became a dog trainer: I became a dog trainer so I could teach clients how to effectively communicate with their dog as well as listen to what their dog has to say. Better communication means a stronger bond! It's not just about the dog or the person, but the teamwork between the two.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: My favorite part of being a dog trainer is seeing the bond owners form with their dog through training. There is nothing better than seeing the dog and human genuinely enjoy being around each other.

My #1 dog training tip: Don't forget to let your dog be a dog!

Service areas: Milwaukee County, Waukesha County, Washington County, Ozaukee County

Website: https://allpawsindogtraining.com/


Heather Mishefske

Heather got her start in dogs at the age of 10 years old in 4H. Showing in local shows, and doing some grooming of the neighbor dogs prepped her for a life in the dog world. She has a degree in dietetics from UW Madison, and worked in healthcare for 13 years before leaving to go into dogs full time. She opened emBARK in 2006 and they offer dog daycare, group training classes, grooming, canine massage and behavior consulting. emBARK has been voted "Eau Claire's BEST" training facility for the past 12 years. Her entire staff seek continuous education to stay current in their fields. Heather currently serves on two national board of directors - the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, and the Flat Coated Retriever Society of America. She lives outside of Mondovi, Wisconsin on a farm with her husband, Flat Coated Retrievers and a barn cat. She is also a certified Wisconsin Master Naturalist who has transformed their land back to native prairie. She is passionate about being outside in any and all weather, and about ethical and empathic dog training.

Certifications:  CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training

Service areas: Midwestern Wisconsin

Website: https://www.embarkdog.com


Jessica Cady-Bartholomew

Jessica Cady-Bartholomew believes in training and educating efficiently with kindness and compassion. She uses the latest and best methods in animal learning to ensure that you and your pup are reaching your goals and having a great time doing it.

A Madison native, with a degrees in sociology & recreation, Jess has made the commitment to help people and their dogs lead their very best lives in our community.

Jess, her husband, 3 dogs and 2 cats live west of Madison and enjoy spending as much time outdoors as possible.

Certifications:  KPA CTP, CPDT-KA, Fear Free Trainer, Predation Substitute Trainer, Family Dog Mediator, Certified Trick Dog Instructor, Pro Dog Trainer

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: I offer private lessons and group classes that inspire dog teams to get outside and make the most of the natural world and time with your furry best friend.

Behavioral issue focus: Finding the right dog, introducing a new dog to your home, all things puppy, struggles on leash, reactivity, resource guarding, enrichment, predation

Training methods: I offer private lesson packages, group classes and organized training groups that not only deliver great education, but also invites teams to become a part of our community. As a KPA CTP, I practice positive reinforcement training and seek solutions through setting the learners up for success.

Why I became a dog trainer: I've always been a professional people trainer, but I was inspired to train people with dogs when I got my first dog. He brought a level of joy, excitement, playfulness and challenge to my life that I will forever be grateful for and I absolutely love to coach my clients to live their best lives with their dogs.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: The little wins. I love to help my teams find meaningful success, to learn more about who their unique and awesome animal is (even on the tough days) and to watch them grow together. I have this amazing client base who loves play and fun as much as I do. My clients inspire me and give me something to smile about every single day.

My #1 dog training tip: Have fun! Working and training your dog should feel really good for both of you, even when working on the tough stuff. If you are struggling or want to learn more, find a trainer who both you and your dog have enjoy spending time with. Play is a beautiful way for humans and dogs to learn together.

Service areas: Madison & Surrounding Communities

Website: https://www.mylocaldog.com


Gina Nichols

"I have been training dogs using positive training techniques since I was a child, luring my first dog with hot dogs through an agility course made of dressers, plywood, ladders and hula hoops."

Gina is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). She graduated Animal Behavior College with honors, where she earned her Animal Behavior Certified Dog Trainer (ABCDT) certification. She is a Professional Member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), a member of The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) and a supporting member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC). Gina is also Fear Free Certified and will teach you to have a wonderful relationship with your dog built on trust and patience.

Her love and respect for animals shines and she loves nothing more than to show you how to have the best relationship possible with your dog.

Certifications:  CPDT-KA, ABCDT, Fear Free Certified

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Board and train
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided:

During the course of my training program, we will teach your dog manners using luring, shaping, and capturing. We will do this without any harm or aversive techniques. We will teach your dog or puppy basic manners such as sit, down, stay, leave it, focus, loose leash walking, heeling and most important, to come when called.
We will address issues such as chewing, digging, barking, and potty training. We will also address behavior problems such as bolting, destructive behavior, reactive behavior, aggressive behavior and any other issues that may arise. We also understand that some behavior issues may not be so common and we will listen and address those as well. We are now offering Stay and Learn sessions for puppies as well as day training.

Behavioral issue focus: In our Basic Classes we help eliminate common issues such as jumping, counter surfing, inappropriate chewing, digging, bolting, pulling on leash and puppy biting. In our Aggressive/Reactive Behavior Class, we will help your fearful and/or reactive dog learn to trust. We will do this with patience and kindness, giving your dog the time and space to learn to feel comfortable in situations where he may be feeling UNcomfortable.

Training methods:

Science-based teaching methods are proven to teach quickly, as well as making it enjoyable! We will NEVER use any shock, prong or choke collars. We prefer that you learn to have a wonderful relationship with your dog built on love, trust and mutual respect.

This is what we teach at D.O.G.!!!

Why I became a dog trainer: While many people want to become a dog trainer because they don't like or want to work with humans, I on the other hand, LOVE humans as well as dogs and all animals. I was in the service industry for YEARS and finally decided to create a career for myself that would bring my love of dogs into my world as well.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I enjoy just about everything about my job. I get to work with wonderful dogs and humans every day! Some are more challenging than others, but it is so satisfying to help owners find solutions to their problems.

My #1 dog training tip: My number #1 dog training tip is to BE KIND to all!

