Our Members Share Their Stories...
You've heard me talk about my dreams...about spreading ripples far and wide...helping dogs and the people who love them find happiness, balance and to enjoy a life together that their dreams are made of...

I am grateful and honored beyond words for the beautiful and heartfelt stories that these members felt moved to share with you....because they want to spread the ripples too. And they each hope that you will be inspired with your own dreams and possibilities!

I am blown away by the courage and passion of these women and the 'heart' of their dogs...and I know you will be too when you read their stories!!

I invite you to make a cup of tea, find a soft spot to relax and indulge in the magic of partnership, hope and dreams...and honor the difficult life-changing journeys of these brilliant partners.

Much love,
"I'm a dog trainer...and I was embarrassed when Lucy and I were around people I knew."
Kathy's classes are epiphanies! No matter where you are in understanding dog training and body language you will learn new ways to be with your pooch that will both thrill and enhance your partnership.

When I first heard about Kathy Kawalec, I was trying to train my sweet young border collie, Lucy, to listen in situations that excited and agitated her. I realized later, after listening and learning from Kathy's great online classes, that these situations were happening in Beginning Herding and Nose Work, and Trick Training Class. In fact, she was becoming agitated anytime she and I were together and I entered into a conversation with anyone other than my husband or when we engaged in a learning activity in public.

Our typical experience was for her to go over threshold as soon as we got to any activity and I got her out of the car to participate. I tried to ignore her frantic silliness and wait for her to calm down but she would just become increasingly agitated. Often I would have to excuse myself from the group and move away. She would bark and jump on people and pull on her leash and not be able to listen to cues. Once we moved away from the group, Lucy would calm down, but become roused again as soon as we rejoined the group. This same experience had happened to me before and I never was able to change it.

My soul mate Lily who passed away almost three years ago, also acted like this in public. She did everything with me and she loved to work and learn but she never was calm around anyone except myself and my husband. I kept her on cue almost all the time we were not at home or hiking by ourselves. I did not want to have my new wonderful girl go through the same thing that Lily did, but she was.

I was getting embarrassed when Lucy and I were around people I knew. I felt they would think poorly of my abilities to teach and train others. I am a dog trainer therefore, I should be able to have a calm well behaved dog, right? I didn't blame Lucy for her behavior, I took credit for her "naughtiness", but I was lost as to how to change it.
I know that in order to get stimulus control over any behavior I need to systematically teach it in a variety of environments and distractions until it reflects the final goal behavior. I am a clicker trainer and very happy that I am, but I failed to realize that unless I wanted her to be always performing a behavior - which would be exhausting - I needed to find a way to communicate with her not just talk to her. I also needed to learn how to listen and respond to what she was saying with her behavior.

Since joining Kathy's on line classes, I have gained new wonderful insights into how to interact and communicate with Lucy ( in fact, all of my dogs). I feel so much better equipped to help Lucy enter into training situations knowing that she will always be honest and tell me what she needs. That one gem - your dog will tell you - is one powerful gift from Kathy's classes, if that was all I got out of them that alone would be enough! Learning to communicate with Lucy has blessed and enrich our relationship.  

I find that I continue to need guidance in how to live with Lucy and my other pooches. I needed clear steps as to how to communication with my dog. So I am on a journey and it is exciting and joyful. Just as I continue to study how to teach people and their dogs discrete behaviors, I also need to study and practice and get feedback as to how to live in this wonderful partnership that Kathy Kawalec's Foundation Formula teaches.

Kathy is so generous with her knowledge and time. She mentors, coaches and teaches her students and provides a safe venue for her students to share their struggles and successes. I am so happy to be a student of Kathy's Foundation Formula.

Since I began her online classes Lucy and I have gone from playing bowling for dollars with the sheep to working together to start to gather them and learn to flank and balance! She will almost always listen to my lie down cue and when she doesn't I know that she is saying she doesn't know how to do that in this situation and I need to give her clearer communication and direction. Lucy and I have also earned our Nose Work I title.

I realized after trialing twice that I was not connecting with Lucy because of what I had made the focus for trialing. Kathy answered my request for a private consultation in which she guided me to explore my purposes and then remember to stay in dialog with Lucy. We went to the trial the next day and we were partners. It is the first time I ever enjoyed a competition.

Since starting with Kathy's Foundation Program Lucy and I have also started learning agility. She is enjoying the games and skill that my agility teacher provides and She and I are using the skills and philosophy from Kathy's programs as the underpinning in all our activities. 

