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Client Testimonials


Here’s the problem with getting a puppy after Thanksgiving: you will not be able to get into *ANY* puppy training classes until mid-January. Every place I called told me the same thing.

But with my puppy showing some attitude that had my vet and I concerned, I knew the sooner he was in training the better. My vet actually recommended I try AnimalSense, and I got in contact with them about the Class Plus plan–a class session and two in-home private lessons. The private lessons were so that we could start training before January and thank goodness we did!

Our in-home instructor was Katie, and in our house we affectionately call her Katie Poppins. It’s like she blew in on her umbrella and helped me start turning my obstinate pup into the dog I always imagined I’d own some day.


In our first lesson she had great advice for helping us deal with the specific troubles we had (herding our cats and guarding issues), not to mention general advice to make our life easier (house training tips and feeding ideas). I could also tell that she’d done research before meeting our puppy, because she had knowledge of his breed, the breed’s history, and the problems herding dogs typically present to owners. My family and I were so pleased with her help that we both agreed we would be having more private sessions in addition to the two that came with the Class Plus deal.

Yes, you are going to be paying more for lessons from AnimalSense. Yes, it was expensive. But after our lessons with Katie, I can say that you are paying for the trainer’s experience, their calm and insight, and their ability to train you to train your dog. Having never trained a dog before I knew I was out of my depth with our puppy and AnimalSense threw me my life preserver.

I have no doubt that AnimalSense is one of the best groups of dog trainers in the Chicago area, and I’d highly recommend them if you’re looking for more help training your dog.

Meghan R.



Lindsay has a great love for animals. She is an expert in helping owners and pets co-exist, as well as understand each other.  She came to our house and helped us train our puppy.

Lindsay also continues to go to many seminars and retreats for behavioral training in order to offer the best techniques for her clients.

Thanks Lindsay and AnimalSense!

Brian J.



I wanted to thank Animal Sense and especially Sally Bushwaller for giving me the tools to help my dog phobic Yorkie, Macki, reduce his panic and anxiety.

Sally is the third trainer I’ve tried and in three sessions, her insights have had remarkable success.

As she puts it, obedience training can’t help my pup, only anxiety reducing will do the trick to refocus his attention to more pleasant matters. I will continue using her techniques to help Macki because they work.

Jamie B.



We adopted our rescue dog about a year ago and her aggression towards both dogs and people has gotten worse over time. When I called the AnimalSense office and explained our issues, they recommended we work with Sally Bushwaller, through private lessons.

Sally is amazing! She’s knowledgeable, experienced, patient and creative.

A word of warning: You must be prepared to do the work on your own as well.

You will get out of it what you put into it. I wasn’t prepared for how much work this would be for ME at first. But Sally is very encouraging, and after each session would send me detailed notes on what we covered and what we should continue to work on.

I look forward to working with her again – her love of animals really shines through her work.

Amanda K.



When Sally Bushwaller first visited my home, my dog’s behavior had become almost unbearable.  In a couple short months from when I rescued him, he went from a cute little sometimes-hyper shy guy who never barked, to an obnoxious drama queen (her words) who had manipulated his way to the center of my home universe.

I searched the internet for help and answers, and broke down and reached out to AnimalSense, thinking I might fix it with some classes.  I liked the receptionist right away, and she helped me to know that I needed a little more.  In comes Sally.

Just one session.  That’s right — one session.  And within two weeks, I had a new dog.

He doesn’t bark, he rarely jumps up…. he waits calmly sitting until I tell him it’s ‘OK’ to eat his food. (I still have a hard time believing this one.)

Her approach and philosophy work.  Friends cannot believe the transformation, and I’m so relieved to have such a fun, calm, and appropriate companion to share my home with.   I’ve since met with her another time, and everything I learned continues to work.

After each session, you receive a full report (mine was 10 pages) that includes what she observed, how we spent the hour, recommendations, and attachments with step-by-step instructions.  I love these reports.

Don’t take annoying dog behavior as a given…. call AnimalSense now!

Gina B.



If you’re looking for a place to take your puppy for obedience training look no further.  AnimalSense’s founder, Jamie Damato is an inspiration.  Her love for animals drives her business and it was proven when she took an afternoon off to accompany my husband and I on a trip to several dog shelters.  We were guided by her keen knowledge of dog behavior and after many introductions we adopted Jack, a 10 week old border collie mix that came to the shelter six weeks earlier with a broken leg and had been separated from most of the dogs to recuperate.

We never intended to go in looking for the perfect dog – Jack is high strung, an avid herder of anything that moves, but I like a challenge and we backpack and camp and Jack now has an oulet for all that energy! We all saw Jack’s potential that day at the pound.  We signed up for obedience training classes at the AnimalSense’s Oak Park location.  Jack was a quick study and learned how to better socialize with other dogs every week.

Four years later, we are so thankful for the guidance given to us by AnimalSense’s highly trained staff!