Service areas: Belvidere, Cherry Valley, Rockford, Loves Park, Machesney Park, Poplar Grove, Caledonia, Marengo, Garden Prairie, DeKalb, Kingston, Genoa

Website: https://dogobediencebygina.com/


Cheryl Gfrerer

I founded Giffy dog in 2012 after I had spent the previous twelve years providing foster care for rescue dogs. My passion for working with dogs in the rescue community was well-established by then, but I recognized the need to refine and improve my skills with the most current, well-researched methods. In 2015, I completed the rigorous Karen Pryor Academy program and have pursued regular ongoing training since then, including becoming level 2 TAGteach certified and completing three Karolina Westlund programs as well as Kim Brophey's L.E.G.S. program.

Certifications:  KPA-CTP, TAGteach level 2

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Specializing in fearful dogs and rescue dogs, I offer private virtual and in-person training along with occasional special topics classes in person and online.

Behavioral issue focus: I work with a range of behaviors including fear, socialization, confidence-building, anxiety, and reactivity. In addition, I help families troubleshoot other challenges, such as housetraining, destructive behaviors, leash pulling, and integrating dogs into multiple-pet homes.

Training methods: I use positive reinforcement training, pairing behaviors the family wants to see with things the dog likes to motivate them to offer those behaviors more often. If the dog exhibits behaviors the family doesn't like, we identify precursors to those behaviors and change the environment to reduce the likelihood that the dog will exhibit those behaviors going forward. We regularly work with enrichment activities to help increase the dog's confidence and problem-solving skills while decreasing destructive behaviors. Training this way leads to well-adjusted, confident dogs.

Why I became a dog trainer: I saw so many dogs struggling as they transitioned from rescue into adoptive homes, but I also recognized their resilience. I wanted to better understand how to support dogs by providing a safe, enriching environment that allowed them the engage and thrive.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I love seeing dogs develop confidence and families learn how satisfying it can be to help their dogs thrive.

My #1 dog training tip: Choose simple ways to add enrichment, such as interacting with environmental features on walks.

Service areas: St. Paul and Minneapolis, MN and surrounding suburbs; Hudson and western, WI; virtual training

Website: https://www.giffydog.com/


Jennifer Pratt

Jennifer Pratt, CTC, CSAT, SA Pro, CDBC, CPDT-KA, is the founder of Wag the Dog and Company. She is a graduate of Jean Donaldson's prestigious Academy for Dog Trainers where she earned her certificate in training and counseling (CTC) and honored to be on their speaker roster for conferences and seminars.

Jennifer is also a graduate of two renowned trainers and authors widely-recognized as the authorities in effective science based treatment protocols for separation anxiety and isolation distress, Malena DeMartini's Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer program (CSAT) and Julie Naismith's Separation Anxiety Pro Trainer program (SA Pro).

Additionally, she is certified through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (CDBC), the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT-KA), is a Fear Free certified professional, and is a presenter for Stop the 77 programs aimed at educating families on how to prevent dog bites.

As a formally educated, multi-credentialed professional, Jennifer is trusted and referred to by veterinarians and training colleagues alike. Jennifer is dedicated to helping guardians live the life they want to lead with their beloved companions by sharing her knowledge of how dogs learn and what really gets them motivated in life in a way that is not only effective but fun for both ends of the leash!

Certifications:  CTC, CDBC, CSAT, SA PRO, CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: We specialize in supporting families and their companions with fear, aggression, and phobias including separation anxiety to experience less stress and more joy worldwide.

Behavioral issue focus: Our focused area of specialization fears, phobias, anxiety, and aggression enables us to provide you with personalized doable, easy-to-follow step-by-step management and training plans.

Training methods: All new clients start with a live one-on-one online behavior consultation. After the initial online behavior consultation, we may continue with private sessions online, in-person at one of our partner veterinary clinics, or in-home. Location is determined by the companion's needs and our driving range.

Why I became a dog trainer: I was inspired to learn all I could about dogs when I adopted my first dog. She needed support that went far beyond a group class and I was in over my head! I realized quite quickly that there was so much conflicting information available about dogs that I needed to find a qualified mentor to learn the science behind how I could truly work with my girl to teach her the world is safe. Through my alma mater The Academy for Dog Trainers, I not only learned how to help my companion but also how to work with other guardians to help them to experience less stress and more joy with their fearful companions.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Helping guardians learn how to observe and respond to their dog's communication to assist them both in providing for their needs and improving their lives.

My #1 dog training tip: Learn how to observe, listen and respond to your dog's communication system. Learn to speak dog!

Service areas: We are based in the Milwaukee, WI metro area, and work remotely with clients worldwide.

Website: https://www.wagthedogandcompany.com/


Carrie Davis

Carrie has been in the dog industry since 2008. She started off in Veterinary Technician school and worked at vet clinics. She quickly turned to the study of canine behavior, and the relationship and connection between people and dogs.
Experience obtained in those early years also included: intake supervisor for lost and stray dogs inside her county, working at a small boarding facility, and being a dog bather! Attending conferences, webinars, seminars, reading books, and one on one work with experts in the field keep Carrie up-to-date and dedicated to learning about dogs and people.
She has 10 years of experience teaching obedience, reactive rehab, focus and control, sports foundations, tricks, and so many puppy classes. The last number of years have been all 1 on 1 sessions to give each family and dog(s) the personal attention they deserve.
Carrie was the first Family Dog Mediator in the midwest and the first Licensed FDM in Minnesota. She also heads the Training Division for Licensed Family Dog Mediators around the world.

Carrie lives/lived with Australian Shepherds, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, cats, goats, rats, chickens, birds, bunnies, and a frog!

Certifications: LFDM, CPDT- KA

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: My 1 to 1 sessions focus on you, your dog(s), and your needs. Creative and fun using integrated, humane, and effective methods, I go Beyond Dog Training. My expertise is in puppy raising, adolescent behavior, new adoptions, and more severe concerns of fear, aggression, and anxiety. Get the Best for your dog with the first Licensed Family Dog Mediator in MN!

Behavioral issue focus: Anxiety, Fear, Aggression, Frustration, Hyper Active, Misunderstood Behaviors, Resource Guarding, Herding the cat and kids, Barking at the world, Jumping on everything, Dog Dog interactions, Stranger Danger, and more

Training methods: Humane and effective. Each dog and family receive their own plan, nothing is cookie-cutter here! We want you and your dog to succeed so we prioritize needs and set realistic goals that you can reach and be proud of.