I will always enjoy teaching Lucy and my other pups to do tricks but now I can also celebrate my pups' joy for life when we are together.

I am hoping that if you are reading this and you do not already have the relationship you want with your canine companion you will be motivated to explore the wonderful way of living and communicating with you pooch that the Foundation Formula will teach you. This doesn't replace teaching skills - it enhances and magnifies your successes and provides you with a deeper joy of being with with your dogs.  

~Jan Blue
"Brinks became a lunging, barking and snarling mess, trying his best to put on a show and keep the other dogs away.  Other people didn’t understand and thought he was dangerous."
"Brinks is a brilliant and very sharp Pyrenean shepherd. He’s my first dog of the breed, but I am by no means a beginner in the world of dog training. I knew when I chose him that the breed is active and likes to be busy and I knew they needed a lot of early and ongoing socialization and training to create a stable dog. Brinks was no exception.
Brinks was always a very impulsive dog, with little self control. At first I used the excuse that he was still a puppy and immature, and that self control would develop as he grew up. But he continued to get older, and the self control never really developed in the way I had hoped. I love Brinks dearly, but he was often exhausting to live with. 

He knew a lot of commands, was trained through utility level obedience and was my competing agility partner. But unless I gave him commands often, he just didn’t know what to do with himself and was constant motion. I had resigned myself to thinking this was always how Brinks would be.
Through Kathy Kawalec’s Foundation Formula program, I have been motivated to look at Brinks in a different light and to try again to help him learn self control. 
I love to walk my dogs and whenever possible, I take them out on long tracking leashes to run and play in a field by my house. They can run and sniff and roll and just be dogs.   

Brinks (or Brilliant Brinks as he is known by our FF friends) had a long history of being concerned about dogs he didn’t know. He became a lunging, barking and snarling mess, trying his best to put on a show and keep the other dogs away.  

Other people didn’t understand and thought he was dangerous. If a dog did get into his space, he would snap at it. It was so embarrassing to be around my dog-friends and have my dog acting this way.  

As much as possible I just managed the situation, making sure we kept our distance so that Brinks didn’t feel like he had to react. Of course, I would reinforce his behavior when he wasn’t outwardly reacting, but his behavior didn’t get any better. I just got better at managing it. And, I resigned myself to the idea that it would always need to be this way.
When we moved to our current living situation, though, I was no longer able to manage Brinks’ proximity to other dogs all of the time. There are many dogs running loose here, and taking a simple walk became a nightmare for him and for me. Even a dog seen a block away resulted in his lunging and barking with Brinks telling the other dogs to stay away and me trying to manage the situation and take another route to keep us away from the other dog. 
We started the FF program and I began to make progress in Brinks’ trust for me and my ability to be trustworthy for him. I focused on my communication with him and modeling for him the behavior I wanted, instead of reacting to his behavior.  

Bit by bit, I could see changes occurring as Brinks’ first reaction became to look to me for clues as to how he was to respond. One day last year, one of those loose dogs (one much larger than Brinks) snuck up behind us and jumped on him. It took us all by surprise and a fiasco ensued. Brinks ended up on his back underneath this large menacing dog. I can still remember seeing him there, looking at me expectantly, wanting to know how to respond – no snapping, not reacting, just waiting for some communication from me. 
All types of scenarios raced through my mind, but my new habits took over and I mirrored how I wanted Brinks to act – calm and focused. I took a positive leader position and called Brinks to come with me, while using my intention to back the other dog off of him. To my delight and surprise, Brinks hopped up and followed me, no barking, no snapping, no lunging. He took a few tentative looks back over his shoulder, but he trusted me to handle the situation and responded in flow when I did. A success for both of us! We had come such a long way. I continue to be SO proud of him for that one moment. It remains etched in my mind as a marker for where our relationship has come.
Now, Brinks and I once again enjoy our walks together in the neighborhood. He notices the other dogs, but there hasn’t been a lunging, barking reaction for quite some time now. It takes so much stress off of both of us that Brinks trusts me to handle any situation that makes him uncomfortable. 
I am amazed everyday at the transformations from all the members of FF and BP and their dogs. I love that we can all share in each others’ celebrations and successes. There is a sense of community. For those of us who might have a dog that gets reactive, it’s hard not having other people to talk to who understand just what we’re going through. This group offers that sense of community and support.
Kathy is always adding to the curriculum so we have something new to learn and incorporate into our relationships with our dogs. This program is not about “fixing” our dogs, although we do work on increasing our successes. It’s about so much more than that.  

