“I have had the pleasure of working with Emily for several years. She is a diligent and compassionate animal behavior consultant who is very knowledgeable about contemporary, positive reinforcement based principles and practices. One of the most admirable attributes is her respect for her clients. She is committed to sharing understanding and is confident about their ability to learn and improve what they do to help their animals. Emily is also committed to her own ongoing education and skill building, which makes her an outstanding professional in the field. I recommend her highly.”
DR. SUSAN FRIEDMAN, PhD, BEHAVIORWORKS.ORG
“I have had the pleasure of frequently teaming with Allie Bender. Allie assists many of my veterinary clients to implement the behavior modification plans I have recommended for their pets. These patients include many with very serious diagnoses involving anxiety, fear, and aggression. Allie has an excellent teaching style and develops great rapport with my clients. She provides email support beyond her sessions that is invaluable. Her education, knowledge, and experience in animal behavior, learning theory, and behavior modification techniques are extensive and impressive. Allie has helped me achieve many successful outcomes and my clients could not be happier! It is a pleasure to have such a wonderful colleague. Our relationship sets an excellent example of the value of collaboration between veterinarians and professional behavioral trainers, that brings even greater benefit to our mutual clients.”
DR. FIIA JOKELA, DVM, DABVP (CANINE/FELINE), OWNER & VETERINARY BEHAVIOR RESIDENT: CHICAGOLAND VETERINARY BEHAVIOR CONSULTANTS
“Emily is a knowledgeable and compassionate behavior consultant. She strives to continue to learn and has a solid understanding of animals and their behavior. If she feels something is beyond her capabilities, she seeks assistance and guidance from other behavior professionals. She is a great resource if you are facing challenges with your pet.”
DEBBIE MARTIN, KPA-CTP, CPDT-KA, LVT, VETERINARY TECHNICIAN SPECIALIST IN BEHAVIOR, CO-OWNER OF TEAM EDUCATION IN ANIMAL BEHAVIOR, ANIMAL BEHAVIOR TECHNICIAN AT VETERINARY BEHAVIOR CONSULTATIONS, LLC
“Cortez is doing amazing, with utilizing the positive reinforcement training, counter conditioning, and shaping he has improved so much!! His reactions to kids and other dogs has decreased by a landslide, I am a proud mother!! Just wanted to let you know I referred one of my friends to you.”
“Best money ever spent!!!!!! Your training was phenomenal and has made a tremendous difference.”
“I cannot say enough about Emily Strong. She came to my home on various occasions to help me with an array of issues surrounding the adoption of a new cat and my FIV kitty. She gave me a number of specific actions I could take to improve my situation, and even sent detailed follow-up notes from each visit… I trust Emily’s ideas, expertise and her spirit when it comes to animals and would recommend her to anyone who wants to get more involved in the complete health of their pets.”
“Thank you so much for all of your help. I can’t tell you how helpful this training plan was and we still haven’t even gotten around to trying everything on it! I also discovered that I really love training her when at first I thought it just be painstaking and frustrating (not that it can’t be at times).”
“Emily understands how dogs think. She counseled us concerning our young beagle mix, Amber, who had several undesirable behavior issues, including occasional fights with our older beagle mix, guarding behavior, stealing food off counters, and separation anxiety. Emily suggested some simple changes that we could implement. She carefully explained why these changes would make a difference and stressed that consistency was important. Emily’s advice was exactly what we needed. The changes provided Amber with reasonable boundaries and enabled her to “unlearn” her bad behavior. We now have a calm, settled dog, who willingly and happily obeys the rules of the house.”
“I just wanted to take the time and thank [Allie] for getting me in. I can’t even begin to tell you all that I learned and I’m beyond excited to put it all to work (as I have already trained my husband on the do’s and don’ts). I was extremely impressed by the whole process and more than anything…I walked away with hope and excitement!! Thank you again!”
“My husband and I have two parrots and 3 dogs. We have hired Emily for Parrot Behavior Consultations for both of our parrots and her advice has been excellent and her knowledge of parrots is extensive. She explains everything so thoroughly and she genuinely cares about our parrots. I cannot recommend Emily enough for animal behavior consultations.”
