Trainer says don't give up on dog's rowdy behavior

Editor's note: Part of our October Pet Package

Nikki Ivey has been training dogs for nearly fourteen years and she wants to encourage frustrated dog owners to not give up on their disobedient and unmannerly charges.

“Manners for a dog are knowing how to act when people come over, not run out the front door when it’s open, how to act in public around other dogs, to think for themselves without being told what to do,” Ivey said.

She started off as a daycare/retail store owner and personal dog trainer. And eventually, as she saw her clientele base expand, she decided to take a step from simply teaching dog obedience to educating people on dog behavior.

Ivey began Dogspeak, a method of training that teaches owners skills of communicating with their dogs while also teaching dogs to be mannerly.

“Well, mannered dogs know how to act without being told. Obedient dogs only do what they’re told," Ivey said. "Don’t settle for what they are because you think that’s all they’re gonna be."

Online testimonials from some of Ivey’s previous clients show well the positive results of her educational philosophy and training methods.

"My first encounter with Nikki Ivey was a last desperation attempt to save a young German Shepherd my husband and I had rescued," one testimonial says. "The creature was gripped in anxiety, fear, and low self esteem. After applying Nikki’s techniques, that German Shepherd is now well adjusted and confident and will shortly earn her certification as a search and rescue dog."

Today, Ivey teaches not only pet owners, but she also educates other dog professionals, providing staff training to doggie daycares and shelters. In addition to maintaining her own daycare and private training schedule, she conducts clinics and seminars and provides group classes and consultations. 

Ivey also founded a volunteer K-9 search and rescue organization TERRA (Tennessee Emergency Rescue and Recovery Association, Inc.) which specializes in finding missing persons and cadaver recovery through air-scenting and trailing in water, wilderness and urban settings throughout Middle Tennessee.

For more information visit or

Photo by Margo Amala on Unsplash

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