Thank you for offering such a wide variety of classes. We’re going to sign Jack up for Agility this Summer.

Laura O.



My wife and I have taken several classes with our pup, an English Mastiff.  Our AnimalSense trainer is top notch.  Erin’s  interest in helping you and your pup goes beyond the classroom.  She followed up our classes with an email summarizing what we did in class and what to work on at home.  As we ended our class she said we could always email or talk to her if we had questions or concerns about our pups behavior/training.

I just felt that she genuinely wanted the best for us and our pup.

We hope in the future to be able to take a recall or scent class with her or perhaps another Animal Sense trainer in the future.

Glenn S.



Our rescue dog, Ginger was exhibiting a host of fear-based issues, and when her fear started turning into aggression, we knew we needed professional guidance. We chose to go with private training, and Sally Bushwaller was recommended to us. Thank goodness for Sally! Ginger is doing so much better now than when we first started training.

What my husband and I really love about Sally is that she she really gets to know and evaluates your particular dog and figures out techniques that the dog will respond to.

The main problem we have been trying to eradicate with Ginger is aggression towards visitors to our home, and Ginger has made huge strides since Sally has started working with us.

Sally is super diligent – she takes detailed notes (and sometimes video), and provides very valuable feedback so that we can continue to make progress in between sessions. It is apparent that Sally truly cares about my dog and helping her overcome her fears. I would highly recommend Sally for any training that your dog needs.

Elise W.



We took our 9 month old rescue terrier to AnimalSense, and it was a truly great experience.  First of all, we lucked out with the class size only being our dog and one other, so we were beyond spoiled.  Our trainer was patient, knowledgeable and extremely nice.

Our dog learned a ton over the 6 week period, and each week our trainer sent us a follow up with “homework” and little tips on treats, toys, etc. that might help.

The emails were even tailored to our specific dog.  The price was reasonable.  A lot of similar programs cost upwards of $300.  I would highly recommend this to anyone.

Phil U.



I took the six week Puppy Grade School class and it was really helpful/fun. Our trainer is an excellent teacher, really patient and friendly.  She always makes sure your questions are answered and that your pup is headed in the right direction.  A great experience.

Brian K.



AnimalSense has helped me so much with my dog who resource guards me! I feel like I am a much better dog owner now that I am educated.

Michelle N.



I adopted a puppy from PAWS, who requires training as part of the adoption agreement. I was skeptical because I have always owned dogs and never done any official training. Also, I was worried because I didn’t want my hilarious puppy to lose all of her personality. I enrolled her in the Fido Foundations course with Sarah that met at Soggy Paws South Loop.

I truly felt that the class and trainer worked with each individual’s situation and puppy personality. I actually found myself looking forward to the class each week!


After the 6-week course, our puppy has learned a lot and even more importantly, I have learned techniques to continue her lessons at home. I am happy to add my two thumbs (and my puppy’s four paws) up! Maybe it’s just that Sarah was extra great, but I have no regrets about using AnimalSense at all!

Lori A.



We took our dog to the All Puppy training class, our trainers were Sally and Erin. Each week Sally sent us supplemental readings, including things for us to practice with our dog.

Both Sally and Erin were knowledgeable about issues people were having with their dogs, and they had different approaches to offer to help solve any problems we were having.


I think we were lucky to have a class that represented lots of different dog issues, our dog being the spazz, others being shy, skittish or abrasive. We learned different problem solving techniques to help our dog in case he ever showed signs of being scared or aggressive like the other dogs demonstrated in class. I think what also helped is that during the week my boyfriend and I took time to actually practice what we learned in class so that our dog would form good habits instead of just doing something in class for a few weeks and then not being consistent.

Jennie S.



Last fall, my eight-month-old Beagle puppy, Pickles and I began taking classes with AnimalSense. Pickles and I had done some obedience training at home, but we had not attended a formal class. I realized that it was important for Pickles to be around other dogs, so we began taking classes.

When we first started, Pickles was a very timid, quiet dog. He spent the first several sessions clinging to the walls. The trainers spent the majority of our sessions luring him out from under the chairs with peanut butter and other treats. He did not venture out into the room until the middle of our second six-week session. When he did, the entire class let out a shriek.

I am so grateful to AnimalSense because of all the time and energy they have put into Pickles. He is now a confident, well-behaved dog. Without the training of AnimalSense, Pickles could have become an aggressive and violent pet. Instead, he is a wonderful part of our family.


Pickles is now a year and a half and we are still attending classes with AnimalSense. We have made many four-legged friends and have learned a tremendous amount about how a dog’s mind (especially a stubborn Beagle’s) works. When you say the word “school”, Pickles immediately runs to the back door, looks at his leash and sits. He is a changed dog because of AnimalSense!

Carolyn R.



