The Dog Den

Learn and Play...Everyday!

3124 Syene Rd. | Madison, WI 53713 | 608-665-3375
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About The Puppy Den Team

Our pledge to you: to be the dog experts for your family! We promise to stay on top on the research and training to be able to pass that onto you and your pup through engaging daycare programs, group training classes, puppy programs, private training, and behavior consults.

WE ARE HIRING!

apply here! 

If you are looking for a flexible work schedule where you are freed from the typical office routine, we may be the exact right place for you to be!

We are looking for positive, energetic, and motivated applicants to grow our daycare Playgroup Leader & Training team! No experience? No problem!  Our flexible training schedule allows you to learn at your own pace will get you ready to work with and train a pack of dogs in no time!

We are a local, positive reinforcement-based dog daycare and training facility with a strong emphasis on understanding canine behavior and improving the communication between dogs and people.  Providing a family-like atmosphere for both our clients and their dogs is very important to us.  Our philosophy is simple: we love dogs!  We love to help our clients build a better relationship with their dog and we strive to understand the dogs in our care and help them be the best pup they can be!  Daycare is an interactive play environment and carries some inherent risks, both to the dogs and to the staff. Our #1 priority at The Dog Den is safety of our staff and our dogs.  Our Playgroup Leaders play an integral role in keeping everyone safe, healthy and happy by supervising the play and interactions of all the dogs in our care.

Dog daycare is a learned job; we are all always learning from each other as team members, AND from the dogs!  Experiencing daycare and training classes first-hand is the best way to learn and to become comfortable with many types of behaviors you will experience on the job.  You will not be expected to be able to perform any of the following job duties without going through a training program first, however upon completion of that training program you must meet the Playgroup Leader job responsibilities outlined below. 

Work Hours:

We are currently hiring for part-time and full-time help.  Playgroup Leader daycare shifts typically run between the following hours :  M-F 6:00am-12: 30pm and 12:00pm-6: 30pm  Training classes are held on nights and weekends.  We are looking for applicants who are available to work both daycare AND training class hours.

Wage:

Starting at $10.00 per hour.  Our training program is extensive, with plenty of opportunities for advancement.

Job Requirements:

-A love for not only dogs, but also their people

-Passionate about being part of a team that provides great customer service

-Strong written and verbal skills with good attention to detail

-Patience with both animals and humans

-Enjoy learning and also passing along your knowledge to others

-Comfortable in a fast paced, active job

-Ability to be flexible and to switch between tasks quickly and effectively

-Ability to supervise dog playgroups while being aware of various play styles, ensuring that all dogs are safe, stress-free, and are having fun

-Ability to maintain a safe & clean space for the dogs by watching for, picking up, and properly disposing of any waste

-Desire to work with dog behavior to improve the lives of dogs

-Upon completion of training program, ability to recognize possible canine behavior issues and ability to be proactive to help improve these behaviors in order to maintain the safety & happiness of dog packs

-Meet all of the physical requirements listed below

Physical Requirements:

-Ability to stand and walk for 6+ hours a day

-Ability to repeatedly bend & pick things up

-Ability to handle several dogs in one pack at a time, memorize dog names & defining features

-Ability to move quickly in response to the dogs

-Ability to tolerate different weather changes that are typical for the region (snow, rain, humidity, etc.)

-Ability to lift 50lbs

 Job Responsibilities:

Pack Management

  • Ensure safe play
  • Constant monitoring of the dogs
  • Engage dogs in safe play
  • Pet, brush, and talk to the dogs
  • Take dogs outside several times per shift, regardless of the weather
  • Praise dogs for good behavior, help to modify unwanted behavior
  • Know the names of all the regular dogs as well as their play styles
  • Know all the names of all the dogs within your care for that given day

Cleaning

  • Attend to accidents inside immediately
  • Follow provided cleaning lists for daily tasks that need to be completed
  • Work on varied cleaning and extra tasks as needed or assigned
  • Maintain and improve the general look, atmosphere of the building. 

 Customer Service

  • Greet all clients politely and professionally as soon as you see them (inside or outside)
  • Speak honestly but tactfully regarding dog’s behavior and health while in our care, choosing to be kind and unjudgmental
  • Provide clients with information on additional services available at The Dog Den, including group classes, playgroups, and private lessons
  • Answer phone calls professionally and knowledgeably
  • Write detailed report cards regarding dog behavior, health, playmates, etc.

