Whether you’re brand new to the industry or have been training for years, the Pet Harmony Mentorship Program can help you become the pet behavior consultant you’re meant to be.
This is exactly why we created our Mentorship Program! There are lots of options for learning how to become 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 pet behavior consultant–from the ground up.
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.
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 an affordable monthly subscription model. 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.
No problem! In-person mentors can certainly be helpful when exploring how to become a pet behavior consultant. But this program is designed to give you the ability to get hands-on, real-world practice while working with your mentor long-distance.
We get this question a lot 🙂 And we work with a lot of students who start out thinking they want to be pet trainers. But when it comes to working with animals, your title matters!
Certified pet trainers typically work with clients on basic manners, job skills, sports and some nuisance behaviors. If you become an animal or pet trainer, you’ll likely find yourself working in training facilities, shelters and/or more.
A certified pet behavior consultant, on the other hand, is focused on helping pets and their humans manage – and change – maladaptive behaviors, such as aggression, anxiety, resource guarding and more. Behavior consultants go beyond basic skills like sit, stay and lie down. Instead, they aim to get to the root of behavior problems so pets and humans can live together more harmoniously.
With a pet behavior consulting certification, you could build your own private pet training business and work with individual owners, shelters or other groups.
We’re in the trenches, doing what you want to do every day as pet behavior consultants.
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.
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.
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.
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. If you’ve already been exploring how to become a pet behavior consultant, then you’re just ahead of the game!
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.
As discussed above, we strive to make the program as affordable as possible by offering it as a monthly subscription instead of requiring people to pay half or more up front. And when even the subscription price 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, 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. When you’re on the path to learning how to become a pet behavior consultant, there’s no need to rush!
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:
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. We are not just giving you behavior modification skills, we are literally teaching you how to become a pet behavior consultant.
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 how to become a certified pet behavior consultant after the program.
Additionally, this is what you will get from the program:
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 about how to become a pet behavior consultant, you’re welcome to schedule a Zoom session with Emily to chat with her more about it! We’re here for you!
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 learn how to become pet 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.