Sarah and Sheltie Picture
Blue Dog Training & Behavior LOGO
Sarah Kalnajs, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant & Certified Pet Dog Trainer APDT/ABMA/IAABC
(608) 213-5304

Clients Rave About Blue Dog!



In-Home Training

Sarah is a very knowledgeable trainer who I would strongly recommend for your training needs. She offers a lot of very useful information and makes sure you understand what your role in the training is. (now if the dogs could just understand right away, it would be PERFECT!!) We have been naughty and haven't followed all the instructions but what we did do, seemed to help our situation.

Temperament Testing

We initially contacted Sarah at Blue Dog for her help in finding our newest canine family member. We were determined to find the right fit for our family of two kids and five cats. In a very short time, Sarah connected us with the perfect dog, Danny. Sarah performed the temp testing and helped to determine that he had the right personality for fitting in with our family. Danny is everything we were looking for and more. He is gentle with our children, playful with the cats, and an absolute joy of a dog. After we brought Danny home, Sarah continued to provide us an enormous amount of support and training advice. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Sarah and would highly recommend Sarah to help in your dog search or training needs.

Tia and Mike

Temperament Testing / Shelter Staff Training

I so appreciate all you have done for us!  You have really given me insight regarding helping some really stubborn dachshunds and helped us give dogs a chance that might not otherwise have had one!

Michele Ambrose, Midwest Dachsund Rescue

January 7, 2004

Sarah's consulting services has enabled the Lakeland Animal Shelter to implement a comprehensive temperament screening process. As a shelter manager, nothing is more frustrating than adoption that is returned. And there is no more difficult a decision than determining if a dog is incapable of being placed in a home environment and therefore a candidate for euthanasia.

Sarah's expertise and professional advice has provided the shelter staff with a set of tools and techniques to properly assess a dog's temperament. She has educated staff members on how to pinpoint particular problem areas and more clearly define a dog's adoptability. In turn, Sarah has trained staff and volunteers in behavior modification methods and handling techniques. These techniques will then increases a dog's adoptability and decrease it's chances of being returned. Sarah's consultation has been the foundation of what is now an organized, measured, meticulous adoption program that enables the Lakeland Animal Shelter to give a dog their best chance for finding a permanent home.

However, the greatest thing about Blue Dog Training is Sarah herself. An incredibly professional & compassionate person, Sarah has an amazing ability to translate her vast technical knowledge in the area of dog behavior, into a straightforward, understandable format. This ability and her endless patience allows her to take any willing volunteer, with little or no experience, and equip them with the necessary tools to properly handle and evaluate a dog. It is this amazing talent to work with people as well as dogs, which makes Sarah Kalnajs so very special.

I would strongly recommend Sarah's consulting services to any individual, breed rescue, or humane society.

Kristen Perry, Shelter Manager, Lakeland Animal Welfare Society

Sarah has been helping dogs at the Lakeland Animal Shelter in Walworth County since the summer of 2003. Not only has she helped evaluate their needs, she has developed a protocol to help the dogs to be the best pets they can be. Sarah has also helped teach the staff better ways in dealing with behavioral problems in dogs. She has truly been an asset to the shelter.



Sarah Kalnajs does an excellent job of dog training and dog owner training for several reasons. First, she gives insight to the owners on why the dog behaves the way they do. This allows the owner to understand the tasks at hand, not to just merely do repetitive exercises. Second, the exercises Sarah recommends facilitate owner compliance because they are mostly fun to do and not too overwhelming. Lastly, her compassion and abundant knowledge have proven her to be a very effective instructor of dogs and their owners.

Andrea Lanphear, DVM

As first-time dog owners, we have been extremely grateful for everything Sarah has taught us about our six-month-old Bernese Mountain Dog. Gently and patiently, Sarah showed us that in order for us to have a good dog, we first had to become good dog owners. Had it not been for her effort and expertise, we would not have realized the importance of, among other things, early puppy socialization and consistent training practices. She empowered us to understand our dog's needs and communicate with him effectively. It has been apparent to us that Sarah has a great love for dogs and dog training. She continuously goes above and beyond the call of duty, spending extra time each training session, as well as lengthy telephone conversations in between sessions. We could not more whole-heartedly recommend Sarah and Blue Dog.