We are a small business and therefore require assistance with the following tasks from our Playgroup Leaders:

  • Assisting with special projects (taking photos of the dogs, doggie art, etc.)
  • Assisting with basic grooming such as nail trims and ear/eye cleaning
  • Representing the Dog Den at community events on occasion, weekends and holidays may be required

 

If this sounds like a position made for you, please click below to apply.  We would love to hear from you soon!

apply here! 


Hear from our staff:



 What do the letters behind our names stand for?  

CPACP: Certified Professional Animal Care Provider

CPACM: Certified Professional Animal Care Manager

CPACO: Certified Professional Animal Care Operator  

CPDT-KA: Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed

CVT: Certified Veterinary Technician 

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Laura Schorrak, CPACP, CPACM, CPACO

Owner

Laura received her Bachelors of Science from UW-Madison in May 2001 where she focused her studies on two forms of biology:  Bacteriology and Zoology.   While studying Zoology, she concentrated specifically on how animals and humans interact.  Laura’s love for research and all things science, led her to begin her career in research.  She worked in several different laboratories at UW-Madison doing everything from working with plants, worms, bacteria, mice and even primates.  Although she always had dogs, cats, and various other animals growing up, it wasn’t until 2004 that she was able to adopt her very first dog on her own.  Kelly, a chocolate lab, came with a variety of problems ranging from little training and manners to several health issues.  It was because of Kelly, Laura began to focus on all things dog, learning about more about behavior, training and health. 
When The Dog Den daycare opened in December 2004, Laura was there the very first day.  She worked to create a unique daycare and training experience for Madison area dogs.  Under her management, The Dog Den won Best of Madison two years in a row.  When The Dog Den became available to purchase, Laura jumped at the chance to own the business that owned her heart and soul.  Because her background is in science and research, Laura is always keeping up with the newest research in animal behavior and training.  She reads everything she can and attends seminars to continue her education. She incorporates these things in her daily interactions with all the dogs, both in daycare and in classes.  Her previous training in lab work taught her that there are no one-size-fits all when it comes to animals and is always looking for new ways to approach training and behavior.  She loves helping people and their dogs create a fun and fulfilling life together.


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AMELIA JOHNSTON

PLAYGROUP LEADER, ASSISTANT TRAINER

Certifications: Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101 & 201, Pet First Aid Certified 

Name: 
Amelia or Millie
Joined the Team: I first joined May 2015 to August 2017, when I moved to attend the University of La Crosse for a couple of semesters. I rejoined the team in October of 2018.

Why you chose to work with dogs: I first discovered The Dog Den when I was 15 and took the Canine Good Citizen course with my family dog, Digger. I remember learning about the daycare/training they offered and thinking to myself, “wow, this would be a dream job for me”; I ended up joining the team three years later!
Favorite part of the job: There are so many things I love about working at The Dog Den, it’s hard to pick just one. I guess I would have to say working with the same group of dogs each week I have learned their quirks, likes, dislikes, and have built a system of mutual respect and bonds with the dogs. I love being a part of a company that allows dogs to have a safe space to build friendships with other dogs and as well as humans.
If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: I think I would be a greyhound. They tend to be quiet dogs who are reserved with strangers but outgoing with those they are close with. Although they are athletic dogs, they are also known to be couch potatoes, which I totally relate to!


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ANG GILDEA, CPACP

FIDO PHOTOGRAPHER (AKA. THAT CRAZY LADY THAT DRESSES UP PUPS FOR FUN HOLIDAY PHOTOS), SENIOR PLAYGROUP LEADER, ASSISTANT TRAINER

Certifications: CPACP, CGC and Puppy Star Evaluator, Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101 & 201, Pet First Aid Certified

Name: Ang
Joined the team: 4/2014
Why you chose to work with dogs: Growing up I always loved animals and knew I wanted to work with them as a career. Being young and naive,  I figured that meant I'd go to vet school. When I discovered the field of behavior and more specifically dog behavior I was hooked. I jumped in head first, never looked back, and I love every second of it. I love watching dogs grow and learn; that lightbulb moment for dogs (whether it be for a training moment, a trick, or a simple obedience skill) is one of my favorite thins to witness in this job. 
Favorite Part of your job: I just love seeing those lightbulb moments, whether in classes or in daycare. When I see that lightbulb go off for a dog, I can't help but smile!

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: I'd be a senior lab. Happy go lucky and up for anything, whether that's hiking at my favorite park or just chilling at home. 


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BAILEY KINGSTON

SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR, PLAYGROUP LEADER, ASSISTANT TRAINER

Certifications: Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101, Pet First Aid Certified

Name: Bailey
Joined the Team: 8/2018
Why you chose to work with dogs: It has always been a dream of mine to work with dogs because they all bring so much joy into my life, so it only feels right to do something for them somehow!

