Worried About Your Terrier's Behavior?
Get the Help You Need.
Get started with a Behavior Plan which includes:
A detailed Assessment & Immediate Plan
+ 1 month of Special Coaching
By Application Only
Worried About Your Terrier's Behavior?
Get the Help You Need.
Get started with a Behavior Plan which includes:
A detailed Assessment & Immediate Plan
+ 1 month of Special Coaching
By Application Only
How Does the Behavior Plan Work?__________
Assessment & Immediate Plan
In our first week we will meet for 1.5 hours over Zoom. This meeting is casual and relaxed. First, I will ask you detailed questions in a completely open minded manner. Then, I will go through your case with you and explain our Immediate Plan. My belief is that if you understand and are able to be an active part of the planning process, the changes will be easy to implement and will have profound and lasting results.
Special Coached Program
In weeks 2-5 we will meet weekly for 45 minute meetings over Zoom. We will check in on your program and I will coach you through easy, innovative routines, training methods, behavior modification protocols, and new ways of understanding and working with your dog. Our priorities will naturally shift as we narrow down challenges. Knowing that you are working with a professional who is skilled and able to pivot as needed is the peace of mind you need for success with a terrier!
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 me questions. You will be encouraged to send video for review. I am known for my thorough and detailed approach.
Help and... Fun?
It is time to feel less stressed and to let an expert do the heavy lifting! I like to make the process relaxing and fun. Gone are the days that when something didn’t work, you were told you either aren’t trying hard enough, or you did it “wrong!” We will work together as a team!
Will You Need More Coaching?
No matter your challenges, my goal is to help as efficiently as possible. If you will benefit from more coaching, you will feel empowered to ask for what you need, rather than being told. Subsequent coaching is $547/month.
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 whether you wish to proceed with more coaching. Clients who request more coaching do so feeling confident about their desire to proceed, rather than being told that they have to proceed.
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 you can see on across this website. Even in severe cases, often one little thing that the client didn’t even think of is a root problem.
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!
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 very 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 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 collaborate with your veterinarian and/or veterinary team.
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 automatic go-to tool at Terrier Academy.
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 ways that a muzzle can be used that can be inhumane, and there are styles of muzzles that can be very uncomfortable and restrictive. For these reasons, many 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 restrict a dog’s ability to breathe/pant 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, under any context.
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 means to avoid helping a dog with behavior challenges is inhumane.
- Using a muzzle that restricts a dog’s ability to breathe, pant, drink, be fed treats, or bark is inhumane.
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 specific 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 low-stress training sessions, and are only to be used for the purpose of keeping everyone (including the dog wearing the muzzle!) safe.
Usually the use of a muzzle, worn during limited times, is a temporary measure.
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 high-profile clients.
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 inspires me to be innovative in my approach.
I believe that dogs and people should receive help free of judgement and punishment.
I have been awarded 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 "naughty" or "stubborn." These are signs something is amiss. My passion is to help people and dogs have wonderful lives together.
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
Working with Emma gave me a greater understanding of my Wheaten Terrier and terrier(ists) in general. My Wheaten had selective aggressive tendencies toward other dogs when in a group situation. She showed me how to create a better dynamic between my dog and myself and be more relaxed under certain circumstances. She showed me that type of diet, dog walking gear, and toys can influence a dog’s well-being. Her approach is flexible and she will find options (some are budget minded!) for the owner if the training can’t be met to the letter. The zoom meetings worked well and did not detract from the goal of learning about my dog, how to communicate better with him, and becoming a working partner with my working dog.
This is going to sound like hyperbole and I assure you it is not. Emma likely saved our terrier’s life. Because of various obstacles, health issues, and the wrong kind of initial training we ended up with a resource guarding and aggressive Lakeland terrier. We were at our wits end and were deciding that rehoming was probably the solution, however, having a bite history can make that difficult if not impossible. I found Out about Emma through an online Lakeland terrier group I’m involved with and decided to give it one more shot. Thank God we did.
If you’re reading this while you still have a puppy, please train with Emma to avoid the situation we were in. If you already have a challenging dog, please train with Emma before you make any heartbreaking decisions. She is so compassionate and understanding of both the dogs and the humans involved.
We did two months of training with Emma. We still have plenty of work to continue and do on our own, but we have a path now and a light at the end of a tunnel. During the time of our last class, my father was visiting, who had not seen our dig for several months and he even commented on how improved his behavior is. Emma and her training methods do make a huge difference.
MaGee Grundmann-April 4,2022
We have had terriers in our lives for over forty years. We know how wonderful and how difficult they can be. Recently we adopted a six year Welsh Terrier,she arrived with many issues, hyperactive, poor impulse control and not reliably housebroken. I originally had reservations about how successful training via Zoom would work. Emma quickly dispelled my concerns of long distance education with her ability to understand and analyze our dog/owner dynamic. Emma’s guidance and coaching techniques have been so successful in helping us reach clear achievable goals! Now our sweet little girl has her forever home thanks to Emma.
John Grundmann – April 3, 2022
We started training our rescue Welshie in February 2022. Emma was highly recommended by the breeder from whom we had purchased three dogs. We have used dog trainers in the past and they had always performed training in person. So, we were not certain if distance – zoom based – training would work for us or our Welshie. We were so pleased with Emma and her knowledge of terriers not only in general behavior but also in problem solving behaviors. The training using zoom was easily understood and effective. This was due to the excellent coaching Emma provided. We are very pleased with the results of the coaching and training. We enthusiastically recommend Emma and her methods.
I am so very grateful for Emma and her expertise with training terriers. We have never had a terrier before Lola, only German Shepherd’s, so she was like a little alien I just could not figure out. Emma was very encouraging….and I desperately needed hope that Lola and I could work together, especially since we were starting our training late and had missed the window for some of the puppy basics. From the very beginning, the program was well organized and easy to access and follow. Emma was calm, answered all of my questions and helped get me and Lola on a path towards a wonderful working relationship. In the beginning, I was a little skeptical about meeting online, but the meetings were surprisingly effective and easy. I highly recommend Emma and her program for new-to-terrier owners in need of guidance and encouragement.