It’s about changing our perspective and becoming the person that our dog needs us to be. By becoming that person they can look to for guidance in any situation, our partnership with our dogs becomes so easy and wonderful! “
Dogs with disabilities are awesome! 
Check out my newest book about blind and deaf dogs: Through A Dark Silence
Debbie Bauer, HTACP
Your Inner Dog
Professional Dog Trainer and Animal Wellness Consultant
Healing Touch for Animals® Certified Practitioner
Tellington TTouch® Companion Animal Practitioner I
"I needed a better way to understand and work with my challenging, impulsive, easily overstimulated, and easily overwhelmed girl..."
“There are so many ways that the Foundation Formula has changed my and my dogs’ lives, it's hard to narrow it down, but I think the most important is how it has transformed my relationship with my youngest dog, Wing Nut.

I needed a better way to understand and work with my challenging, impulsive, easily overstimulated, and easily overwhelmed girl, and the teachings and philosophies within the Foundation Formula have provided the path we needed. We still have challenges, but we are on our way to a partnership that includes really paying attention, listening to each other, and communicating. It is an amazing journey!

Our first AHA! came after Kathy talked about one of her dogs not being able to load into her van and realizing she needed space to be comfortable. Wing Nut had the maddening habit of standing on our patio about 10 feet from the door and refusing to come any closer no matter what I said or did.  

Once I thought about it from her perspective I realized that all of the other dogs and I were crowding the doorway staring at her, and, AHA! she needed space! So, using the dance, I moved the other dogs back from the door, opened it a little wider, stepped back and invited her in, and….she came trotting right on in!  

Since then there have been a multitude of AHAs as the partnership between us has improved. She rarely gets so overwhelmed that she stops working, she (and all the dogs) can respond in most over stimulating situations, and they are all working and training better in new environments.

I spread the word everywhere that having a partnership with your dog 

changes everything! Everyday living is easier, training is easier, walks are more enjoyable, new experiences and places are calmer and more fun-everything becomes better when you really make a connection with your dog.  

Even more incredible is how the Foundation Formula philosophy of looking for success, celebrations, and those awesome baby steps, leads to not only a wonderful connection with your dog, but a new and improved, positive outlook on life in general.

Thank You!
Mary Jane Trate
"A revolutionary thought for me was that my dog WANTS TO PLEASE ME. Most people think that when a dog misbehaves it is being deliberately defiant!"
“I have always loved border collies. I grew up in North Yorkshire, England where every farm has at least two working border collies. I loved their fluid motion, their incredible intelligence, their loyalty. 

But I didn’t have a farm or stock and it did not seem fair to confine such a dog. Then 12 years ago we moved to Maine, and bought a homestead with 6 acres, surrounded by woods and trails in every direction, and I began dreaming again of my border collie. 

I joined New England Border Collie Rescue, filled out a very rigorous application, and began the search for my girl. But we did not have a fenced yard and almost all the adoptable dogs required one. Then, just over two years ago, I received a call from one of the NEBCR committee. “I have sent you a link. Check it out and let me know if you are interested.” 

The link was to an ad in “Uncle Henry’s” offering a 7 month old pure bred border collie for free! There was a picture of her. She looked like she had just walked off the Yorkshire moors – a striking, traditional black and white. I was on the phone to the owner in seconds. He told me there were 15 other applicants and she had already been promised to the first caller – a breeder. 

My heart sank, not merely in disappointment, but in deep concern for this little dog. I went to bed praying that if number one would not be a happy loving home, God would intervene. Next morning, very early, I received a call from Skye’s owner. “Was I still interested? I said yes. “Then I have decided to give her to you”. 

My knees were shaking as I asked, “But what happened to number one and two and three….?” 

“Last night my wife and I sat and looked at each other and said, “What are we doing? We don’t want the dog going to a breeder!” So we looked through the notes I made on each caller. Every one of them was interested in what the dog could do for THEM. You were the ONLY one who shared what you could do for HER! So if you want her, I am going to call number one right now and tell him I’ve changed my mind.”

 And so began our journey together. I had intended to choose a calmer border collie, about four years old. And here I was with a seven month old, who had been tied to a stake all day and knew only how to chase cars and cats and squirrels, and tear things apart. 

For weeks my husband wrestled with this whirlwind that had disturbed our hitherto peaceful home. “She’s too wild! You’re never going to be able to train her!” he said. 

