Assessment & Immediate Plan
1.5-2 hour Zoom meeting
In our first meeting we will meet for 1.5-2 hours over Zoom. You will be asked detailed questions in a non-judgmental and relaxed manner. All case aspects will be investigated. It can be helpful to have your own notes ready, such as your records regarding events/changes, and veterinary history. Once a full case history is gathered we will discuss the immediate plan.
Special Coached Program
4x weekly 45-minute coached sessions over Zoom
During the Coached portion of the program, we will meet on Zoom each week for 45 minutes over the course of a month. Every week we start with your questions and your updates on progress. Then you will be coached through easy and innovative routines, training methods, behavior modification protocols, and new ways of understanding and working with your dog.
This program is customized. We will naturally pivot as we lessen and narrow down challenges. This allows us to be as efficient as possible with our valuable time together.
No Prior Tech Experienced Needed
All you need is WiFi and a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Support During Your Program
During your 5-week program you will be able to text message and email as many questions as you like. You will be encouraged to send video for review.
Help and... Fun?
Before getting started, you might be feeling really overwhelmed. Please don’t worry. With my experience, problem-solving abilities and passion, I am able to impart the gift of allowing my clients to enjoy the process of getting this sort of help. I understand that we are all busy, working hard, and doing our best. I am here to be your advocate and support and my focus and passion is to help you and your dog succeed no matter what that looks like for you.
Will You Need More Coaching?
No matter your challenges, my goal is to help as efficiently as possible. If you decide you will benefit by continuing, additional coaching it is $547/month.
Health plays a critical role in behavior. Health concerns can be easily overlooked without qualified help. As a skilled and Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (IAABC) with over a decade in practice, I am experienced identifying and working with health-related case aspects, and frequently collaborate with veterinarians and veterinary specialists.
No harsh tools or techniques will be used. This is a customized, positive-reinforcement based approach that will take both your dog’s comfort and safety as well as your own in mind – first and foremost.
Special Coached Programs
Investment: $547 – 1 Month of Coaching
After Completion of a Behavior Plan
If more coaching would be beneficial for your case and you desire continued coaching, you will feel empowered to ask for what you need, rather than being told what you need. It is good to voice interest a few weeks ahead to ensure you can proceed in a seamless manner.
At Risk Assessment
Are you a “failure” if you are concerned for your family’s safety? Are you a “bad person” if you are wondering if you can keep your dog? Is your dog “damaged” or “abnormal?”
If you are asking yourself these questions, the answer to all is likely “no.” People find themselves in trouble because they end up in over their heads and feel they have nowhere to turn. In every case I have worked with, the client’s worries about safety were valid. It takes courage to reach out for help. After your Assessment you will receive a comprehensive document. The expert information you will receive will help you determine your next steps with confidence.
“The At-Risk Assessment put my family at ease with our decision while also providing us with a path forward. Emma acted professional at all times, even when my two-year old was interrupting the session! I would highly recommend the At-Risk Assessment.”
Rehoming Support Plan
“Had Emma not created such a safe-feeling, judgment-free zone, I don’t think I could have seriously even discussed re-homing, let alone consider it. It was the right choice for us.”
Frequently Asked Questions
The Behavior Plan is 5 weeks. Will I need more sessions after that?
In the first week of your Behavior Plan, you will meet with me for a 1.5 hour Assessment. After this Assessment, you will receive a detailed Assessment and Immediate Plan. It is common to see significant changes in the first week through minor changes to routines.
Post Assessment, I have found 4 weeks of immersive coaching to be the ideal starting place. Less doesn’t tend to be optimal, unless you are wondering if you can really proceed (please see: At Risk Assessment) or if you are looking to rehome your dog (please see: Rehoming Support Plan).
The month after the Assessment we will meet weekly over the course of one month to work on the key issues. For some, 4 weeks of coaching will be enough. If the challenges are complex and/or well established, more than one month may be optimal. Further coaching is $547 per month. I offer as much support, information, and clarity about your situation as possible so you can be the driving force of deciding whether you desire coaching. Clients who request more coaching do so feeling confident about their desire to proceed, rather than being told that they have to proceed.
Reguardless, you will learn a great deal about what is going on and how to utilize the most important recommended routines and procedures in our first 5 weeks together.
What is the purpose of a Behavior Assessment?
