I attended your DogSpeak Workshop today! Awesome, awesome information. I’m looking forward to seeing you in the future…thank you so much for all the information I needed to ‘train’ me!
[Nikki] is the ONLY reason our dog Daisy (a rescued basset beagle mix) is still with us and not rehomed. A couple years ago we got Daisy and everything was great to start...but then something happened...
She went after our oldest dog Lacey (16 at the time) and her ear was torn off. Panicked and wanting to keep my littles safe, I called a trainer who helped me get things under control but isolated Daisy. This was not the approach we needed to integrate her safely into our family. After months of keeping them separated and worrying every time I left the house (husband wasn’t as careful about keeping them separated), I finally called Nikki upon referral from our local Humane Society. She came to our house and immediately she set my mind at ease. She totally turned what we knew upside down and within days of putting things into place like she told us too things started calming down. We had her back a month later and the last steps she taught us changed everything in our house. Daisy now knows her boundaries with the others, and leaves Roscoe alone when he tells her to. She listens to her “check in" command and sits like a pro!
We are eternally grateful for Nikki and her skill with animals (and people too!). Daisy says thank you from the bottom of her heart.
Carmen, Clarksville, TN
Nikki has helped us a lot with our dog, Neo. Neo was a very fearful dog and had bitten both me and my husband. He was also starting fights with our other dog. We worked on using positive reinforcement to build up his confidence and also to associate our other dog with positive things. Neo has improved a lot under Nikki’s training. She has a natural gift with animals. I recommend her to anyone having issues with their dogs, especially if they have a bite history.
Neo's Mom, Nashville, TN
We took Maisie to the vet right before we started working with you. We had wanted to make sure there wasn't anything physically wrong with her that would be causing her to act so scared. The visit didn't go well. She wouldn't let them touch her at all. Wouldn't take any treats and basically stood as close to us and as far away from them as possible, growling when they got too close. They basically said they didn't think there was any way she could be adoptable, though it seemed she had bonded with us.
Today Miss Maisie needed to go to the vet again to get her eyes looked at. She took treats from both the Vet and the Vet Tech immediately. She let them pet her all over (even on her tummy). When she got up on the table she shook like a leaf but let them check out her eyes and lymph nodes, taking treats the whole time. They were amazed. The Vet Tech actually cried.
Lindsay, Maisie's foster mom
Scout arrived at a local shelter with an imbedded collar and serious fear issues in December 2016. I gained his trust and ended up fostering him for 10 months. Scout gradually became comfortable with and trusting of myself, my husband and my son. But he remained very fearful of strangers, including anyone who came to our house and people walking on the street. Scout would begin with a low growl and if he was not redirected, would progress to a full growl, then lunge at and snap at the person.
I tried leash corrections, verbal corrections, and avoiding people altogether. But nothing seemed to help. This was a good dog, but he was never going to get adopted growling and lunging at people.
So I called Nikki Ivey.
She introduced me to a new way of thinking and positive reinforcement. When walking through our neighborhood, she encouraged me to:
- Allow Scout to see a new person approaching and feel his fear. (She cautioned me not to redirect him before he saw the person, but to honor his feelings and allow him to make a choice)
- Then ask him to “check in” which meant he would look at me immediately and I would reward him with a desirable treat
- She then said to make a big deal over his response . . . “who’s a good boy, what a good boy!!!”
This would build his confidence . .
This taught him to trust his own instincts. In other words, I see a new person I am unsure about. I acknowledge how I feel. But instead of feeling scared, I get rewarded with a yummy treat and happiness and words of encouragement from my handler. Huuuuummm. I think I like it when new people approach. Good things, not bad things are about to happen.
It changed everything for Scout.
A wonderful person responded to a Petfinder ad about Scout. I felt like when I was around, Scout felt the need to protect me. So I asked Nikki to meet the prospective adopter. She met with her several times and Scout is now happily living out his life with his forever family.
I can’t say enough good things about Nikki. She saved Scouts life, helped him find his forever home, and I’ve learned so much from her. I cannot recommend her highly enough.