Teaching dogs. Coaching humans. Building trust.

Voted by Sniffspot users as one of the Best Dog Trainers in both Wisconsin and Minnesota for 2023

“What is possible between a human and an animal is attainable only within a relationship.”
~ Suzanne Clothier
What is the purpose of a dog? video from the 2021 Aggression in Dog conference (Michael Shikashio)

“Our dog’s potential is created or destroyed by the belief we have in and about them.” ~Susan Garrett
  • Do you have a new puppy?
  • Are you thinking about getting a dog?
  • Does your dog need extra help with manners? 
  • Is your dog fearful or anxious in new environments?
  • Does your dog bark and lunge at dogs and people?
  • Does your dog guard his food bowl or toys?
  • Does your dog bark and howl or destroy things when you are away?

Benefits of teaching dogs through in-home private lessons:

Appointments are convenient.

You schedule your appointments, so they will fit your busy life.

Fully personalized training sessions.

I do not have a set curriculum. Each training session is customized for you and your dog

No travel necessary.

Sometimes getting to dog training classes can be difficult – your dog gets car sick, you don’t have a car, you are a caregiver and can’t get away, your schedule does not accommodate travel time, etc. Regardless of the reason, in-home lessons fit perfectly into your schedule.

New spaces are very stressful for fearful and reactive dogs.

Think of something that scares you. If I put you in a room filled with that scary thing, could you sit down and balance your check book?

Fearful, anxious and reactive dogs find new surrounding and group classes extremely stressful. When your dog is stressed, he is not in a state of mind to learn. Having a trainer come into your home (in-person or virtually) takes that element out of the equation. This helps to set your dog up for success.

Crimson Hound is the right fit for all of your dog training needs.

BEYOND Traditional Dog Training

Family dog mediation® focuses less on traditional obedience training and more on teaching practical life skills to our dogs. We work to develop better communication with your dog and building a bond based in trust. Dogs don’t come equipped with the knowledge or skills to understand how to fit into our human world. We will work together to overcome behavior issues and teach your dog the skills he needs to succeed.

Ethical and Force Free Methods

My training methods are based on LIMA standards and the Five Freedoms. I use ethical, rewards-based techniques that do not rely on pain or force for teaching dogs. As a Fear Free Certified Professional, I will not purposely cause stress, pain or anxiety to realize training goals and will not recommend choke collars, prong collars or shock collars as a means to address a problem behavior.

Ongoing Communication

Communication is vital to success. All clients receive custom homework plans after each session, along with relevant handouts and video tutorials. Moreover, you will receive coaching support between sessions. Clients are encouraged to submit videos of their dog so that we can review the footage and make any necessary adjustments to the training plan.

Modern, Science-Based Training

As a certified and accredited professional trainer, I pride myself in continually expanding my knowledge 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 training techniques.

“Reactivity is not a training issue – it is a well-being issue.” ~ Janet Finlay

AVSAB Statement on Humane Dog Training

“Based on current scientific evidence, AVSAB recommends that only reward-based training methods are used for all dog training, including the treatment of behavior problems. Aversive training methods have a damaging effect on both animal welfare and the human-animal bond. There is no evidence that aversive methods are more effective than reward-based methods in any context. AVSAB therefore advises that aversive methods should not be used in animal training or for the treatment of behavior disorders.”

Read the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior’s full position statement.

The Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare

These guidelines were developing in the UK in 1965 and are accepted worldwide as the minimum standards for animal welfare.

  • Freedom from Hunger and Thirst by ready access to fresh water and diet to maintain health and vigor.
  • Freedom from Discomfort by providing an environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
  • Freedom from Pain Injury or Disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
  • Freedom to Express Normal Behavior by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
  • Freedom from Fear and Distress by ensuring conditions and treatment that avoid mental suffering.

The Five Freedoms should be viewed as the bare minimum. In his 2016 paper, “Updating Animal Welfare Thinking: Moving beyond the “Five Freedoms” towards “A Life Worth Living”, Dr. David J. Mellor notes that “a marked increase in scientific understanding over the last two decades now shows that the Five Freedoms do not capture, either in the specifics or the generality of their expression, the breadth and depth of current knowledge of the biological processes that are germane to understanding animal welfare and to guiding its management.”

Crimson Hound, LLC is based in La Crosse, Wisconsin. I offer in-home consultations throughout the Coulee Region, as well as virtual sessions for clients based anywhere. In addition, I offer online courses and a select number of small group classes on a variety of special topics.