I am glad to say that my dog Badger and I were one of the first clients of AnimalSense. Honestly, I expected some trial and error to go on when it came to the classes but the Oak Park location was so close to home and my dog REALLY needed some behavior classes. Badger was 2 1/2 years old when we started and we had already tried a local pet store training and none of it worked for him. Badger had issues beyond comprehension, and I was willing to try anything.

What I found at AnimalSense was everything that Badger needed.


There was no trial and error because the trainer did a complete assessment on Badger and knew exactly what class was appropriate for him, Doggone Issues. Badger had issues of biting, not allowing people to grab his tail, kids made him crazy and he would not even let a stranger get acquainted with him by smelling their hand because he would immediately bite! He did not like other dogs and showed clear signs of aggression toward anything but ME. AnimalSense worked with him and ME (yes I needed training too, probably still do) so that I could calm down.

Badger has drastically improved and so have I. I don’t feel the anxiety I used to feel with strangers approaching him and he knows that he is safe if I am calm.


Badger is great with babies but is still working on the toddlers. I am very happy with AnimalSense and am confident that when I decide to have my own human children, my son Badger and I will go back to AnimalSense to learn the next step. Badger will need to learn to not be jealous when sharing affection, and I will learn to give him the same or more love when the new arrival comes. Thanks to AnimalSense, I feel confident with Badger and so does the rest of the family and neighborhood.

Silvia V.


When we first brought Simon home, we knew he was cute. What we didn’t know was that he was also shy, anxious and aggressive. Enrolling him at AnimalSense is the best thing we could have done for our Polish Sheepdog, and for our sanity.

Six months ago, our puppy was out of control. He growled at and scared visitors and anyone else who came near our house. He was incredibly needy, demanding all our attention. He chewed everything and he barked constantly. With our first baby due in a few months, we knew a very chaotic situation was only going to worsen. Faced with the possibility of finding a new home for Simon, something had to change.

And it did. If it weren’t for AnimalSense’s patience, encouragement and commitment to helping us, we would no longer have a pet. They made us understand how Simon’s mind works and gave us the tools and knowledge we need to manage our dog.

Today, he’s friendly, calm and quiet. He’s still getting used to the 8 week-old baby but is very gentle and runs to find us when he hears a cry. We now have a happy, peaceful home – thanks to AnimalSense.

Diane R.



One year ago, I adopted a 10 month old mixed breed dog, Roscoe. I signed up for training classes immediately, knowing nothing about dog training. I wanted a positive experience to help me communicate with Roscoe and have the best relationship possible.

I was so pleased with AnimalSense’s classes that I have signed up for every session since the first, never missing an opportunity to learn more.

Their classes are very well organized, yet the trainers are able to think on their feet. They can change plans on a moment’s notice as needs arise, based on the variety of dogs and owners. The atmosphere is very open and interactive as the trainer always addresses each owner’s questions and concerns.  This includes effective alternatives to apply in different situations, depending on each dog’s response or personality.

AnimalSense trainers clearly love dogs, never using or encouraging the use of force or intimidation.

Dogs respond positively, and they are able to show owners how to achieve positive results – almost immediately. I always enjoy and benefit from insight into how and why dogs behave and respond in certain ways, and this has certainly enhanced my ability to understand and train Roscoe.

Melissa B.



After attending my first puppy class at AnimalSense, I spoke with our trainer about the puppy we got from the humane society, and realized that he was not the right fit for my family, as he began to growl at and threaten us. We then met Molly, a 6-month-old sweet dog we later adopted. She has been perfect for my children and I.

I so appreciate everything that AnimalSense has done for us in our quest to find a family dog.

I really look forward to continue the relationship through classes.

Lisa P.



Even before we brought Fletcher home at six weeks old, we knew that training had to be a part of our future. We knew that cute cuddly fur ball would eventually turn in to a big (95 lbs) energetic dog. A well-behaved dog was a must given that: we lived in busy Wrigleyville; some day we hoped to have a human family; and my mother-in-law was terrified of dogs. We also knew we weren’t wild about the idea of choke and prong collars.

After doing quite of bit of research, reading books and visiting other schools before Fletcher arrived, I visited one of AnimalSense’s puppy classes. I instantly knew this was the school for us because the environment was so upbeat, enthusiastic, positive and FUN!

We started class when Fletcher was 11 weeks old and kept taking classes as he grew. In class, the emphasis was on teaching my husband and I how to work with and communicate with Fletcher to achieve the desired behavior, rather than punishing him into submission. We often learned that it was our mixed signals to Fletcher that was the source of the problem rather than Fletcher being willfully disobedient.

At thirteen months old, after completing the AnimalSense Canine Good Citizen class, Fletcher passed the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen test on the first try. And just last week, at 18 months, Fletcher passed his Therapy Dog International certification test. We could not have accomplished so much in such a short period of time with out the wonderful guidance, instruction and support given to us by AnimalSense!

The only negative about AnimalSense is once you have a well-behaved dog, you don’t need to go to class anymore. Fortunately, AnimalSense now offers several advanced classes.