Why I became a dog trainer: To improve the quality of life for both Dogs and their People. She looks to support, normalize, and give applicable and reasonable techniques and tools to the family dog owner.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: The People! Carrie loves getting to know you and your dog. She wants to bring out the best in your relationship.

My #1 dog training tip: Talk to your dog! Label and explain the world around them. Answer the questions they have about daily life!

Service areas: Minneapolis/St.Paul & Suburbs including Eagan, Inver Grove Heights

Website: https://pawsabilitiesmn.com


Pam Catalano

I have been training people to train their dogs for 9 years at Best Paw Forward. I am a certified dog trainer through APDT and just recently received my certification in behavior. Prior to do dog training, I was a Registered Nurse for 25 years. I have 3 dogs at home, 2 Keeshonds and a Great Pyrenees/Hound mix.

Certifications:  CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Private in home sessions and Group classes to include: Basic Manners, Level 2 Manners, Puppy Kindergarten, Rocket Recall, Focus and Control, Rally Obedience, Everyday Essentials, Canine Good Citizen

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity, fearful and shy dogs, resource guarding, common issues such as jumping, Barking, puppy mouthing/nipping, and overarousal and Impulse Control

Training methods: Positive reinforcement based training, behavior consults with written training plans

Why I became a dog trainer: I started training with my rescue Pyrenees mix, who was intensely overstimulated by her new environment. I saw how effective positive based training was and I went all in. I wanted to share with others, everything that I knew so that they could help their dogs lie their best lives.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Getting to help people understand their dogs better, so they can have fun with them and live their best lives together.

My #1 dog training tip: There is always a kind way to teach/guide your dog. Have fun and enjoy the journey.

Service areas: Waukesha County

Website: https://bestpawforward.net


Kerrie Hoar

Prior to entering the world of dog training, I received two Bachelor of Science degrees (Biology and Animal Science) and a Master of Science degree in Biology from Montana State University. For over 20 years, I taught human anatomy and physiology at the university level.

My dog training experience includes teaching in-person and virtual group classes and private in-home and virtual lessons for dogs and puppies in basic manners (obedience), aggression and reactivity. I specialize in helping dogs who exhibit fearful, anxious and aggressive behaviors.

As a certified professional trainer, I pride myself in continually expanding my knowledge of dog behavior and training techniques through attaining certifications, attending workshops and conferences, reading the latest literature and networking with colleagues to remain on the cutting edge of the science of dog behavior and learning.

Animal welfare has always been a passion of mine. I have fostered dogs, driven and coordinated rescue transports and volunteered at shelters and rescues. I currently offer free consultations to rescues and shelters and am a participating trainer in the Humane Alliance of Rescue Trainers, where I donate training sessions to help rescue dogs who are experiencing behavioral issues.

Born and raised in Montana with a menagerie of different animals, I have lived in La Crosse, Wisconsin for over 25 years. My husband and I have two grown daughters and share our home with four dogs (all of whom help out with virtual sessions and video demonstrations) and two chickens.

Education

 Master of Science - Biology, Montana State University

 Bachelor of Science - Biology, Montana State University

 Bachelor of Science - Animal Science, Montana State University

Certifications and Credentials

 Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA)

 Accredited Dog Trainer (IAABC-ADT)

 Licensed L.E.G.S.¬Æ Applied Ethology Family Dog Mediator¬Æ (LFDM)

 Aggression in Dog Master Course certificate

 Enrichment Framework for Behavior Modification Master Class

 Fear Free Certified Professional (FFCP)

 PPG Canine Training Professional

 Certified Dog Bite Prevention Educator

 Licensed Be A Tree¬Æ Program Presenter

 HART Participating Trainer

 Atlas Assistance Dogs Team Facilitator in training

Professional Affiliations

 Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT)

 International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC)

 Fear Free Pets

 Pet Professional Guild (PPG)

 Humane Alliance of Rescue Trainers (HART)

 Pet Industry Advocacy Innternational (PIAI)

 Atlas Assistance Dogs

Certifications: M.S., CPDT-KA, IAABC-ADT, FFCP, LFDM-T, LFDM-L

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided:

I work with clients in private, in-home sessions or through private virtual sessions and specialize in working with fearful dogs. I provide both coaching sessions (working with dog and guardian for all sessions) and in-home day training (where I work with the dog in the client's home and then hold weekly transfer sessions with the client to coach the guardian in the skills that we have been working on).

As a Licensed Family Dog Mediator, I work through the lens of Family Dog Mediation and the L.E.G.S.® framework. Rather than concentrating solely on obedience, I focus on helping clients build relationships with their dogs that are based in trust and understanding. FDMs look at how the whole dog & all of his experiences and genetics have come together to create the dog that is sitting in front of us. We use realistic goal setting, management protocols and, when necessary, teach new behaviors to create a situation that will meet both the client’s goals and the dog’s needs.

I offer coaching and training in the following areas:
- Fearful Dogs - especially those dogs who are performing aggressive behaviors (barking, lunging, biting) or no behaviors at all (shut down).
- Puppy training - house training, crate training, basic manners (sit, down, come, stay), and behavioral issues with chewing, mouthing and other common puppy behaviors.
- General Dog training - basic manners (sit, down, come, stay) and behavioral issues such as leash reactivity (barking, lunging), resource guarding, fence fighting, counter surfing, muzzle acclimation, cooperative care and husbandry
- I also work with clients who are working towards Canine Good Citizens, Therapy, Emotional Support or Service Dog in mastering the basic skills necessary.

Behavioral issue focus:

I specialize in working with dogs who are expressing aggressive, fearful or reactive behaviors such as;
- biting, barking, lunging in the home or on leash
- hiding or freezing
- resource guarding
- adverse reactions to strange people and dogs
- pulling on leash
- counter surfing
- issues between multiple dogs in a home
- fearful of new people, places and things
- fear or aggressive behaviors during handling, grooming and husbandry
- house training
- crate training
- muzzle, leash, collar acclimation
- not coming when called
- bolting out doors
- barrier aggression - fence fighting, growling in crates, etc.