“Thanks to You Allie we are making progress. We took her to visit our daughter in Ohio over the weekend, using all our tools when approaching the troubled spots we saw a big improvement. Our daughter said she was calmer.”
“I want to let you know that Holly is still much better with her barking at people and the delivery vehicles that pass our house. We have been working with her when she is on the deck at our camper and she is doing well there, too! Our time with [Allie] was so beneficial. And the resources you shared are great. I go back and visit them on occasion to be sure that I am on target with how we are working with her.”
“We worked with Ellen on our dog’s complex behavior struggles. She helped us create a realistic and attainable plan to manage and modify his behaviors to improve all of our quality of life. Dog behavior is really hard, and Ellen made a huge difference.”
“If you’re expecting a training session where the trainer does all the work for you and then have your dog do just whatever YOU please, then Pet Harmony is not for you. But if you’re looking to learn more about how you can advocate for your pet better, fulfill their needs while addressing your own from them, and actually building a trustful partnership with your beloved companion then you’ve come to the right place!
Turning to Pet Harmony to help us manage our dog Bao’s diagnosed GAD and have him get along better with our other dog Noodle has been one of the best decisions we’ve made as pet parents. Ellen has taught us to read both of our pets’ cues and devise a management plan that has greatly improved ours and our pets’ quality of life. We’re truly grateful!
You’re getting CERTIFIED trainers who are very empathic to you as guardians of your pet, AND who train with science-based methods to get you and your pet where you need to be.”
“My wife and I put all four of our dogs through training with Pet Harmony. We had a particularly scary incident a few years ago where our middle dog attacked our oldest and had been defrauded by another pet agency. We had to rotate our dogs constantly and were in dire straits. Although we were slow to trust, we put our faith into Emily and it paid off tenfold. I can say without reservation and from the bottom of my heart that her intelligence, kindness, and patience turned our entire lives around. We went from having to separate our dogs constantly and not letting them see one another to having them be happy and healthy and able to spend time and play together.
We began going during the end of the Pandemic and the virtual lessons we got in addition to the ways Emily taught us to track stimulus, reaction, and behavior brought us to a whole new level of understanding of our dogs. We don’t have have anxiety attacks anymore when we have to go out for the evening and ask someone else to watch them and we don’t worry constantly about relapses. I can safely say that going through training with Emily made us better trainers for our dogs and, honestly, better pet parents. There were so many things we never thought about that effected our dogs- from providing more stimulus with nose work to not accidentally reinforcing heightened reactions to common stimuli. With the tools and resources she gave us, these things were easier to remember and there was always a spot to go back and look things up. (Highly recommend their book!)
Emily is an absolute expert in her field, and her ability to conduct effective virtual training sessions was truly amazing. She demonstrated a profound understanding of animal behavior and was able to tailor her training methods to suit each of our dogs’ personalities and needs, even through the screen miles away.
It’s evident that she and everyone else at Pet Harmony genuinely care about the well-being and progress of every animal they work with, regardless of the training format, and personally want you and your pet to succeed. Emily did not only focus on teaching our dogs but also on equipping us with the knowledge and tools to continue training at home and ensure we did not fall off the wagon into bad habits again.
Basically, we owe our happiness to Pet Harmony and Emily in particular. She has changed our lives and is a tremendous person. We highly recommend this service, in person or virtual, and will continue to recommend it to everyone we know who needs dog training.”
“MaryKaye did a wonderful job with our greyhound! She educated us and gave us the tools to help succeed in our training goals. We noticed great improvement during the course of our meetings due to MaryKaye’s training approach and techniques. She was great to work with, and we wouldn’t hesitate to use Pet Harmony’s services again!”
“The experience I had with Pet Harmony and specifically MaryKaye was amazing. Firstly my dogs both loved her to pieces and she was really able to help me look at things from a different perspective so that I can have a more harmonious relationship with my lovely Bully!!! He isn’t a huge fan of other dogs and would act out and now we can see other dogs and get past them with ease.
We had a new puppy when the training started so I was also able to learn how to use positive reinforcement instead of the previous dog training I had learned which was all negative reinforcement. This has allowed me to have a much deeper and loving relationship with my pups.
They were already loved to pieces and great pups but now they are even better since we can communicate on an even better level.
I would highly recommend MaryKaye and Petharmony to anyone regardless of what you are looking for for your pups.