Once you’ve identified that you are concerned about behaviors that your dog exhibits, we can meet for an in-depth Behavior Assessment. In this meeting, I will gather a comprehensive case history with you in a relaxed and conversational way. If you share your life with a partner or a spouse, they are encouraged to join us. In this meeting, I will assess what is happening in a data-based non-judgemental way, I will answer your questions, and I will explain immediate solutions that you can begin implementing right away. We will cover all aspects of your dog’s life. If helpful for your case, I will also discuss with you what a program moving forward might entail. Within 48 hours of our meeting you will receive a very detailed custom written assessment which will give you a very clear overview of my observations and summary, along with very clear and easy to follow recommendations to implement immediately. If helpful for your case I will also prepare any additional documentation, such as a letter for your veterinarian. You will have time afterwards to absorb all that we have talked about, and to decide how you’d like to proceed. You have a week of support after the Assessment to ask as many questions as you would like about the immediate plans and possible future plans.
Will I need sessions after the Behavior Assessment?
The quick answer is, “it depends on the dog, the situation, and if you want to proceed with a recommended plan.” You will feel empowered and supported with whatever path you chose.
During and after a Behavior Assessment, I will provide you with safety protocols and an immediate course of action that you will want to implement right away. Sometimes this will be enough to get you on the right track. Other times, additional coaching and support would be highly beneficial, in which case I will carefully outline goals for a program in your Assessment so that you can decide if it sounds like a good fit for you. Programs are booked by the month. Your Assessment will be detailed and clear, and you have a week after our meeting to ask me any and all questions you have as you decide on the next step. You will feel confident in your understanding of your options.
I'm not sure I can handle my dog's problems. Should I still do an At Risk Assessment?
This is the best reason to do an At-Risk Assessment.
First I will say, I do not approach these situations from a “will it work or won’t it” mindset, but rather, I will provide you with clear, consise, and understandable information that will empower you to find your footing and feel confident in your own instincts. I am very understanding of not just the dog side of the equation, but the human side as well. I am very compassionate about the struggles you might be going through. Not a single person who has worked with me on an At-Risk Assessment has ever not had the dog’s best interest at heart. If you are reaching out for help, you clearly care a great deal. The At-Risk Assessment will provide you with a clear picture of what addressing the challenges would look like, and it will provide you with expert information that will allow you to decide whether or not it would be safe and even possible for you to address the challenges yourself. I have helped many individuals and families address what can seem like insurmountable challenges in surprisingly simple, safe, straightforward, and very manageable ways — so it is better to reserve fears until we meet. Even if the challenges aren’t a good fit for you and/or your family, you shouldn’t have to feel frightened or terrible. If we are doing what is right for everyone’s well-being, that is not failure, that is success.
“What if I ultimately decide I can’t keep the dog?”
I won’t say whether or not this will be the case, as that is entirely up to you. I will provide you with clear and consise and compassionately delivered information to help you decide if it is safe or even possible for you to address challenges yourself. If you end up deciding rehoming would be the right choice, I have assisted many wonderful people and families through the decision to rehome their dog, and coached them in making the process as straightforward (and as ideal for the dog) as possible. We can discuss this option further if you come to this decision.
There is more than one dog... Will The Behavior Plan cost more for me?
For the Behavior Plan, there are no additional charges to enroll with multiple dogs.
If you are on a budget or unsure, not to worry, we will get a lot done in a 5-week period, regardless of how many dogs are involved. Multiple dog situations can be more complex than single-dog households, but that doesn’t change the purpose of the Behavior Plan.
The way the Behavior Plan works is:
For the first meeting, you will meet with Emma Kesler, CDBC, CPDT-KA for 1-1.5 hours over Zoom (mostly without your dog) where Emma will ask you a lot of questions and gather a very detailed case history. Emma is a bit of a “behavior detective” — in this meeting she will gather a lot of data and will be able to explain to you the likely causes of the behaviors. Cause of behavior is extremely important. It is inefficient to address behaviors without looking into and understanding what the causes might be. After that initial meeting you will have a greater understanding of the challenges you are facing, and you will be equipped with many immediate suggestions to implement right away. Please remember, Emma Kesler, CDBC, CPDT-KA works from a very non-judgemental approach. If you are dealing with multiple dogs, we at Terrier Academy salute you for your patience and good work, no matter the challenges you are currently facing!
After the Assessment and Immediate Plan, you will meet with Emma weekly for a month for Coached Sessions and check-ins (these are 45 minute Zoom meetings) where Emma will guide you through simple and effective protocols for your case and where she will answer all of your questions. During that month, you will also have full access 24/7 to text message or email Emma with any and all questions or behavioral observations you might have. You are completely supported.
