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

Grow Up With Har-Vest Special Offer

If you can start out on the right paws with your young puppy developing loose leash manners in a positive and user friendly way, would you? Of course. Even if that meant having to shell out more bucks each time your pup outgrew a piece of equipment? Probably not. Having multiple kids allows for hand me downs.


Blowing out the birthday candle

How to Throw a Dog Birthday Party

Take a beautiful fall day, 7 social dogs, more than twice that in people, a birthday cake for dogs (thank you Gary!), a birthday cake for their peeps, stir in the magic of the mix, and an ample supply of poop pick up bags and voila, the perfect recipe to honor the birthday girl.



Happy Birthday, Bubbles!

Developing her feathering tresses, bulking up and settling in with the greatest of ease, Bubbles turns 1. It was great to celebrate (albeit a day early) with her and her family on the shores of Lake Erie.


Gang of 4 On the Rise

Indian Summer Bliss with Dogs – Practicing Increased Confidence in Handling

Living with a service dog isn't always about work. But living in harmony and meeting a service dog's needs to keep her in good physical and emotional health for her success on the job needs to include recreation. In other words, sometimes you just gotta play. But successful play requires work! In all the public access outings I have gone on since placing Bubbles with Sam and his family -- to an indoor pool, a medical doctor visit followed by a friend's backyard to play with his dogs, a young girl's birthday party as a special guest, a mall DURING Halloween celebrations and group classes -- this week the outing was a wholly fun one.

Sam and Bubbles at the Mall

Halloween at The Mall: A New Sam and Bubbles Adventure

The plan was simple. To have a family friendly public access outing at a mall. "Let's make it low key," I think. "Give Sam and Bubbles and the adults a chance to practice in a not t00 overwhelming environment but one that will allow for various stimuli." So, a rendezvous was planned at Beachwood Place Mall. Little did I realize until we arrived that a special Halloween Event was happening. Hundreds, nay it seemed, thousands of children and hundreds of adults were swarming the mall, stopping at various stores for free candy and shopping excursions. Despite or perhaps because of the added stimuli, both Sam and Bubbles did a fantastic job despite the distractions. Sam was drawn to the escalators and lollipops, Bubbles to dropped goodies and the adorable doberman pup we encountered at the Moochie & Co.


Har-Vest Review

Five years ago when I first began tracking sales of Har-Vest, I bought a map of the U.S., glued it onto styrofoam and bought some colored push pins. Every time I made a sale, I selected the pin color to match the color of Har-Vest sold and started keeping track. Not sure if it was marketing savvy or just a way for a visual sort like myself to have an effective way to measure that I was not operating in a vacuum. And it looked cool as the pins added up. Unfortunately, as the map, especially in the coastal states, started generating thicker patches of push pins, the styrofoam wasn't thick enough. Pins would sometimes randomly pop out and I'd have no idea where to re-tack them. So bye fun map, hello boring spreadsheets! But now as 2011 starts to wind down, each of the 50 states would be represented as well as other countries for Har-Vest purchases. But it took a midwesterner to produce a video review!

Sam learns to make a wish with Bubbles right at his side.

Doctor Doctor, Give Me The News - Bubbles Part IV

Wishing it so doesn't always make it so. But today I like to think Sam learned the magic of wishing and his mom saw a dream come true. Today Sam had 2 doctor appointments. Never a fun task. Two in one day! Often, per mom's reports, such endeavors involve lots of dragging of child and same child kicking, slapping, punching, screaming, and other uncooperative gestures expressing his disdain. The more dangerous behaviors include bolting without regard or awareness of safety. But today, on only the second public access outing I directly supervised since paired with Bubbles just over 3 weeks ago, it was an unqualified success. At least the first appointment and our subsequent outing to visit some of my favorite dogs!

Keeping an eye on her boy!

Bubbles Part III

It's been exactly two weeks since Bubbles paired with Sam. I have to admit I'm quite impressed with the speed with which they have bonded although I'm not surprised. It really speaks to my motto of getting the right make and model of dog for the job. And there's the significant and measurable improvements in Sam's behavior since the match. Best stated in mom's own words in her growing blog.

To have gone from freak out fear of the dog on Labor Day a month ago to running joyfully with his blond cohort and her peers in a group class is just short of awe-inspiring. You just can't help falling in love with this boy!

A second home visit, a few group dog training classes, a rainy but fun filled DIP and a public access field trip to a therapeutic swimming lesson have all occurred in this time frame and the bonding and functionality of Bubbles with Sam is only just beginning.

Baseline Walk With Sam.

Bubbles Repurposed - Part 2

Part 2 - Placement (Part 1 - Repurposing) As you may recall, Bubbles arrived in my care back in January 2011 as a 9 week old golden retriever puppy selected for specifically for an autistic boy --  her sensitivity, beauty, good health and breed type all taken into a balanced consideration for the best functioning for the child.

Today is the Jewish New Year, September 29th by one calendar, the 7th month of Tishrei and the year 5772 by another. It is the first of the High Holy Days or Yamim Noraim ("Days of Awe"), and just over a week since Bubbles has moved into her new home a stone's throw from Lake Erie.


Bubbles Repurposed.

This year winter splashed into spring, spring to sultry summer, which slipped subtly into fall, the harvest time of year (although my tomatoes never did seem to ripen). Later this week marks Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, considered the new year of people, animals and legal contracts. In the Jewish oral tradition, Rosh Hashanah marks the completion of the creation of the world. In a fitting parallel, after fits and starts, Bubbles slipped into her new role and made a permanent shift to serve as an autism service dog for her new boy, Sammy. My children, dogs, cats and I have worked tirelessly in helping shape an already incredibly well bred and successfully well socialized golden retriever puppy into a maturing adolescent with a sense of purpose.



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