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Coexist Canine Coaching's Katelin MacNair, CPDT-KA, is an active member of the Portland animal training community, along with being an avid learner and Animal Community Talks  event attendee. We recently sat down with MacNair to learn more about her interesting past with animals and her plans for the future.

Working with Animals in South Korea

Katelin Catcrop

Since the age of 14, I’ve been dedicated to my path of working with animals. I was always told to become a vet, but I felt such a pull to help them find homes, that I knew rescue needed to be at the heart of my personal and professional mission.

Life leads you to interesting places if you let it, and so from 2009-2013, I lived in South Korea teaching English as a Second Language 40 hours a week, and volunteering to rescue cats and dogs with a local shelter another 40 hours each week! Through the experience of volunteering in a foreign land, I learned it's not just about getting the animals a home, but keeping them in their new home! Many fosters and adopters would email me to ask behavior questions, since I aiding them in fostering or adopting the cat or dog. With the support of the only two ­Certified Professional Dog Trainers on the peninsula, and much self-study and application, I began coaching people to train their dogs and cats in basic skills and for behavior modification.

 Katelin Husband Cat Shelter Korea  Katelin GSP Korea Katelin Korean Students Dog Walk

 

Coexist Canine Coaching

In May 2016, I founded Coexist Canine Coaching to dedicate myself to my lifelong mission of keeping dogs and cats in their home by using science-based, well-researched, force & intimidation-free, cutting-edge techniques. I apply the methods of Capturing & Shaping, Targeting, Manding (teaching communication and building auto-behaviors), Classical & Counter-Conditioning, as well as Imitation & Cognition.

Due to my background in rescue and behavior modification, I greatly encourage early education and socialization. While I still work with many cases needing BMod, and love it, I would love even more if it was never needed! I'm glad though to be a person to help those struggling with behavior issues so they can see their cats or dogs and understand them while we work together on the behavior.

 Katelin Cats Client Katelin Training Dimas Hoola Hoop 

With Coexist, I offer group classes and private training. The group classes offer Puppy Kindergarten for pups 8-20 weeks, and the levels lead up into Canine Good Citizen assessments and prep for an Animal Assisted Therapy assessment. I will also offer Kitten Kindergarten starting in April as well as canine cognition classes, classes for senior dogs, and classes for folks new to Portland where we will visit dog friendly attractions and landmarks. I love working on the bond between people and their dogs or cats, and helping everyone feel their most confident and happy!

 

Defining Moments

A few defining and influential moments stick out in my mind as guiding my path within dog training. 

One moment was in 2010 and I was helping an adopter pick up a spaniel mix that had caught her eye in one of our promotional videos. I went into the large, soiled kennel to collect the pup, but she was cowering in a corner behind a large hound mix that was drooling and next to another small pup who was shaking. 

A thought rushed over me and I closed the door behind me, shutting myself in with those poor, anxiety-ridden pups. I squatted to hover above the damp floor, and I waited. I sat at the door of the kennel, just like they do when no one's reaching for them, and I waited. For what felt like forever, I waited. It was probably only 20 minutes, but that moment to just take the time with one dog, to wait to let them come to me and to be ready, that changed a lot of my approach in dog & cat training. That pretty little spaniel mix finally came up to me. She was curious, because I let her choose, and so I was able to let her sniff me, see me, and then walk out of the kennel with me to her forever home. 

My rescue work really impacted me as it led me from focusing on behavior modification to addressing early socialization. After recently viewing  Puppy Culture, by Jane Killion, I've been working on imprinting & guiding puppies' (and kittens') lives even before they are born! Beyond the rescue work, and the continued education I seek, everyday I have defining moments! From session to session, when I see the training click for the families, and when the gears turning in the minds of the kitties and pups, it keeps me working hard and wanting to learn more for them. Each session just helps me along my path and I am so thankful I can do what I do daily!

 

Everything From Behavior Modification to Bite Prevention

I admittedly have trouble saying there's niche where I focus. I dedicate a vast majority of my time to studying dog and cat training and behavior. Because I truly enjoy being absorbed in our field, I cannot help but seek applications in a variety of interests!

From early socialization to behavior modifation on resource guarding, inappropriate elimination, leash reactivity, excessive barking, spraying, nipping, biting, scratching, to muzzle work, to enrichment and seeking new products for training... I enjoy so much! I love to help introduce new family members, be they furry or a new baby, or a new roommate. Body language and bite prevention is another passion, but I also like teaching basics to prep dogs for Canine Good Citizen tests and dogs or cats for Animal Assisted Therapy testing. I enjoy playing with new methods and research such as Do As I Do and Match to Sample which helps dogs grow in confidence.

By continuing my education, I constantly push to continue on the path of the work I enjoy as well as to add new tools to my toolkit. I very much enjoy troubleshooting and problem solving for each specific family and animal, and that is where I would say my specialty lies - being specific to each dog and each cat and each person who wants help for their families. I research and network and enjoy helping people in creative ways to achieve and visualize realistic goals with their dog or cat.


Lucy the Golden Retriever

Katelin Will husband Lucy Korea

My 9 year old Golden Retriever, Lucy is my soul dog. She's currently my only baby. She is such a sweet, mild soul, but she's so strong and has lived through quite a lot! We adopted her in 2010, while living in Korea, and she had heartworm, ear infections from allergies, and tarter covering her teeth! We worked hard together to help her become the healthy, happy, early senior she is today! Her silly personality, and gentle demeanor, combined with her strength to fight against any odds matches me and inspires me daily.

She is a Canine Good Citizen and we are an Animal Assisted Therapy team (complex) with Pet Partners. From 2013-2015, she would work with me for BAT set-ups as a decoy dog. I retired her before she began to have any anxiety around dogs herself, because she does enjoy other dogs and I like that she is often playful with puppies, and even kittens!

We hope within the next year or so to add a kitten to our family! Ideally, I would like to raise a litter next March using recommendations from Puppy Culture, but with some modifications for a litter of cats. Lucy helped us with a foster kitten in 2010, and she will attend a few of the kitten classes in April to expose the kittens to a large, appropriate dog!


More in 2017

Katelin Lucy from Business cards Salon feature size

I am of course looking forward to constant continued education! And I am looking forward to the classes I will be offering: Do As I Do, Puppy Husbandry, Kitten Kindergarten, Classes for Seniors, and more! I am thrilled to continue learning with my students. They inspire me daily. I also look forward to rejoining Nosework classes with Lucy as it is her absolute favorite activity!

Defining Moments

A few defining and influential moments stick out in my mind as guiding my path within dog training. 

One moment was in 2010 and I was helping an adopter pick up a spaniel mix that had caught her eye in one of our promotional videos. I went into the large, soiled kennel to collect the pup, but she was cowering in a corner behind a large hound mix that was drooling and next to another small pup who was shaking. 

A thought rushed over me and I closed the door behind me, shutting myself in with those poor, anxiety-ridden pups. I squatted to hover above the damp floor, and I waited. I sat at the door of the kennel, just like they do when no one's reaching for them, and I waited. For what felt like forever, I waited. It was probably only 20 minutes, but that moment to just take the time with one dog, to wait to let them come to me and to be ready, that changed a lot of my approach in dog & cat training. That pretty little spaniel mix finally came up to me. She was curious, because I let her choose, and so I was able to let her sniff me, see me, and then walk out of the kennel with me to her forever home.