Multiple dogs in a household can mean more problems and/or more complex challenges that single-dog households, but after completing the Behavior Plan you will have detailed understandings of the roots of your challenges, and you will have developed solid skills to begin to, or even sometimes completely address your challenges. If you love working with Emma and want to work together for a continued month of Coached Sessions, follow-up months come at a lower price point and are $547.
Do problems have to be serious for The Behavior Plan to be worth it?
If there is one comment I get from puppy clients and severe behavior challenge clients that is identical, it is “I had no idea about many of the topics we covered and how much addressing them would help my puppy/dog! Our life together is so good now!” These sentiments are echoed on all of the video client stories and reviews you can see on across this website. Even in severe cases, often one little thing that the client didn’t even think of is key component in their case that by addressing helps dramatically improve everyone’s quality of life.
Dogs hide problems as long as they possibly can, before they resort to aggression or other challenging behaviors. If you have a nagging feeling something is missing, trust yourself. Your intuition matters the most because you live with your dog and know them very well. I weave in Foundations as much as possible, so if your issues aren’t severe, that means you will get more time to dedicate to incredible terrier specific foundations – and that is fantastic! Equally even in seemingly more “minor” cases, often I will identify and we’ll address tricky to spot health aspects that can have dramatic life-long results. Again, just trust your gut if you feel something important might be missing.
Do you work with other breeds of dogs, or mixed-breed dogs?
Any dog with a spirited terrier-style personality is welcome! I love working with rescue dogs with unknown genetic lineage who are clearly part of the terrier family. I foster tough cases now and then and am a big fan of giving misunderstood dogs a second chance.
I am just one person, so I dedicate my time to terrier types. If I feel your concerns are more general, I will provide you with an expert referral.
Non-terrier-types are 100% welcome to apply for Terrier Academy Courses or On-Demand programs. Training that is effective for terriers has to be pretty dang rock-solid… For your viewing pleasure, please enjoy the following video of my sister who is a very busy professional with her cats. She only had time for two sessions with me and these are the results for her rescue cats:
My dog and/or I have had negative experiences with training before. Why should we work with you?
I work with complex cases every week. Just because a case is tough doesn’t mean the approach for anyone should be.
My approach is data and science-based, and is based overwhelmingly on positive reinforcement for dogs AND people. If you or the dog are stressed when you are trying to take in new information, you won’t be learning optimally. I want the best possible experience and outcome for everyone involved. Methods and routines should feel approachable and comfortable – and most of all, flexible! If something isn’t working, it isn’t because someone is “bad” or “wrong,” it is because we need to adjust things and fine-tune. Given that I work with very “creative” terriers, adjusting and fine-tuning routines to the individual at hand is my passion and speciality! I always start every meeting with, “How are things going? Do you have any questions?” This allows me to prioritize what your needs truly are.
To get more of a sense of my coaching method, I recommend that you check out the client story videos that are peppered around this website (and compiled here). They probably can speak best to what I am like!
No one has been able to figure out what is wrong with my dog.
Because I am a specialist, I am able to work on interesting, highly specific cases and see patterns over time — even for problems that seem and can be statistically rare!
Behavior is rarely simple, and there are always reasons for behaviors. It is useful to remember that dogs rarely engage in worrisome ways because they want to. Often dogs are as confused and concerned as us. Finding the right professional and/or professionals can be the most efficient way forward towards helping you and your dog.
Health is a frequent and often overlooked consideration of cases I work on. I frequently collaborate with veterinary specialists on a wide variety of concerns. Especially if you have had trouble getting help getting the root of a possibly health-related issue, I am very keen to offer my eyes on your case and frequently collaborate with client’s veterinarians and/or veterinary specialists/teams.
I see a muzzle being used in one of your behavior stories... Will my dog have to wear a muzzle?
Muzzle are NOT a “one size fits all” or go-to tool at Terrier Academy.