Favorite Part of your job: My favorite part of my job is getting to learn the unique personalities of all the dogs, and their favorites spots to get petted! 

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: If I was a dog, I would probably be a "velcro" vizsla! I am a bit dependent on those I love, and a little sensitive, but I also enjoy helping other people and going on fun, new adventures!

Other Insights: I am very grateful for how much I have already learned about dogs. There have been so many opportunities to expand my knowledge, even from working with the packs during daycare, and I am exciting to continue learning new skills and about everyone's best friends! 


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BREANNA HUSTON

PLAYGROUP LEADER, ASSISTANT TRAINER

Certifications: Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101

Name: Breanna or Bre
Joined the Team: 10/2017
Why you chose to work with dogs: I want to make a positive difference in the lives of dogs and their people, both in training classes and every day at daycare. Dogs love to learn and I love having the opportunity to aid in that process and see these dogs succeed.

Favorite Part of your job:Watching a dog get excited when they learn something new. The way they bounce and prance about with excitement about doing something right is absolutely adorable!

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: Golden retriever

Other Insights: Everyday comes with its own opportunities, often disguised as challenges, that give us the chance to grow and to learn more about how we can make our corner of the world better. By facing these challenges we are able to grow and by sharing what we've learned, that's how we can make the world a better place. I am so blessed to be working in the corner of the world that happens.


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CATT HUSTAD, CPACP, CVT

PLAYGROUP LEADER, ASSISTANT TRAINER

Certifications: CPACP, CVT, Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101 & 201, Pet First Aid Certified 

Name: Catt
Joined The Team: 6/2011

Why you chose to work with dogs: I fell in love with learning how to speak dog and how to work with all the different types of breeds. 

Favorite Part of your job: I love the training that we do. So many options and all Positive Reinforcement. It's always so amazing to see the light bulb moment with any of the dogs and watching the clients work with there dogs bring joy to my heart. 

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: If I could be any breed it would be an Irish Wolfhound. They are such amazing creatures. Gentle giants and I love watching them run and snuggle with family.

Other Insights: I currently have an almost 12 year old pug named Frankie who helped me fall in love with crazy clown breed. She is my heart dog and will always hold a special place in my soul. She is full of love and sass for such a small package. I also have a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy named Dierks who is full of life and energy and is just a goon. 


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Chelsea Mentink, CPACP

Canine Contentment Coordinator, Senior playgroup leader, Playgroup Leader

Certifications: CPACP, Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101 & 201, Pet First Aid Certified

Name: Chelsea
Joined The Team: 4/2007
Why you chose to work with dogs: As a child, when asked what I wanted to be when I grow up, my answer was always to play with dogs! Dogs have and always will be my best friends.
If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: Not entirely sure, but most likely a sporting breed.


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CIERRA PRUITT

PLAYGROUP LEADER

Certifications: Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101, Pet First Aid Certified

Name: Cierra
Joined The Team: 4/2018

Why you chose to work with dogs: Simply put, it is because I love dogs! If I could, I would own a million but this seemed like a better option. 

Favorite Part of your job: Being able to work with dogs is my favorite part of the job. Whenever I feel stressed from life or am having a bad day, I instantly feel better when I see my favorite buddies. Dogs will always love you no matter what and their snuggles are the best.

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: German Shepherd - There is a German shepherd that I love to death at the Dog Den, plus shepherds are amazing. 

Other Insights: This job has been the best job I have had thus far. I am excited everyday to work with these lovely animals. 


SmilingDANIELA FLANDERS, CPDT-KA

ADMINISTRATIVE COORDINATOR

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

Name: Daniela
Joined The Team: I returned to working for Laura and The Dog Den in April of 2017, but originally began working for her in 2007. 
Why you chose to work with dogs: I began working for The Dog Den in college when I became very passionate about the bond we can have with animals and the intellectual capabilities animals have after taking a course with Patricia McConnell. I was particularly interested in learning more about the ways we can positively impact our relationships with dogs because of the close interaction so many people have with pet dogs. This interest became a passion as I entered the animal shelter and rescue world and became aware of the reasons so many pets were being surrendered. It became a goal of mine to help owners to understand and communicate better with their dogs so that they could have a successful and happy relationship for life!

Favorite Part of your job: My favorite part of the job is working with clients to determine the best way The Dog Den can help them reach their goals with their pup!

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: If I were a dog breed I would be a Jack Russell Terrier. I like to have a job to do and can be stubborn and independent, but am loyal to my friends + family and have lots of energy to get out and do things! 