We are looking forward to taking more classes in the year ahead just for fun!

Stephanie M.


We found AnimalSense on the internet and didn’t really know what to expect, but dove in head first anyway. Two months later, we would, and have, recommended AnimalSense to everyone. Our class was small and personal and the trainers are unbelievably skilled at not only relating to and training dogs, but doing the same for their people as well. We live in the city, but work in the south suburbs and Pepper comes to work with us. We drove an hour every Tuesday to get to our puppy classes from work.

We would now go anywhere in the greater Chicagoland area (we’d probably stop at state lines) to take these classes.

It is more than worth it because our relationship with our dog is 100 times better after having taken an AnimalSense class.

Kelly F.



Yesterday, I took Brando to his favorite store in the city “Tails in the City” to buy a few things we needed. And while in the store, we used some of the techniques that AnimalSense taught us.

The customers in the store, as well as the store owners were SO impressed with the way Brando responded to me when I used the commands, that they all asked who we used for training.

I told them AnimalSense! Thanks so much for making us look good!


Brett S.



I have taken my dog, Sienna, to two different training classes at AnimalSense and had an absolutely fantastic experience at both. Interestingly, I had enrolled my dog simultaneously in another training program just in case one of the programs was canceled (which had happened to me before).  I ended up going to both programs, but liked the AnimalSense program so much better that I stopped going to the other trainer.

Both Sienna and I felt very comfortable with the trainer at AnimalSense.  She had a very positive approach to training and, unlike other trainers, she made everyone feel okay about their dogs’ misbehavior or inability to get it right away.

If the proof is in the pudding, I get compliments on how well behaved Sienna is all the time.  I’ve recommended AnimalSense to everyone I know.

Lisa T.



I highly recommend AnimalSense Canine Training and Behavior. They provide for a very positive, friendly and supportive learning environment for both dogs and humans.

My two Wheaten Terriers responded well to the reward based teaching and technique system. My dogs, Gracie and McGee, have taken several interesting, fun and helpful classes. The small size classes allow for more effective interaction among the trainer, dogs and owners.  We also took advantage of the home visits to help introduce our new puppy, Gracie, into the household with a more adult dog, McGee, three years old.  With our trainer’s patience, understanding, humor, unmatched animal sense and knowledge, Gracie and McGee are now best friends. And this makes our lives a joy! I learned much about my two dogs as well as myself as a dog owner.

AnimalSense provides for a terrific support system with knowledgeable animal loving professionals. They cheer on the dogs as well as the owners!

Rosemary O.


Sumo and Kiko are not our first Shiba Inus, so we are very familiar with both the wonderful and challenging aspects of having Shibas as part of the family unit.  I’ve worked with any number of dog trainers in Chicago over the years and strongly recommend AnimalSense. In fact, I often refer my “dog friends” to AnimalSense for training and behavior issues.
Over the years I have worked with many of the trainers who are part of the AnimalSense team. In fact, I often thank Sumo for giving me the opportunity to meet so many wonderful trainers! When we first got Sumo, he exhibited a number of behavior issues, not the least of which were anxiety and fear at just about everything. While Sumo will always have his quirks, I have to thank the support and training ideas from the trainers at AnimalSense for how amazingly well he does today. Sumo not only earned his CGC certificate, he now successfully competes in AKC agility trials, something I never thought possible for such an apprehensive, reactive dog. People who meet Sumo often remark on what a calm, even tempered dog he is.
We are going through some similar issues now with our rescued Shiba, Kiko, and again I’m working with the trainers at AnimalSense.
During the 14 years we had our first Shiba, I learned some of the do’s and don’ts of dog training the “hard way.”  When we got Sumo, I did a lot of research about dog trainers in Chicago to make sure I didn’t repeat my earlier mistakes. Personally, I’m a big believer in positive training techniques (particularly with Shibas).

I’m also highly skeptical of trainers who advertise “boot camp” solutions or suggest that your dog can be trained in “a few short weeks.” I also won’t work with a trainer who uses prong collars or shock collars.

My research led me to AnimalSense and while I have to admit that I have consulted with other trainers along the way, I always come back to AnimalSense when I have a specific problem or issue – – or, in Kiko’s case, a new dog to introduce into our family.

Amy R.


I want to thank AnimalSense for helping Shadow and me.

I learned many tips on how to help Shadow overcome her fears

When I think of how she was when I first brought her home from the shelter, I marvel at the change.  The first time I walked her, I thought I would have to return her to the shelter.  She was afraid of moving traffic, she kept crossing from right to left behind me and in front of me, and her head was snapping from left to right as if she was expecting an attack at any time.  She still has her bad days, but at least there are some good days too.

Karen M.



The very first AnimalSense class I took with my dog Jack left an impression on me that will stay with me forever. I have always been a very dedicated animal owner, but having a dog is much more of a commitment then I ever realized.