Training methods:

I work through the lens of Family Dog Mediation. Rather than concentrating solely on obedience, I focus on helping clients build relationships with their dogs that are based in trust and understanding. I look at how L.E.G.S.® (the "whole" dog) have come together to create the dog sitting in front of us and then use realistic goal setting, management and enrichment protocols and, when necessary, teach new behaviors, or modify maladaptive behaviors, to create a situation that will meet both the client’s goals and the dog’s needs.

I am a rewards-based trainer and follow LIMA (Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive) standard of practice. As a Fear Free Certified Professional do my utmost to minimize fear and never add stress, pain or anxiety to realize training goals. I do not recommend shock, prong or choke collars as a means to solve behavior problems.

All of my clients receive a training plan which includes notes, homework and additional resources after every session. Each package includes text/phone/email support between sessions, a copy of My New Puppy or My New Dog booklet, video tutorials and free access to my 90-minute Canine Body Language for Pet Parents webinar recording.

Why I became a dog trainer: Having been born and raised in the mountains of Montana, I grew up with a menagerie of farm and companion animals. I spent much of my childhood playing with dogs and teaching them various tricks. Like many of my colleagues, my foray into the world of professional dog training began with a love for working with dogs and a relationship with a reactive dog of my own. Working with a dog that reacts to people, other dogs and other sudden environmental changes pushed me to learn more about dog behavior and learning theory and to develop skills and techniques to help my own dog. I have found that I absolutely loved working with dogs who are struggling and find it extremely rewarding to help others who live with dogs who have big feelings.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: The best part of being a dog trainer is seeing a frustrated owner and a struggling dog become a strong and successful team built on mutual trust and understanding. Helping clients understand what their dog is trying to say through actions and body signals, why they are behaving they way that they are and hearing about their small successes and big wins is unbelievably reinforcing for me.

My #1 dog training tip: Teach a Find It cue. A cue that tells the dog to look for food on the floor/ground. Teach it to the point of being reflexive for both you and your dog. This can be used to move a dog, to redirect, to begin games, to get a check in, to get a dog sniffing, as a recall, etc. Basically, the Find It cue is the duct tape of dog training.

Service areas: I am based in La Crosse, Wisconsin and serve the surrounding Wisconsin, Minnesota & Iowa communities with a 50-60 mile radius. La Crosse County (e.g., La Crosse, Onalaska, West Salem, Holmen), Jackson County (e.g., Mindoro, Melrose), Buffalo County (e.g., Alma, Fountain City), Monroe County (e.g., Sparta, Tomah, Warrens, Cashton), Trempealeau County (e.g., Trempealeau, Galesville, Whitehall), Vernon County (e.g., Stoddard, Viroqua, Westby), Winona County (e.g., Winona), Houston County (e.g., Houston, Hokah, Caledonia). I serve clients all over the country with virtual training sessions.

Website: https://www.crimsonhound.com


Brian Munro

Brian Munro, owner of Leaps and Hounds Behavior, has spent the last seven years providing professional guidance and support for families and their dogs in the Twin Cities and Western Wisconsin. Prior to becoming the owner of Leaps and Hounds Behavior, he worked in animal shelter leadership positions, taught group classes, and provided behavior consulting services for clients. In 2021 he acquired his certification as a dog behavior consultant, and elevated his consulting work and skills to focus on aggression in dogs.

Certifications:  CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, Certified Family Dog Mediator

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: We provide professional guidance and support for families and dogs- including behavior consulting (in-home and remote) and Family Dog Mediation, group training classes, puppy program, specialized programs for vet clinics and organizations, and dog walking services. Our specialty is consulting on aggression in dogs.

Behavioral issue focus: We consult on dogs displaying aggressive behavior, including human directed (child, stranger, caregiver, etc..) and dog-dog intra household; as well as those with increased fear/anxiety/stress signs, "reactivity" and/or other unhealthy or maladaptive behaviors.

Training methods: At Leaps and Hounds Behavior, we offer guidance to understand the WHYs of a dog’s behavior and their needs through L.E.G.S.® (Learning, Environment, Genetics, Self), a Model of Integrated Canine Science. L.E.G.S. describes the whole and unique picture of the dog in front of us. We then consider how that all may intersect with the needs of the family. Once we start to understand these aspects we can support the relationship between the family and their dog, in the spirit of Family Dog Mediation. We also follow the LIMA approach (Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive), which includes a humane hierarchy of strategies and procedures for behavior intervention.

Why I became a dog trainer: I have a background in animal sheltering. I transitioned into the animal behavior industry to support families and dogs in the community. Leaps and Hounds Behavior continues along this path- our is mission to provide educational support and guidance for the community to enhance the welfare of animals through a fluent understanding of behavior.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I most enjoy learning about and understanding the WHYs of an animal's behavior through the model of LEGS (Learning, Environment, Genetics, Self)- to support the family and dog through a process of mediation.

My #1 dog training tip:It's about so much more than dog training- focus on and strengthen the communication between the family and their dog.

Service areas: Minneapolis-St Paul Area, Washington and Dakota Counties, Western Wisconsin

Website: https://www.leapsandhoundsbehavior.com/


Rachel Evers

Rachel began her professional life as a dancer and K-12 educator, and has been teaching workshops for children and adults since 1995. She made the leap to dog training in 2006, and found a natural fit for her experience in dance, education, and psychology. Helping students to develop an awareness of themselves and their canine teammates through movement and clear communication is an integral part of her coaching style, and Rachel credits the success of her own dogs in Agility to the strong sense of teamwork she has developed with them through this approach.

Certifications: 

Services include:

  • Agility training

More info about service provided: Agility training and preparation for competition.

Behavioral issue focus:

Training methods: Group Classes and Private Lessons Available

Why I became a dog trainer: I became a dog trainer as an extension of my own work and enjoyment of doing agility with my own dogs.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: My favorite part of being a dog trainer is helping people and their dogs develop a meaningful connection and enhanced training skills though the sport of Dog Agility.

My #1 dog training tip: Be patient with the process: Our dogs want to understand what we are asking of them, and it's up to us as their teammate and trainer to make sure we take our time as they are learning and go at the pace that allows them to be successful.

