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Conducting Virtual Consultations

Self-Study Course


Coming in November


Presenter: Katenna Jones

Overview: As animal behavior consultants, we know all too well how hard it is to keep a client seeing a behavior problem treatment though to its successful end. Life gets in the way, schedules are filled, money runs out, patience is lost, and so on and so on. Often, the owners who need us most are those who can afford us least or those who are not near us. Add to that the fact that, like a significant other… or great shoes…a good behavior consultant is hard to find.

Are you a behavior consultant who has successfully resolved a variety of behavior cases and are you looking to expand your business?

Are you new to the industry and looking for ways to get your name out there?

This course will teach any behavior consultant the ins and outs of offering virtual behavior consultations. Learn how to do it as well as when (and when not!) to do it.


  1. Effective and skilled in marker training, shaping, and capturing.
  2. Effective in interpersonal communication.
  3. Basic computer abilities (email, IMing, Skype, word processing, etc.)

Required Course Materials:

  • Internet access
  • Webcam 
  • Facebook account
  • Skype account
  • Ability to record audio and video of your own computer
  • At least two pets available for Skype consultations!

Weekly Contents

Module 1: Setting clients up with technology


Students will learn how to make the remote consultation experience as smooth and as enjoyable as possible for clients. As you already know, the first step in gaining a new client is setting up the initial consult. The harder step is securing the follow-up. Clients are often already upset or frustrated – that's why they came to us to begin with. Is critical that we avoid developing frustration in association with us too! Consultants must be prepared to instruct, support, and troubleshoot clients throughout the experience, but more importantly, ensure the remote consult yields informative, usable content. In this module, students will learn how to connect with clients via Skype and at least one other format, ensure clients have clear and concise instructions, and ensure the remote connection is a quality one.

Recommended Homework

  • Find a partner to test/practice your online live video chat account with.
  • Set up session to discuss and test various factors, considerations, settings, etc.
  • Develop a checklist of the factors you think you will need to consider when working with your new client (Your video/camera quality, client video/camera quality, lighting, field of frame, your connection, client connection, etc.)
  • Modify as needed and turn it into a client handout on how to use online live video chat for remote consultations. 

Module 2: The consult


Students will learn how to navigate a remote consultation. When it comes to performing behavior consults, we all know that what the client thinks is going on is not always what is actually going on! We cannot rely on the interpretation of others of a pet's behavior – we must rely on ourselves as the professionals. Further, handling difficult clients, ending on time, and gathering the necessary information are critical to successful remote consultations. Like with many things, practice makes perfect. In this module, students should participate in conducting online live video chat consultations.

Recommended Homework:

  • Find a partner to roll play a consult with.
  • "Client" will present a problem behavior to their partner "consultant" (behavior problem can be made up, based on own pet, based on client, etc.)
  • "Consultant" will work with "client" determine what is going on.
  • Problem behavior should be fairly basic and straight forward.
  • Complete the provided self-assessment and partner-assessment forms.
  • Consults should be recorded if possible.

Module 3: Identifying services


Like with any tool, remote consultations have their limitations and benefits. Students will assess those merits and limits of using online live video chat, email, and phone as behavior consulting tools. Depending on your skill set and experience, some of you may find certain behaviors better suited to certain mediums. It is important for a consultant to have a variety of tools in their toolbox, but also know when – and when not – to apply those tools. In this module, students will determine when (or if!!) they can use remote consultation services, and when they should not.

Recommended Homework:

  • Create a spreadsheet, list, or table of the behavior problems you currently work with. Indicate which behaviors in the list may be addressed via online live video chat, may not be addressed via online live video chat, and may only be addressed via Online live video chat when certain criteria are in place. Justification is to be provided for each (ex: Why can this behavior not be addressed via online live video chat?)
  • Contact your insurance policy carriers to review the list and determine if liability concerns impact addressing behavior consultations via online live video chat.


Member Cost $60
Non-Member Cost $75

Online Course Cancellation Policy:

Courses cannot be refunded once purchased.


About the Presenter

Through her business Jones Animal Behavior, Katenna Jones provides private dog and cat behavior consulting services, group classes, and seminars at both local and national events. Katenna is the former Director of Educational Programs for the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, Animal Behaviorist for the American Humane Association, and Behaviorist and Investigator for the RISPCA. She has been involved in animal sheltering and rescue since 2000, is a disaster responder, is author of Fetching the Perfect Dog Trainer: Getting the Best for You and Your Dog and has contributed to numerous local and national publications. Katenna earned her Master's from Brown University where she studied animal behavior, learning and cognition. She is an Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, Certified Cat and Dog Behavior Consultant, and Certified Pet Dog Trainer. She shares her RI home with her husband, two adopted cats, and adopted dog.


For questions, email courses@iaabc.org.

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