I can honestly say I wish I would have used them for basic obedience with all my furry babies.”
“We signed up for one session with Pet Harmony trainer, Tracy Harachi, and got so much more help with our puppy than we expected! Although we’ve raised dogs for forty years, Tracy taught us new, effective training techniques. She was incredibly generous with her time and expertise. Our experience with her was a pleasure in every way. Pet Harmony continues to support us with regular training tips and advice. I highly recommend their service.”
“My dog was having tons of problems with extreme anxiety, (growling at men, specific women, kids, etc.) and when she bit my friend despite multiple trainers, I decided it was time to get some specialized help. I used Emily through their intense behavior rehabilitation program and I cannot recommend her enough! I have a completely different dog now. She used to not be able to be around my fiancé without growling, now she cuddles him and is excited to see him when he comes home. It is truly amazing.
Emily was extremely knowledgeable, patient, and helpful. After the 10 weeks I could not believe how much of a difference there was. Pet Harmony focuses on teaching the owners how to deal with problems as they arise as well so I feel well equipped to handle any future behavior concerns. I tell everyone who has any kind of problems with training to talk with Emily and the Pet Harmony team!!”
“We worked with Ellen virtually to help with our dog’s reactivity. Ellen was very attentive to what we wanted to get out of training and molded our sessions to help us achieve those goals. As new dog owners, she also significantly helped boost our confidence. With her help our dog has improved so much and walks are so much easier!”
“We adopted a rescue dog that we loved but he had some significant behavioral problems (separation anxiety, resource guarding, fear-based aggression). We managed them as best we could for several years before we learned about Emily Strong and the rest of the amazing team at Pet Harmony. We will be forever grateful we found them! We have learned so much and are much better equipped to understand and manage our dog’s behavior. Cannot recommend this team highly enough!”
“Our dog was becoming increasingly anxious around our baby and we reached out to Allie at Pet Harmony for help. We learned a lot about our dog’s behavior and what signs to look for when she’s becoming anxious. Now we have a much better understanding of our dog and what tools we can use to help her calm down or remove herself from a stressful situation. We are forever grateful!”
“My maltipoo and I live on a crowded-with-dogs street in downtown Chicago, and my dog suddenly began reacting wildly every time we passed another dog on the street or when a person startled him. Needless to say, it was extremely problematic and even becoming dangerous. Ellen helped me tremendously by giving me lots of tools to use to manage his behavior in the moment, and even to stop him from reacting before he began to bark. I think of Ellen as my ‘puppy mentor.'”
“MaryKaye is so talented and guided me with my leash reactive Beagle. She provided lots of knowledge and hands-on help in a way that was easy for me to understand and doable for my busy life! We have noticed a huge, positive change in our sweet Beagle after working with MaryKaye. I highly recommend her.”
DR. JACLYN FLECK
“5 stars is not enough for Pet Harmony & Allie Bender. Prior to working with Allie, I had reached a plateau with my dog-reactive pup Comet. Allie’s expertise in tweaking our behavioral work and her kind approach made a huge positive impact that ended the plateau and resulted in a happier, calmer, less-reactive Comet.”
“Pet Harmony & MaryKaye changed our lives. No gimmicks, no devices, no pre-packaged one size fits all approach. I was losing hope for helping my suddenly reactive adult dog. MaryKaye took the time to get to know Coco, and me, and helped us both learn to listen, observe , and communicate better. We learned so many practical ways to manage Coco’s big emotions about all of the scary things in the world. Before our first session no one could even approach our house without Coco becoming an escalating out of control ball of ferocious barking and fear. She had to be physically restrained during our initial consultation. We’re still learning and working, but today the outbursts are the exception. These days Coco rests in her “relaxation station” when she’s stressed, can turn and walk away from triggers, loves to play “find it” in the yard instead of barking at every living thing in the neighborhood, and happily sits right next to MaryKaye on the couch during the discussion portion of our training sessions. I’d call it a miracle, but that isn’t accurate. These amazing changes happened because MaryKaye is an excellent teacher of (and friend to) dogs and humans.”
“Smart, well informed, fun empathic trainers. Make the process of getting from A to B seem possible and doable when the prospects seem bleak.”