Become a Behavior Consultant

Whether you’re brand new to the industry or have been training for years, the Pet Harmony Mentorship Program can help you become the behavior consultant you’re meant to be. 

Imagine how many pets and people you can help if you know how to...

When I came into the mentorship program, I was operating on a Basics level. I could do group classes and teach basic manners or whatever. Not only did the mentorship program strengthen my foundations, but it also strengthened my critical thinking skills. It was particularly impactful because I learned how to not only look at behavior through the lens of the animal, but also I learned how to discern good information from bad information. For example, [I learned how] to tell the difference between empirical evidence vs. anecdotal evidence. So [the program] helped me to choose my learning resources outside of the program, too. I also felt so supported through the entire program.

Jo H.

I want to become a behavior consultant, but...

There isn't a clear path forward

This is exactly why we created our Mentorship Program! There are lots of options for becoming a dog trainer, but for behavior consulting? Not so much. We don’t want anyone to have to take the stressful and circuitous route we took to get to where we are, so we built a program that takes you through all the skill sets required to become a competent, confident, compassionate, and ethical behavior consultant–from the ground up.

I don't have time in my busy life

We can relate! That’s why we designed a program that is largely self-paced while also providing ample opportunities for interactive and community learning. When you want group learning, it’s there for you. But when you need to sneak in a module here and there between other obligations, we’ve also got you covered.

Programs are really expensive!

We can empathize with this, too! We are passionate about removing barriers and making information more equitable, accessible, and inclusive. That’s why the program is built on a subscription model priced at $127/month. And if even that’s outside of your budget, we will work with you to find a work-study option that brings your monthly payments down to something more affordable for you.

I can't find a mentor near me

No problem! While in-person mentors can certainly be helpful, the program is designed to give you the ability to get hands-on, real-world practice while working with your mentor long-distance.

Learn from Certified Behavior Consultants

We’re in the trenches, doing what you want to do every day. 

Collectively, the Pet Harmony team members who are involved in the mentorship program have decades of experience working in veterinary hospitals, shelters, rescue groups, sanctuaries, zoos, aviaries, stables, wildlife rehabs, and of course, working with private clients both in-person and remotely. To quote a certain insurance company, we know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.

And because we believe in operating within the boundaries of our expertise, we didn’t try to build this program on our own! We have been learning from and collaborating with experts from a wide variety of related fields to help us develop – and sometimes even teach! – the modules in the program.

We also believe that our learning journey is never done, and that we should never lose our willingness to revisit what we think we know. So our promise to you is that, as we continue to learn and grow professionally and personally, we will continue to refine the program and update our resources. We will pass on what we learn to you.

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Emily gives us infinite space to learn without having to worry about making mistakes. You can explore ideas and she doesn't make you feel bad about it.

Jackie S.

The Skills You'll Walk Away With

 

We cover the Core Competencies and then some! This is the list of skill trees covered in the program:

  • Enrichment

  • Ethology

  • Behavior Analysis

  • Handling Skills

  • Assessment Skills

  • Intervention Strategies

  • Veterinary Issues

  • Behavioral Biology

  • Ethics

  • Executive Functioning

  • Business Ownership

  • Curriculum Development

  • Data Analysis and Evaluation

  • Metacognition and Critical Thinking

Our Mentorship Program will teach you how to do all this and more.

Want even more details? Click here for a full Program Overview!

What You Get

  • An orientation unit with information about how to navigate the program and a schedule for interactive opportunities
  • Self-paced, self-study units with opportunities to learn the theory in multiple modalities, practice in safe and risk-free environments, and get hands-on, real-world experience
  • Two regularly scheduled live sessions per week, with the option to schedule or request additional group sessions
  • Up to four 1:1 meetings per month with your mentor

For all of my training and behavior journey I've been on my own. I've [been learning from] webinars and books and training courses, and I've had a few mentors here and there, but mostly it's been solo learning. I was nervous about group learning because I'm not terribly social, but it has actually been really nice to have a group of people to learn with and from.

Nelia C.

But...

What if I start and I can't continue?

Not a problem! We understand that sometimes life gets in the way, so you are welcome to go on hiatus when you need to and come back when you’re ready. We’ll suspend your subscription and current unit, and your account will be waiting for you when you’re ready to come back.

I have test anxiety

Also not a problem! Our mentorship program doesn’t give out tests or grades at all. We model our assessments on Dr. Susan Friedman’s LLA course: instead of making you take a bunch of tests, we go with you on a conversational expedition to explore what you’ve learned and refine your knowledge until you’re ready to move on to the next unit.

I've already been through a training program

That’s great! One of the many benefits of a monthly subscription model is that you’ll be able to move through the material faster (and therefore pay less) since you’re already familiar with some of the material.

How will I get hands-on help?

Since everyone’s environment, schedule, and professional goals are different, we will work with you to find hands-on opportunities that will enable you to acquire the skills you need. There are many paths to reach our goals; it’s simply a matter of finding the one(s) that work for you.

[Emily's] ability to ask questions to get people really thinking deeply about what they're asking, challenging them in all the right ways, is super interesting to watch unfold and learn from it. It's so inspiring, and it's so cool to see lightbulb moments happening as we go. It's like, 'Oh! My gosh! Of course!' We just get so much out of the group sessions.

MaryKaye K.

