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KEYSER (and Shaia), Foster to adopt, integration w/ 2nd dog, impulse issues, arousal

"He bit a houseguest, he lunged at people while on walks, barked and growled if someone even LOOKED at him, and he barked and growled in the presence of any other dogs... I started to really research positive reinforcement and began the search for a trainer who could help our family. This is how I found Erika...

"We met Erika on our journey to find a second dog that would fit into our crazy life, and by that I mean the one that would not only be accepted by our girl, but would also be able to handle her assertiveness. She happened to be helping our first prospect learn how to handle day to day tasks and agreed to accompany us on a meet & greet to observe the two dogs. Erika was honest in telling us (even though I didn’t want to hear it & kept saying “what if”) that she didn’t think they meshed. We respected her honesty; she was correct & he was adopted as an “only dog”.

But we weren’t defeated as she assured us Shaia would be ok with the CORRECT dog. So we kept our eyes open. Enter Keyser Sozë: a BIG dog sitting in a shelter, part of a rescue, misunderstood and misunderstanding. He was anxious and under socialized; he exhibited behaviors such as reactivity, leash biting and lacked impulse control. Although he had a team behind him that loved him, he needed out before being deemed “unadoptable” & euthanized. After a few meet & greets between Keyser & Shaia, we were lucky to be able to work with the rescue & come up with a plan to take him on as “foster to (hopefully) adopt”. To do this, we needed to find the correct person that could evaluate Keyser & guide us in the right direction.

The first trainer to meet KS really didn’t understand him, which made it tougher for my already apprehensive husband to see the light at the end of the tunnel. When Erika was suggested I remember saying “At least we can trust her Steven, we know she’ll be honest....” it was all (mostly) uphill from there.

Erika met Keyser & I think she was instantly smitten, at the same time driven to find out what made this boy tick. A 10 month old pit/Dane mix (I said he was big right?) that needed all the lessons a weeks old puppy should learn. She took on the task, got started right away setting up google docs with his plan, activity sheet, results etc..& linking the team so we were all on the same page. With each visit she instilled more confidence that this integration was going to be a success. Working together, we all established different relationships with Keyser and soon enough Steven realized KS was certainly capable of being “our dog”.

With Erika’s guidance KS gained confidence, he began controlling his impulses and learned it was OK to settle, that life isn’t as overwhelming as he felt it was. She helped make it possible for two reactive dogs to live together, to love each other. More importantly, she taught us humans how to read our dogs, how to properly address Keyser’s troubles & that even though progress was made faster than I envisioned, it was going to take work & wasn’t going to happen overnight. Keyser is always going to keep us on our toes since he has no consistently obvious triggers. All he needs is the wind to blow a certain way to react sometimes, but because he has learned to trust, incidents are fewer, less intense and easier to avoid.

This journey was one that included a great team of people willing to work hard, for a great dog, with a great leader. Because of Erika’s commitment & determination our family is complete. So many times I find myself applying what I’ve learned while working with shelter dogs or dog walking clients. I say to myself “KS was like this, I know what i can do” and I’m not afraid to try. She has helped more dogs succeed than she even realizes. Through her methods, she helps dogs & their people establish unbelievable bonds.
Thank you Erika, for continuing to help humans help dogs!

Love Steven, Kathleen, Richard, Shaia & Keyser Sozë

Emmy & Lily

EMMY & LILY, Housemates with incidents of intra-household aggression

"I don’t even know how to begin to thank you. We are so grateful to you for helping us to keep our family together. Without your help and guidance we would have had to give up one of our dogs and that would have broken our hearts.


When I first reached out to you, I was holding back tears because I was so afraid. Our two female dogs had begun fighting and it was absolutely terrifying. They had lived together for over a year and this was very unexpected. You listened to our situation. You told us that fighting between two females in the same household is the most difficult situation to resolve. You didn’t over promise. You told us it would be a challenge and there would be a lot of work involved. You gave us hope.


We were committed to doing whatever it took. We met with you for our initial consultation and we were encouraged. You helped us to identify the root cause of the issue and helped us to repair the relationship between our dogs.