One of the things that was emphasized the most was consistency and boundaries, and I have never forgotten that in my training with Jack. Had I not realized the importance of that at the time, I think my success with dog training would have been delayed by months maybe even years!

Everyone who comes to you with a new puppy needs to listen to those words and practice them everyday. Otherwise you are really wasting your time and money, but more importantly the wonderful outcome you will have with your dog.


Kathryn J.



Within days of adopting my dog from a humane organization, Cookie began to display signs of anxiety. Unfortunately, we suffered needlessly as Cookie terrorized our cats, scared our neighbors, barked at house guests, and, during our walks, lunged at any moving object within 100 feet. These problems were just a few of many. We should have known we were in trouble when we got her veterinary records. Someone wrote “too hyper” in the temperament box.

With the assistance of AnimalSense, Cookie was diagnosed by a veterinarian as having general anxiety disorder, fear-based aggression, and poor impulse control. I thought that Cookie “displayed signs of anxiety,” but in all honesty, we thought she was just a bad girl.

With both medication and training, Cookie is now a different dog!

Christina W.



If anyone has read the book, “Marley and Me”, my dog Nala was not far behind in relation to Marley’s behavior. I adopted Nala from the Anti-Cruelty Society when she was just a puppy. I had signed up as a foster care volunteer and she was my first and last foster pet; after three weeks of caring for her getting over a mild case of kennel cough, I could not bear to part with her.

I should have recognized the signs from day 1; however, being a new dog owner, I chalked it up to mischievous puppy behavior versus early warning signs of separation anxiety. When I left for work she would be in her crate. When I came home she greeted me at the door and the crate door wide open. Sometimes, the crate door would still be closed and Nala somehow was there, at the door, greeting me with a vigorously wagging tail. It was hard to get mad at her, as I was still in awe of how she did her little Houdini act without a scratch on her. Shortly after, I would gate her in small spaces and she learned how to jump over the gate and still greet me at the door. Slowly over time, the carpet by the door was now torn up and in mangled threads, scratches appeared on my wood floors by the front door; but I never thought it of anything else than puppy boredom when I was at work or just typical puppy antics. The carpet was replaced and remained intact as she got older and the scratches were buffed out and maybe only one or two reappeared if I was gone during a bad thunderstorm.

Nala met a very good friend named Riley, when I met my ex-husband six years ago, and soon she had a playmate almost 24/7. For the next six years, the two became inseparable and moped the rare occasion when separated. In October of 2005, when I moved out after an non-amicable divorce, I, sobbing uncontrollably, took Nala away from Riley and moved her into our new home.

The first week went well. At then end of the first week, unbeknownst to me, Nala had the police and neighbors convinced someone broke into my unit. The truth was, Nala, managed to do all that work herself in a mad search for some company while I was at work. To make a long story short, Nala was crying, barking, scratching away the drywall, breaking off the casing around the door and pawing it open- making a mad dash to other units who had four legged occupants. She apparently couldn’t stand to be alone and the minute I walked out the door, her desperate need for another living being to be by her took over and she didn’t stop until someone opened their door and let her come in and she would just sit in their condo happy as a clam. No more barking, crying- nothing- wasn’t even begging for food- just company. While some neighbors understood my dire situation, one pair didn’t and threatened to make me get rid of her or move, if she continued her antics. Thus began the search for help in finding out how to solve this problem that I never knew existed. I tried crate training (again) – turns out she remembered the Houdini routine from years past. And her banging the crate was not appreciated by (understandably so) anyone. She did well with being boarded in a crate- just not in her home. I tried herbal remedies, bark collars, day care- you name it I tried it. I even adopted a kitten to keep her company. I had to adopt two, since the first one died (from distemper, not by Nala) two days later. Just my luck!

Lots of money and tears later, Dr. Curtis from Integrative Pet Care referred me to AnimalSense. If only I had talked to them from the start.

Using a combination of relaxation exercises and anti-anxiety medication, just six months later, Nala is a much calmer dog when I leave and I pretty much have my normal life back. I have been able to come and go over a couple of weekends and not return home to find my new curtains shredded or the screens on the sidewalk. There have been zero escapes and no new scratches on the door. And as far as I know, no new complaints from the neighbors who threatened to make me get rid of her. Nala and the kitten/cat (Lambeau) are buddies and a few times I catch her playing with him like he’s a puppy.

So thanks to AnimalSense, I can leave to go to work without stressing about getting phone calls from the property management or neighbors telling me Nala is with them and she really is a sweet dog, or that she is hanging her head out the window for some fresh air. I am very appreciative of the time taken to help me out in a most dire situation and at a very difficult time in my personal life as well.

From the very start, AnimalSense had nothing but my interest and Nala’s in mind. I can only say good things about their program. The office staff is very friendly, helpful and empathetic.

Kirsten A.