Robin and Wayne Day-Laporte

Having our own personal dog trainer has made our 'life with puppy' not only enjoyable but rewarding. Sarah seems to be able to get our puppy to do in a matter of minutes what we've tried for hours to do. She really has been a teacher for our whole family:dog, kids, and adults alike. Her time with us has been personal, warm and instructive. We'd all wag our tails if we could when we see her coming up our walk!

Thanks from Morgan and his loving family

Our experience with Sarah has been great!! Our whole family including Nicki the dog, looks forward to Sundays.  Having Sarah come right to our house has been extremely helpful-we tried group puppy classes but we didn't seem to get much out of them--after only three weeks with Sarah we feel that we have a calm and happy dog!!   She uses common sense and explains things to us (the people) that make sense--like using lots of positive re-enforcement-which makes everything fun for us and the dog!
Before we called Sarah I wasn't sure if the dog and I could live together-now we've become friends--which makes my 12 and 13 year old very happy!
Thanks Sarah!

Laurie Nicholson, Bob, Karrie, and Max and Nicki too

Sarah's up beat and enthusiastic personality makes training a relaxed and fun experience for both dog and human.

Nicole Skrivanie



We were in trouble.  Carmen, our border collie mix was getting more and more aggressive and was just not behaving according to our expectations.  She had been nipping at the neighbor kids.  She would be so excited she would not relax or calm down.  The pitch of her bark kept getting higher and higher, and heaven help us if someone came to the door.  Nearing the end of our rope, we were searching for answers and luckily found Sarah.  She was able to schedule an in home visit with us on short notice.  Within minutes of arriving Sarah and Carmen were fast friends.  Sarah identified the problems (mainly us), and gave us the tools we needed to help us and our pet start heading towards normalcy.  We continue to work on all the good things Sarah has pointed out for us and are seeing remarkable progress.  Thanks Sarah, thanks so very much. 
Jim and Wendy Unrath

Without Sarah's help I don't know where we would be now. I first got Ace when he was 4 months old and thought that puppies didn't have "personality" problems. Boy was I wrong!! I thought his fear of new people was cute and that he "needed" me.... then things went from OK to worse, and worse, and I knew I was in trouble. I enrolled him in obedience classes and he was terrified to the point that he was becoming aggressive. I consulted with several other trainers and behaviorists who all said that he was an impossible case and I was expecting too much from him. Unwilling to give up Sarah was my last hope and with all of her help and expertise Ace is becoming the good dog I knew he could be. Whereas before we could not even walk out the door without extremely agitating Ace, we can now go for long walks without incident. I am so grateful to Sarah for all of the help that she has given us and excited that I can lead Ace with confidence. Thank you so much for everything you have done! Ace and I could not have done this without you!

Melissa Bruechert

November 19, 2004

I had successfully owned dogs for over twenty years. With my next dog, I changed breeds from Scottish Terriers to a Whippet. With prior experience, lots of Internet research and plenty of books on the shelf, I thought I had prepared my self for training Glencora.

Wrong.  Glencora was more of a challenge than expected. As I encountered behavior problems, the web sites devoted to the breeds were no help. Books were worse. I found the advice often contradictory. Without sound advice to correct Glencora's destructive behavior, she became a difficult, insecure puppy whose behavior was worsening as she grew.

A home visit with Sarah changed matters in days. Her advice was logical, consistent and significantly different than the book advice. Glencora responded well to the challenge of Sarah's program and in only a few days became an absolute delight to work with. The destructive acts when experienced when Glencora steadily diminished.

Glencora's confidence around other dogs improved tremendously. She went from being insecure dog to expecting to play.