Muzzle training may be suggested and supported IF:
+ If aggression is currently presenting where there is reason to believe anyone is in danger of dog bite(s), which can put both people, and dogs/animals, AND/or your own dog at severe risk
+ and/or if your dog is at risk of compulsively ingesting items that could put their life at risk
If your dog might fit into either category, read on:
If a muzzle is suggested for your case, please know that the choice is yours, and yours alone. The following contains some information about muzzles:
Why Muzzles Can Carry a Bad Reputation
A muzzle is not an intrinsically cruel tool. However, there are many ways that a muzzle can be used that can be inhumane, and there are styles of muzzles that can be very uncomfortable, restrictive, and equally inhumane. For these reasons, many people carry negative associations about muzzles. Additionally, many dogs have very frightening experiences with muzzles at veterinary offices where tight fabric muzzles are sometimes used that can restrict a dog’s ability to breathe/pant/drink properly when they are in distress/pain. At Terrier Academy we support Fear Free Certified Veterinary Professionals and Fear Free Certified Veterinary Practices, and we do not ever condone inhumane use of restrictive or forced muzzles.
At Terrier Academy, We Believe:
- Using a muzzle to put a dog in unfair, stressful, or unsafe situations is not humane.
- Using a muzzle as a quick fix to avoid training a dog with behavior challenges is not humane.
- Using a muzzle that restricts a dog’s ability to: breathe, pant, drink, be fed treats, or bark/vocalize is not humane.
Carefully Used Muzzles Can be Lifesaving in Certain Cases
Some dogs greatly benefit from being fitted with a custom fit muzzle that allows them to do everything that comes naturally to them: drink, pant, bark, be fed treats, breathe… But that does not allow them to bite, consume harmful objects, or cause harm to others when they are wearing their comfortable trained muzzle. A custom muzzle plus a positive-reinforcement based training program can be life and game-changing for dogs struggling with extreme behavior challenges. Muzzles are to be carefully custom-fitted, carefully trained to ensure the dog is completely relaxed and comfortable wearing the muzzle, and worn for limited times during critical times and/or low-stress training sessions, and are only to be used for the purpose of keeping everyone (including the dog wearing the muzzle!) safe.
I am worried about my privacy.
I take your privacy seriously. As a fully certified animal behavior consultant with the IAABC, you can read the IAABC Code of Conduct that I adhere to. Without your explicit permission, I will not discuss whether or not you are my client or any of your details with any outside party. Only with your explicit permission and/or upon your request, will I be happy to consult with outside/related parties. You can also count on me to be focused on the betterment of your case, rather than your specifics.
I am experienced with working with clients who are high-profile people, clients who are dog breeders, and clients who are dog trainers, known dog sport competitors and coaches, etc. I will NOT name you, ever.
I do not prefer, recommend, or condemn certain dog breeders over others.
Can my dog be cured? Can you or someone else fix my dog?
Does remote coaching really work?
I have been a remote coach / behavior consultant since 2011.
I have found this way so effective that early that I have local clients also work with me remotely. You can read more about why remote online training is so powerfully effective for terriers in particular here, and/or you can check out the many client stories here. Each client addresses how effective remote coaching is in their story.
CREDENTIALS & APPROACH___________________
Certified Dog Behavior Consultant
One of less than 300 fully Certified Dog Behavior Consultants in the world (IAABC). This certification is peer-reviewed and requires rigorous continuing education.
I work from a science-based approach. I am data-focused and have a strong understanding of learning theory and behavior sciences which inspire me to be innovative in my approach.
I believe that dogs and people should receive help free of judgement and punishment.
5 Maxwell Medallions and awards through the Dog Writers Association of America for writing on dog behavior, training, and health.
Terrier Behavior Specialist
For over half a century we bred terriers for tough jobs that they had to bravely do on their own. When terriers don't adapt well to life as companion animals, they can be called "stubborn." These are signs something is amiss. My passion is to help people and dogs have wonderful lives together.
My teammate Miles and I have achieved over 70 performance titles. Miles is the most titled Welsh Terrier internationally of all time; all accomplished without ever sacrificing his terrier spirit.
Just help, relief, and support.
“I have a four year old Welsh Terrier and signed up for the Behavior Plan. I wish I had done this sooner; there has been such an improvement in my dogs behavior! Roxie is my third Welshie so I thought I knew how to work with her. She was very sensitive to noise and motion – wanting to round up blowing leaves, falling raindrops, etc.. She also barked like crazy at every dog she saw which made walks in the neighborhood unpleasant. Emma worked with Roxie and I and also collaborated with our veterinarian and the results have been wonderful. She is a much happier and calmer dog and our neighborhood walks are now actually fun! Working with Emma was so very helpful.”
– Gretchen, TX USA
Coco’s Hidden Talent