Equality & Diversity Statement
I recognize, respect, and value diversity. 
I strive to have a positive impact on the environment, to practice anti-racism and anti-oppression, and to promote social justice in my business and personal life.
I am committed to inclusion across age, gender, race, religion, and identity. ​

Family Dog Mediation®

Are they problems behaviors or unmet needs

As the modern world continues to change, many of us find ourselves confused by the latest technology and even longing for days gone by.  We don’t realize that these changes to our world have had drastic effects on our dogs’ lives as well.  

  • Border collies no longer have sheep to herd … but herding kids, bikes or cars is frowned upon.  
  • Jack Russell terriers are no longer employed in keeping vermin out of our barns … but killing our pet hamster is not acceptable.  
  • Dalmatians once trotted alongside carriages all day … now they may spend 8 to 12 hours in a crate every day. 
  • Huskies were developed to pull sleds across the arctic tundra … now some find themselves living in Florida condos. 

Our pet dogs are captive animals with unmet instinctual needs and very little autonomy over their own lives. We control every aspect of their lives . . .when and where they eat, drink and sleep … when and where they go potty . . . who they interact with . . . how they play . . . The aspects of our dogs’ lives that the dog controls can be counted on one hand. Our pet dogs are frustrated and confused by their own reality. Dogs are doing what we humans selectively, and very purposely, bred them to do for over thousands of years. We see many of these as unwanted, problem behaviors.

… or perhaps just misplaced expectations?

Our dogs have been stripped of the right of refusal. Imagine, if you will, trying to dress up a wolf or a tiger – or even your cat. Get out the bandages, right?! But what happens when we decide to dress up our dogs? Now that’s a different story, our dogs had darn well better cooperate. In addition, think of this same wolf/tiger/cat/dog scenario in other circumstances – giving baths, grooming, walking on leash, recalls . . . even petting. In short, a dog is the only living being expected to perform perfectly regardless of what scenario is thrown at them. If they refuse, we see a problem to be “fixed”.

Are these truly issues that need to be fixed . . . or do we just need to adjust our own expectations?

We need to take an honest look at our relationships with our dogs and ask ourselves . . .

  • What was the original purpose of my dog?
  • Am I offering my dog opportunities to meet his needs?
  • Am I being realistic with my expectations?
  • How can I help my dog navigate this modern world into which he has been trapped?

“If you think about it, it’s kind of a dirty trick to take a species that naturally chases moving objects, eats whatever it comes across, bites to argue, etc., and then announce all these as behavior problems.” ~ Jean Donaldson

When we are angry, embarrassed, or frustrated with our dog’s behavior, these feelings affect our relationship. They affect our ability to constructively help our dog modify those behaviors.  Shifting our mindset from “My dog is giving me a hard time” to “My dog is having a hard time . . . having big feelings . . . feeling frustrated, confused or afraid” takes our relationship to a whole new level. It creates a stronger bond and provides a foundation for creating new behaviors.

Marissa Martino of Paws and Rewards Behavior Consulting has created a wonderful FREE mini-course called Powerful Perspectives. In this course, dog owners reflect on their feelings. Then they reframe their mindset from one of anger and frustration to one of empathy and understanding.

This is also where my work as a Family Dog Mediator can help. We will talk about why your dog does what he does and how his needs may be affecting his behavior. Then we will create a plan that will set both you and your dog up for success.

“Dogs are doing the best they can with the education we’ve given them in the environment we’ve put them in.” ~ Susan Garrett

What is Family Dog Mediation®?

A Family Dog Mediator (FDM)® is an individual who looks beyond “fixing” a specific issue and, instead, takes a holistic approach to assessing each dog based on their L.E.G.S.® – each individual’s LearningEnvironmentGenetics, and Self – because each one of a dog’s four L.E.G.S.® plays a critical role in supporting that animal’s behavior.  

What is L.E.G.S.®?

The L.E.G.S. framework is a holistic, ethological lens through which we view canine behavior. It is a lens through which we can understand WHY our dogs do what they do.


Learning is composed of all of the combined information the individual dog has learned during his life so far –and is continuing to learn every single day.  E.g., ‘other dogs aren’t safe to approach’, ‘cars are scary’, ‘cats are fun to chase’, or ‘when mom has that look I better hide’.  Learning is more than just training a hand signal to sit or some other pattern of behavior. It is the key to adapting to new situations, making predictions and anticipating based on previous experiences.  It’s happening all day, every day, and it’s often not what humans may intend!


Environment isn’t just the inside or outside of your house.  It’s everything your pet encounters and interacts with every day.  Environment creates both questions and answers for your pet. E.g., ‘Am I safe?’,  ‘What is happening?’,  ‘What do I do?’, or ‘I know what this means!’.  Our job as humans is to control the environment, keep it safe, and make sure it provides the things that will meet our dog’s needs.  