Service areas: Southeastern Wisconsin

Website: https://www.dreamacresagility.square.site


Lisa Schmick

Lisa's life-long love of dogs began at an early age, when she always had a stray dog in tow as a child. As an adult, she has had the pleasure of being 'owned' by four dogs ‘all shelties’ and has served as a professional dog trainer since 2006. She is an ITA Therapy Dog Evaluator, AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, a member of The Pet Professional Guild, a member of Force Free Trainers of Wisconsin and regularly attends dog-training seminars and webinars, as well as reads and watches videos to stay up-to-date on the latest learning theories about dogs. A former Humane Society volunteer, Lisa also has a tendency to inadvertently (subliminally?) type the word 'gods' when she tries to type 'dogs.' Lisa leads the Best Paw Forward team with more than 30 years of business experience, primarily in graphic design, including considerable marketing design work for dog rescue groups.

Certifications:  ITA Therapy Dog Evaluator, AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, a member of The Pet Professional Guild, a member of Force Free Trainers of Wisconsin

Website: https://www.bestpawforward.net


Roxy Bull

Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed

Certifications:  CPDT-KA

Service areas: Southeastern Wisconsin


Chelse Wagner

Certified Behavior Consultant

Education: UW-Madison B.S. in Psychology and Zoology, Apprenticed with Patricia McConnell, Ph.D., Graduate of Susan Friedman Ph.D.'s 'Living and Learning with Animal Program

Certifications: CBCC-KA CPDT-KA

Chelse has always been passionate about animals and started her professional career in sheltering in 1994, working for the Dane County Humane Society where she was responsible for implementing and directing their animal behavior department. While there, she helped staff and volunteers learn how to evaluated dogs to best determine what types of homes they should be adopted to and when needed develop individual training and behavior programs to make dogs more adoptable.

Chelse began working for Dog's Best Friend Training in 1998. She has almost 25 years experience training group classes and working privately with clients to address behavior problems in dogs. Chelse specializes in behavior modification cases involving aggression, anxiety, and phobias as well as helping people find ways to enrich their dog's lives through training and play. She also has a soft spot for Greyhounds.

Chelse's personally owned and loved many different dogs over the years including Greyhounds, Aussies, Border Collies and Golden Retrievers.

Certifications:  CBCC, CBDT

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: I work with all kinds of behavior concerns including anxiety, reactivity and aggression. I also work with family who are just starting out with a new dog and want guidance. My clients are also supported in group training classes, if appropriate, run by Dog's Best Friend. I'm committed to using humane methods for dogs and their people!

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity (bark/lunge type behavior) to triggers (dogs/humans/cars/etc), aggression (a dog biting people/dogs/cats), cat/dog concerns, anxiety (separation/noise/generalized), struggling puppies (excessively mouthy/shy/unable to settle in their crate)

Training methods: I start with assessing the background of the dog, the environment where the dog is struggling and the physical health of the dog (make sure that a vet has seen the dog recently and if not, encourage owners to have the vet assess the dog) . From here, I teach skills using positive reinforcement techniques in order to encourage alternative behaviors. I consider each dog, owner and their environment as an individual case so all cases get an individualized plan. After 20 years of doing this job, I have quite a few tools:-) Owners get a typed plan with their assessment.

Why I became a dog trainer: To help people and dogs along with extreme interest in non verbal communication and how animals learn

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: The times when dogs and their people are in sync and having a lovely conversation!

My #1 dog training tip: If there's something your dog is doing that you want to change, start with keen observation about what is going on before and after the undesired behavior.

Service areas: Madison, WI and surrounding communities/rural areas. Remote, too.

Website: https://www.dogsbestfriendtraining.com


Sara Caron

Sara Caron is a School For The Dogs Certified Professional Trainer.

Sara completed SFTD’s rigorous, 6 month long apprenticeship program focusing on the fundamentals of animal behavior and learning and practical dog training skills in 2021.

She shares a home with a husky mix, Bun Chan, terrier puppy, Chilli, and cats Little Oatie and Goo.

She holds a BFA in Integrated Studio Arts and uses the observational skills and creative approach she gained from that training to help dog guardians communicate compassionately with their dogs and to develop playful, curious, and collaborative relationships with them.

Certifications:  School for the Dog Certified Professional Trainer

Services include:

  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: One on one in home and virtual training to teach basic skills, manners, enrichment, and address behavior and management issues

Behavioral issue focus: Setting new puppies and dogs and their families up for success, mild leash reactivity, basic household manners

Training methods: Training sessions focus on educating clients on positive reinforcement, behavior science, and canine enrichment. Sessions begin with a conversation about the dog's history and the clients goals, an intro to marker training techniques. I discuss management strategies and demonstrate useful behaviors then coach the client through teaching the behavior (with sensitivity to their learning preferences). Follow up includes a brief email or phone call and written training plan and can include video examples of behaviors practiced in session.

Why I became a dog trainer: I'm passionate about the transformative power of positive reinforcement for all human and non human learners.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: I love to educate clients about canine enrichment and behavior, to introduce simple fixes to improve the human/canine bond.

My #1 dog training tip: Always set your dog up for success, consider the environment and management first, not everything needs to be trained!

Service areas: Milwaukee, WI and the greater Milwaukee area

Website: https://www.beingcompanions.com/


Claudia Mecikalski

Claudia is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) and an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. Claudia spends many hours listening to training podcasts, taking on-line courses, and webinars, as well as attending as many seminars and conferences as she can.

In Claudia's words: "I have enjoyed my time and experience with all of the dogs with which I have been privileged to share my life. They have all taught me so much, while training and in the quiet times too.

I love the learning process involved in training and know it will never stop. Currently, I have 4 dogs, each with unique personalities and training challenges. They push me to become a better trainer and do everything I can for and with them.'

Favorite classes: "I enjoy teaching people to work with their dogs at every level of the training process. It's through the training that we develop our relationships with our dogs and I believe that's what it's all about.

I have taken multiple classes with my own dogs and this has helped me, not only bond with them, but, also, understand the challenges of being the student. I always try to keep these experiences in mind when teaching others.