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Deb Crawley, CPDT-KA, CVT, CPACP, CPACM

Private Lesson Coordinator, Senior Playgroup Leader, Class Instructor

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

Joined The Team: 2008
Why you chose to work with dogs: I love working at The Dog Den as I can fulfill my dreams of working with all different behaviors in order to help dogs succeed in the human world. 

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.


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DIANE HUCK, CPACP

PLAYGROUP LEADER, ASSISTANT TRAINER

Certifications: CPACP, Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101 & 201, Pet First Aid Certified

Name: Diane
Joined the team: 12/2016
Why you chose to work with dogs: I started working at the Dog Den after I realized I wanted to learn more about dogs and their behavior. After researching local facilities, The Dog Den really stood out because they incorporate training into the playgroup atmosphere. I have learned SO MUCH about dog behavior and training and how important it is to help dogs learn what we would like them to do versus just telling them what they shouldn’t be doing! I love the fact that every day I am helping a dog become the best version of him/herself!!

Favorite part of your job: My favorite part of working at The Dog Den (there are SO many) would have to be watching the dogs in our care blossom and grow! Nothing is more fulfilling then to see a dog happy and confident while playing and learning!

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: If I could be any dog breed, I would be a Labrador Retriever because I’m obsessed with food and love to eat!!

Other Insights: I just would like to say what an honor and privilege it is to take care of your dog while in our care! They are all so special and unique and a part of our family, THANK YOU!


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EMMA JEREMIASON

Puppy social hour coordinator, Class Instructor 

Certifications: Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101, Licensed Social Worker

Name: Emma
Joined the team: 3/2018
Why you chose to work with dogs: Simply put, I love dogs and their people. I love watching relationships between humans and their dogs grow, and being able to guide that process through training brings me so much joy! My background is social work, and the parallels between dog behavior and human behavior, as well as the emotional benefits of animal/human bonds, is a passion of mine. I love witnessing the bond between owners and their dogs in classes, especially those moments when I see the human/dog teams work through a challenge together!

Favorite part of your job: Celebrating successes with clients, and working through challenges together... that’s my favorite part of the job. I love to share what I know, and am also constantly learning new things from all the humans and dogs I have the pleasure of working with. It’s the best!

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be:I would want to be a boxer. I admire their enthusiasm for life, and their body wiggles are just the best. Plus, who can resist those expressive, smooshy faces!


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GARRETT BOGGS

PLAYGROUP LEADER, ASSISTANT TRAINER

Certifications: Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101

Name: Garrett
Joined the team: 2/2016
Why you chose to work with dogs: I started at the Dog Den because I was really interested in animal behavior and learning about dog training.  Also you get to hang out with dogs all day!!

Favorite part of your job: My favorite part of the job is working with shy or timid dogs and helping them through their fears.

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: If I could be any dog breed, I would be a mutt because you get a completely unique mix and its really fun detective work trying to figure out what breeds they may have come from.


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GRETCHEN HANCHETTE, CPACP

PLAYGROUP LEADER, ASSISTANT TRAINER

 Certifications: CPACP, Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101 & 201, Pet First Aid Certified

Name: Gretchen
Joined the team: 4/2018
Why you chose to work with dogs: I grew up in the country surrounded by a variety of animals but dogs are my favorite (horses being a close second because they're basically really big dogs ). Training and caring for dogs has always been a part of my life-- my sister and I even set up our own "Dog Daycare" for our three dogs in our mudroom as kids. I also spent many hours watching my dad train our labs and golden retrievers for duck hunting. My love and admiration for dogs never left, so I decided to work at the Dog Den to further my education. I've already learned SO much and truly love this job. 

Favorite part of your job: My favorite part of this job is developing individual relationships with all of the dogs. I used to think I knew what my favorite breed of dog was and now I'm not so sure! Watching all of the different breeds and personalities interact is so cool. Plus I'm always guaranteed a laugh with this job! 

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: If I could be any breed of dog, I think I would be a French Bulldog. These guys may be short and unassuming but they are full of life and love to have fun! They're loyal, patient, and sociable...and maybe a little stubborn too.


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HALEY HIGHDALE

PLAYGROUP LEADER, ASSISTANT TRAINER

Certifications: Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101 & 201

Name: Haley
Joined the team: 1/2011
Why you chose to work with dogs: I first got interested in canine behavior when taking Patricia McConnell’s "Human-Animal Relationships" class during undergrad at UW-Madison - learning the basics just made me want to learn more.  At around the same time, I started working at a vet clinic that had a small dog daycare in the same building, and I sometimes couldn’t tear myself away from watching the dogs - it seemed like so much fun so I decided I wanted to get involved in daycare myself.  

