Suburban K9 offers in home training, our premier dog boot camp taking place in our trainers’ homes, as well as training classes.  After our head trainer appeared on Animal Planet, we have had various opportunities to train for high profile clients from all over the country.  Clients routinely send us their dogs from around the country, and we work with them to ensure a seamless training experience. Matt and the other trainers instruct owners using methods that have been in development at Suburban K9 for close to a decade.  Our method is like no other and allows us to help both dogs and clients quickly.  Our method is specifically designed to be easy to apply so that clients get the best possible results with the lowest upfront training cost.  We focus on two main goals with our training.  We teach dogs to be respectful and calm.  When clients call us asking for help, invariably the issue is one of either respect or calmness and our trainers are experts at identifying which approach to use in each situation.

Some of the other animal rescue groups that we have had the privilege of working with include:

  • Almost Home Foundation
  • Animal Rescue Foundation (A.R.F.)
  • Animals Deserving Of Proper Treatment (A.D.O.P.T.)
  • Shih Tzu Rescue, Adoption, and Education Safehouse (S.T.R.A.E.S.)
  • New Beginnings Shih Tzu Rescue
  • H.E.L.P
  • Illinois Animal Rescue
  • Illinois Doberman Rescue
  • Romeoville Humane Society
  • Second City Canine Rescue
  • Chicagoland Dog Rescue
  • Casey’s Safe Haven
  • Road to Home Rescue
  • The Boneyard Dog Rescue

While we train for a variety of reasons, our main purpose is helping clients and their dogs enjoy their lives together.  Many of our clients have rambunctious dogs that make life stressful for both dog and human.  We also routinely deal with dogs that suffer from fear and aggression related issues.  Our trainers are experts at rehabilitating fearful dogs and helping them regain a balanced and calm state of mind.  The improved state of mind helps the dogs become more social with people and other dogs.  All of our trainers gain experience by working with rescue dogs from a variety of organizations.  We feel very fortunate that our training is so well regarded in the dog community that we are able to help other dog trainers, boarding facilities, animal communicators, dog rescue groups, and veterinarians with dogs that they are having issues with. We have even been called in from time to time to help out champion show dogs that are starting to develop behavioral issues both in and out of the ring.  Our trainers are very proud of the fact that so many local veterinarians refer us to their customers when their dogs need a little extra help.

Our dedication to ensuring every dog gets a chance at their best life has led to our special relationship with the West Suburban Humane Society.  We provide specialized training for dogs in their care to assist with preparing these dogs to be successfully placed in “forever homes.”Additionally, we donate time to train the staff and volunteers at West Suburban Humane Society to help ensure the dogs in their care are handled properly every day.


Matt Covey

Having grown up in a family that spent their time breeding and showing dogs, it was only natural that Matt’s long time passion for dogs turned into his profession.  Matt’s training skills have given him the opportunity to train for celebrities such as Antonio Davis of the Chicago Bulls and Bobby Simmons of the Milwaukee Bucks.  Matt’s reputation recently allowed him the incredible opportunity to work as the head dog trainer for a new series on Animal Planet.  The pilot episode went well so hopefully you will be seeing him on television soon.  When Matt isn’t busy training dogs or spending time with his family he managed to squeeze in the time to earn a law degree from Northwestern University.  Matt also writes and edits dog behavior articles for various newsletters and websites.

Matt Covey explains how dogs should act around food.


Matt Wlos

Matthew Wlos has been a loving and devoted dog owner his entire life.  Currently Matt is the proud owner a Great Dane named Luna and a mixed breed named Zilla.  As a committed dog owner Matt has been exposed to various training styles over the years and was amazed by the Suburban K9 training philosophy from the moment he first experienced it.  Matt has known Matt Covey since 2002 and they have been working together since 2007.  He is grateful to be able to work in a field that he is passionate about and consistently goes above and beyond to ensure that you can live as happily as possible with your four legged friend.  Matt has a business degree from Bradley University and spends his spare time working on classic cars.

Please read Matt’s article on the advantages of in home dog training.

Watch Matt discuss advancing your training.


Michael Jahnke

Mike or “MJ”  is a life long dog lover who is absolutely thrilled to be part of the Suburban K9 team.  MJ grew up with dogs and learned a lot about canine behavior while working at a boarding kennel/doggie daycare.  His quest for knowledge led him to Suburban K9.  As a part of our team,MJ trains all types of dogs, but his passion is in working with misunderstood breeds.  MJ believes that every dog deserves a shot at a happy life and he has helped many clients  turn their dogs into well adjusted members of society.  MJ attended Purdue University where he studied Finance.  It goes without saying that his current job is way more fun than being stuck in a cubicle somewhere!