We own two dogs, Rascal, a Maltese-Poodle and Barley, a Bichon-Poodle. They are 3 and 2 1/2 years old, respectively. While we were 7 months pregnant with our first child, we had a biting incident with Rascal. Not wanting to waste any time before the baby was due, we decided to work with a behavior consultant to prevent this from happening again.

From the first time we worked with AnimalSense, we knew we made the right decision. Having two dogs alone is a lot of work, adding a baby to the mix was something we knew we had to do carefully and correctly.

While working with AnimalSense, we no longer had any worries about introducing our little girl into our “pack.” With direction and guidance, we were able to make the transition effortlessly.

So far, Grace is three months old and she and the dogs “get along” perfectly. While they don’t interact very much yet, we know that when they do, we now have the tools to ensure everyone’s safety.

I know without AnimalSense, we would have been much more nervous about this situation and would have taken many, many unnecessary steps when introducing the baby to the dogs. We love Rascal and Barley too much to want anything but the best for them, and AnimalSense is it!

Kathryn F.


My 11 month old Yorkshire Terrier was having problems with “going” outside, he found it a much more pleasant environment in my dining room. He also wants all of my attention all of the time, and to get it he would bark at me loudly and with much determination. In all other ways he is a wonderful dog, but something had to be done.

So we called AnimalSense. Our trainer showed me just a few simple steps and I had Theo just about potty trained in a week! He really responded to the methods! He rarely barks at me anymore, and when he does he knows the consequences. (He just puts himself in the crate when I say “Too bad”) More than that he has become a more relaxed calmer version of his former self. I also learned some other valuable tips and tricks that has helped Theo and I create a more pleasant home environment.

I know that if anything comes up in the future I will be calling AnimalSense first!

Nicole P.



When I first brought my rescue puppy Liberty to class, I felt that not only she was hopeless, but that I as the handler was not going to get anywhere either.

With the enduring patience of our trainers, a bright, most well behaved and gentle dog has emerged after these last eight months of training.

Liberty is able to focus at classes and both of us have a great deal of confidence in trying new things. We are especially fond of the Rally-O activities.

I don’t think that at any other obedience school would we have received the kind of attention and encouragement that we have gotten from the AnimalSense staff.

Now that we are on the road to a well behaved and well liked dog, we look forward to many more classes to expand, not only my dog’s training, but my own expectations as a pet owner who knows what to do in all kinds of situations.

Liberty is now a therapy dog and a certified READ dog. She listens patiently as kids read to her, always rewarding them with a kiss and paw on their backs. Right now she is working at two libraries and a school. Thanks to the advice given by AnimalSense, I now know how to help Liberty through any unsure moments so that she can relax and feel comfortable in her surroundings. We continue to take classes. It is fun not only for her, but for me as well.


Shirley L.


Just a few weeks after my husband and I got our first dog (a sweet though scared rescued dog-a little over a year old and a shepherd mix,) we found out that we would be moving to Europe. Lana was new to us, we were new to her and we all were new to the experience of moving a dog across the Atlantic.

We wanted the move to go as smoothly as possible for her, and there were many challenges-not only was she new to us, but we didn’t have much time- we were scheduled to move in two months. Moving is stressful enough. But we were making an international move (which neither of us had ever done before) in just two months with a dog we’d rescued mere weeks before. We knew we’d need a lot of help.

We were very lucky. We chose AnimalSense because they held classes just a few blocks from our home, and we knew that would be very helpful in our situation. It turns out AnimalSense was just what we needed. First of all, the staff was extremely helpful in coming up with a plan for us. Given our schedule, we would only be able to attend half the sessions of any classes in the upcoming session. AS accommodated us by having us attend half the sessions for two different classes. Most important, though, were the private sessions we had. They helped with our most urgent need: getting Lana acclimated to the crate she would be traveling in on the plane for 8-10 hours-and, most importantly, gave us the assurance and the confidence we needed that we could do this, and that Lana would be fine. Given all of the stress that we were under, the support that was offered was so important to us in so many ways.

It’s safe to guess that Lana didn’t have a lot of stability in her life before we got her. And there have been many changes since we have gotten her – in these seven months she’s lived in three different places in various states of packing and unpacking and crossed an ocean. I really don’t know what it would have been like without the support of AnimalSense. We use what we’ve learned from there every day, and now that Lana has been in one home for over three months, we see her confidence growing every day.





Eighteen months ago Mika and I met the AnimalSense pack. Mika was such a shy dog I couldn’t fathom her being able to perform in a class environment. I was assured that with gentle training, lots of praise and love, that Mika would gain self confidence.

So we signed up for a big girl class (Mika is 4.5 pounds LOL) – shy dog class. The first 20 minutes of day one she sat shaking on my lap. By the end of that seven-week session, she was actually going up to check out the other dogs and one was 165 pounds! Through the next 18 months, we took a variety of classes and got to know many of the trainers at AnimalSense.

