The Best Dog Trainers in Wisconsin of 2022

Welcome to the Wisconsin Sniffspot top dog trainer list for 2022. This is a list of the top dog trainers in Wisconsin based on votes from the Sniffspot community and the general public. Over 45,000 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

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 2022

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
Behavioral issue focus:

Fear, reactivity, dog to dog aggression, dog to human aggression, intrahousehold aggression, phobias, potty training, canine frustration, appropriate child interactions, resource guarding, confidence building, cultivating owner education around body language, separation anxiety, aggression around other animals, crate training and cooperative husbandry.

Training methods:

Our training methods are aligned with the most recent research in canine cognition and learning. We use ethical, evidence based and empathic methods to teach our learners what we want them to do. By reinforcing the behaviors that you want to see and creating reinforcement histories doing that behavior, other behaviors tend to fade away.

There is no reason to use force (physical force, intimidation, metal or electric collars, slip leads) to cultivate behaviors in a canine learner. Teaching is a two-way street, with both parties giving and taking information. Our behavior consulting is reliant upon science-based principles as well. Each consulting client will come away with a four-piece plan to begin to implement behavior change.

This plan includes possible medical intervention/support from their veterinarian, human education on body language and ethology, enrichment assignments, and a behavior modification plan. We will include a variety of resources to provide education and support of our plan.

Service area:

We serve midwestern Wisconsin for in person classes/behavior consulting, but also offer remote consultations across the United States.


Chelse Wagner

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 ” ProgramCertifications: CBCC-KA CPDT-KA Chelse has always been passionate about animals and started her professional career in sheltering, 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 over 20 years of 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 and leads a Greyhounds only training class. Chelse's personally owned and loved many different dogs over the years including Greyhounds, Aussies, Border Collies and a Golden Retriever.

Certifications: Certified Professional Dog Trainer- CPDT-KA


Lynsie Bernier

Lynsie Bernier is the owner of Ideal DOG and brings 28 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 16 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 DogsLynsie 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 trainers show you how to train your Ideal DOG!

Certifications: Certified Professional Dog Trainer- CPDT-KA

Behavioral issue focus:

House training (including crate/confinement training and marking)
Jumping up, mouthing, and pushy attention seeking behavior
Leash reactivity (lunging/barking)
Destructive chewing
Excessive barking
Running away and boundary training
Counter surfing, food stealing and garbage raiding
Handling problems (vet exam, nail trim issues, grooming difficulties etc.)
Possession guarding
Acclimation to a new home (for rescued/adopted dogs)
Dog/Dog aggression- socialization with unfamiliar and multi dog household pack order
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:

The Force Free Trainers of Wisconsin (FFTW) is a membership group of professional, active trainers and veterinary professionals with an interest in behavior advocating for the physical, emotional and environmental well being of companion animals.

The FFTW is dedicated to training methods and techniques that focus on teaching animals by rewarding desired behaviors and exclude the intentional use of physical or psychological intimidation.

The FFTW members are passionate about education and take pride in collaborating with each other to help pets and their owners.

Members of the FFTW are evaluated throughout the year to ensure they are maintaining a high level of professionalism in the work they do.

Service area:

Ideal DOG serves the Oshkosh WI and surrounding areas with classes and lessons at 2 locations and in person/in home services within 40 miles of 54901. We offer remote services to anyone via Zoom and teleconsults.


Pam Catalano

Pam began working at Best Paw Forward in 2014 and is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) and an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. She has volunteered at the Humane Animal Welfare Society of Waukesha (HAWS) and served in the US Army Reserve for 9 years.

She has taken in seven rescue dogs over the years and got her first puppy 2 years ago. She has a Bachelor degree in K-12 education and coaching has taught secondary education in nursing at both the technical college and Carroll University. She also has a Bachelor degree in Nursing, where she spent 25 years in long-term care prior to "retiring" from nursing. Pam has an eternal quest for knowledge and keeps current in the industry by attending seminars and conferences regularly as well as doing on-line courses.

In Pam's words: "When one of my rescue dogs showed signs of fear and impulse control issues, I started to look for professional help. My interest in wanting to learn more consumed me. I took three classes with BPF and found it to be a life-saver for Bella and me. I am committed to helping my clients in strengthening the bond with their canine companions through helping them understand how dogs learn and what they need from their human, as well as showing them how to have fun during training. Favorite classes: "I love seeing the progress of each of the dogs and their humans in every class I teach. When the lightbulb goes on, it is priceless.'

Certifications: Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed

Services include:
  • Aggressive dog training
  • Reactive dog training
Behavioral issue focus:

Variety of puppy issues such as potty training, jumping, biting/nipping as well as reactivity to the environment (not aggression cases), mild cases of separation anxiety, shy and fearful behaviors

Training methods:

Positive, reward based methods, working together with the dog and their guardian to achieve intended goals. We meet with teams for 60-90 minutes and afterward they receive a lengthy summary of what was discussed including videos to assist the client in moving forward to achieve their goals.

Service area:

Waukesha county to include Hartland, Pewaukee, Delafield, Oconomowoc, Waukesha, Genesee, Wales, Merton, Sussex, Brookfield, Nashotah, Menomonee Falls, Wauwatosa, Elm Grove, Dousman, North Prairie


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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