At first the detailed action plan seemed overwhelming but you broke it into manageable sections. I never thought I’d get the dogs to listen. With your guidance and calming nature, we all learned. You really trained us how to train our dogs.


We’ve all gained confidence; our dogs have learned what we expect from them and they are proud to show off their skills, especially “on your mat”. We’ve gained the confidence in our ability to manage any situation calmly."


NOVAN, 2-year old, male Boxer with a trauma history and aggression directed at humans, reactivity directed at dogs on leash.

"My husband and I took in an approximately One and a half year-old boxer pup on December of 2014. It became apparent quite quickly that he had a few behavior issues that we had to work on. He bit a houseguest, he lunged at people while on walks, barked and growled if someone even LOOKED at him, and he barked and growled in the presence of any other dogs. Sad to say my husband and I resorted to a prong collar, which actually just did not work. At all. We followed training advice for a few months from a "certified" trainer, and it was pretty much unsuccessful.


We started adding a bit of positive reinforcements to our training, and this was much more successful. He wasn't lunging at people but we were stuck. How did we introduce him to friends and family when he simply lost his mind.. barked, growled, lunged and nose punched almost everyone we introduced him to? I started to really research positive reinforcement and began the search for a trainer who could help our family. This is how I found Erika.

Erika suggested medication that could help the training. The medication wasn't a cure-all, by any means, we still had to also work on the behavior plan, including some new tools like a Newtrix head harness, cues, and getting him to trust his handler (my husband or myself). 

Novan successfully greeted 4 of our friends and his reactivity has come so far down that he met the mailman."


STELLA, 1-year old, female German Shepherd Dog with reactivity and anxiety

"I cannot express the gratitude myself, and boyfriend have for Erika. She is beyond what we could have imagined for a dog trainer. We have a year and half old German Shepherd, named Stella, who displays high anxiety, and aggression towards people. After months of trying to deal with this issue on our own, we were about ready to throw in the towel because we thought this was "un-trainable", and blamed ourselves for our training. That is when Erika came in.


From the first phone call, she was so attentive and eager to help. She responds quickly to emails, phone calls and texts. Erika has such a great presence during sessions and makes it known that she is there for help, and answers all questions. It has been a long and exhausting road, but we could not have chosen a better trainer to have for our baby. Thank you Erika!"


FERGUS, 2-year old, male Lab / Pit mix, Basics, leash skills, recalls

"Dear Erika, 


I wanted to take a moment to say thank you.  It has been such a pleasure to work with you and Cooperation Canine! Fergus has already made big strides after our initial evaluation session. It was wonderful to get hands-on training in that meeting. We appreciated how carefully you listened and took notes about our experiences and what we knew of Fergus. Because we adopted him from a shelter, and did not have much of his back story, we have valued your insights about his behavior, especially his leash reactivity. 


It has been great to have such a detailed and comprehensive training plan to work from, and I'm enormously grateful to you for being available via email in between training sessions. It has been really helpful to be able to ask you questions as they arise and get such prompt and thoughtful replies. You offer a wonderful service!


Kevin and I feel so much better -- and so does Fergus. He's doing very well with his foundation skills and is much better already on leash and in the presence of triggers. It has been an enormous relief to transform what had felt like an escalating situation of anxiety on leash into calm sessions where we have tools to manage whatever we encounter. Even better, he's more affectionate with us and we are all much more relaxed. We are looking forward to making further progress on leash, desensitizing him to triggers, and developing a solid recall for him!


Although I know we've only just begun our training, my only regret is that we did not start sooner! "


BIGGS, 3 1/2-year old, female Pit mix, Vet aggression

All I can say is Awesome Sauce! Erika has helped us to help our dog, Biggs, feel more comfortable at the vet. Biggs clearly only likes approved people in her space, and most people are 100% cool with her, but vets and vet techs were not Biggs approved.

Erika helped us to get Biggs comfortable with a muzzle, redirection, and using a training game to signal when she was comfortable (or not) with what was going on around her. We are well on our way to having more positive interactions at our vet appointments. Erika has also always been on time, has come prepared, and responds quickly to emails when we have questions/concerns between visits. She really is a rock star!

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