I enrolled her in Obedience 101 at our nearest training center. We made it through that with a lot of barking, and exits. I had aspired to progress to 102, then CGC, then Therapy Dog. 

But when 102 rolled around the instructor decided to use toys in place of treats. And Skye lost it! She schemed how to snatch other dogs’ toys and was over threshold most of the class. 

Finally other handlers complained and I was asked to leave. I tried twelve sessions at another facility, with another trainer, for reactive dogs. But we were no better off after the twelfth session than before the first! We were on our own!!!!

Then I came across Kathy Kawalec’s Foundation Formula. And I loved her approach – that of a loving partnership with my girl. 

Instead of focusing on obedience and training, we breathed a sigh of relief and began focusing on appreciating each other and observing and listening to each other. 

A revolutionary thought for me was that my dog WANTS TO PLEASE ME. Most people think that when a dog misbehaves it is being deliberately defiant!  

I watched the lessons over and over. I began telling Skye several times a day that she was the perfect girl for me, and how proud I was of her. 

And she began to blossom. 

I found that Skye was really a soft, sensitive girl despite her powerful, macho exterior. She actually longed to please and to have me proud of her! 

I taught her some tricks, which she does with joy and pride. We still have a long way to go in our partnership. Skye is still very afraid of other dogs. She still has to be on a long line on trails or she gallops off following exciting tracks. But in the house she is calm and content. 

My husband hugs this “ wild untrainable” girl for fifteen minutes before leaving for work! Whereas before nothing was safe around her, now everything is [though I have some Skyelized hats and mittens and socks from the old days.]

Now I can take her with me in the car and she will sit quietly, or even lie down, rather than lunge and bark at every passing vehicle. We can take her to church and she will wait quietly in the pastor’s office, then greet church members politely and enthusiastically. We can take her in peoples’ homes and she just lies peacefully until it is time to leave. We have even been accepted into a beginners’ agility class where she watches the other dogs with interest, and then proudly takes her turn.

 I love being a part of the FF community. Now I have a support group, a 

 group of like- minded friends. It is heartwarming to share a celebration and have others care, or share a problem and have others contribute suggestions for a solution. It is fun to get on the live classes with Kathy, and learn from Kathy’s wisdom together. I always learn something new!

 Life before Kathy and FF was frustration and discouragement, and even at times, despair! 

Life since finding this treasure is a daily delight with my girl, ever learning from each other and enjoying each other more and more!

Thank you,
Jane and Skye

ps: I thought you might like this one too. FF converted my husband too:)”

"My class with Kathy allowed me to take this relationship all the way to the top. My communication with Kalli was so deep, so intense, that I realized an entirely new level of my old girl."
"Passion" is a good word with deep meaning and the roots of it are intertwined in ways seen, unseen. Kalli girl was a walking passion of mine. She lived through the woods, at the neighbor's property and was always free to roam the acres around us. She spent a good deal of that freedom with me. I worried about her because this just isn't a world safe for free roaming domestic animals and those domestic animals can also make it unsafe for the wildlife who work so hard to survive and raise their young.
In the summer, I cut back roots of trees and bushes and made a clear path for this beautiful black dog who quickly became one of my closest friends. In the winter, I shoveled to the property line to keep her path clean, and across the river side of the house, around the shed and across the front of the house. She spent many nights inside with cuddles and treats and her best friend, Trudy the Malamute. Kalli was a sturdy black lab/blue heeler.

Kalli passed under my windows many times daily to either come here or to the neighbors on the other side. A few minutes later, she'd appear again, with Nutmeg the Golden retriever and the little Cocker spaniel who lived there too. They would go to Kalli's property and run in the woods and meadows there, putting a paw into the river at times. Then they'd all cross again and I would hear a light thump on the front porch. Kalli was there, laying in the sunshine on her bed or in the dog house I built for her with a heated bed. (Only for nights she came when I was at work. I'd go out to greet her, brush her, pluck the ticks or thistles and give her my thoughts on the day.
Fifteen plus years, my sweet friend came here. If she saw my car going up the driveway, she'd run the road to greet me. Up in the jeep she'd come and we'd hang out until 4:00 when her humans got home. She'd leave, go get her meal and be back in time for the next phase of the day.  Kalli girl was happy with her big world.

