Katrina & Phillip Kensington:
KeenDog is a lead by husband and wife team Katrina & Phillip Kensington. For nearly 7 years this dynamic duo has worked side by side to create innovative training techniques for both their clients and their trainers, with a mindset that every day we can improve as a company. It is our belief that dog training should be a fun and interactive life experience for both owner and dog, coaching both equally on how to properly communicate between two species and live a happy life together.
Katrina and Phillip exude our training philosophy of active training – they run, hike, bike, swim and weight train all with their four dogs – Zoey, a rescue Chow-mix, Bullet, a Cooper’s Australian Shepherd, Carmella, a Season’s Gold Golden Retriever, and Opie, a Southern Soul Australian Shepherd. Advocates for animal rights (Katrina herself is a vegan), this love for animals shows in their dog training techniques as they believe that training a dog to understand our language should be done using a variety of methods that is fair and fun.
Katrina has an eye for training both dogs and people, and her ability to multi-task at a quick speed, allows KeenDog to constantly be evolving. Katrina has also appeared in a variety of commercials (Cosequin) and television appearances (Good Day Charlotte), and is a leader in the dog training world with her many YouTube tutorial videos. Katrina is a member of the International Association of Canine Professionals and has completed PTSD Service Dog Training from This Able Veteran.
Phillip brings 15+ years of leadership skills to our growing team and to all of our clients. Phill is a great motivator for customers who are struggling or frustrated with their dogs. It is his belief that if owners can commit just 10 minutes of their day solely for their dog, this can catapult a bond like no other.
Is a KeenDog trainer that has had a passion for training since a young age. Having family dogs growing up, she enjoyed teaching tricks to her childhood dog, Jake. Ashley has always been an animal person, owning small animals to horses and everything in between. Not only did she train her dogs as a child, but she began training horses as well at the age of 10. That same love for animals carried over to her education. Ashley attended NC State and obtained a Bachelors Degree in Zoology. She went on to work at a zoo in Texas, and really enjoyed working with the exotic animals. Ashley moved on from there to work as a Wrangler for Swan Mountain Outfitters in Montana, guiding horseback tours through Glacier National Park.
When Ashley returned from her adventures after her College graduation, she re-pursued her love for dogs working at The Dog Salon. Ashley has had a close connection to Season’s Gold for quite a while and enjoys riding horses at the farm, while grooming dogs for their business on the side. All of this led Ashley back into her love for dog training in Charlotte.
Ashley owns a 2 year old Sable German Shepherd named Alces, whom she has owned since he was 8 weeks of age. Ashley has attended a few dog shows with Alces, winning a puppy class together. Ashley’s strong skills in dog training make it a natural process while working with puppy projects, two week immersions, and boarders in her home. In addition to training, Ashley loves spending leisure time with her own animals by taking them to Vineyards and Breweries. Some of her other interests include art walks, hiking, and watching science documentaries.
Growing up, Brittany always had a love for dogs. In her own words: “I was the friend that came over and said hi to the family dog before anyone else, and in turn I was the designated pet/dog sitter. I found my passion for dog training in college at UNC Wilmington, when I enrolled in a course called “Assistance Dogs”. This was a 4 course certification where you learn the fundamentals of service dogs and how to train them. By the 3rd semester you are given a dog and are responsible for their Public Access training; making sure they behave appropriately in public settings. My dog’s name was Ella and she went to a young boy named, Alex living with cerebral palsy. This was one, if not the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had.
I quickly realized after getting a 9-5 office job, that that lifestyle was not for me. I found myself sitting at my desk thinking to myself, what I would give to train dogs as a living. As each day passed and the same thought came to my head, I decided to take action and work toward making this dream a reality.
The relationship between a dog and it’s owner(s) is so unique. Having the ability to help people build that bond and relationship is extremely rewarding, as dogs play such a big role in our lives. My passion drives from the idea that every dog has the potential to be a great dog. I am driven to help people reach their dog goals and build the lifestyle they dream of.
