About us

Wild At Heart Dog Training, Courtenay and Comox Valley BC

Emily Priestley, CTC, SAPT

Emily Priestley, CTC, is a multi-certified dog trainer having graduated from the renowned Academy for Dog Trainers.  Based in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, she has been working with and handling dogs professionally for over a decade. 

Certified and in good standing with:
-The Academy for Dog Trainers
-Michael Shikashio's Aggression in Dogs Master Course
-BC SPCA's AnimalKind program
-Julie Naismith's Separation Anxiety Trainer Program 
-Certified Death Doula to assist with pet loss

As well, Emily's long career with the BC SPCA has allowed her to have a proven track record, having personally handled over 2,000 dogs. With experience with a magnitude of breeds and all problem behaviours, Emily has worked with dogs who are in desperate need of intervention and behaviour modification.

As well as being an Academy for Dog Trainers graduate, she is also accredited by the BC SPCA's AnimalKind program, and is certified as an SA Pro, to help humanely and effectively guide you and your dog to recovery from separation anxiety.

She is committed to using current, scientific and kind techniques, and continuing education to ensure that you’re in the hands of the most advanced methods out there.

Emily will always provide a nonjudgmental, kind, and supportive atmosphere for both dogs and their guardians and will always be transparent about methods and techniques, allowing you to feel comfortable handing over the leash.

Kari burke, ctc

In person basics, manners and all things puppy!

Kari began working with dogs in a daycare setting where she was responsible for a large group of dogs of all ages, sizes and behaviour.  If you were lucky to have your dog with her, she will still remember them as she bonds quickly and genuinely with each animal she works with.  She brought the same individual attention and care to her career with the BC SPCA’s local branch where she was responsible for the dog adoption program and housing, working with some of our Province’s toughest cases. 

While Kari has experience with dogs of all kinds, she is our resident Boston Terrier lover, and as a dog mom to 5 dogs understands the complexities of multidog households!  Kari is fully certified through The Academy for Dog Trainers.  Coupled with her unprecedented hands-on experience, her knowledge and personal attention to each dogs makes it easy to hand over the leash. 

Kari is available for basics + manners, all things puppy, day training and walk and train appointments servicing Comox and Courtenay only at this time.  Kari is not currently accepting fear/aggression or reactivity cases.


Private Virtual Behaviour - Wild At Heart Dogs, Courtenay and Comox Valley BC

Private Virtual behaviour consult

When dog behaviours clash with the peace in our home, it can feel like you’ll never restore harmony.

Get supportive help for:

-leash reactivity




-resource guarding

-destructive behaviour

-jumping up

-impulse control issues

-Assessments for municipalities and bylaws

and much, much more. 

Using force free, up to date techniques, you will receive a personalized plan.  This virtual service is available worldwide!

Specializing in fear and aggression, Emily is committed to providing a supportive environment as you work towards a better life for you and your dog.

Reserved space is available for vet and trainer referrals.

BASIC ISSUES 1 hour virtual session: $150.  Includes a detailed plan.

FEAR/AGGRESSION 1 hour virtual session: $175.  Includes detailed plans. 

Some issues are resolved very quickly and others take more than one session.  Repeat clients can access the client refresh options for discounts. Emily is committed to making sure that you're not pressured into rebooking!  

Reactive to proactive

Do you want to go from reactive to proactive?

Join the long list of clients who are finding relief from their dog's reactive behaviour. Lunging, barking, hackles up, pulling and even lunging at cars and bicycles can all make for frustrating and upsetting walks. Many people struggle to control their dogs, many do not enjoy their walks and others are concerned about what their dog would do if they managed to break free.

Imagine walking with empowerment, control, an engaged dog and less stress. My reactive dog sessions give you the power to get back on your walks, manage the behaviour and work to end it. You'll also receive emergency tips, ongoing support and access to our client support group!

The Reactive to Proactive sessions are virtual, effective and tried and tested. You'll have a 1 hour virtual session with Emily, Wild at Heart's behaviour consultant followed by a month of in depth support and a mid point check in.

Get help for one of the most common complaints and get back to enjoying your relationship with your dog!

Included: 1 hour virtual behaviour consult with Emily, follow up mid point check in consult, 1 month of email support, access to our client support group via Facebook and detailed and personalized plans and information. 


Separation Anxiety - Wild At Heart Dogs, Courtenay and Comox Valley BC

Separation anxiety

Are you feeling stuck and overwhelmed because you can't leave your dog at home alone? Does your dog vocalize, pant, pace, chew, go to the washroom and otherwise panic when you're out of the house? 

Most trainers can't help.  Most vets don't know what to do.  I can help.  I'm certified and current in the most up to date techniques to help you and your dog live comfortably when you're gone. 

With 3 plan options to choose from, you can match your budget and plan to your dog's needs.  

THE MASTER PLAN: This in depth, supportive, 4 week program will give you 2 virtual coaching sessions via zoom, 4 weeks of detailed, personal plans, 1:1 daily support and feedback and troubleshooting and analysis along the way. 

