Emma Kesler CPDT-KA
I am one of those people who strongly believes that if you don’t try, you will never know. All of my life, I have been interested in and passionate about the bonds humans share with other creatures. I grew up in Oregon in a family of non-dog-people… You know, the kind of people who react to an oncoming dog as if a dinosaur is approaching? As a little girl, I begged my parents for a dog, but, it wasn’t until I took care of a lost dog we found while hiking that my parents realized I was serious about my interest. After that, my parents got me a puppy, and I was the rare kid who actually took care of him! Cinnamon and I were inseparable. Two nights a week, my hard-working dad shuttled us an hour away from home to obedience classes and Dog 4-H. To this day, my dad often journeys to support Miles and I at big competitions. Since 2014 I have held the industry standard dog training designation of Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). I run a distance-based training practice where I coach people with terriers. I am an avid professional photographer, illustrator, and writer, and milesandemma.com has won Dog Writer’s Association of America Maxwell Medallion awards for all three of these areas. My heroes are Frederick Douglass and Temple Grandin. My favorite pastimes are learning and thinking about behavior, dog agility, hiking, my 1989 MR2, sarcasm, and good tv and movies. I am a Pacific Northwest girl at heart: I don’t own an umbrella despite living in the rainiest part of North America, and my motto could be: “why choose between beaches, forests, cityscape and the mountains, when you can have all at once?”
Miles is a full-o’-beans Welsh Terrier, named after the musician Miles Davis. Miles is a very true-to-breed Welsh Terrier, a 10/10 on my “full strength terrier” scale. He is hard-wired to chase anything that moves, his teeth are enormous, and he is always looking for action. Less than a week into being placed with me at Miles’ first veterinary check-up the vet told me that Miles was behaviorally damaged and needed to see the best local private dog trainer. Private training and many group classes later, I was repeatedly told the same thing: that Miles was beyond help, too difficult to train. Trainers who used force-free methods quickly became exasperated with Miles’ natural terrier behaviors and recommended old-school methods of force and intimidation to break his spirit. At the time, I had just completed my BFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. I had graduated top of my class and was ready to begin my career. Instead, I dropped everything to focus on Miles. I knew he wasn’t “bad,” he was misunderstood. I realized there was a gap in dog training, and if I wanted to make change, I had to be that change. I began this blog to document our training journey. I ended up realizing that I was a natural at working with “full-strength terriers,” and my entire life changed. I began coaching others, and Miles and I became an unstoppable team. Miles is now the most awarded performance Welsh Terrier of all time.
Miles’ Official Name With Titles:
PACH ATChC IACS IWACS Shaireab’s Your Under Arrest CGN, CGCA, CGCU, ADC, SGDC, NAP, NJP, NFP, AADC, AGDC, OAP, OJP, OFP, MADC, MGDC, MSDC, MJDC, MTRDC, MSDC, MSCDC, MCDC, MXP, MJP, MFP, T2BP, T2B2, Expert Standard Bronze, Expert Gamble Bronze, Expert Jumpers Bronze, Expert Snooker Bronze, Expert Challenge Bronze, Expert Team Relay Bronze, Expert Steeplechase Bronze, Bronze Award of Merit, Versatility Bronze, Expert Standard Silver, Expert Gamble Silver, Expert Jumpers Silver, Expert Snooker Silver, Expert Team Relay Silver, Expert Steeplechase Silver, Silver Award of Merit, Versatility Silver, Expert Standard Gold, Expert Gamble Gold, Expert Jumpers Gold, Expert Snooker Gold, Gold Award of Merit, MXP2, MXP3, MXPB, MJP2, MJP3, MJP4, MJPB, MFPB, TQXP, T2BP2, PAX, TKN, TKI, TKA, TKP, NTD, ITD, ATD, ETD, TDCH.
Why a Dog Blog?
People bring pets into their lives so they can find some relaxation and companionship in this busy world. Often and without even realizing it, we end up placing enormous expectations on the animals we bring into our lives. In their role as dedicated human companions, dogs are especially subject to our wants and desires. For centuries, dogs were primarily bred to fulfill important working roles, such as: herding, guarding, hunting, and pest control. Only a select portion of dogs have been bred specifically to be human companions. For many breeds, the very ingrained working traits that we bred them for now conflict with the sudden expectation to exist solely as our companions. Sometimes what is supposed to be a leisurely life together becomes a struggle. A Welsh Terrier like Miles isn’t born knowing what people want. Oftentimes, people want results without taking the time to learn how to communicate with the other being involved, or to consider why the other animal might behave or react the way they do. Especially with highly-specific working breeds, it often seems easier to just label the dog “bad” or to find humor in the way the dog struggles to adjust and simply call them “naughty.” On this blog, I’d like to show that if you take the time to try and understand your dog, and work with the dog you’ve chosen, you can accomplish a great deal. After all, the beauty of the human/canine bond lies in our differences, and the ways we find to communicate with each other across these differences. Dogs allow us to relish the sloppiness and imperfection that is life with pride and gusto. And that is why we love them.