Certifications: CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed)

Website: https://www.bestpawforward.net


Julie Vanderloop

I have been in the dog behavior business for over 20 years.

Certifications:  BS, CVT, CPDT

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Off leash training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: I do in home Behavior Consultations for behavior problems and general training. I also teach group classes including Puppy through Advanced obedience and socialization, Tricks, Scent work, and CGC.

Behavioral issue focus: I work with reactivity, aggression, caution, arousal, anxiety, socialization, manners, and puppy development.

Training methods: I provide behavior consultations, behavior modification plans, and training plans.

Why I became a dog trainer: Dogs have affected my life in positive ways since I was young. Helping other people understand their dogs and build a better bond is my way of giving back.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Facilitating bonds between owners and their dogs and helping people raise well mannered family members.

My #1 dog training tip: Be clear and consistent!

Service areas: Madison, Dane County

Website: https://dogsbestfriendtraining.com


Elaine Katanick

Elaine joined the team at the beginning of 2021 as an assistant and became a lead instructor by the end of 2021.
In Elaine's words: "All of my dogs are so special. My yellow lab rescue, Bo, has been a therapy dog for many years. We visited a local elementary school for over 13 years teaching kindergarteners and first graders the love of reading. Bo and I trained at Best Paw Forward many years ago and that is when I learned a better way to train a dog. A few years ago, I inherited my mom’s dogs and they rounded our group to four. I just love how loyal and caring each one of them are and how much they enrich our lives."
Favorite classes: "I have two favorite classes that I have assisted and teach at BPF. Puppy class is so much fun. I get such joy watching the pups and their people bond and learn. My second favorite class is our Level 2 obedience. Polar opposite of puppy class, these dogs are refining their skills and taking the dog and handler relationship to a new level. As for my favorite class I think it would be the Rally/Agility Combo. My dog, Dallas, and I had so much fun running the courses while strengthening our bond."

Services include:

  • Agility training

Website: https://www.bestpawforward.net


Pam Collar

My name is Pam Collar and I am a graduate of Animal Behavior College (ABC) where I earned my certification as an ABC Certified Dog Trainer. Animal Behavior College (ABC) is approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education and is an internationally recognized school. My year long commitment to this program has provided me with a formal education in canine obedience training and understanding behavior and its motives. My certification, education and experience provide me the skills required to effectively and humanely train your dog while keeping alive the spark that makes your dog so special to you.

I am a dog lover first, and a dog trainer second. I know from first-hand experience the difference dog training makes in the relationship between dog and owner. Without professional training it can sometimes be a frustrating relationship, but with an investment in good training a wonderful transformation will occur. I have been working with dogs and their owners for many years and there is nothing which satisfies me more than to see a happy dog and a happy owner! My mission is to help you and your dog enjoy many happy years together.

Certifications:  ABC Certified Dog Trainer

Services include:

  • Puppy training

Service areas: Baraboo & it's surrounding areas, Wisconsin Dells

Website: https://www.trainplaylovedogs.com/


Brianne Statz

Brianne first joined Teacher's Pet in 2004. While her training journey took her away from Teacher's Pet for a bit, we are so delighted to welcome her back in 2022! Brianne's love for animals started young and when she went to college at UW Madison, she got her bachelor of science in Zoology. She became a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA) in 2006 and has diligently kept up on her continuing education to know the most up to date training methods. Her love of animals did not stop with training though as she became a Certified Veterinary Technician in 2010.

Brianne particularly enjoys training tricks, agility, and parkour fun with her pets! Brianne's current crew of pets includes a deaf/blind Aussie named Simon, a deaf Border Collie named Banjo, a vision impaired Aussie named Kuma, a Pomeranian mix named Pepper, a cat named Joan, and a chinchilla named Eleanor (yes, even her chinchillas are trained too!). Brianne also welcomed her beautiful (human) baby girl in 2021.

Certifications: CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • Agility training

More info about service provided: Brianne particularly enjoys training tricks, agility, and parkour fun with her pets!

Service areas: Greater Madison Area

Website: https://teacherspettraining.com/


Emily Blythe

Homeward Bound Behavior and Training, LLC is owned by Emily Blythe. Emily has over 15 years of experience helping families and pets in need. She got her start in Nebraska, moved to Iowa, and now her journey has brought her to Wisconsin!

She has extensive experience working in animal shelters and veterinary clinics. She specializes in feline, canine, and avian behavior and implements behavior modification through force free training. She is committed to a science-based approach to training, behavior modification, and teaching people.

She holds her associate certification in the canine division and feline division through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, is a Fear Free Certified Animal Trainer, a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer, and a certified AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. She is a member of the Pet Professional Guild and Force Free Trainers of Wisconsin.

Certifications: 

Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant - IAABC
Associate Certified Dog Behavior Consultant - IAABC
Fear Free Certified Professional - Trainer
Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer
Bachelor of Science in Animal Ecology

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Deaf dog training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: We offer in-person coaching, day training, and virtual coaching for dogs, cats, and birds. We also offer in-home pet sitting.

Behavioral issue focus: We work with all behavior issues!

Training methods:

Our training methodology is force free and science-based. The first step in the process would be to schedule an initial consultation. There are three goals that we accomplish during this:

- Gather a thorough history. The initial consultation is our opportunity to hash everything out so that we have a clearer picture of what's happening.

- Customized management plan. Once the history is gathered, we will create a customized management plan for the animal. Management plays a crucial role in the success of training because it helps prevent them from practicing any problem behaviors and sets them up for as much success as possible. Training goes much, much slower when there is no management plan in place.

- Behavior modification plan. This involves setting clear training goals and prioritizing those goals so that we cover the concerns that are most important to you. Gathering a history will help us create the most accurate behavior modification plan so that we have a solid foundation to use as a jumping off point.

Initial consultations are done remotely via Zoom. Within a few days of the consultation, you'll receive a written report and a recording of the session itself. In the email with the written report, we will provide training package options for you to choose from. In-person options will be provided at this point. Typically, training sessions are 1-2 times per week.