As she became older, my concerns for her grew and I brought her into the house as often as possible. People out here have a different concept of the needs of dogs and I watched her rheumatism progress, wondering what her setting was like next door. You just can't ask because it could be death sentence for the dog. The last day Kalli came here, her limp was so pronounced that I knew her human would think it more humane to take out the gun.
That day, I brought her to my vet and it was determined she had cancer in her baby toe. I waited and sweated all day, while Kalli slept on her futon in the family room. When her human came home, I told him about Kalli. He had planned on shooting her that night. I was angry inside and humble on the exterior. The humble worked and Kalli went in for a very touchy surgery. It was a success and the recovery was a success and they said I could, finally, adopt my friend.
We were so close; we loved each other so much. Kalli girl finally had the right home, 24/7. What followed was 10 months of hugs and heart connections and relationship building. My class with Kathy allowed me to take this relationship all the way to the top. My communication with Kalli was so deep, so intense that I realized an entirely new level of my little old girl. She watched my moves, I watched her and listened and we had a dance of unison. Sometimes there were words; most often we just knew. Our eyes connected frequently and although the vet said she couldn't see much, that just wasn't true. Was she as deaf as the vet said? She heard everything, felt every loving massage.

It was a different kind of sight, a different kind of hearing.
It was simply a referral from a friend, the reason I looked into Kathy's class. It was her video and smile and country 'real' in the video which made me sign up. If I hadn't taken the FF, I wouldn't have known what I missed. The timing was right. I was able to connect with this wise angel dog and know a greater bond with Kalli than I knew possible before.
I've interacted with dogs and many other species, all my life. The chance to truly know my sweet girl Kalli and for her to find the perfect home so late in life was enhanced by what Kathy gave to us, through her wisdom. I would not let Kalli feel pain, and that last day I was by her side. It was quiet and gentle.
It was also the most difficult of all goodbyes. I learned how to connect so deeply but I didn't know how to live without that connection. In the past, I'd go somewhere, away, and grieve a day in solitary. This time, instead, I had a mentor in Kathy and wrote to her:
"Our hearts were bonded and I don't want to break that bond, but at some point I would like to do something. The something I'm referring to is what you would do if one of your beloved kids crossed over. What do you tell them? I know she couldn't go on the way she was, here on earth, but I feel as if I let her down. When she was leaving I was trying to tell her I'm so sorry to say goodbye. She didn't want to go; I know this. She was so full of love and life. She finally had what she wanted, these past 10 months. Our love is not in question.
I have been there when all my kids and other's kids have crossed over. The help I could use is to try to feel ok about it. It's as if there was unfinished life. She wasn't ready. She tried so hard to continue. Her heart and her mind were not ready. Her body was failing. I feel like a thief today and I have to fix this in myself. I believe she's with my dad who will give her all the love she could want."
Kathy gave me some words and I read them over and over feeling that I would break and crumble through the process. Learning to feel so deeply has it's difficulty. These were her words: 
"The best thing you can do is to 'release her'...tell her how much you love her, and that you love how she is now free of pain and no longer being held back by her old body. Our dogs are reluctant to leave us if some part of us is not willing to let them go. I think that is what you are feeling. Once you intentionally release her from your physical life, that feeling will be released as well. She needs to know that you will be ok without her physical presence.

You will always be connected through your hearts, just in a different way than before.

... we can put aside our intense pain and grief in order to make our animals' transition not about us..but about their spirit's need to move on.

Light a candle for her. Have a celebration of her life. Celebrate her spirit. Celebrate your wonderful connection, and all that she brought to you...and all that you brought to her."
I chose to have a candle lighting ceremony in my garden at midnight on the full moon. I asked kind people who feel deeply for the dogs in their lives, to give me a candle from their home. The candles were lit. It was a dedication to this different bond with my girl. It felt right. It was just the 2 of us. The candles were then returned to the people and the goodness was spread to their homes, the dogs in their lives, from Kalli girl.

~Mickey Short

"I was mortified, humiliated and shamed. You see, I was Tati’s breeder and also a successful trainer and handler with our previous dogs. I didn’t know where to turn. "
“I grew up in a home, which had very few animals during my childhood. When those animals misbehaved, they were “sent to go live on a farm.” I later learned what that meant of course, euthanasia. 

So when my Tati got in a fight with my sister’s small dog, I knew what I needed to do. Reading my mind, my sister objected saying her dog had run out of the house and attacked Tati. My husband said, hold on a minute. Tati was his favorite, she was awesome with people of all ages and our nice neighbor dogs. 

