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


Behavioral Mutations

Accept, as I do, that among the wonderful features of the creatures that they are, dogs are creatures of habit and habits can be formed in a variety of ways. Further, since they inhabit our homes and lives, it is our job and responsibility to shape them into what we want (using positive methods of course). It seems to me a wise thought that once shaped into your minimum standards, that you use powers of observation to note mutations as they might occur and decide if they are

a) beneficial or useful or desired in which case you randomly reward them;
b) neutral/don't matter and no one gets hurt and you can reward or ignore; or
c) behaviors that probably should be redirected/reformed because someone can be annoyed or worse -- it can be downright dangerous for either dog or others.


Dogpile and My Friend Arfie

Every year you read about certain words that creep into the lexicon and become official dictionary words. The latest version of one such book (see below) came out last September. I've already discussed in the past the way animal behavior fascinates me, but I have to confess, words fascinate me too. So...

You can find these new words in:
Webster's New Millennium Dictionary of English, Preview Edition
Barbara Ann Kipfer

and learn all about these new words BUT follow along in my normal state of digression as I'm eventually going to be getting to the point of this post!


The Zen of Stay

The art of nothing. It's all around but everyone seems too busy to notice. Earlier this week I was listening to my local 9 am NPR show called The Sound of Ideas on the topic of The Age of Distraction about the concerns generated by multi tasking and being distracted. Guest Maggie Jackson, of course promoting her book, DISTRACTED, spoke to her audience about the land of distraction. We're so busy multitasking -- blogging (uh oh!), texting, face booking, zipping from here to here in micro meetings -- we're distracted and eroding our capacity of deep attention.

Her site says


Happy Birthday, Bean!

Bean the Spokesdog turned 5 earlier this month -- on the 9th. A wee bit more extra affection, some photos, (have I mentioned this dog absolutely LOVES to get his photo taken?) and because he lucked out and we had a stunningly gorgeous summer day here -- blue sky, sunshine, slight breeze, low humidity, green green green everywhere -- we ended it with a long late afternoon walk, a little extra dinner and a good thick chew for dessert.


Week In Review

As I get older my vices become less risky and more sinful in my eyes only. I used to hitchhike and mountain bike on real mountain crags and rock climb and parasail and other stuff but then I wanted to survive and become a mother and not just give birth to them but one who could watch her daughters grow up and develop independent living skills. People who think they know me are surprised that I’m an admitted reader of PEOPLE magazine. I argue it’s a way to keep my finger on the pulse of America. I also not so secretly fantasize being featured in an article in that magazine as the pinnacle of success, preferably in the do gooder section having something to do with increasing the human animal bond in positive ways.


Halloween In June: Modeling Redux

Another day of modeling...not as appealing as the day at the lake but you gotta make a living. This one was for a Halloween circular for Joann Fabrics to be printed in September. I had to drive my poor Trip 2 1/2 hours each way to Columbus, OH to pose in a Halloween Pumpkin Outfit.


The Longest Day of the Year

It’s the longest day of the year as the summer solstice kicks in in the Northern Hemisphere; the opposite down south in places like Australia but even the shortest night of the year feels long if your biorhythm is disturbed by a not yet housetrained puppy or a dog with digestive upset or ...you get the picture.


Life's A Beach

One of the coolest things about carving out a career as a professional dog trainer is the potential for diversity and the sheer fun of it all. The longer I do this work -- going on 10 years as a paid professional -- the more experience, contacts, knowledge and opportunities crop up. Certainly running one's business has to include a sense of recklessness and fearlessness, especially when coupled with the costs associated with raising 3 children as a single parent. But the payoffs can be oh so cool.


Under New Management

I’m having one of those 1 am moments where I’m trying to sleep, deftly placed inbetween the trajectories of a ceiling fan, window fan and one of those big floor based cyber fans to be cool enough to sleep and the cacophony of wind makes me feel like I’m sleeping on an oceanside beach without the discomfort of sand in the wrong places but alas, I can’t sleep. All three dogs, splayed yet again like pancakes on the floor, are snoring away.

I’m lying here thinking about my current home improvement project—the back hall. It’s a small space off the kitchen, with a small landing, a curving wooden set of steps against 2 brick walls leading to another door (with a doggie doorway cut out of it) into the driveway, garage and large enclosed backyard.


Beating The Heat

It’s an early heat wave in late spring in NE Ohio and the heat humidity and sunshine are putting the scramble on me to access the full cross ventilation benefits of living in a nearly 100 year old house with creatively placed windows that if only I could pry open those that have been painted shut for what are probably dozens of years by now could help really satisfy my need to be content that I do not possess the modern convention of air conditioning.
The dogs press themselves into pancakes on the wood floor and pry one lazy eye open watching me as I use a hammer and a screwdriver as a chisel to do the dirty deed. Even Grace the Cat is stretched out flat and inert to maximize the cool somehow obtained by them low down and on the cooler surface of wood.
This must be what they mean about the dog days of summer. Too bad it’s not even summer yet!




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