Nearly a decade ago, I was told my puppy was “behaviorally not right” and wouldn’t succeed by a veterinarian and several trainers. I started this blog because I was determined Miles’ story wouldn’t end there. There is a place for the wild dogs. Welcome!
Emma Kesler, BFA, CDBC, CPDT-KA
I am one of those people who strongly believes that if you don’t try, you will never know. Like a terrier, I am passionate about problem-solving and I am not afraid to take risks or make mistakes. 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 child, I begged my parents for a dog but it wasn’t until I took care of a lost dog that my mother realized I was serious about my interest. I was the rare kid who actually took care of my dog! Cinnamon and I were inseparable. Two nights a week my dad shuttled us an hour away from home to obedience classes and Dog 4-H. To this day, my dad often hops on a plane to support Miles and me at big competitions. I am a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) through the Certification Council for Professional dog Trainers. I also have a BFA and am a freelance photographer, illustrator, and writer. milesandemma.com has been honored with Dog Writer’s Association of America Maxwell Medallions for all three of these areas. My heroes are Frederick Douglass and Temple Grandin. My favorite pastimes are learning about and thinking about behavior, dog agility, hiking, my 1989 Toyota MR2, sarcasm, and art. I live in the PNW and am an avid hiker. I love the mountains, sea, forests… and even the rain!
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 track and 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 dog trainer. Private training and many group classes later, I was repeatedly told the same thing: that Miles was too difficult to train. Trainers who advertised force-free methods quickly became exasperated with Miles’ natural terrier behaviors and recommended reverting to old-school methods of force and intimidation. At the time, I had just completed my BFA and was gearing up to pursue my career. I dropped everything to figure out how to help Miles. I was convinced that his behaviors were natural, untrained, and misunderstood. I realized there was a gap in dog training and if I wanted to make a 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 sought further education, began coaching others, and Miles and I became an unstoppable team. Miles is now the most titled Welsh Terrier of all time. I am so glad I listened to Miles, and that I never listened to those who recommended that I break his spirit.
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, Lifetime Achievement Award
Why a Dog Blog?
People bring dogs into their lives so they can find some relief and companionship in this 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 were bred specifically to be human companions. For many breeds, the very ingrained working traits that we bred them for can conflict with companion pet life, if we aren’t sure how to live and work with them. Terriers for example are often considered “naughty dogs who don’t listen.” On this blog, I’d like to show that we take the time to try and understand our dogs, and work with the dogs we choose, we can accomplish a great deal. There really aren’t any naughty dogs, there are only misunderstood dogs. I want to bring the attention back to the beauty of the human/canine bond. The bond we have with dogs rests in our differences, and the ways we find to communicate and connect 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.