But I knew the real truth. Tati was dog reactive and that was a bad thing. I had tried everything I knew of. Tati would need to go to the farm.

When I had I first started her in agility lessons, she would lunge and bark at the other dogs running around. I had no experience with anything like that in the past. All my attempts to keep it calm so that she could focus failed. 

I was mortified, humiliated and shamed. You see, I was Tati’s breeder and also a successful trainer and handler with our previous dogs. 

I didn’t know where to turn. I sought a behaviorist, local private and family dog lessons, books, DVD’s, seminars. It all only caused my anxiety to soar and didn’t improve anything.  

Out of humiliation, failure and shame I started keeping her hidden. Until that incident with my sister’s dog, that is.

Back home and Tati heavy on my heart, with what to do, I was sitting at my computer and an email popped up. It was from the behaviorist I had worked with and was a forwarded message about “Foundation Formula” offered by Kathy Kawalec. I noticed the other addressees were owners of reactive dogs, so I looked into it and signed up.

From the very first class, I had hope and Tati’s and my relationship grew. I learned the truth about dogs, about herding dogs, their capabilities and their needs. 

As I learned more and applied Kathy’s principles and training I got more hope and our lives opened up.  

My first shift in perspective was a sudden change in our nightly routine. Each night, I would potty each dog before bed and every night. With the other dogs, it was quiet and uneventful. When it was Tati’s turn, she would reactively bark into the darkness at real or potential lions, tigers and bears. Not a very relaxing bedtime routine for either of us. As an experiment, I applied the principles Kathy taught us for our 3 P’s, how I was holding my body, managing my breathing, where I was facing, and the look on my face. 

The first night I followed the principles her barking stopped! Completely! 

My next shift was at a new small agility class, where each person kept their dog on leash or in crates except when running. Tati loved those classes and became more and more at ease walking past the other dogs. Then, as things can happen a little dog got away from her handler when it was Tati’s turn. As the little dog charged at Tati barking, I did the emergency turn Kathy Kawalec taught us. 

As we successfully turned away and the owner got ahold of her little dog, Tati looked at me as though I was her hero.

Our story continued forward and we continued to grow in our relationship, our confidence in each other and our lives are opening up more and more. We still have bumps along the way, but the principles Kathy teaches hold true.  

We have gone places I never dreamed possible. Tati and I have completed two agility trials (very small trials), with minimal distraction on our part and more focus and connection than I ever dreamed possible. We learn and we win.  

Ever and always, I am grateful to Kathy Kawalec, the Foundation Formula and fellow classmates and all we have learned and continue to learn on our journeys.

And the farm? Tati has gone to the farm alright. But the farm is on our new property, where we enjoy hours and hours of exercise, fun, play, work and exploring and growing together.”

Thank you,
Carol and Tati

"We covered more ground in two months than we had in the previous seven years.  I was able to change the way that I viewed her problems and they all but disappeared."
My name is Sally Krostal and nothing short of synchronicity brought me to Kathy Kawalec and The Foundation Formula.

I had been "rehabbing" my daughter's Doberman Pinscher, Daquari Jane, for seven years. I had trained dogs since I was a teenager and everything I thought that I knew just made Janie more fearful and aggressive. I began to see through the veil of dominance based methods and realized that I needed to find some new tools when she started attacking my other dogs. 

 In the meantime, I had the opportunity to start offering my own training classes and wanted to train holistically, so started searching the web for some ideas. Lo and behold, Dancing Hearts shows up in my search and I remembered that I had downloaded The Foundation Formula e-book a few years earlier, obviously before I was in the right place to appreciate it.

I went back and read the book and realized that it was exactly what I was looking for, so Janie and I signed up for the online course. I expected to get some training tips, I did not expect to have my life changed!

Using the Dance and the Heart Connection exercises, Janie and I learned to relate on a whole new level. We covered more ground in two months than we had in the previous seven years. I was able to change the way that I viewed her problems and they all but disappeared. When they do resurface, we are able to easily shift our perspective and dance them away.

Janie is now able to live with my daughter and I know she will be okay. I have been able to use my new eyes to help others heal their relationships with their dogs in my classes.

I continue to learn more and expand my intuition with every class I take, and the trust and brainstorming and support of Kathy and my classmates has been astounding.

No doubt, The Foundation Formula came into my life just when I needed it and made me a better person for my dogs!

