Rachel Downs was introduced to the world of dog sports early in life. Raised by a family heavily involved in conformation, obedience, and agility, Rachel began competing as a young child. By her teenage years she was teaching dog training with her local training club. While conformation and obedience were her introductions to the training world, agility soon became Rachel’s grand passion.
As a young adult, Rachel trained dogs semi-professionally for both sport and to address behavioral issues. It was during this time that she started to seek out and study the science of positive reinforcement based training, motivated by her studies in college. In 2010 she obtained a Bachelors of Science in Psychology, having focused heavily on the study of behavior modification and learning theory. Over the next decade, Rachel was married, moved with her military husband across the country and back again, and had two children. Throughout, she continued to train and compete in agility, as well as instruct.
In 2015, while living in San Diego, California Rachel started her own agility training school, Strategic Dog Sports. At the completion of her husband's military career in 2016, Rachel moved back to Texas and took a full time job at What A Great Dog in Richardson, Tx. to teach agility professionally. Her love for science and her consideration for the feelings of the dogs she works with has continued to motivate Rachel to seek out new and progressive training methods to apply to her agility training. It is this zeal for learning that Rachel attributes to her success with a wide variety of breeds she has personally trained, including Beagles, Belgian Sheepdogs, Catahoula Leopard Dogs, Labrador Retrievers, Border Collies, and Belgian Malinios, as well as her ability to help students and their dogs with issues from behavioral to elite performance.
Along with numerous Championships in multiple agility organizations and countless podiums and wins at Regional Championships events, Rachel's major accomplishments include:
*2014 Steeplechase National Champion with Vixen
*2014 Grand Prix National Champion with Vixen
*2016 Silver Medalist Grand Prix National Finals with Vixen
*2018 UKI South Central Cup Overall Winner with Vixen
*2018 UKI South Central Cup Overall Winner with Glory
*2018 US Open Bronze Medal National Finals with Glory
*2018 US Open Silver Medal National Finals with Vixen
*2019 Performance Speed Jumping National Champion with Vixen
*2019 Steeplechase National Champion with Glory
*2019 Performance Biathalon National Champion with Vixen
*2019 Biathalon National Champion with Glory
*2020 IFCS World Team Member with Glory