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Meet the Team...

Crystal Close
Certified Canine Training & Behavior Specialist
Aggression Specialist
AKC CGC Evaluator #96988
Head trainer, Founder & CEO
Dog Pro Coach

Originally from the small town of Bruce, Wisconsin, Crystal grew up on a farm in the country with animals for siblings.  Developing a love for dog training while in 4-H at the age of 13, she always knew she wanted a career working with dogs. 


After attending college for years on the path to become a veterinarian, she decided to pursue the behavioral aspect of dogs rather than the medical.  She is a graduate of the prestigious Triple Crown Academy outside of Austin, Texas (now known as Starmark Academy).  As a student in the academy she learned from some of the best trainers in the country.  This school for professional dog trainers holds their students to a high standard, with extensive course material and hands-on practical requirements. 


After graduation, she was offered an apprenticeship where she worked with the instructors in the academy, and was a member of the training department. Duties included conducting group classes, private lessons and training dogs in the in-kennel board and train program at the world's largest training and behavior facility.   She was then hired to write the curriculum for two extensive distance education programs for Triple Crown Academy and acted as the Distance Education Instructor of those programs while remaining a member of the training department.  

When she found herself working primarily as an instructor within the academy for professional dog trainers, Crystal felt the pull to work with dog owners and their dogs more.  So, in 2009 Crystal moved back to River Falls WI.  She then started working as a trainer with The Canine Coach, the largest professional dog training company in the Twin Cities.  In 2011, she branched out on her own and founded Crystal Clear Canine Training.

After 9 years working solely with dogs and their owners, in 2018, she opened the doors of Crystal Clear Canine Academy as a place for both dog owners and dog professionals to come together and learn.


As an industry leader, and dog behavior expert, Crystal works with dog owners as well as other trainers from all over the world in better facilitation and program design so trainers and their clients can work together more effectively and efficiently.... especially when behavioral modification is the goal.


She believes in fostering a safe and collaborative environment at the Academy for dog owners and dog pros to come together and learn as a collective team for the better good for the dogs we all love.

Her true passion lies in analyzing canine behavior, and being a facilitator to clear up the lines of communication between dogs and humans.

Crystal Close
Colleen Van Deurzen
Certified Professional Dog Trainer
Behavior Specialist
AKC CGC Evaluator #97540 
Certified in Pet First Aid & CPR

Colleen grew up on a dairy farm in Luxemburg, Wisconsin where her devotion for animals blossomed. In 2007, when she rescued a German Shepherd named Lobo, she knew that she wanted a career enriching the lives of dogs.


A graduate from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls (UWRF), with majors in both Animal Science and Pre-Veterinary Medicine, Colleen has a passion for education. When she enrolled in college, her goal was to become a veterinarian. However, when she started working as a canine caretaker & trainer's assistant for Crystal Clear Canine Training in May of 2016, she knew that she had found her true calling. 


Colleen is a full time professional dog trainer and is a graduate of The Michael Ellis School of Dog Training in California.  She heads our day camp program, trains dogs in our board and train program, conducts private lessons, and teaches group classes.  Her passion is in making a true difference in the lives of dogs and their owners.

Colleen and her corgi, Echo, are a certified therapy dog team through Therapy Dogs International (TDI) and she enjoys helping dog owners train their dog to be able to do whatever they want to do in life together.

She enjoys canine competition sports work, especially acting as a training decoy (wearing the bite suit) for Mondio Ring.  With a passion for working with dogs to channel their drives in constructive outlets, Colleen loves custom tailoring programs that focus on working with a dog on a deep mental and socially based level.


Colleen Van Deurzen
Riley Close
Professional Dog Trainer
Operations Manager
Technology Wizard & Grill Master

Riley has always loved dogs.  He grew up with labs, and even hunted with them occasionally.  With a knack for technology, and degree in Network Administration, Riley was set for a career in IT. 


When he met Crystal in 2009 dogs became a very prominent part of his life. Ever since, he has been assisting in providing the structure and consistency that everyday life living with a professional dog trainer and their dogs/their client's dogs brings.  It was only a matter of time before Riley himself became a trainer.  Now a husband and wife team, Crystal & Riley truly dedicate themselves to the dogs that they work with.

Nicknamed "Smiley Riley", and an Eagle Scout at his core, he truly is "always prepared" and usually has a smile on his face.

Riley is our guy in the background keeping everything maintained and running smoothly within the digital aspects of the Academy, but he LOVES cooking up a storm for our clients at special events and retreats.  He is a master of the grill and smoker, and also has a knack for making everything from scratch and it turning out amazingly.

He has a special fondness for the extra large, and extra fluffy dogs.  When dogs are living with us for training, Riley is usually their best buddy.

Riley Close
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