All of our faculty and staff are animal owners and lovers. From our professional trainers to our caring support staff, many of the K9 University Chicago Team members participate in pet rescue, foster programs and dog sporting events and shows.
We are dedicated to making your dog’s stay comfortable, safe and fun. As experts on breeds, behaviors and nutrition, we provide professional, reliable and skilled care to dogs of all ages, shapes, sizes and temperaments.
All our trainers utilize positive training techniques to improve the bond between dogs and their handlers. We believe by providing each dog and their families with the skills they need to build a strong foundation they can reinforce the progress they make in our classes and private sessions throughout the life of their dog.
Meet Our Team
Grace has been around dogs throughout her life. In many ways her life is centered around dogs. From training dogs, to relying on Medical Alert Service Dogs for daily tasks, to competing in National Agility competitions, dogs have been teammates, companions and life partners.
Grace’s home pack currently consists of four dogs each with their own special skills and gifts. She trains and competes in agility with her two Miniature Schnauzers Gus and Bernie, who qualified for nationals in his first year of competing! As well as her Standard Poodle, Rafiki, and her Sheltie, Bella, who is a NADAC Champion. Rafiki is also a working Medical Alert Dog and training for Water Fowl retrieval in her spare time.
At K9U Chicago Grace will teach all levels of Agility Training from puppies to competition and will be teaching group obedience training classes. Grace uses only positive training methods and believes in having fun while learning new skills that enhance the bond between dogs and their owners.
When not at K9U Chicago Grace volunteers with shelters and rescue groups in Naperville to help the disabled connect and train service dogs. She also founded Beard & Golden a hand-made custom clothing company providing dog gear and accessories.
Jessica is a native of Aurora, Illinois, and has a big love for dogs, especially large active breeds!
She has two dogs of her own that she trains in high energy sports such as Dock Diving and PSA, a protection sport. Her Cane Corso, Kovu, is a service dog and her German Shepherd, Akuma, is currently training in Schutzhund (IGP) a protective bite sport.
Her focus as a trainer at K9 University Chicago will be with our Day Trains, Board & Trains and Private Lesson programs. She has significant experience with many of the larger breeds that can be a bit more challenging to train, but of course she welcomes all breeds and can’t resist a puppy!
As a certified NAVC Canine Nutrition Coach, Jessica is happy to share her knowledge and expertise to help you optimize specific fitness and nutritional goals for your dog so they can live their best possible life, healthy and happy!
Gabrielle Plascak, CPDT-KA
Gabrielle has spent the last 18 years of her life not only training dogs, but training humans to train their dogs! Competing in 4-H obedience kick started her life long journey into the world of canine behavior. She is now certified under the Counsel of Certified Professional Dog Trainers, a Certified Fear Free Animal Trainer with Fear Free Pets , and a mentor trainer for aspiring trainers through CATCH Canine Trainers Academy.
Gabrielle is always attending workshops, expos, and seminars on positive reinforcement training to ensure she is bringing you the latest and most updated ways to handle your doggo struggles.
Gabrielle has worked under other well-known trainers and performed training & canine behavior evaluations for multiple shelters, boarding facilities and vet clinics. She has dedicated her life to studying and teaching positive reinforcement and fear free handling/training to help improve the human/canine bond in the least invasive ways.
Gabrielle specializes in lifestyle coaching to help you and your dog grow and learn together in whatever way your lifestyle needs. She loves helping you through life with your dog starting from breed selections, breeder selections, puppy upbringing and to all other training needs to build a dog that fits in your personal life! She loves working with children and families to set them up for success because, as a mother herself, she knows how much work raising children and pups together can be!
Already have a dog that is proving to be unruly and not exactly the best companion yet? Gabrielle can help you make necessary adjustments and implement the proper training tactics to help you enjoy your dog! Cooperative care for veterinary and grooming needs is another topic Gabrielle excels in and can help you and your dog relieve tons of stress with routine husbandry tasks.
Gabrielle enjoys spending time with her family including her own springer spaniels Bobo & Belle.
Ryan, a native Chicagoan and dog trainer since 2012, has a passion to understand dogs with special needs and a commitment to help their families provide them with the best care and life possible.
As a trainer at K9 University Chicago Ryan focuses on rehabilitating dogs that are reactive and have specific aggressions or triggers. His work allows these dogs to become more confident and comfortable around other dogs and people.
This work is highly specialized and rewarding but also critically important in a city that has so many dogs living together in close proximity with distractions that can easily become reactivity triggers for dogs that may have been abused or not socialized.
Ryan runs our Social Rehabilitation Group for dogs that need to play away from the main daycare groups. He often brings his own dogs, all rescues; Zedah, a Dogo Argentino, Maya, an American Staffordshire Terrier, and Spyro, an American Bully, to help teach the other dogs how to successfully play and cohabitate in a group setting.
Ryan also works with clients offering Board & Train packages and private training sessions.