~Sally Krostal

"My heart was breaking and I was feeling such fear, disappointment, sadness, incompetence and at a loss."
Our story with Kathy started about a year and a half ago. I share my life with a now almost 4 year old GSD named Lyric. Lyric came into my life after a year of research into a breeder to find the best dog for what I wanted. My 11 year old GSD Zeus was a retired agility champion and I was looking for another dog to continue the love and joy I had for agility and my dogs.  

Lyric arrived at the airport to me from Omaha Nebraska, the cutest little sable GSD ever. I loved her immediately. And almost immediately I saw that she was a very reactive, high drive girl. I went to work right away socializing, building a relationship, training foundation and having fun.  

Well Lyric turned out to be very reactive to people and dogs. Easily over stimulated and very sensitive to her environment, life was quickly becoming a nightmare.  

All my hopes and dreams were going right down the drain.  

I went to many classes, reactive dog classes, obedience classes, private 3 day training camp, veterinary behaviorist, spent hours researching what to do, spent hours crying and and on and on.  

A friend of mine suggested I get in touch with Kathy and take one of her classes. By this time I was devastated and coming to the realization that Lyric would never be able to even go out of the house or that I would never be able to have people over, she could not be trusted.  

And worst of all never be able to compete in agility, which both of us loved. All my dreams of Nationals, Invitationals, MACHS were going right down the drain. So I started with the Foundation Formula class and continued on!  

It has been a lifesaver. It is so hard to just pick a few things that I got out of the classes but here are some highlights.  

I learned to listen to Lyric, take baby steps. I stopped forcing her into situations where she would misbehave to try and work on the behavior or "fix" her. I learned to mirror calm, confident behavior. I realized that Lyric did not know how to behave or what to do in uncomfortable situations so I had to show her not correct her. I learned to take pressure off of both of us and have fun. 

I really started advocating for my dog, she did not have to say hello to anyone if she didn't want to. That was huge, as soon as I started protecting her from things that made her uncomfortable she visibly relaxed and would actually choose to calmly happily greet people and calmly walk by things that would trigger her.  

I really had to work on clarity, making things very clear to Lyric, what was acceptable behavior and what was not, not by harsh corrections but by being firm, modeling calm confidence, and showing her what to do instead. If there is something that she is concerned about she will now look to me for guidance. 

I learned how powerful choice is. I aligned myself with like minded people who supported us. Our partnership has blossomed, we truly are a team now.  

Our partnership allowed us to participate in some agility trials. Something I never thought we would be able to do. Not only did we compete but we had five runs and came home with five first place ribbons at our very first trial together!

That is only part of what I have gained from these programs, I have gained some wonderful, compassionate, supportive understanding friends through the Foundation Formula and Kathy's other classes that I continue to participate in, can't live without them now!  

They are always there through the Facebook group and the coaching calls. We are like a family, supporting each other, crying with each other and celebrating with each other.  

Kathy's classes and guidance have simply allowed Lyric and I to be brilliant!

Cindy & Lyric
"I considered returning Phalen to his breeder, but I just couldn't do it. He was a part of me."
“What do I say about a program that changed despair to joy? How do I put into words a gift so profound that everyday without fail, I thank my lucky stars?

Phalen and I were drowning in a sea of disfunction, miscommunication and despair. It sounds overly dramatic, I assure you I'm probably underselling it. My dream dog had turned into a nightmare, my life was in turmoil and my dogs and family were miserable.

My dream dog was reactive, to the point of living with gates separating dogs in my home, and the reality of injury if those gates were breached. I had spent thousands of hours, thousands of dollars and at least a few thousand tears trying to fix him.

I remember the first time we met with Kathy, the first time I felt Phalen and I weren't being judged. The shock that she didn't see hopelessness, but potential. The biggest shock of all? Kathy didn’t think we were broken! She said we were perfect where we were in that moment! Crazy, right?! More on this later.

The simplicity of the Foundation Formula is deceptive. Communication, invitation, congruence, and possibility. The deception is that we fool ourselves into thinking everything has to be complicated. We are looking for a magic wand, a fancy new technique, a magic word. I'm going to give you the magic word for Phalen and I.... communication.

Am I communicating clearly? Am I communicating in a way that is meaningful to both of us? Am I giving information that is useful? Do I even know what I'm trying to communicate? Do I have a clear plan? Does that plan honor both of us? Am I communicating hope or perpetuating despair?

The answer to all of the above is a resounding yes! Now. The answer before Kathy and the Foundation Formula? A big fat NO! I thought I was doing those things, but I wasn't, trust me on this!