Each class was gained confidence and new skills, but more importantly was the simple fun we had in class.


In 18 months Mika made such drastic changes, but much of that was due just to her weekly hour class as there were many times I didn’t work with her much during the week. I kept coming back for more because the classes were so fun, you could truly see the changes in her after seven weeks along with the other dogs in class, and it was an excuse to at least devote one hour a week for Mika and myself. The classes keep her (oh and me too) on our paws (toes). They make the classes fun for pooches and people.



Carol M.



Our beloved pup, Mr. Snuffles, graduated from Fido Foundations yesterday!   While he didn’t get to wear a cap and gown, he did get a snazzy certificate of Pup Awesome-ness!

I found the instructor, Lindsay, to be caring, compassionate, patient, and well versed in how to handle dogs of all temperaments. Her techniques were easy to understand and she provided step by step actions to basic commands like “Sit,” “Down,” “Stay,” “Touch,” “Watch Me,” and “Place.”

Lindsay also sent weekly emails with printable handouts to each lesson we’d learned in that week’s class. This is incredibly helpful once you get back home and both you and the dog seem to have forgotten was taught.

I can confidently say, Lindsay went above and beyond with coaching our love-able bundle on some issues going on at home, outside of class. Her advice was spot on and I don’t know what we would have done without her help!

I would highly recommend anyone with a new dog or a dog that needs a bit of help with obedience to take this class. The cost is WELL worth the money.

And yes, Mr. Snuffles and I will be attending her next round of classes at Central Bark!

Jenna S.



Lindsay and her team are AMAZING!

Small class sizes, convenient times/locations of classes and great customized training.

She breaks down the training into edible bits (no pun intended), so it’s easy and fun for the doggie AND the parents!  Also, after each class they send out an email detailing what we went over and how to continue the work at home.  Love that!

Kelly M.



I took the “Bowser & Baby” workshop offered through Northwestern Hospital. It’s a one-day workshop to help you prepare your dog for a new baby in the house. The instructor Nicole was great, very friendly and upbeat — putting everyone at ease (most of seemed to have issues or concerns with our dogs!) She gave us lots of tips and “homework”, as well as useful resources.

I’m now looking into an AnimalSense class or private training for our dog before the baby arrives!

Lidia V.



We were recommended the Doggone Issues class for our reactive pit bull.  Sally who teaches the class is great and the set-up for the class is very well thought out.

They TRULY care about you and your dog rather than some of the factory like dog training operations throughout the city.

We loved everyone we encountered with AnimalSense!

Melissa S.



My puppy and I took the 6 week Middle Management class and our trainer was Nicole.

I am sure you have seen the classes at Petsmart that have 7 dogs + in class. This class at Animal Sense had 3 dogs! So we got Nicole’s undivided attention and boy did we learn.

Not only did my dog learned sit, stay, down, watch me, come, go to bed, leave it, roll over, take a bow and more. We also got tips on great leash options and learned how to nicely walk on the leash. My puppy learned a lot in the class but so did I. Nicole worked with everyone on individual basis and it was amazing to see how well she knew her students just by looking at their body language and behavior. I liked watching her work not only with my dog but also the others because she was so good with them.

Every Saturday I looked forward to going to class and seeing my puppy succeed. Every class always ended on the positive note.

In addition, after each class Nicole sent us follow up emails and additional material to reinforce the class and help us practice what we learned in class.

Nicole’s personality makes it very easy to learn from her. Nicole is very approachable and made me so comfortable in class that I was never scared of asking any questions even the silly ones. In fact, on the last day of class, it turned out that my husband was able to come to the”graduation day” and after class when we were going home in the car he said that he could see that Nicole was a really good trainer. I am so glad that I chose AnimalSense for my class. My puppy and I got very personalized training that was worth every penny. My experience with AnimalSense has been positive from the start. They helped me chose the right class and location for me as well as were great following up and always there whenever I needed them. Great customer service and great trainers.


Moni K.



We won person training at a silent auction with Nicole Stewart who recommended the Doggone Issues class for our reactive pit bull.  Sally who teaches the class is great and the set-up for the class is very well thought out.  They TRULY care about you and your dog rather than some of the factory like dog training operations throughout the city.  We loved everyone we encountered with Animal Sense!

Melissa S.



If I could give this place 10 stars, I would. My girlfriend got me the Middle-Management class for a Christmas present, through a Gilt City special at the time, although I would pay full price for AnimalSense classes any day of the week. This class is for the “awkward, rebellious teenage” years your dog is going to go through after they hit about 14 months or so.

Penny was okay the first few classes, and had really picked up on the instruction. Great methods, and moved forward slow and steady. One weekend, a few classes in, she started showing a lot of signs of anxiety. We were taken aside, and she was given an overlook by the instructors and told to go home and relax. Once we got home, she calmed right down. An hour or so later, I get an email from the instructor who was following up on how she felt, along with suggestions.