To start with, we suggest visiting our website to view all of our services and pricing. The initial consultation lasts 1-2 hours and costs $100. Half of the cost of the consultation will be due at the time of booking. The other half will not be due until the day of the initial consultation. I invoice via email through Square. There will be a link in the invoice that you can click to pay with a credit card.

Why I became a dog trainer: I have been working with animals since I was 15 years old in many different capacities. I discovered the world of animal behavior when I was 18 and never looked back! It's so gratifying to be able to help people and animals have a better bond and to keep families together.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Getting to help so many different people and animals. Every case is different and keeps me on my toes!

My #1 dog training tip: In-person services within a 40 mile radius of Wyocena, WI. Virtual training is offered worldwide!

Service areas: All dogs can benefit from mental enrichment! This includes food puzzles, sniffaris, and decompression walks (just to name a few).

Website: https://www.homewardboundbehavior.com


Nikki Darga

Nikki Darga has 6 years of experience training dogs. Nikki started training in competitive obedience with her dog Kona when she was sixteen years old. Nikki and Kona also trained for tracking and retrieving. From then on, Nikki knew that she wanted training animals to be a part of her life.

Professionally, Nikki has been engaged in various training related endeavors, including:

Working at the Dane County Humane Society teaching group Puppy Beginner Dog, and Dog 2 classes.

Joining the Dane County Humane Society as a Canine Volunteer Training Coordinator.

Pursuing continuing education opportunities.

Obtained her CPDT-KA certification.

Nikki also works with cats to help solve unwanted behaviors for feline friends.

Nikki brings enthusiasm and a love of people and their pets to her work and is committed to creating a supportive environment for everyone. Her ambition is to help animals and their humans create a closer bond and work together to achieve their goals.

Certifications:  CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Obedience

Service areas: Greater Madison, WI area

Website: https://www.sweetspotdogtraining.com/


Kristin Angel

Here's the story where you learn about a girl with a Master's in mechanical engineering who ended up running Angelic Paws Dog Training. While the two may not seem to have a lot in common on the outside, I found that my love of problem-solving was a perfect fit for helping dogs become better pets and for humans to become better owners.

You and your dog deserve to have a great life together, whether that's relaxing in your home or out and about in the world. However, life doesn't always give us all the tools to help pets and owners understand how to deal with everyday stresses, and that's where training can help.

Just like us, some dogs are hesitant and shy; some are goofballs with big personalities. I know this is the case with my dogs! Luna, my German Shepherd, needs extra help understanding how to deal with social situations but rewards me with lots of love once she feels safe.

Services include:

  • Board and train
  • Service dog training
  • Puppy training

Service areas: Benton, WI

Website: https://angelicpawsdogtraining.com/


Deb Crawley

Why you chose to work with dogs: I came to the Dog Den as a client. I had a reactive dog that I needed help with. I had no idea at the time that this experience was going to change my life. Working with dogs turned out to be a dream come true, especially since I have loved animals my whole life.

Favorite Part of your job: My favorite part of working at The Dog Den is basically, everything. From helping clients and dogs create bonds and setting up training plans for them, to just cuddle time while working with the pack. The educational opportunities that are provided are exceptional. This allows for all of me to be a creative thinker to help all the dogs in my, care to live out theirs lives in a carefree manner whether they are here with us or at home with their families.

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: I am asked quite frequently which breed I would be if I was a dog. Honestly, I love all the breeds and would have a hard time picking just one. However, I can see the clown side of a Weimariner in all of us.

Other Insights: I would just like to thank Laura and all the wonderful clients for giving me the opportunity to work and play with their loved ones.

Certifications: CBCC-KA, CPACM, CPACP, CPDT-KA, CGC and Puppy Star Evaluator, CVT, Completion of Knowing Dogs 101 & 201, Pet First Aid Certified

Website: https://www.thedogden.com/


Meghan Smith

Meghan is our Lead Dog Trainer here at Mighty Pet. Meghan holds the distinction of Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed*, the only trainer in the greater Marinette-Menominee area having attained this certification.

In addition to having her “CPDT-KA”, Meghan is also a graduate of Micheal Shikashio’s Aggression In Dogs master course and a licensed Veterinary Technician.

Meghan joined Mighty Pet in 2017 to help build the training program and teaches group classes on basic obedience, Rally Obedience, AKC Canine Good Citizen test, therapy dog training, and nosework. Meghan also offers private training and behavior modification services conducted at Mighty Pet or in the clients home. Through the training program, Meghan helps pet parents develop their dog into a welcome member of the family by understanding the unique needs of each client and their dog. By using the least invasive, minimally aversive methods possible, Meghan develops a structured, yet flexible training plan, utilizing modern learning theory and training techniques.

In addition to classes and private training, Meghan also holds workshops on a variety of topics such as Polite Leash Walking, Holiday Management, Place Training, and more.

Meghan lives on a small farm with her husband, their dogs, Lark, Fe & Willie. As well as three cats, numerous pheasants, pigeons, chickens, and turkeys. Outside of work, she enjoys upland hunting with her dogs, running canicross (dog powered cross country running), bikejoring (dog powered mountain biking), conducting therapy dog visits, and large game recovery with tracking dogs.

Certifications:  CPDT-KA

Services include:

  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: Obedience training, Day training,

Behavioral issue focus:

Training methods:

Why I became a dog trainer:

My favorite part of being a dog trainer:

My #1 dog training tip:

Service areas: Menominee Michigan and Marinette Wisconsin

Website: https://www.mightypet.net/


Jolene Short

I'm a certified dog behavior consultant (IAABC) and trainer (CCDPT) who has been in the behavior field for over 10 years. I love working with pet guardians to help strengthen their bond with their companions so they can enjoy their lives together. I strive to continually educate myself on the most up-to-date information in relation to humane and science-based animal training and care. I am currently expanding my education to cats.

