Rachel Thornton, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, CSAT

Rachel’s Credentials At A Glance

Location: Tupelo, Mississippi

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Learn more about Rachel

Rachel training a dog in a green field

Rachel is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT) through Malena DeMartini, a graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy of Animal Training and Behavior, and is well-known trainer and mentor in the service dog community.

Rachel came to dog training through an unusual route. Like many trainers, she loved dogs since childhood. But her calling came to her as an adult. Her daughter has Type 1 diabetes and her life was in jeopardy many times throughout her childhood. Even availing herself of the best 21st century technology, Rachel felt that she could not do enough to keep her daughter safe. She thought there had to be a better way.

She found out about diabetic alert dogs, and after a heartbreaking experience with an illegitimate company whose claims were fraudulent, found the legitimate trainers who could help her train a dog to alert when her daughter’s blood sugar fluctuated dangerously. This was lifesaving for her daughter, and life-changing for Rachel. After learning what a difference a service dog could make for someone with diabetes, she knew she had to share the information about such dogs with others who desperately needed them (and who were asking her for help). The logical and necessary step was to become a professional dog trainer and she did so. It was important to her to have the knowledge of the science and the credentials to be a legitimate trainer. 

Rachel enjoys everything about training—from the nuts and bolts of good mechanics to the higher learning concepts involved. What she loves most of all is helping people connect with their dogs in a productive and positive way. She says, “The dog never learns something without our learning something with them.” And she has found that such learning together is usually the way people and dogs build the strongest bond. Because training involves play! She believes all good training should have a little bit of play and all play should have a little bit of training.

Rachel met Brad and Lisa by going to one of their workshops many years ago, and the three kept in touch. They mutually decided in 2017 that Rachel was a great fit for a licensee of Cold Nose College.  

Rachel keeps her knowledge and skills finely honed through classes, seminars and workshops with trainers such as Susan Friedman, Kathy Sdao, Hannah Brannigan, and Denise Fenzi. As soon as she is in the home stretch of a course or learning about a topic, she is thinking, “What else can I learn?” Rachel has worked extensively with service dog teams, raising dogs and coaching people to develop communication and a work ethic as a team. She started the first public forum to help with diabetic alert dogs. She has conducted workshops and served as the keynote speaker or facilitator at service dog workshops across the continent.

Rachel Thornton and her dog

Rachel’s love and enthusiasm for what she does shines through in every interaction.