Of course, how can I talk about my passion for dogs and training without mentioning my very own K-9 companion Dexter. I rescued Dexter from the Mecklenburg Animal Shelter when he was 5 months old. Dexter was lucky enough to “attend” college and he was quite the ladies man, if I do say so myself. Dexter has always been a bit squidish, but since working with him and building his confidence with the KeenDog training techniques, I have see huge improvements. He is a perfect example that old dogs can learn new tricks.
I am honored to have this opportunity to work with KeenDog and can not wait to see what the future holds. The possibilities are endless.
Holmes has loved dogs since she can remember. Growing up with a family lab that was around before she was, the bond with dogs started the minute she came into this world. Because of this love for dogs, her mother suggested a long time ago for her to pursue a career in dog training, and we are lucky to have her with the KeenDog team.
Holmes always has a ready to go attitude and a huge smile on her face when training dogs, progressing her skills every day. The joy that she has when training dogs is evident, especially the satisfaction of getting a dog over the learning hump or teaching them something new. Being able to teach dogs to behave in a way that will allow their owners to truly enjoy them at the level they should is why she is pursuing her passion in dog training.
From an early age, Ellie developed a passion for volunteering. At 12 she began volunteering at a kitten rescue, and her love of animals continued to grow stronger. Over the years she has volunteered at many animal rescue organizations, and even interned at a local veterinarian’s office. Currently on the board for Kreitzer’s Critter Corral Puppy Rescue in Concord, Ellie continues to advocate for animal welfare and responsible pet ownership. With 3 dogs and 5 cats of her own, she is always surrounded by animals and loves every minute of it! After realizing a career in Aviation didn’t leave enough time to satiate her need to be around animals, Ellie decided to join the KeenDog team full-time. She loves seeing the “lightbulb moment” in a dog when they nail a new command, or an owner’s joy at the manifestation of the dog of their dreams due to our training.
Rachel knew from the very beginning that working with animals was exactly what she wanted to do. She was torn between a career of working with large animals since she began riding horses at age 9, and working with smaller animals because of her love for dogs. Growing up, she always wanted a dog but wasn’t allowed to get one. That all changed when a stray dog wondered into her life. Wiley won everyone’s hearts over, especially Rachel’s, and her wish of having a dog finally came true. Wiley wasn’t easy, she was afraid of everything and very unsocialized. This motivated Rachel to help her learn good manors and gain confidence so she could have a happy life. After lots of hard work, she’s become the sidekick every girl could want, and continues to make Rachel a strong and proud owner/handler.
Rachel’s first job working with dogs was at a doggie daycare and training facility, where she advanced to being the head trainer of. After 3 years working at the daycare she decided it was time to get serious about dog training, and wanted to be apart of a team that could work together and continue to grow and learn more about dogs. She knew that she wanted to be apart of the KeenDog family from the moment she first met with everyone.
“The KeenDog lifestyle continues to change mine and Wiley’s life every day. I love being part of the team and I’m so excited to continue this journey to being the best trainer I can be, and all of us growing together. The more dogs and owners i can assist, the better!” -Rachel
KeenDog is lucky to have Chaney as an integral part of our team as our main photographer/videographer. His personality has always dabbled in creativity. It first expressed itself in elementary school, where he began with drawing and crafting, then developed to writing stories and poems. He joined theatre, began dancing, became big into fashion, and even dabbled in music. So with all of that being said, Christmas of 2015 his parents got him his very first DSLR camera. And 2 years later this “passion” has turned into his full career. He has been nominated for 2 photography awards; published in multiple newspapers, magazines, websites, and social media sites; and was named Charlotte’s #1 Instagram account by Creative Loafing. He grew up with dogs, having about 7 total. Once he is married and settled into a new home he has his eyes and heart set on a ‘doodle.