After following Sarah's advice, Glencora has become a marvelous companion.   Her advice was worth was worth every cent. From now on, I will never get another dog without consulting with Sarah first.

John Koskinen
Madison, WI

December 1, 2003

My family and I have a 5-year old, small poodle-bichon female dog. We got her when she was 8 weeks. She was a dominant dog right from the beginning. She was quite demanding and had a mind of her own. This was our first dog and we had little knowledge on how to raise her. We took our dog to puppy classes and adult classes and she learned some things but it was difficult to get her to listen to us. She wasn't destructive in the house and she was easy to potty train. As she got older, she started to get aggressive towards people (especially males) and other dogs. There are only a few dogs that she likes in the neighborhood that she met as a puppy. She became very territorial and protective of me. At times she wouldn't trust the family and would hide under the bed or table or move away from us if we would try to pet her. We spoiled her quite a bit by pretty much letting her have her own way and allowing her to sit on the furniture, etc. If we would tell her to get "off," she would growl at us. She became possessive of her toys. When someone would come to the house by ringing the doorbell, she would bark loudly, growl, and was ready to go after anyone who tried to come into the house. We would have to put her in her cage or gate her in another room. Restraining her would make her even more upset. It was getting to the point where we couldn't have anyone over to the house anymore. We tried private dog sessions with two different individuals who claimed to be dog trainers/behaviorists, but their recommendations just made things worse. I read about Blue Dog Training in a newspaper article and decided to call Sarah Kalnajs. Sarah responded to our request for help right away. Even though she was booked up with appointments, she found the time to visit us. When she came over to our house, I knew instantly that she was very qualified in dealing with the behavior problems of our dog. She knew exactly what to do in response to the dog's dominant and aggressive behavior towards her. After we went over the dog's history, she explained to me the causes of the dog's behavior, her recommendations for treating the behavior and a step-by-step program we were to follow in order to modify the behavior. After around 3 weeks of following her program, we could definitely see results. Anytime we had questions about what to do, we could either e-mail her or call her and she would respond immediately. After a follow-up visit with Sarah, we could see the positive changes taking place in our dog. This is the first time that we have succeeded in making improvements in her behavior. I highly recommend Sarah Kalnajs of Blue Dog Training to others experiencing dog behavior problems. If you have any questions, I would be glad to discuss them with you.

Dorothy Grant
(608) 271-9444

We are lucky here in Madison to have such a great advocate for our dogs in our own backyard! I feel very fortunate as a professional trainer to have a resource like Sarah and Blue Dog around as a great place to refer clients who need behavior assistance that is beyond my training. I am personally very pleased with the recommendations Sarah made in a behavior consult for my dog Gemini. Despite being a trainer myself, I think sometimes you do things differently with your own dogs. I appreciated that Sarah shared an honest opinion about what I could do differently to alleviate my dog's anxiety. She pointed out a few things I didn't even realize I was doing! I tried Sarah's recommendations and they worked! I also hear great things in the community about the services that Sarah and Blue Dog perform. I have had several clients mention that they have worked with Blue Dog in some capacity and have been very pleased with the results. It's so enjoyable to hear that these days since anyone can hang out a sign and claim they know all about animal behavior.

Jodi Rendl, Professional Dog Trainer


I recently hired Blue Dog for help in understanding my sometimes aggressive Siberian Husky 'Chilly'. I had sought help for Chilly from another Madison based trainer, but wasn't given any information or insight into his aggressive behavior or any defined training plan to help him. Fortunately with Blue Dog both issues were taken care of. Sarah Kalnajs took the time to thoroughly evaluate both Chilly's current behavior and his case history, which allowed me a much deeper understanding of his actions and what would be required to help him. I was given a very helpful video and an easy to follow training plan as well as numerous suggestions of relevant books to read. I am happy to report that after three weeks of training I am very pleased with the progress Chilly has already made and look forward to continuing to work with Sarah as Chilly progresses.

