My husband and I were fortunate to stumble upon Rachel as our assigned dog walker during the Summer of 2013. Our dog Thelma, an English Bulldog, was a rescue adopted from IEBR (Illinois English Bulldog Rescue). We do not know much about Thelma’s life prior to her rescue but we do know that her past experiences left her incredibly anxious, timid, and depressed. After bringing Thelma into our loving home, her depression soon lifted and her personality began to really shine. Thelma was almost like a new dog at her one year adoption anniversary! However, she still remained very fearful. She had reached a point where her walks became limited to across the street and back. We attributed this pattern to bulldog stubbornness and laziness (she loves her couch and her dozens of naps each day!). But Thelma’s short walks were leading to weight gain, which is bad news for bulldogs given their predisposition to arthritic joints. Fortunately, this was just about the time that Rachel began subbing as our dog walker. She immediately diagnosed all of the issues at play: she was given treats inside after her walk (as opposed to being motivated with treats during her walk), she was fed both meals immediately upon returning from her walks and she was fearful of taking longer walks due to her fear of being exposed to new environments. Rachel taught us how to use treats for positive reinforcements during walks, advised that we should wait at least 30 minutes to feed her a meal after a walk (to disconnect any association between returning from a walk and being fed), and to gradually expose her to new environments. Rachel became Thelma’s permanent walker and began working with her each day. Thelma had become so “stuck” in her walk routine that she was terrified to turn left out of the driveway. Rachel’s training has resulted in Thelma taking longer walks, turning left and walking an entire half block (a HUGE accomplishment), less fearful of new environments, and increased happiness and confidence overall. Our goal is to one day have Thelma train to become a therapy dog as she has the perfect temperament of calmness, affinity toward people, and loves being petted. We believe that with Rachel’s continued guidance (for both Thelma and her parents) Thelma will one day become a therapy dog!
-Fayette, Mark & Thelma (Naperville, IL)
We have a really intelligent breed known as a Xoloitzcuintli or Xolo for short. He is very head strong to say the least. Our regret is not finding Rachel first. Our Xolo is nearly 2 years old and we went to another place for puppy and obedience training. It was "general" group training and the results were just that "general". After Rachel's first visit our dog went from "general" to actually listening the first time. Her techniques will make you think, "why didn't someone tell me this years ago." Really! She has a great personality and is easy to work with. Very family oriented as she has taught my 6 and 9 year olds how to work with our dog Shadow. (yes, I will admit she helped to train the kids!) While owning dogs my whole life this is the first puppy brought into our current home to be trained. Our other dog was trained and the kids arrived later. I didn't realize how complex it would be to train a smart breed with smaller children as bad habits can be taught fast! Rachael has worked with us to help us become one happy family! You really can't ask for anything more.
-Bryan F. (Naperville, IL)
We hired Rachel after we rescued a 1 year old dog who had some anxiety and reactive behavior. From the moment she started working with Max, he responded so positively that we were astonished! We were not equipped to even know where to begin but Rachel is a natural! Max loved his sessions with her and really blossomed into a much calmer, more confident dog from her training. Her positive reinforment training is a must for every situation. Wr could not rave more about Rachel, her knowledge and true love for her clients (4 legged and 2!)! Great experience!
-Amy K. (Montgomery, IL)
We brought a 12 week old French Mastiff into our home and would have definitely had a run for our money without Rachel's assistance. She was knowledgable, patient and, above all, extremely compassionate and affectionate to Malone. It was clear from the beginning that she knew what she was doing and that she loved being around to help us out. Aside from her training expertise, Rachel is also a wealth of knowledge with respect to other dog-related topics (i.e. food, treats, veterinarians, pet sitters, etc...) I would highly recommend Rachel for anyone who wants to make sure their dog is well-behaved both inside and outside the house.
-Brian L. (Naperville, IL)
Rachel has been great teaching both me and my puppy! She's very patient, knowledgeable and personable. I'm a big fan of the positive reinforcement method she utilizes and really like that fact that she is often taking continuing education classes and seminars and can share the knowledge with us. I'm very happy that we found her!
-Joline G. (Bolingbrook, IL)
So far so good, we have been working with Rachel for 12 sessions now, and there is a marked improvement in our little girl. She was fear aggressive to the point where I wouldn't walk her anymore. She would spin, bark, growl, lunge, and snap at people, animals, bikes, strollers, squirrels, basically anything that moved. She's not perfect (yet) but she's able to go for a walk now with out stressing out, or stressing me out. We just signed up for 6 more sessions.
-Jo M. (Naperville, IL)
Rachel has helped me with two of my dogs. Rachel is a great instructor. She has a real connection with the dogs and owners. She is very patient and understanding with the dogs. I have a 3 year old lab that Rachel has helped me with doing agility. I also have a 11 month old Pit Bull puppy that I have recently started doing agility also. Rachel has been a HUGE help with both of my dogs. I would HIGHLY recommend her as a trainer. She is a positive reinforcement only trainer. Both of my dogs responded very well to her technique's. Looking forward to future training with Rachel.
-Brandon D. (Sheridan, IL)
Rachel Fein worked for my company. She was excellent in the care of our clients animals and received praise from the owners in how much better their pets behaved. She believes in positive reinforcement and has changed the lives of our dogs. I would highly recommend her if you need any type of training.
-Susan A. (Naperville, IL)
I had the delightful honor of meeting Rachel while she was enrolled in the Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Professional program. Rachel was a student of ours for six months while attending the hands-on workshops with me as her faculty teacher. She did an exceptional job of completing her various assignments in a timely manner. I truly enjoyed observing the positive and proactive training partnership with her dog, Kali. Kali started the program quite shy and was nervous to walk on certain surfaces. Rachel used the six month program as an opportunity to help Kali build positive associations and experiences on various substrates while excelling with the KPA program required dog training assignments. She has an engaging manner about her that will identify extremely well with dog owners looking for help with their own dogs.
It is a pleasure to include Rachel into our dog trainer referral community. She is a wonderful asset!
-Laura Monaco Torelli (Owner of Animal Behavior Training Concepts, KPA Faculty)