The next week we were taken aside again, and given plenty of private instruction, and methods on how to deal with her anxiety. That was followed up with an email with a list of suggestions, exercises and practices, and they all seem to be working.

If the classroom instruction alone wasn’t outstanding, I’d STILL recommend using AnimalSense because of the trainers. They honestly do care about your dog’s progress and make it their personal mission for you to get the most out of the session.

Jon D.



Simply put, my dog was a mess before I started working with AnimalSense. Now, he is vastly improved, confident, sociable and a pleasure to be around.

From the start, Sally was patient and creative in her approach to solving my dog’s problems. She gently guided me and my dog on the path to happiness and calmness. Sally is encouraging when I become frustrated and her knowledge of canine behavior is incredibly broad. Both me and my dog look forward to our training sessions. In fact, I keep signing up for additional sessions because we have so much fun and have made so much progress together.

After every session, Sally sends me a detailed report on what we covered and step-by-step instructions. These reports have been a valuable tool and allow me to work effectively with my dog on my own.

Anyone looking for a trainer should look no further than AnimalSense.

Jill C.



About seven years ago we adopted a puppy from a rescue organization. Since my background is working with children with disabilities, and since I had wanted to train a dog for therapy work, I enrolled Sarah at AnimalSense. I knew nothing about dog training (my husband had done the training with our previous purebred dogs). I found the trainer to be a patient, dedicated teacher who not only is interested in the training of the dogs, but also the training of the owners. I found that the positive behavior methods were very effective and rewarding. Sarah and I were learning together. In contrast to our previous dogs, it turned out Sarah had “issues”, particularly with leash reactivity, and I needed expertise even more.

Through patient teaching and  learning, both Sarah and I gained confidence and her behavior improved so that now Sarah is a registered therapy dog, working with children with reading disabilities. She is calm and confident and is able to be with groups of children, adults and other dogs and is a joy to be around.

We now take classes for fun and have found that there is quality instruction among all the staff at AnimalSense.

We now have a second rescue dog who is enrolled at AnimalSense. I know she will also have success but I also know that we need to work together to make that happen.

I recommend AnimalSense to everyone I know who is looking for dog training classes. I often wish I could stop people I see on the street whose dogs are pulling, snarling and otherwise misbehaving and suggest they sign up for classes at AnimalSense.

I have learned something new at every class I have taken there and will continue to enroll my dogs in AnimalSense classes.

Diane C.



We used a Groupon to get our puppy’s training started with AnimalSense and really loved it! We started with Puppy Preschool and our lovely trainer Terri (and about 6 other families). Terri was so patient with us and helped us develop some creative methods to train our pup. By the end of the session he had learned to sit, lay down, touch his nose to our hand, and may eye contact. We definitely had to practice consistently outside of class, which can be tough with a busy schedule, but the pay off was worth it.

After the first session was over we re-enrolled for the next class, Puppy Grade School. We were working again with Terri who remembered our pup’s strengths and weaknesses. We were in a smaller class this time, probably only about 5 other younger dogs, but there was definitely a variety of levels of experience. Since this was our dog’s second class with Terri she was able to give us some different behaviors to practice training. The only frustration we had was the class time this session. We live in the downtown area of Chicago and had to make a mid-week commute out to Oak Park. We just wished there were a few more scheduling options for the class. We did check in a few weeks ago to possibly re-enroll for a third class, and it looks like they’ve added in more sessions!

I would suggest this class to anyone looking to train their dog and better their understanding of why our dogs do what they do! Our pup is definitely one of the best trained on our block and people are always asking us if we shipped him off to some expensive training school. This was WAY better!

Madeleine A.



I attended the 6 week Middle Management course with my 2 year old rescued dog. It was a course designed for “teenage” rebellious dogs. Nicole was the trainer and let me tell you THIS CLASS WAS AMAZING!

I had many a walk that ended in tears. Yes, tears. Granted I am an emotional girl, but walking my dog was terrible. She would lunge and bark at other dogs and people. She is 50lbs and strong, would practically pull my arm out of socket, chew on the leash, you name it. To say the least, it was embarrassing.

First day of class was tough. Nora did her usual barking, barking and more barking. But Nicole made me feel totally comfortable and hopeful of improvement in my dog. She is very empathetic, kind and knowledgeable. There was never a question we had that could stump her.

Oh, did I mention there was only 3 people/dogs in the class?!!! Ah-mazing! The class was totally customized to our needs. I got plenty of 1:1 attention. As did everyone in the class.

The class is also very positive/reward based. I never felt uncomfortable about any of the training yet I feel ready to deal with my dog in any situation now. She learned all the basic sit/down/etc, along with leash and focus training. She is doing MUCH better. No more tearful walks.

There is not much else to say except just GO HERE. If you want one of the best training courses in Chicago for your dog, go here. This place delivers, it is worth every penny!


Sarah S.


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My puppy and I got very personalized training that was worth every penny.

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