FAQs

As discussed above, we strive to make the program as affordable as possible by offering it at a low monthly subscription of $127. And when even that is out of reach, we work with as many people as possible through a work-study program to lower their monthly costs. We do ask that people pay as much as they can afford, since there are a finite number of work-study options we can provide, and we want to help as many students as possible. But for the most part, if you really need help, we will work with you.

We also provide resources in multiple modalities to accommodate learning disabilities, neurodiversities, traumatic learning histories, and health considerations. We’re always looking for ways to improve this as well (for example, we’re currently exploring options for dyslexia-friendly fonts), so we’re open to requests and suggestions from students!

Finally, we strive to make the program a safe space for people of all backgrounds, which we do in a variety of ways. We are exploring avenues to offer BIPOC scholarships. We have a module in the program orientation on language use for inclusivity. We ask for and respect everyone’s pronouns. We actively practice removing gendered language from our speech. And we are open to correction and instruction.

Since this program is self-paced, that’s really up to you. We designed the program so that each unit could be reasonably completed in about three months if students put 5-10 hours per week into it. If you follow that schedule, it would take four years to complete all 16 units. However, it is possible to complete units as fast as one per month, which would move you through the program in 16-ish months. And of course, there are students who choose to take longer than three months per unit, which is their prerogative. 

In other words, you do you, boo.

Again, the program is self-paced, so there’s no pressure from us. We won’t rush you. That said, if you feel like your progress is going to be significantly delayed, you can always go on hiatus and come back when you’re able to devote a few hours per week to the program. We don’t want you to waste tons of money on a subscription you’re not using!

No, for a couple of reasons:

  1. As we mentioned above, the program doesn’t have any tests, so we obviously can’t give test-out options without tests!
  2. Because this is a behavior consulting program, it is structured very differently from any of the training programs out there. There will probably be material you’re familiar with in many of the units, but there will also be material you’re unfamiliar with in even the first unit. 

However, the subscription model enables you to move through the program faster, and therefore pay less, since you already have some knowledge and skills under your belt. We have set up the program to acknowledge, honor, and serve those of you who aren’t starting from scratch.

Yeah, we feel you SUPER HARD on this one. This is a really common problem that many people tell us about. The answer is that we don’t just leap from teaching you things to declaring you ready for the real world and kicking you out of the nest.

Throughout the last several units we guide you through a transitional process of first shadowing us (yes! you can shadow us remotely! because we live in the future!), to us shadowing you, to us overseeing your cases, until we all feel that you’re ready to take cases on your own. 

Additionally, our program teaches a lot of ancillary skills that help you to feel more prepared to work with clients, including executive functioning, business management, client communication, metacognition, emotional processing, and self care. Basically, we teach you everything we wish someone had taught us to help us avoid years of unnecessary anxiety and heartache.

Since we are not a certifying body we do not offer certifications or give out letters that you can put at the end of your name. We recognize that a lot of our colleagues do, and we respect their decisions, but we personally believe that only certifying organizations should provide certifications.

You will, however, be fully prepared by our program to pursue certifications in animal training and behavior consulting. We can help you navigate all of your options.

Additionally, this is what you will get from the program:

  • Your name and business link (if you have your own business or are employed somewhere) will be listed on a webpage of our graduates
  • You will be given a logo that you can use on your website, email signature, or any promotional materials you use
  • You’ll also receive a certificate which you can frame and hang on your wall

We got you!

We have a free Intro to PHMP mini course that goes into even more detail about how the course works. If you’re interested in this option, you can register here.

You can also look at the Program Overview if you want more details on what each unit entails.

And finally, if you’ve read this whole page, all the FAQs, you’ve gone through the Intro course, and/or you’ve read the Program Overview, and you still have some questions or concerns, you’re welcome to schedule a Zoom session with Emily to chat with her more about it! We’re here for you!

Meet Your Mentor

Sweet-little-old-lady

Emily Strong, CDBC, SBA

Emily Strong, CDBC, SBA is co-owner of Pet Harmony, LLC. She is committed to a Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive (LIMA) and science-based approach to training, behavior modification, and teaching people. She loves working with learners of all species, and the list of species she’s worked with so far includes dogs, cats, horses, parrots, ramphastidae, corvids, a wide variety of other bird species, rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, rats, mice, horses, donkeys, pigs, goats, tortoises, leopard geckos, snakes, pygmy octopi, fish, and a few species of insects.

Emily has been working and volunteering in various animal welfare fields since 1990, including several different shelters and rescue groups; as a vet tech in a wide variety of animal hospitals; in stables, aviaries, and wildlife rehabs; as a pet sitter for animals with medical and behavioral special needs; as a freelance journalist and editor; and finally, as a behavior consultant.

In Austin, she co-founded and ran Austin Parrot Society, served on the board of Wings of Love Bird Haven, and served as both the Volunteer Medical Coordinator and a medical and behavioral special needs foster home for Austin Pets Alive!. In 2013 she was offered a job at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah and worked there as a behavior consultant, which is where she met and began collaborating with Allie Bender.

In 2016 Emily moved to Salt Lake City, UT to go back into business for herself. She and Allie developed and founded First Train Home, co-authored the book Canine Enrichment for the Real World, and created and launched a mentorship program to help people become behavior consultants. In 2019 it became apparent to Allie and Emily that merging their consulting businesses and keeping all of their projects under one roof made the most sense, so she joined the Pet Harmony team as co-owner.

Emily is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) and a Shelter Behavior Affiliate (SBA) through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), and is TAG Teach certified at the primary level.

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Results are not guaranteed because behavior, human and canine, is not guaranteeable.