Watch a video of MJ training a Bichon puppy!

MJ practicing advanced nose work!



Alexis Sheffer

Alexis grew up in a small town that time forgot and it was her passion for dogs that has brought her to where she is today. Alexis began her training career with her first Golden Retriever which she trained to be a therapy dog. Since then, Alexis has helped many families live cohesively with their K9 companions. She earned her degree in Psychology with a concentration in Animal Behavior. Her schooling and experience has given her the opportunity to work with many animals extending from Long Evans rats to Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions. In her spare time, Alexis loves to volunteer in the community with her two current Golden Retrievers, Lilly and Margo. She has an extensive history playing softball which took her around the world from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Cape Town, South Africa and back.

Here is Alexis working with a Board and Train client!

Alexis Bio Pic

Brooke Janke

Brooke has always had a special place in her heart for dogs. Growing up in a pet loving family, Brooke was blessed to have several four legged family members that made her childhood feel complete. In addition to dogs, horses have also taken a large role in her life as she has also been a riding Instructor for the last 16 years and has competed most of her life. Driven by her childhood dream, Brooke has 8 years of experience as a professional dog trainer and could not be more proud to be a part of the Suburban K9 Team. Brooke enjoys spending her free time with her husband and two beautiful little boys who she hopes will one day take on a profession that is just as rewarding as hers. She has two Bullmastiffs, Brutus and Presley who also hold a GIANT piece of her heart. Brooke has a passion for educating dogs and their owners on how to eliminate stress and ensure the best possible life together. She is a certified elevator for the A.K.C. and can help you take the proper steps to certify your dog as a Canine Good Citizen. Brooke is also the head of our Electronic Fence program and has brought years of electronic fence experience to our team! Suburban K9 has truly been a blessing for Brooke and she can honestly say that she LOVES her job!!

Here is Brooke working with a Board and Train client!

Read Brooke’s article – Obedience – It’s a Job


Eric Stolpestad

Eric received his degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater before spending years working a successful Finance career. Eric has had dogs throughout his entire life, yet his most recent addition of two Papillon puppies turned out to be a real handful. Eric reached out to Suburban K9 to help him work with his dogs. After hours of hard work and dedication he ended up turning that experience into a new career. While it took Eric a bit longer to find his true calling working with dogs, his passion is unmatched. Eric also manages his family’s tree farm in Seneca, Illinois. He enjoys hiking, camping, and fishing. When his wife and children let him, he also enjoys playing professional level foosball and holds a few local titles.

Here is Eric working off leash on a small trail


Lenny Szatkowski – Regional Manager

Lenny has always been a dog lover and knew early on that he wanted a career with dogs.  He has worked with Suburban K9 since 2009 and is an invaluable part of the team.  His best buddy is named Scrunts, a mix breed that he rescued from Tails Humane Society.  Lenny is the proud recipient of a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (he wanted to fit in with every other Suburban K9 trainer who also have college degrees).  Lenny is skilled at all types of training, but has a passion for solving behavioral issues and using advanced obedience in order to give a dog a job.  Lenny routinely trains dogs to heel off leash, to finish off leash, and works on extreme long distance training to help his training clients achieve their goals.

Watch a video of Lenny training a dog to stay within his vicinity off leash.


Nelson Medrano

Nelson comes from a family with a strong tradition of dog training. Both Nelson’s father and brother are dog trainers. While growing up he was exposed to dogs and obedience training from an early age. While spending time with his father, Nelson saw the bond that is formed between people and their pets while training. Working with dogs has been a lifelong passion and he has been a professional trainer for the last three years. Outside of work Nelson spends his time chasing after his 2 year old son Gabriel and his pitbull mix Brynn who remind him daily why we are so passionate about helping families and pets grow closer together.

Nelson Training Off Leash

Nelson Training in Elgin

Read Nelson’s Article “Calm vs Tired



Katrina Hofstra

Katrina grew up in the country just south of Grand Rapids, MI. She has always been drawn to animals of all sorts, and has never been without furry or feathered companions as long as she can recall. Katrina has taught a cockatiel to whistle the theme from “Mayberry”, a horse to nod “yes” and an English Setter to run a series of circus tricks. This was all before she turned fifteen! She has also been involved with wildlife rehabilitation; bottle feeding deer and squirrels and caring for muskrats, rabbits and possums. Working with and training dogs is a passion of hers, and her experience working in customer service has given her the skills to work with their owners, too! When not working, Katrina enjoys spending time “Up North” at her family’s cabin with her beloved, adopted dogs, Meika and Kovu.