Genetics is all of the information about life that our pets arrived on earth with already encoded in their DNA.  It is what tells a dog how to be a dog. It contains all of the specializations that humans have selected for, and against, since we began breeding dogs more than 10,000 years ago.  Genetics provides the basic instructions for herding, protection, companionship and retrieving.  


Self considers the dog sitting directly in front of us – this unique individual. It includes personality, age, sex and reproductive status. Self includes health, nutrition, disabilities or injuries.  Think of Self in this way – the needs of a stray, skinny momma dog with 6 puppies are drastically different than the needs of a pampered, neutered Cocker spaniel who eats the most expensive dog food and has his own leather couch or a young male Siberian husky who lives in Alaska and is training to run the Iditarod.  We always start with the dog as the individual, not with dogs in general.

Family Dog Mediation®

Family Dog Mediators® evaluate these four L.E.G.S.® and help identify the places where there are conflicts between a dog and his person.  Family Dog Mediation® goes BEYOND dog training. Rather than setting out to simply “fix bad behaviors” through obedience training, we will work together to create meaningful solutions. 

As your FDM, I will meet you and your dog where you are right now. We will work with ALL of the L.E.G.S..® that both you and your dog bring to the table. My goal is to help you and your dog build a relationship based in trust and understanding.  Your training plan will require compromise in order to address your goals and meet your dog’s needs. This plan will include management protocols, enrichment activities and teaching new skills. 

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.”
~ Maya Angelou
Family Dog Mediation

I am here to help.

Training for Dogs and Puppies

Family Dog Mediation and Coaching – Dogs and Puppies

Whether you just brought a new puppy into your home or have had your dog for months or years, Whatever your needs are for training dogs and puppies, I am here to help you build a relationship with your dog based in trust and understanding through Family Dog Mediation.

These programs are best-suited for:
  • Basic manners cues: sit, down, stand and stay
  • Teaching focus
  • Recalls (coming when called)
  • Walking nicely on leash
  • Greeting behaviors (not jumping)
  • Mat training 
  • Boundary training at doorways 
  • Leave it, drop it and trading resources
  • House training, crate training and puppy spaces
  • Puppy mouthing, biting and schedules
  • Counter surfing, digging, chewing, etc.
  • Fostering safe interactions between children and dogs
  • Getting ready for a new baby
  • Learning about enrichment for your dog’s mental health

If you do not see your particular issue on this list, it does not mean that Crimson Hound can’t help you. In the majority of cases, we can customize one of the Family Dog Mediation® and Coaching programs described below to meet your needs. Or, perhaps, you are a better fit for one of my Fearful, Reactive and Aggressive dog programs. Please email me to discuss your needs with regards to training for dogs and puppies.

“Perhaps our language needs to shift so that we no longer ‘walk the dog’ but rather choose, very deliberately, with living attentiveness, to ‘walk WITH the dog’. ~ Suzanne Clothier

Training for Fearful, Reactive and Aggressive Behavior

Fearful, Reactive and Aggressive Behavior
– using Family Dog Mediation® to help dogs who have “Big Feelings”

“Your dog is not giving you a hard time. Your dog is HAVING a hard time.”

The vast majority of dogs that display any type of reactive and aggressive behavior are experiencing some level of fear, frustration, anxiety, or stress. A small percentage of others are simply performing the instinctual behaviors that they were selectively bred to do.

“Fearful, reactive and aggressive dogs” are dogs with “big feelings” and need help learning how to cope.

These programs work best for dogs who:
  • Bark and lunge at dogs, people or moving objects during walks
  • Bark, growl or cower when greeting strangers
  • Guard food, toys, people or spaces
  • Fight with other dogs &/or pets in your home
  • Act out when left home alone
  • Issues with handling
  • Are scared or fearful in new environments
  • Fence fight with other dogs

Crimson Hound is here to help. Family Dog Mediation® is a key component of all of my in-home and virtual coaching programs. Only modern, ethical reward-based methods that follow LIMA principles will be used – methods that do not rely on the use of force, coercion or intimidation. Your Crimson Hound training plan will NOT include aversive techniques and quick fixes such as squirt bottles, Pet Corrector, leash jerking, flooding, choke collars, slip leads, prong collars, or e-collars (AKA bark collar, vibration collar, training collar, shock collar) to address any unwanted behaviors. 

“Reactivity is not a choice. In fact, it’s the behavior that often results from a lack of choice.”

Online Courses

Online Courses

Crimson Hound online courses are asynchronous and self-paced to provide the learner with maximal flexibility. This means that you are able to work on the course from any location – all you need is your computer and an internet connection.  You can work on the course at any tine of day and are able to start and stop as needed.  These online courses are priced to fit any budget, while, at the same time, providing high quality content.