Favorite part of your job: The best part of the job is getting to know our dogs and their people on a really special level.  It’s so great to connect with owners when they realize we truly love their dogs like they do.  I feel like I have hundreds of my own dogs - sometimes I find myself showing people pictures and telling stories about daycare dogs to family, friends, and strangers!  I’m so grateful that people choose to share them with us.

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: Over the years I’ve found I get along really well with boxers - I admire their ability to go from “hilarious goofy clown-dog" to "ultimate nap-master” without skipping a beat, whatever your mood may be in they’re always right there.


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iryna ostapenko

PLAYGROUP LEADER, ASSISTANT TRAINER

Certifications: Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101

Name: Iryna
Joined the team: 4/2019
Why you chose to work with dogs: It’s so important to be an advocate for beings that can’t be themselves- I love being that advocate for each and every dog. That’s why I dedicate my time to learning about the dynamic world of dog language and behavior. 

Favorite part of your job: Forming connections with the dogs and learning all their individual personalities.

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: Border Collie! We share a love of learning, a fierce loyalty to our close ones, and we thrive on consistent mental and physical activity within our daily lives. 

Other insights: My personal goal each day on the daycare floor is to interact with each dog at least once. So that nobody misses out on training and snuggles!


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JACYLN KERMICLE 

ASSISTANT TRAINER

Certifications: Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101, Pet First Aid Certified

Name: Jackie
Joined the team: 4/2017
Why you chose to work with dogs: I have always been an animal person. (I’m the one at social gatherings on the floor with the pets.) I joined The Dog Den, excited that I could turn my passion into an educational and fun experience.

Favorite part of your job: The best moments (other than snuggles) are the breakthroughs for both the dogs and their people. That “aha” when a queue finally clicks is my favorite.

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: There are plenty of breeds that I would like to be, but recently I feel like being a Frenchie is the way to go. Between the squishy faces an the life-of-the-party personalities, what’s not to love about a French Bulldog’s zest for life?


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JAke Cielinski

Playgroup leader

Certifications: Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101, Pet First Aid Certified

Name: Jake
Joined the team: 3/2017
Why you chose to work with dogs: I’ve always had a passion for dogs, from fostering to raising my own, they are truly man’s best friend.

Favorite part of your job: Getting to know so many different dogs!

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: A Golden Retriever. 


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jamari ballen

PLAYGROUP LEADER

Certifications: Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101, Pet First Aid Certified

Name: Jamari, J, Jumanji, Jamarlos, Jam n Toast, J-bone....I've been called a lot of different nick names but prefer "J" 
Joined the team: 12/2018
Why you chose to work with dogs: I felt like my dogs all had a better understanding of me then I did them... I love to be around dogs and animals in general and wanted to learn more about their behavior...so I can have a better understanding and connection.

Favorite part of your job: Spending time with the dogs individually...doing my best to make a dog who might be having a difficult day... feel better and feel understood, while encouraging them that they can do better.

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: I would want to be a German shepherd or any type of police dog... but with my luck & demeanor  I'd probably end up being a laid back boxer.


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JENNIE GROSS

PLAYGROUP LEADER, ASSISTANT TRAINER

Certifications: Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101 & 201

Name: Jennie
Joined the team: 1/2019
Why you chose to work with dogs: They are my passion. I feel dogs are a part of the family and it’s important to insure that they are treated as such. 

Favorite part of your job: Getting to see dogs happy and healthy and running around! In veterinary medicine that’s not always the case so to see dogs in my job having a blast and just being a dog reminds me why I am getting my working so hard to get my DVM.

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: I would have to go with an Irish Wolfhound because I’m a pretty short human so it would be nice to know what it’s like to be the tall one elegant one.


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JENNIFER CHRISTIANSON

ASSISTANT TRAINER

Certifications: Certified Aromatherapist, NAHA Member

Name: Jennifer or Jen
Joined the team: 1/2018
Why you chose to work with dogs: My parents raised and competed show dogs throughout my childhood but my passion grew from there and evolved when I rescued my reactive fur-baby, Britney. After discovering how positively dogs responded to aromatherapy, I became a Certified Aromatherapist with additional specific training for animals, and began guest speaking and teaching workshops on the safe use of Aromatherapy for pets at various venues around Madison. Once I got to know the wonderful staff at The Dog Den, I realized that I wanted to deepen my practice and join the team.