Certifications:  CDBC, CPDT-KA, CSAT, FFCP (Trainer)

Services include:

  • Aggressive dog training
  • In home training
  • Reactive dog training
  • Puppy training

More info about service provided: In home training and behavior modification: basic manners, reactivity, fear-based aggression, stranger danger, resource guarding, noise phobia, separation anxiety, workshops for daycares, vet clinics and shelter/rescues

Behavioral issue focus: Reactivity, stranger danger, generalized anxiety, fear-based aggression, separation anxiety, resource guarding, noise sensitivity/phobia

Training methods: We offer initial behavior consultations to take a thorough history and lay foundational information. We then offer a report that recaps and provides additional resources as well as recommended behavior/training packages ranging from day training (when appropriate) to coaching virtually or in-person. We use force free and positive reinforcement methods in order to help maintain a management plan while the dog learns healthy coping mechanisms and we work to help change their emotional state to the triggering or overstimulating situations through counterconditioning and desensitization.

Why I became a dog trainer: I want to help improve the quality of lives of animals and their human counterparts so they can truly enjoy their time together.

My favorite part of being a dog trainer: Watching owners build relationships with their companions beyond what they were expecting was possible and getting to be their cheerleader through the process.

My #1 dog training tip: Reinforce what you want to see more of. It's so simple, but I always tell clients not to mistake simplicity for ineffectiveness.

Service areas: Des Moines, IA; Ankeny, IA; West Des Moines, IA; Madison, WI; Sun Prairie, WI

Website: https://www.homewardboundbehavior.com


Sniffspot Wisconsin Top Trainer Frequently Asked Questions

How are Wisconsin dog trainers selected for this list?

These are the top dog trainers in Wisconsin as selected by broad voting from the Sniffspot community and the general public. These trainers are expert dog trainers, who received votes from their delighted customers, due to their excellent dedication to customer service, excellent results and general care they exhibit for their clients. Many have worked with thousands of dogs and are highly experienced trainers.

How can I get in touch with dog trainers?

Each of the trainer profiles contains a link to their website. You can click through to their website where you can find more contact information.

Are these Wisconsin dog trainers certified professionals?

Dog training is not regulated at the federal or state level, so there is no standard dog training certification and professional trainers are not required to be certified. However, certifications are important to show that a professional dog trainer has a standard of expertise to help train your dog. Each trainer’s certifications are listed on their profile.

What are the top certifications for Dog Trainers in Wisconsin?

Some of the top certifications in the dog training industry are CPDT- KA, IAABC, Karen Pryor Academy - KPA certification, Jean Donaldson's Academy - CTC certification and Fear Free Certification. You can review the dog trainer certifications for each specific dog trainer on their profile on this page.

What methods are used in the dog training sessions?

There are many methods for teaching dogs and a lot of disagreement about the correct training approach. All of the Wisconsin trainers included on this list use positive reinforcement training only, as defined by no force, fear, intimidation, or aversive methods used. This includes not using any specifically aversive approach to training or training aid, such as a prong or electronic dog training collar (also called remote dog training collar or shock collars). As for specific training programs and specialties, such as day training / doggie daycare or obedience training, you can see more information in each trainer’s profile.

Are dog training lessons in a training facility or are virtual options available?

Some dog trainers operate exclusively from a training facility, some do house calls and some offer video calls or other virtual options. There are pros and cons to each option and the most efficient behavioral training option depends on specific circumstances, for instance, what hours work best for you. A training center or training ranch can be a good option if your training plan requires facilities, training equipment or dedicated space. We recommend reaching out to the specific trainer you are interested in or browsing their website for more information.

Are dog training lessons private or in a group setting?

Every different circumstance of dog and owners may require a different setting, whether it’s housebreaking issues, anxiety issues, lack of proper socialization, food aggression or just bad habits. Each trainer has different offerings as far as whether they can offer clients a private training session or a group class. Trainers provide information about their private class and group class offerings in their profiles and you can browse their website for more information as well. It may make sense for your specific circumstance to reach out to the trainer to ask if they recommend group or private dog training classes. Some trainers also have a team of specialists that can provide even higher levels of service, or provide specialized sessions, such as pack walks.

How much does dog training in Wisconsin cost?

Wisconsin dog trainers have a wide range of costs for different services and phases of training. For instance behavioral modification that involves boarding is often more expensive than day training, and private lessons are generally more expensive than group lessons. Prices can also vary depending on specific behavioral issues. Lastly, some trainers have more overhead than others, We recommend first picking a trainer that provides the services that you are looking for, then reaching out to them to get up to date pricing.

Is training a dog good for the dog?

Yes! Training has many benefits for dogs. Whether with basic training skills or complex training techniques, going through behavior training with your dog can improve the bond that you share with them. Also, training can do a lot to improve the level of confidence enabling of a dog (and it can also help with building customer confidence!). Rather than being about exerting maximum control over them, it gives them more certainty that they understand how the world around them works. For instance, crate training can help a dog feel safe and at home in a crate vs fearful and uncertain. Dog training can teach important skills, such as leash control, potty training or a general level of obedience skills. And lastly, it’s just fun for the dog to learn life skills and for their family. Training can be very stimulating and enriching for a dog and serve them throughout their entire healthy life!

Can an aggressive dog be trained?

Yes! Any dog behavior can be worked on through training and coaching. Aggression in dogs is a serious issue, but it is also a term that is used very broadly. Many dogs that are thought to be aggressive are actually reactive, which is a different behavior altogether. A trainer can help you interpret signs of aggression, such as excessive barking, fear aggression and leash aggression, and type of aggression. If you believe you have a dog with aggressive behaviors, we recommend reaching out to one of your local top trainers to get their diagnosis and advice.

I am a Wisconsin dog trainer. How can I get listed here?

As long as you have a training facility or do in person training in Wisconsin you can be considered for this list. We update this list once per year, normally starting in January. Make sure to keep an eye on our social media and sign up for email updates with Sniffspot in order to be in the loop on the next round of nominations.

How much do dog trainers make in Wisconsin?

Dog trainer earnings vary widely depending on many factors, such as whether a dog trainer is an employee or owns their own full-service professional dog training business. According to ZipRecruiter, the average dog trainer salary in Wisconsin was $29,733 per year and $14.29 per hour. It is impossible to say how much a dog trainer can earn with a full-service professional dog training company, because the size and profitability of companies can vary widely.


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Merlin Noble

March 29, 2022

Dog Trainers

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