Prism Dog Training teaches Northland dogs, owners

Approaching its third anniversary, the business serves dogs in the Duluth area.

Dog eats treat.
Lucy the dog with Prism Dog Training owner Kaitlynn Mahlberg.
Contributed / Alyssa Lovdahl / Shine Pet Photography

DULUTH — The familiar saying, "A dog is a (wo)man's best friend," rings true for Kaitlynn Mahlberg, owner of Prism Dog Training .

"My childhood dogs are what really led me to this career. I was raised in various foster care homes from age 5-16," she said. "So in all of the different environments that I lived in, the thing that was the most consistent and safe was the dogs and pets the different families would have when I moved in. The dogs were the easiest thing for me to connect with and understand even without words."

Girl feeds dog a treat.
Prism Dog Training owner Kaitlynn Mahlberg gives Lucy the dog a treat while training.
Contributed / Alyssa Lovdahl / Shine Pet Photography

In 2016, Mahlberg adopted a 1-year-old mutt named Lucy. Striving to be the best trainer for her new companion, they took two different multi-week obedience classes together.

"After about five years of training my own dog and friends' dogs, I decided to put this skill to use and began training group classes at Petco. It was not the best way to train dogs, in my opinion, so I built a place where we can help a more diverse crowd of dogs in effective ways," she said.

Mahlberg opened Prism Dog Training on March 14, 2020, to serve dogs in the Twin Ports area.


Prism offers private dog training for puppy and adult obedience, and hybrid dog-walking services. The hybrid service is a 60-minute walk with a dog trainer targeting loose-leash walking skills and leash manners.

Each package offers eight one-hour lessons with a trainer who travels to the client's dog. Lessons can be fulfilled on the client's property or at a dog-friendly destination once the dog learns the fundamentals.

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"Owners are encouraged to join in on the lessons, but we understand that life can get tricky sometimes," Mahlberg said.

Being able to transform the way owners see their dogs' natural intelligence and personality through training can be extremely rewarding, she said. Prism Dog Training uses balanced methods, positive reinforcement and relationship-based training tactics.

Woman and her dog.
Lucy the dog and Kaitlynn Mahlberg, a dog trainer, practice the command "sit."
Contributed / Alyssa Lovdahl / Shine Pet Photography

It can be challenging to identify the reasons of a problem behavior, such as barking, Mahlberg said. It could be due to its breed, a specific trauma trigger, separation anxiety or fear, she explained.

"There are just so many potential problems and solutions when it comes to canine psychology," Mahlberg said. "It is so similar to you and I that it really takes knowing what signs to look for in daily living habits and how the owners communicate with the pup. To sum it up, the challenge that I love is finding the real cause of the problem and providing a successful solution that does not compromise the dog's happiness and safety."

read more by brielle bredsten

Brielle Bredsten is the business reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.

She earned a bachelor's degree in Professional Writing & Technical Communication, with minors in Advertising and Creative Writing from Metropolitan State University, in addition to a two-year professional paid internship as reporter/editor of the student newspaper.

She is an award-winning professional writer, photographer and editor based in rural Minnesota. Over the past decade, Brielle Bredsten has contributed more than 1,000 articles, feature stories, non-profit press-releases, photographs and columns. Her work has been published in several community newspapers.

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