Favorite part of your job: I enjoy watching both the dogs and owners progress with their understanding of each other, learning new skills and growing together. It's amazing to see the shift and growth in the animals, and how excited they are to learn.

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: In my next life I will be an American Staffordshire Terrier. They are such an unconditional loving, people-oriented, intelligent and fiercely loyal animal combined with a fun level of sassiness and playfulness.


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JESS GORZELITZ

Class Instructor 

Certifications: CGC and Puppy Star Evaluator, Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101 & 201, Pet First Aid Certified

Name: Jess or Jessica
Joined the team: 9/2017
Why you chose to work with dogs: I was first a client of the Dog Den with my rescue dog, Dug. I took classes (Shy Dog and Rescue U) with him, and he did daycare, and I saw so many improvements in his demeanor and behavior! When the opportunity for employment presented itself, I jumped at the opportunity to pass on my super positive experiences that I've had on to others to help everyone fortify their relationship and expand their training with each dog. I love working at the Dog Den, I am constantly learning and developing my skills which makes coming to work each day exciting and enriching!

Favorite part of your job: My favorite part of the job is everything. Laura is the best boss, the staff here is super supportive, and a pleasure to work with. The dogs and puppies make me excited to come to work everyday, and allow me to live my dream. Also,  I find it super rewarding to train in classes with dogs/puppies/owners to fortify their bonds, and make improvements in behavior and training! Training classes are a great way to build relationship between owner and dog, and with the wide variety of classes we offer, there is something for everyone.

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: I would be a Beagle for sure.


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Joelynn ribble

playgroup leader, assistant trainer 

Certifications: Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101

Name: Jo
Joined the team: 4/2019
Why you chose to work with dogs: I want to work with dogs because I'm my happiest when surrounded by them.

Favorite part of your job: All the puppy snuggles!

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: A Pomeranian because I love attention, I try to act tough even though I'm not, and I can be a bit stubborn when I set my mind to something.


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KATHLEEN OZIMEK

PLAYGROUP LEADER, ASSISTANT TRAINER

Certifications: Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101 & 201, Pet First Aid Certified

Name: Kathleen 
Joined the team: 9/2019

Why you chose to work with dogs: Dogs are our family. Helping the four legged members have a great day at daycare while the two legged members can go about their day worry free is priceless. I also love helping dogs and their owners learn how to communicate better, and watching their relationship grow!

Favorite part of your job: I love earning the trust of our shy dogs, and helping our newer dogs fit in!


If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: I’m most likely a golden retriever. I’m super enthusiastic, cuddly, and a little quirky!

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KATy vike 

PLAYGROUP LEADER, ASSISTANT TRAINER

Certifications: Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101 & 201

Name: Katy 
Joined the team: 4/2019

Why you chose to work with dogs: Prior to coming to Dog Den, I worked mostly in the fields of corporate writing and marketing. For a variety of reasons, I wanted to take a break from corporate work and do something different...and this is about as different as it gets! I've always loved dogs, and it is an absolute joy to be able to work with them. Dogs have amazing amounts of selflessness, love, and loyalty, and can brighten just about anyone's day just by being themselves. 

Favorite part of your job: Snuggling with the pups and seeing all the cute and funny things they do.


If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: I would love to be a Golden Retriever or Lab. I have always found their joy and enthusiasm very endearing. However, I think it would be more accurate to say I'd be a terrier; small, but scrappy, smart, but stubborn, loving, but independent.   

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LAURYN ROSS, CPDT-KA, CPACP

TRAINING CLASS STAFF DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR, SENIOR PLAYGROUP LEADER, CLASS INSTRUCTOR

Certifications: CPDT-KA,CGC and Star Puppy Evaluator, CPACP, Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101 & 201

Name: Lauryn
Joined the team: 9/2012
Why you chose to work with dogs: I started working at The Dog Den as a part time job while doing my undergrad at UW Madison and quickly fell in love with the animal training and behavior world. Once I graduated I stuck around, and have never looked back!

Favorite Part of your Job: My favorite part of this job is how I've been able to make a career doing what I love. I never have the same day twice, and there truly isn't anything better than unlimited puppy kisses every single day! My passion is working with our puppies at The Puppy Den in both classes and daycare, and being a part of helping them grow into truly wonderful dogs.


If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: I would be an Australian Shepherd that didn't read the chapter in the manual about being hyper. More specifically, I would be my dog, Comet: a people-pleaser, up for a good adventure, but a couch potato at heart, and loyal and full of love to those closest to him. I guess we are a pretty good match for one another.