Greg Weigand

Sarah, we have seen a considerable difference in Packer. We have taught him 'down' using the treats. He will go down every time. He only picks up the shoes once and awhile now, we also told our families and friends when they come over not to make a big deal about Packer when he comes to the door so he has not peed in the house either. He loves when we play hide the cookie. We have only done it in the living room so far. We feed him one meal a day from our hands. We also throw his food in the yard twice a week. He has not growled at us at all, even when we take something out of his mouth if he doesn't drop it when we tell him too. He also is giving up on getting our attention every second of the day. We usually have to go to him to give him attention now, when we want too. I would like to thank you again for helping us with Packer. We do love him and it would have hurt us a lot if we would have had to put him down. He seems like a different dog to us. I know most of his problems were what we caused and after being at your place and talking to you we saw that clearly. Thanks again.

Leslie Hayek

Sarah is very knowledgeable.  She spent a good deal of time with us, answered all my questions and left me with a list of practical suggestions
for future work with my dog. I especially appreciated her fee reduction for rescued dogs! I would highly recommend her.

Lori Mettel

Sarah's up beat and enthusiastic personality makes training a relaxed and fun experience for both dog and human.

Nicole Skrivanie

We greatly appreciated being coached by Sarah to help us enable our dog to become better mannered through simple, doable strategies.

Mariana Hewson

My dog Phoenix immediately responds positively to Sarah!  I see his eagerness to learn and please.  He also sees that he is not going to get away with unwanted behavior. Sarah is training ME to properly train my dog.

Starlight Tews

Sarah has impressed us with her knowledge. She explains canine psychology in a way that makes sense!

We have only been working with her for a couple of weeks but we have seen quite a difference in our dogs. Her "Status Reduction Program" has really helped. Our dogs aren't as pushy and are learning to be more polite. Sarah has exceeded our expectations of what progress our dogs could make in such a short time. We highly recommend her.

We look forward to learning more from her and seeing our dogs continue to improve.

Thanks again Sarah!

Kim & Scott Jaeger

We were very pleased with Sarah's professionalism and impressed by her wealth of knowledge.  We were very satisfied with the guidance she gave us for our 3 miniature dachshund dogs.  Sarah is not only exceptional with animals; she is equally as wonderful with humans.  We would highly recommend her.

Deb and Dave Lapotka, Madison, WI

Thank you for taking the time to give me advice for our dog; he is now on medication for his bladder control and you were right, it is a medical condition!
The person you referred me to for help choosing a veterinarian in our area was also a wonderful and helpful contact; it is so nice to know that there are honest people like both of you out there to help. You didn't try to "make a buck" and you put the health of my dog first.
Thank you again for helping my family become "adjusted". You took time to improve the quality of my life with my husband and my dogs (whom are very dear to both my husband and myself).

Lisa A. Baiocchi Witt

Problem Behavior Consultation / Modification

Sarah was terrific! I have a seemingly easy going Siberian Husky, that in the presence of small animals turns into a raging lunatic. I had mistakenly hired a dog trainer in the past and even watched some videos on dog aggressive behavior however nothing seemed to work. I decided to try blue dog training on a whim and as it turned out was blown away by the service. First of all Sarah K. took the time to explain the differences between a dog behaviorist and dog trainer. With this Sarah then did a very thorough assessment of Chilly and was able to explain in simple terms what we were dealing with and how we could work with him to better manage and develop positive behavioral patterns. Sarah took the time to follow up and also gave out a dog training video seminar which was of much use as well. All in all, I would highly recommend Sarah and Blue Dog Training.

We just started working with Sarah and so far are having a great experience. She is thorough, clear, a very good teacher and really seems to care about all dogs and people involved! We particularly appreciate the amount of time and energy she's spent on our case (our German Shepherds are engaged in a serious status war), both in the session and during her free follow-ups. She seems really committed to helping us until we see a positive outcome. I wish we'd consulted her earlier.