The Foundation Formula taught me to celebrate where my dogs and I are today. To live in this moment, holding space for where we are going but not living there. That's what Kathy meant when she said we were already perfect. I was so busy saying; " Phalen is perfect, EXCEPT FOR __________" ( fill in the blank),that our story was defined by the "except for" . 

Now we are defined by we are PERFECT, exactly as we are in this moment! Bliss!

Starting from the beginning, building a solid foundation (Kathy is so sneaky!) so that we can stand tall with no fear of our foundation crumbling beneath us. It's liberating, joyful and totally works! Who knew?

Today Phalen and I are fabulous! We even had our first guest dog stay with us! We've achieved things that I didn't know were possible! What I'm most thankful for however, is who we are as a team. Confident, fun and madly and completely in love with life and each other! It's a pretty great place to be!!  

One last thing. I don't live in fear anymore. I know that if I apply the tools, I have nothing to fear. Even if something goes wonky, I can get us back.   

I don't fear a mistake, because it's an opportunity to learn, an opportunity to grow and an opportunity to tell my dogs that I am willing to meet them where they are so that we can get where we want to go together, even if we need to take the long way!   

The scenery can be pretty great when you take your time!”


"This isn't just dog training. It's WAY beyond anything I would have thought possible."
"When Shiloh started to chase my cats, horses and other animals and I couldn't stop him ... it was so frustrating.

It was dangerous for him and for the other animals. Now, after the Foundation Formula, we are connected and Shiloh can go to the barn with me ... and we are partners, it is a real pleasure taking him to the barn with us!

Last spring, Shiloh started reacting to the neighbor's car going down the driveway ... and one day he ended up on the road, 55 mph speed limit ... was the worst day of my life.

Our FF community helped me to plan a strategy to keep him safe, and teach him to stay close and not chase the cars. Whew.

If it wasn't for Kathy and the Foundation Formula, I don't know where we would be. We have a beautiful life now...and my heart beams with all we have learned!"

~Dee Matel and Shiloh
"My Aha moment? When I realized that it is all about respect!  "
“My Aha moment? When I realized that it is all about respect!  

Respect for all that Paddy is; his total being! With that came unconditional love, just as he shows to me! This has made it so much easier!  

It enabled me to discern between what I cared about and what I really didn't! Do I really care that he barks at UPS, or the 20 foot statues of animals we pass on the road - nope!!! And that annoying barking at the birds when they get rowdy in the fir tree? Nope, he's simply trying to restore order! 

This is who he is and I love every single thing about him. He is very structured and if I deviate from the daily routine, he lets me know with a nose bump! Thank you , Paddy for reminding me! 

The name game has been so beneficial to us in staying connected! And now we can load up in the car off leash and I don't worry that he's going to want to go visit the neighbors! He's my partner and we have things to do in town! 

Are there things I want to continue to work on? Absolutely! But all in due time! I love this group!! It is a safe haven where people can come together with no judgments or criticism. “

Thank you!!
Marilyn and Paddy
"At first, Ladybug didn't respond to us - she didn't smile, didn't play, didn't engage at all inside the house. 
"Foundation Formula changed our lives. 

At first, Ladybug didn't respond to us - she didn't smile, didn't play, didn't engage at all inside the house. 

Outside, yiikes! She was unruly and didn't even know we existed. 

Now, we have a true partnership, a real connection and so much joy in our lives! "

Alex Kowalski and Ladybug
"We were both unhappy with the training experiences that resulted from constant judging - all the time..."
“I want to talk about the transformation from just a simple set of ideas and change in perspective.  

My relationship with my (now retired) herding dog Rye was completely transformed from just reading one of Kathy's articles on partnership.  

We were both unhappy with the training experiences that resulted from constant judging - all the time, was Rye made of the right stuff? How come he would refuse to do what seemed to me to be the simplest things? Why did he sometimes run away from situations?  

A couple of transformative ideas were that I needed to understand things from his point of view and that Rye and I were only going to be successful as partners.  

It really did not matter in the least whether some instructor would have picked him as her next open dog, or why not!  

As soon as I started trying to understand why Rye found things difficult, he was very happy to communicate with me about what he felt he could and could not do and we stopped having meltdowns in training.  

I eventually understood that some of his problems were really physical, but when he was feeling well, he always gave me 100% - if I was giving him 100% of my attention and my faith. “

Sara and Rye Reiter