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LEIGH ANSON, CPDT-KA, CPACP

EVENTS & OUTREACH COORDINATOR, CLASS INSTRUCTOR

Certifications: CPDT-KA, CGC and Star Puppy Evaluator, CPACP, Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101 & 201, Pet First Aid Certified

Name: Leigh
Joined the team: 10/2015
Why you chose to work with dogs: When our dog, Avett, went through All Star classes, I absolutely feel in love with dog training. Through that experience I realized how training and communicating with your dog can truly strengthen your bond, and I knew I wanted to share that with others. After working in the training department and part time with daycare, I got hooked and went full time. It's been an amazing experience to grow and learn!

Favorite Part of your job: I absolutely love watching owners work with their dogs in classes and attend our events together. Helping owners with their dogs and growing puppies is probably the most rewarding part of this job for me. The bond between people and dogs can be so beautiful and heartwarming.

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: Without a doubt, I'd be a spaniel of some kind (English Cocker, Springer, Boykin, Brittany, etc)! We share a love of learning new things, outdoor adventures, and spending as much time as possible with loved ones.

Other Insights: Thanks to all our amazing dogs and clients! I'm so grateful you share your loved ones with me and fill my days with wiggle bottoms! 


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Lin kampschroer

Playgroup leader, assistant trainer

Certifications: Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101 & 201, Pet First Aid Certified

Name: Lin
Joined the team: 4/2019
Why you chose to work with dogs: I’ve always been passionate about dogs, and I was excited to learn more about canine behavior and be able to make a positive difference in the lives of both the dogs and their owners.

Favorite Part of your job: My favorite part of this job is earning the love of shy dogs - there’s no better feeling than a shy dog who trusts you as a leader!

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: If I could be any breed, I would be a mutt! My personality, interests, and experiences are all over the board, and I’ve always owned rescue dogs who were mutts, so they have a special place in my heart.


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MACKENZY GROTH-PRICE

PLAYGROUP LEADER, ASSISTANT TRAINER

Certifications: Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101 & 201

Name: MacKenzy or MacKen, Mack, Kenzy (I will answer to all of them)
Joined the team: 8/2016
Why you chose to work with dogs: I started working at The Dog Den because I wanted a job that lets me work with my hands and learn more about animal behavior. The fact that I have been given a chance to work with dogs, their owners, and my amazing coworkers everyday is a huge bonus!

Favorite Part of your job: My favorite part of this job is growing with the dogs everyday, especially the dogs and puppies that started daycare at the same time I did. It's inspiring to see how far we've come. 
If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: If I could be any dog breed I would be either a corgi or a basset hound.


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MAI THOMPSON

PLAYGROUP LEADER

Certifications: Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101

Name: Mai
Joined the team: 9/2017
Why you chose to work with dogs: I started working at The Dog Den because I love being on my feet at work and also love working with dogs.

Favorite Part of your job:My favorite part of being at The Dog Den is helping dogs have a more fulfilling and active life. A lot of dogs are cooped up at home and I love helping organize a really fun out-of-house play day.
If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: If I could be any dog breed I would be an Australian Cattle Dog on a farm. They’re very hearty, healthy, and having a job to do like herding cattle would be a blast (if I were a dog!).

Other Insights: Working at the Puppy Den has a whole new level of fun that I didn’t realize and that’s seeing the puppies grow up and graduate to playing at the The Dog Den! >Looking at you Peanut<


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MELANIE NUNEZ, CPACP

EAST COORDINATOR, SENIOR PLAYGROUP LEADER, CLASS INSTRUCTOR

Certifications: CPACP, Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101 & 201, Pet First Aid Certified

Name: Melanie or Mel
Joined the team: 9/2015
Why you chose to work with dogs: I initially got really turned onto TDD when I took classes with Nala (Positively Focused) & Athena (Scrappers). The training philosophy really resonated with me and the improvements I saw with my dogs while using the skills taught just blew me away. I really wanted to become a trainer and I later learned that TDD offers lots of growth and support within the company. The wealth of knowledge available between resources provided here and other staff members is incredible. I knew I'd be in good hands!

Favorite Part of your job: I love watching all the little conversations the dogs have with one another in just split seconds. It's crazy to me how so many words can be put into the tiniest of movements. Every day you see and learn new things.

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: I wish I could be a Pharaoh Hound. They are so beautiful and majestic. They move so effortlessly, which is the exact opposite of me, I'm way too clumsy and uncoordinated. I think it's just incredible how fast sight hounds are.