Sarah is a natural...she must be part canine. :) My husband and I were having problems with our second rescue dog when he hit adolescence. He became aggressive with our other dog. We had gone to another well-known behaviorist in our area and were not comfortable with the plan we were given. When Sarah entered our house and knew how our obnoxious adolescent was going to react we knew she was the behaviorist that could help us. My husband and I were impressed with her wealth of knowledge and how well she explained things. It is obvious that Sarah loves helping people and their pets. I work at a veterinary clinic and have referred several clients to her. They tell me how happy they are with the results they have achieved. Just like my husband and I, they don't know what they would have done without Sarah's help. We haven't experienced any aggressive behavior since we were two weeks into Sarah's plan and that was nine months ago. We highly recommend Sarah. She goes above and beyond what one would expect!

Kim & Scott Jaeger

Sarah made a huge difference for my formerly "problem" doggy. You can teach an old dog (and owner) new tricks. At age 7, Sebastian went from being a dog who sometimes stole and guarded "treasures", growling and snapping, to being a beloved member of the household, not touching the cat food, going to the dog park and playing well with other dogs. Sarah was patient, thorough, and helped me understand -- and follow through on what Sebastian needed to behave well.



We have used Blue Dog's pet sitting services at least a half-dozen times now. We trust them completely and our dogs are always thrilled to see them when they come to get the key!

Jennifer & David Allen

I can't say enough about the caring and personalized service I've come to rely on from Blue Dog. For two years their personalized and reliable help has taken away a lot of the stress that goes with needing to leave Helen alone for a long workday. They treat Helen like their own puppy. She is such a sweet and sensitive little cow/sheltie, and is all cattledog outdoors. Blue Dog understands her personality and the breed. Sarah has given me some great tips on training Helen to very reliably come when called. When Helen was newly adopted she was fearful of new people and dogs, but she could tell right away that Andrew and Sarah were friends.

Lucerne R.

Leaving my dog, Pooch, at home is so hard. It's not like I can call her to check in on her. But when the folks from Blue Dog are taking care of her, I know that she will be loved and watched over. It makes it so much easier to be away.

Laurie Rubel



Sarah was a huge help to us... she was able to drop by on short notice on a Sunday to spend a couple of hours with our wayward dog! We are first-time dog owners and had a rescue dog with some bad manners and aggression issues. Sarah was able to give us pointers for basic commands that would help, and also gave us some great insight into his body language and his temperament. Within 30 minutes of Sarah being here, we were able to see the wood for the trees. She left us with a 4-week program to follow that would help us with our most our pertinent dog issues. Great advice and great personal service ... at a reasonable rate. We'd highly recommend Sarah.

Elizabeth Hicks and family

Put simply, Sarah is incredible. We wouldn't have the dog we have (and our sanity) if it were not for Sarah. For starters, she helped us puppy-proof our house and gave us a thousand ways to socialize our new puppy. Our dog is so well adjusted because Sarah took the time to impress upon us the importance of early socialization. We were able to successfully and quickly housetrain our dog thanks to Sarah's simple and systematic plan. We learned practical stuff like how to give our dog a treat, what to do when a stranger comes to the door and how to tell when dog-play is too rough or just right. Sarah has a deep understanding of dog psychology and she is able to transform complex ideas into understandable and observable behaviors. Thanks to Sarah, we are aware of our dog's stress and excitement and we are able to take proactive steps to shape his behavior. Sarah helped us to train our dog (and train us) the basic commands with clear & concise language. Sarah not only came to our house on a regular basis, but also met us at the dog park, corresponded over e-mail and returned our phone calls to help with ongoing puppy issues. We are forever indebted to Sarah for teaching us how to love our dog more fully.

Robin & Wayne Day-Laporte


I learn more from Sarah's Seminars due to her video clips of live dogs performing the behaviors. First I learn about the behavior, then she shows enough instances via video so I understand what the behavior looks like. I leave feeling like an expert because suddenly I see dogs performing this behavior and I now know what they're telling me!

