Rachel Friedman


Rachel Friedman has worked with both people and animals since very early childhood. A childhood rich in dog, horse and small critter experiences, Rachel carved an interesting and somewhat meandering but nevertheless meaningful route towards her career in the world of dogs. She has a B.A. in Social Sciences from The University of Michigan, a Master's Degree in Social Work from The University of Pennsylvania, and remains an independently licensed social worker (LISW) in the great State of Ohio. 

Combining her passion for and long experience in working with animals with her extensive social work training and work experience, Rachel became a full time dog trainer in 1999 and founded her company, A Better Pet LLC. Her background makes her uniquely qualified to help clients learn how best to teach their dogs, and thus how best to create a harmonious household. She also consults with social service organizations interested in incorporating animals into their programming and provides that overlapping in the Venn Diagram between Dog Training/Behavior and Social Services.

Her passion and commitment to providing the best training possible -- for all dogs -- resulted in the invention and patented Har-Vest, the first and only combined no pull harness and vest/backpack on the market today. Har-Vest helps bring out the best qualities in dogs -- calms overbearing dogs, instills confidence in overwhelmed dogs -- a 3-in-1 Backpack for Dogs (and there's a version for cats coming soon!).

Rachel currently lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio with her three teenage daughters and an eclectic menagerie of pets and usually a service dog project underfoot. Hard at work on finishing her multi media opus, The Six Pillars of Dog Training Wisdom, Rachel is quite accessible and can best be reached by email: [email protected].

Blog posts by Rachel Friedman

Stoli in the pool

Mental Health and Illness in Dogs

The range of dogs I see in my dog training/behavior practice run the gamut from easy going and happy happy joy joy pups to radically disturbed dogs. The disturbed dog can be an especially unsafe dog -- to other dogs (dog/dog aggression), people (dog/people aggression), stuff (destructive) or in some cases, self destructive.


Passive Interactive Dog Treat Recipe - Kong Parfait-cicle

This summer I've seen a slew of active, ADD (attention deficit disorder) or ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) dogs. Accompanying them are their often over stressed and anxious dog parents at loose ends. In need of ideas for quelling the seemingly endless needs of their dogs. These aren't always puppies or even teenage dogs. Dogs that might chronologically be adults but are emotionally developmentally delayed and thus, also in need of boredom busting activities that don't always require active participation by their owners. And frankly, even well balanced normal non problematic adult dogs like toys and games and fun times! While dog toys come in different forms and functions, and I've written about them before, my favorite kind are the ones that require THINKING happen in the dog's brain. To that end, with respect to these interactive toys, I break them down into Active and Passive Interactive.


Take Your Dog To Work Day 2012

Immersed in the world of professional dog training with a living laboratory of my own 3 dogs plus a rotating stable of boarding and training projects, not to mention the visiting DIP dogs, every day is some form or another of Take Your Dog To Work Day. But for the unfortunate masses of those in diverse occupations who head to work without Fido because laws and rules dictate leaving the dog behind, this is your chance!


Labor Day to Earth Day - A Bubbles Autism Service Dog Update

When you live day to day with young children, especially a child with special needs, just getting through the day can often be daunting.  Unless you are especially good at paying attention or you've instituted specific (usually with professional help) interventions, recognizing significant changes in your child is hard. When your contact is less regular and you are the professional help, and especially if you pay attention, the transformations can be downright magical.

So it has been with Sam and Bubbles. I have written often of this experience in this blog, but here, in honor of Earth Day 2012, is a snapshot to look at my experience with Sammy and Bubbles.



Har-Vest Special Via Pet Tech Radio

Want to learn details about Har-Vest: 3-in-1 Backpack For Dogs AND get a great special good through April 30, 2012? Listen to Episode 4 of my interview with host Ken Jones of PET TECH RADIO and get a rare and generous FREE GIFT with your purchase. 


Hippotherapy - Boy + Service Dog + Tolerant Horse = Good Times

Today’s outing with Bubbles involved a new species of animal — for Sam and for Bubbles! We decided to try an evaluative session on horseback to see if Sam could benefit from equine therapy. Many researchers have noted that often, when autistic children are first introduced to hippotherapy, the new environment may prompt crying, screaming, tantrums, and avoidance behaviors such as flopping down and becoming limp. For our Sam, there's also risk of flight.

Roxy rests with benefit of Har-Vest

Rescue - Who rescues who?

A little more than a year into my relationship with 'rescue dog' Tommy the Wizard, the shih tzu I reluctantly took in and then fell in love with and fully adopted, I find myself once again fostering a dog who arrived with issues, uncertainly and no formal training. Roxy is a nearly 5 year old puggle (a cross between a pug and a beagle) whose owners found me agreeing to take custody of her for the express purpose of finding her a new and wonderful forever home during a narrow window of opportunity. How did they do it? First success -- I answered the phone and listened to the story.


Tommy The Wizard - A Rescue Gone Right

Time can be measured in many ways. the blink of an eye, seconds, moments, minutes, hours, days, weeks, years, decades, lifetimes, centuries, millennium and yada yada yada. The benefit of such measure is often comparative -- to reflect on how things are the same, how things are different. Then getting subjective -- how things are better, or how things are worse. Living and working hands on with dogs full time for over the past 12 years has engendered a greater awareness of the value of living in the moment -- it is a testament to the power of the animals I share my life with how many perfect moments there are in life, even amid stress, sorrow, sadness, loss and pain. Yet at the same time, a wise man once told me (okay, so it was my father!), if you can look back at a year ago and say that today things are better or at least no worse, then you are doing well. Forward ho. Or something like that. So it is as an anniversary arrives I step back to become reflective.

Rachel and Kody

So You Wanna Be a Dog Trainer

I have had the pleasure of working with hundreds of people and thousands of dogs over the past 13 years as a licensed independent social worker passing herself off as a professional dog trainer. Privately, in group classes or both, I work on helping teach people -- of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities -- the skills and knowledge to make their human/dog relationships better. Sometimes with very difficult dogs, who become less difficult when the key to communication unfolds. Sometimes with very difficult people, who become less difficult when their defenses are lowered and they are open to taking greater responsibilities. My focus is teaching positive and non force based methods to help dog owners become benevolent leaders. A benevolent leader does not lead by force or threat, but by becoming someone the dogs want to follow because doing so is a good thing.

Sam and Bubbles walking unrestrained

Woods Walk Redux

November has been a busy month for testing one of my favorite things -- measuring change. The other day when talking to my daughter Sophie I asked her to hand me a 1/2 full glass of water. She asked why I didn't say half empty. I answered it was the nature/nurture effect of growing up under the relentless optimism of my father, her grandpa, that must have rubbed off on me.



Subscribe to The Dog Blog
The Free Course Collection for Dog Owners, Trainers, Breeders, Veterinarians, Shelters/Rescues and Pet Stores