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MEgan Sullivan

PLAYGROUP LEADER, CLASS INSTRUCTOR

Certifications: Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101 & 201, Pet First Aid Certified

Name: Megan or Meg
Joined the team: 9/2015
Why you chose to work with dogs: As a kid, my dream job was to be a veterinarian,  so at a very young age I knew I wanted to work with Animals. Every chance I got to work with dogs while growing up I grabbed it and here I am still working with dogs!

Favorite Part of your job: Being given the opportunity to love their fur-babies too!!

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: I think I'd be a Vizsla.


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MICHAEL WHITE

PLAYGROUP LEADER

Certifications: Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101

Name: Michael
Joined the team: 4/2019
Why you chose to work with dogs: Their curiosity, their loving embraces, and their energy.

Favorite part of your job: Relating to a dog that might have issues with strangers or jumping on people and truly establishing an emotional connection. 
If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: I'd be a Great Dane. Or a West Highland Terrier. Or ideally, a magical breed that could transform between the two often and at will...
Other insights: The dogs seem to enjoy my singing, but rest assured, your loved ones will have rudimentary knowledge of classical opera within a month or two. Feel free to drop that tidbit of knowledge to your neighbors when they humble-brag about their pets' abilities!


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MICk DeLacy

PLAYGROUP LEADER, assistant trainer 

Certifications: Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101

Name: Mick 
Joined the team: 4/2019
Why you chose to work with dogs: I have always had a huge passion for animals and I want to gain experience working with domestic animals as I want to open a low income vet clinic one day.
Favorite part of your job: Definitely getting to see all the dogs everyday and everything they bring to the floor (they’re the best)!
If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: I'd probably be a pit bull (they’re wiggly little noodles)!


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NICK DAVID, CPACP

THE PUPPY DEN COORDINATOR, SENIOR PLAYGROUP LEADER, ASSISTANT TRAINER

Certifications: CPACP, Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101 & 201

Name: Nick
Joined the team: 10/2015
Why you chose to work with dogs: I started at The Dog Den searching for dog experience for when I would apply for Vet School. I fell in love with the job, the dogs and never left!

Favorite part of your job: Getting to work and help puppies who may be shy find the confidence to make friends and feel comfortable within their pack of friends.

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: I would most likely be a husky, since I tend to be stubborn and loving all at the same time. I also talk, quite a bit once you get to know me!

Other Insights: I love learning and growing with each and every one of your dogs that come here. Thanks so much for the opportunity to work with such amazing people and animals everyday.


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RENEE GRITTNER - AGILITY & RALLY INSTRUCTOR

Information coming soon!







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STEPH TAUSCHER, CPDT-KA, CPACP

LOGISTICS COORDINATOR, SENIOR PLAYGROUP LEADER, CLASS INSTRUCTOR

Certifications: CPDT-KA, CGC and Star Puppy Evaluator, CPACP, Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101 & 201, Pet First Aid Certified

Name: Steph
Joined the team: 4/2014
Why you chose to work with dogs: I started at The Dog Den as a client with my then baby Great Dane, Bane. I made it through one All Star class and decided that training and being with dogs is what I needed to do for the rest of my life. The energy and love the staff had for each one of the dogs in my class was palpable and it is my goal to provide the same kind of energy and love now that I am an employee!

Favorite part of your job:My favorite part of the job is working with the puppies at The Puppy Den. If you are ever within 5 square miles of Watson and Syene and hear a high-pitch squeal it is probably just me melting with joy (or trying to get a pack of puppies outside).  In all seriousness, I love spending time with the little, moldable puppies and watching them grow and figure out life.

If you could be any dog breed who/what would you be: If I were a dog, I would be…a great dane. Not just any great dane though, my great dane Brucey. To be able to experience life with as much love and joy as he does would make me the happiest version of myself. Anything else you want to

Other Insights: I look forward to continuing to further my education in animals, specifically canine learning and behavior, to provide the best care for all of your dogs that I have the privilege of snuggling and playing with every single day.  


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THOM VANCAMP

PLAYGROUP LEADER, ASSISTANT TRAINER

Certifications: Completion of The Dog Gurus Knowing Dogs 101, Pet First Aid Certified 

Name: Thom
When you joined: 5/2018

Why you chose to work with dogs: Many dogs have great lives, but just as many do not. Too many dogs are misunderstood or mistreated, and misbehave as a result. I choose to work with dogs so I can learn about their behaviors, their needs, and their style of communication. I want to use this knowledge to improve the lives of dogs and their owners through training and education. 
Favorite part of the job: Getting to watch dogs grow from puppies to adults. It is so interesting to watch their personalities change over time. 
If you could be any dog breed, what would you be: I would be a hound dog. Mine likes to spend equal time hiking in the woods and sleeping on the couch.