Sarah Kalnajs recently performed a temperament assessment on one of our rescued dogs and we were very happy with her evaluation and input.  We also invited Sarah to speak to our volunteer group about temperament testing and she did a wonderful job - very professional and informative.  Sarah is a very articulate speaker.

Claudia Moder, Vice President
Green Acres Boxer Rescue of WI

I learn more from Sarah's Seminars due to her video clips of live dogs performing the behaviors. First I learn about the behavior, then she shows enough instances via video so I understand what the behavior looks like. I leave feeling like an expert because suddenly I see dogs performing this behavior and I now know what they're telling

Sarah's seminar was extremely helpful! I am an evaluator for the Delta Society and while I have evaluated many, many dogs over the years, I learned A LOT in this seminar. The video footage was amazing and critical for this subject and Sarah is an outstanding speaker!

Diana McQuarrie

I can see the behaviors Sarah covered daily in our ward at the veterinary clinic. This would be an invaluable presentation for the veterinary students and I would like to see this be a required seminar for veterinary students and technicians also. How great to have a resource as knowledgeable as Sarah in our own back yard!

Helen Schultz, University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine

Phenomenal! Riveting! I am truly amazed we manage to maintain relationships with our dogs when we communicate so poorly with them! I am very impressed with Sarah's expertise. She has a sound intuitive sense as well as common sense that is refreshing in the dog community!

Claire Wenstrom, dog trainer

This was hands down the best video presentation I've seen. It organized signals into groups that made complete sense and showed a wide variety of breeds which made it much more useful than other presentations I have seen on similar topics.

Don Summers, dog daycare owner

I work for a veterinary clinic and there are so many practical applications for this seminar. As a technician, I only had one semester on behavior and the information I learned in this seminar will help me avoid bites, determine when to muzzle and recognize problems early on so I can counsel our clients to seek help.

Jennifer MacRostie, Certified Veterinary Technician

I work for a rural animal shelter and this was my first dog behavior seminar. It was wonderful! I want to sign up for more seminars now, I didn't realize how valuable this could be to my work!

Dana Lubach, Sheboygan County Humane Society

I found everything about this seminar to be very helpful. I will be able to work with our rescues dogs better as well as my own dogs ' an added bonus!

Jennifer Matos, Husky Rescue

Sarah is such an excellent speaker. I have seen her four times now and it never gets old or boring! She uses so many examples, never talks down to anyone and is always willing to listen to and consider other viewpoints. I'd recommend her seminars to anyone!

Jan Much, St. Bernard Rescue

Just an overwhelming 'Aha! I got it!' feeling from this seminar! The best I've seen! Thank you for what you do, Sarah.

Tammy Harris, shelter staff

You could have skipped all the other speakers. I'd listen to Sarah all three days!

I am an evaluator for the Delta Society and I have evaluated many dogs over the years, yet I learned A LOT from Sarah. Her speaking style and video presentation are both outstanding!

I work at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine and I would like to see Sarah's presentation as a required seminar for veterinary students and technicians. How great to have a resource such as Sarah in our own backyard!

Phenomenal! Riveting! I am very impressed with Sarah's expertise and also that she is willing to put herself into potentially dangerous situations for the sake of better understanding dogs. Very brave!

I work for a vet clinic and there are so many practical applications from Sarah's seminar! She is incredibly knowledgeable with great presentation skills. An interesting and engaging speaker! I can't even begin to express how much I learned that will help me at work!

Sarah's seminar had the best audio-visual presentation I've seen at any seminar I've ever been to. Just excellent, no one should miss her if they get a chance to hear her speak!

Our rescue group has sent members to three of Sarah's seminars and every time we get rave reviews. This time I wanted to go myself to see what all the hoopla was about - now I know! Sarah is one amazing speaker and I am shocked at the sheer amount of information she was able to convey in a way that everyone could understand. She is also very approachable and down to earth. Fantastic!