OUR TEAM

Life is short, so I say go out and live it, and do it with a dog (or a few) by your side. 

Katrina Kensington

Owner / Head Trainer

Hey there, I’m Katrina Kensington and I love training dogs and the humans who own them. Training dogs isn’t just about teaching them to sit, place and come when called, to me it is so much more. It is about developing a relationship that will be valued and enjoyed life long with your furry friend. It is about being a leader, a coach, an advocate and a bestie for your dog. I want to teach you how to develop and work on all of these rotating roles.

Apart from training dogs I’m a travel and foodie enthusiast, vegan, nature lover, who loves to dance when a beat hits my soul alongside my hubby Phill. I grew up on family game nights so I’m always down for a good board game accompanied by a glass of Pinot Noir.

CERTIFICATIONS & CONTINUED EDUCATION

  • E Collar Training Certified with Tyler Muto
  • NePoPo Seminar with Pat Stuart
  • Mike Suttle Course on Marker Training, Detection and Bite Development
  • NePoPo Seminar with Tobias Oleynik 
  • Puppy Training & E Collar Training with Nino Drowaert
  • PTSD Service Dog Training Certified through This Able Veteran
  • IACP Member
  • JASD PSA Club Member

CERTIFICATIONS & CONTINUED EDUCATION

  • Mike Suttle Course on Marker Training, Detection and Bite Development
  • JASD PSA Club Member

Phill Kensington

Co-Owner / Head Trainer

As a lifelong lover of dogs, Phillip transformed the hobby into a profession five years ago after being introduced to canine training by KeenDog Training co-owner, Katrina. Together, he and Katrina integrate the latest techniques, humane practices and a balanced approach to their training. Their approach is based upon a unique marker system that reduces frustration and confusion between dog and handler. Phillip has handled the training of more than 1,000 dogs in the Charlotte, N.C. area and across the United States. As an avid reader and lifetime learner, he continually improves KeenDog Training’s offerings and technique through education – as well as a little trial and error on his personal dogs. It’s Phillip’s mission to help facilitate harmony between handler and dog. Phillip sees his training as a lifestyle for both dog and owner where they are eager to set an example for the canine-human bond through growth, learning and enjoying life in tandem. Phillip believes dogs deserve the best possible training as they do so much to enrich our lives.  Prior to co-founding KeenDog Training, Phillip was perfecting his leadership and teaching techniques through his work with people. As a third-degree black belt, his martial arts studies led him to teaching, where he coached hundreds of students of all ages. 

Rachel Williams

Trainer

Hey, hey! Rachel Williams here, and let me just say…if you’re looking for a team of amazing individuals that all share the same fiery passion for training dogs, then look no further. I’m more proud to be a member of the KeenDog team than ever before. I started my training journey when I worked for a franchise dog daycare and boarding facility back in 2015. I loved spending my days surrounded by dogs, but I wanted to do more. I completed 2 certification courses and began taking on clients, only to realize that I was in over my head. Lots of behavior issues came through the door that I was not equipped to handle. I decided to look elsewhere and came across KeenDog. I interned for about 2 months and quickly fell in love with the message and lifestyle that we continue to spread to dog owners all over the greater Charlotte area, and even across the US. 

CERTIFICATIONS & CONTINUED EDUCATION

  • Formerly certified through Behavior Buddies
  • Formerly certified through CCPDT
  • Collar training certified with Tyler Muto
  • Attended the Measurable Standards Tour by Linda Kaim
  • Member of IACP
  • JASD PSA Club Member

One thing I’ve learned in this industry, is that having an open mind to training methods, ideas and techniques is key. Training isn’t one size fits all. Fast forward a bit, Katrina and I discovered the crazy world of working dogs and fell in love with that also. I have a house full of German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois and truly can’t imagine living any other way. Oh yeah, can’t forget my two cats! They are great assistants when it comes to distractions and impulse control. When I’m not training my lovely clients on how to be a better handler, you can find me hiking with my dogs, training with JASD PSA club, or hanging with my training family. 

Jenna Rabel

Trainer

Jenna started interning with us in 2020 after being a client of KeenDog’s for a little over two years. She started the training as she was a first-time dog owner and wanted to set her dog, Cash, up for success. Throughout her training journey with him, dog training became a fun hobby of hers and she wanted to learn and do more with it. Two years later, she took the leap of faith and quit her day job at a law firm and joined the team to make this hobby something more.

She says, “The community and team that KeenDog is comprised of has always been one of my favorite things and I wanted to be a part of that and help more people become a part of this awesome, growing community.” Jenna loves being able to have the KeenDog Lifestyle with her partner-in-crimes and wants every other dog owner to be able to have that same lifestyle. Because who doesn’t want to enjoy life with their dog, right? Jenna now owns three dogs. Cash, a Beagle mix, Basil, an Aussie from Southern Soul Australian Shepherds, and Chili, a Belgian Malinois. In her free time, Jenna enjoys hiking and going to the beach with her dogs.