Watch a video of Katrina training around food

Katrina training a puppy

Read Katrina’s Article “Dog Ownership Through the Years



Alex Chadesh

Alex has combined a long time love of dogs and his experiences teaching to become a trainer at Suburban K9. After having taught martial arts to students of all ages and being a high school swimming coach, it has been a natural transition to training dogs and working with their owners to solve their issues. Having a love of the outdoors, Alex enjoys camping, hiking, backpacking and canoeing when time and weather allows.  Alex has a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism from Southern Illinois University Carbondale as well as a Project Management Certification from Madison College.

Watch a video of Alex in action.

Alex doing nose work with a German Shepherd.



Bryan Staral

Bryan has always had a strong connection to animals and nature. Growing up he was constantly bringing new pet additions into the house (amphibians and reptiles). As he got older, he realized taking a picture and leaving them in their natural habitat was probably the better way to go. There has never been less than two dogs in his household since he was a child. Training the family pets was always left up to him because they would naturally gravitate towards him and he truly enjoyed spending time with them. In his free time he enjoys the sport of disc golf, hiking state and local parks, and walking the Oak Leaf Trail. Most of the time his dogs, Suri(german shephard lab mix), and Stella(chihuahua) join him for the walk, hike, or round of disc golf. Bryan is now working his dream with Suburban K9 and is excited to use his love for dogs and knowledge to help our clients.


Jessy Trapp

Jessy was raised on a farm and has a strong passion for animals of all shapes and sizes. During her lifetime she has had experience working with a vast array of animals and has even taught goats to walk on a leash! In addition to living on the farm Jessy’s work experience includes, working with sea lions and stingrays at the Milwaukee County Zoo, dog grooming, and dog handling for a doggie daycare. Her love of animals makes her a natural fit with Suburban K9. She has always been fascinated by dog psychology and utilizes her knowledge to help dog parents better communicate with their four legged family members. In her free time Jessy enjoys hiking with her two dogs, a lab/shepherd mix named Trigger and a miniature dachshund named Ryder. She is also a professional photographer and dogs are her favorite subject to photograph!

Watch Jessy working with Ryder!


Maggie Deemer

Maggie has had a love for animals ever since she can remember. Since she was 4 years old, there has always been a dog or two in the house. She learned a great deal helping her mother train all their dogs on their own; from a Maltese to a Sheltie to a Mini Poodle. Maggie also gained a wealth of knowledge from her step mother who used to raise and train Golden Retrievers. Working with dogs and helping people to better understand and care for their companions has been something Maggie has always been passionate about. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and cuddling up with her 4 year old Sheltie/Australian Shepherd mix named Yolo. Maggie has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology with a minor in Psychology.

Watch a video of Maggie working with a Chocolate Lab



Jack Quick

Jack grew up with a family of dog lovers, who always had one, two or even three dogs in the home. He was responsible for caring for the family dogs and is now the proud owner of Bailey, a mixed breed rescue dog. While taking courses in graphic design, Jack began working at a pet hotel/doggie daycare. Very soon after starting this job he realized that working with dogs was his calling. At the daycare he was often the only person with the ability to handle handle difficult dogs. Jack has turned his passion and skills into a career with Suburban K9. During his spare time, Jack loves baseball, soccer and taking Bailey for walks on the trails at a local State Park.

Watch a video of Jack working on leash with one of his Board and Trains
Read Jack’s Article “Importance of Daily Work With Your Dog



Angel Zavala

Angel is a full time college student and is currently pursuing a degree in Business Administration. We noticed Angel’s passion for dogs during a lesson with her Pit-Bull Mastiff mix Whiskey. She was able to turn that passion into a career and enjoys helping our clients with their needs. When she is not at school or working she enjoys spending time outdoors; Hiking, Fishing and playing catch with her two dogs. She also owns a terrier mix named Houdini.

Jeanne Delagardelle – Office Manager

Jeanne loves helping prospective clients learn about our services and schedule training. She grew up in Iowa and moved to Chicago shortly after graduating from Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa. She and her husband moved to Brookfield, Illinois not long after their son was born. Jeanne previously worked at Crain’s Chicago Business as an administrative assistant. She enjoys gardening, hiking, cooking, and baking bread. One of her favorite things to do is make soap, deodorant, lotion, bug spray and lip balm from scratch! Along with her husband and son, Jeanne lives with two sweet cats, Bob and Gabby.

Joy Palmer

Joy grew up in Joliet, Illinois. After spending a few years in Iowa, she returned to the area where she was raised. She has been around dogs all her life and currently has two dogs that she absolutely adores! She has worked as a receptionist for a variety of companies and is excited to combine her love for dogs with her full time job. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, baking, hiking and walking her dogs.