Kat Minerva

Trainer

Hi! My name is Kat and I like dogs!

I’ve worked with dogs for almost 10 years and am still amazed I can make a career out of something I love so much! I got my start in the dog world in 2012 while I was still in college. I dabbled in dog training while working for a boarding/training facility but I wasn’t too keen (see what I did there) on the methods used. So, I decided to see what else was out there within the industry. Since then, I worked with rescues/shelters, low cost clinics, a full service veterinary hospital and a few kennels in between. Through all these outlets, there was a common denominator that continued to frustrate me: lack of proper training. This can not only create behavior problems for a dog, but additionally, prohibits owners from living their best life with their dog(s). I wanted to coach owners so they could not only have a well behaved dog, but also have stronger relationships with their furry companions. 

When I acquired my second dog, Mako, I invested a lot more time getting out to train and rediscovered how much I love training dogs. Through Mako’s original owner, Rachel, I discovered KeenDog and fell in love with their style of training. When the opportunity came, I jumped at the chance to participate in their internship and learn so much more. And here I am now. I have the opportunity to make my passion a career and surround myself with a team that helps me grow everyday! Mako and my older dog, Anne, enjoy the lifestyle as much as I do. As for my cat, Mae, she tolerates the canine visitors and helps out with impulse control and neutrality during training. When we aren’t out training (or hanging) with the team, we enjoy hiking, camping, and getting out on the water. When I have some free time away from the dogs, I get back out on the field hockey field to relive my glory days! 

CERTIFICATIONS & CONTINUED EDUCATION

  • Attended the Measurable Standards Tour by Linda Kaim
  • Member of NADD
  • Member of IACP
  • JASD PSA Club Member

Jess van Soestbergen

Trainer

Jess is a Charlotte native and has always had dogs, cats, and other pets. She spent her younger years working in restaurants and retail but found her passion when she began dog walking in February of 2016. By May she was walking so much that she and her boyfriend, Steve, opened their own company, Dog Walk Charlotte. Starting in 2020 she began working with KeenDog trainers through some of her walking clients. This sparked a new journey and ignited a whole new passion for her in dog training. She quickly formed relationships with several members of the KeenDog team and in November joined the internship program. While walking dogs got her started in the dog world, she has found her calling in helping owners build their relationship with their dogs.
Jess and her boyfriend have three senior dogs together; Peanut and Buddy the maltipoos, and Laika the border collie mix, as well as two cats (and a gecko). She also added an Australian Cattle Dog named Ygritte to her crew in April of 2020 and they have become a hard working and fun loving team together. Ygritte completed her NADD (North America Diving Dogs) Dock Junior Title in dock diving this past spring and they hope to compete more this upcoming season. Jess is a member of the IACP (International Association of Canine Professionals) and is always looking to grow by attending seminars. When she is not training dogs you can find her hiking, spending quality time with family, binging a podcast, or snuggled up with her cats and a good movie.

Emily Harris

Trainer

Like many dog trainers, Emily discovered her love of training after adopting a difficult rescue dog and winding up in over her head. She employed the help of KeenDog trainer, Rachel, to set her dog, Samson, up for success, and quickly fell head over heels in love with training. Craving more, Emily decided to leave the corporate world behind and join our team as an intern in 2020. Emily knows firsthand what it’s like to go from feeling hopeless to living an optimal life with her dog. It is her mission to help dogs and owners alike reach their full potential. When not teaching lessons or working with immersions, you can find Emily in the mountains, hiking, camping, or backpacking with Samson and her new addition, Xena.

Lilly Staudt

Trainer

Lilly’s love for animals started at a very young age. When her family hired a professional dog trainer to come to their house weekly to train their puppy when she was 12, she ran with the information presented to her and started exercising her new found love for dog training. She began volunteering at rescues- fostering dogs, dog walking, and pet sitting. After receiving her BS in Exercise Science in 2016, she adopted her first dog, Seamus, an American Staffordshire Terrier Mix. He required more skill and training than she was originally equipped for, it was through overcoming this challenge that she renewed her passion for dog training. She had been studying to go to grad school, but put those plans on hold once her real calling became clear. She began shadowing other dog trainers in the Charlotte area, learning through webinars, participating in seminars, and listening to podcasts to further her education. Fast forward 5 years, Lilly became an intern for KeenDog. It’s her goal to make strong relationships with her clients to effectively coach them and their dog. Lilly treats every dog with the same love and care as she does her own Seamus and takes pride in seeing every one of her “students” succeed!