LITE PLAN: With all of the perks of the full plan, but for clients with less time to meet for weekly sessions, this option provides 1 Zoom session to onboard you and get you started!  You'll still be in touch with me via email and I'll be troubleshooting and guiding along the way, providing new plans daily.  This is our most popular plan.  

MINI PLAN: For clients who have  graduated from a previous plan, I provide all of your plans on a daily basis based on feedback from you via email.  We'll move at your dog's pace, and I'll be there to troubleshoot and answer all questions along the way.  I'll still be there to support you, but we won't meet on Zoom! 

Unsure if you're dealing with separation anxiety?  I can help diagnose and understand what's best for you in this 15 minute separation anxiety consult.

FREE - email to book

Board and Train - Wild At Heart Dogs, Courtenay and Comox Valley BC

urban sheepdog

Herding behaviour on a farm or ranch is amazing to see.  Dogs selectively bred to move livestock, fully in tune with their work and loving their lives.  These invaluable farm hands are great at their jobs and are an invaluable member of the team. 

Very quickly, we've taken these dogs from ranches and farms and put them into cities and condos.  They are so many things that we would love them to be.  Smart, athletic, affectionate and yet, so many of them are struggling.  Their skillset that has worked so well for over a century isn't needed anymore.  They react to cars, people, dogs.  They struggle to get enough enrichment and exercise.  They try to use their breed behaviours on the wrong targets.  In some cases, they are labeled out of control, over the top or untrained.  In extreme cases, their breed behaviours lead to rehoming, problems in the home or much worse.  

Perfect for border collies, Australian cattle dogs, Australian shepherds, shelties, kelpies, shepherds and many, many more. 

-Learn to understand your breed

- Learn to understand what motivates the behaviours

-Find out how they see the world and embrace the herder in your dog

-Learn how to give your dog legal outlets for their breed behaviours

-find out if your dog is struggling from a deeper issue, such as compulsive disorders

You will get expert eyes on your case and spend one month receiving unlimited email and video support from Emily. 

We will meet for 2 zoom sessions and deep dive and unpack your case.  You'll receive plans, tips, games and videos to change your relationship with your herding breed dog.  

Go beyond "your dog needs a job". 

-1 hour deep dive session into your case via Zoom
-30 minute follow up zoom session
-plans, tips, recommendations for all behaviours including reactivity
-1 month unlimited email support
-1 month unlimited video support 

all for just $250.00

Puppy Foundations - Wild At Heart Dogs, Courtenay and Comox Valley BC

Puppy foundations

Puppies, although adorable, come with their own set of challenges.  From socialization, manners, impulse control, housetraining and play biting, we’ve got a lot of work to do!  Let’s set them up for success and keep it fun for you at the same time.  

We can help you navigate your new bundle of joy and even help prevent aggression and problem behaviours in the future.  A great investment!

I recommend 3 virtual sessions and you'll receive everything you need to get your pup off to a great start! Available for pups aged 8 weeks - 20 weeks.

With Emily via Zoom (available worldwide) 1 hour: $100  

With Kari in person (Comox and Courtenay only) $150.  Email to book

Cat Behaviour - Wild At Heart Dogs, Courtenay and Comox Valley BC

Cat Behaviour

Cats offer up a whole different set of behaviours and sharing a home with these little guys can be a never ending stream of enjoyment and surprises.  Let Emily explain what your cat is up to, help remedy behaviour issues and set up your home to be a cat paradise!

1 hour virtual session: $50 + tax

Trade in prong, bark, and shock collars for 15% off your initial service - Wild At Heart Dogs, Courtenay and Comox Valley BC

15% off initial service

Trade in your prong collars, bark collars, electric fence or shock collars and receive 15% off your initial service withough judgement.  I will explain the mechanics of these tools and help you understand why they are dangerous and what problems they can create at no cost to you.

Go force free! 

Techniques and Training

Because dog training is an unregulated industry, it's very important that our dogs are handled by those who are educated and accredited.  Wild at Heart is both- Emily is certified through The Academy for Dog Trainers, considered the best in the world for our industry.  She is also accredited through the BC SPCA's AnimalKind program, vetted and tested to meet high standards so you feel comfortable handing over the leash.

At Wild at Heart, we’re committed to being 100% transparent, non-aversive and current on techniques.  We promise never to hurt, scare, punish or intimidate you or your dog- something that “old school” dog trainers want you to think is part of “balanced training”.  Emily will use scientifically proven methods and will engage your dog and work with him to get more of the behaviours you want and less of those you don’t.   

Flooding, dominating, shocking, physically correcting and punishing your dog is not what any of us want and we promise to get results without the use of these techniques and tools.  We feel so strongly about this, you’ll receive 15% off your initial service if you trade in your shock collar, bark collar, prong collar or electric fence.   

If at any point you’re uncomfortable about a trainer, a technique, a method or a tool, you have the right to ask for the leash back.  At Wild at Heart, we are committed to doing no harm, but as this profession is unregulated, anyone can call themselves a trainer, behaviourist, whisperer or dog psychologist.  For that reason, ask questions, feel comfortable with the answers and feel free to ask for clarification on how techniques will be done and why they work.  If you’re ever uncomfortable or the trainer you’re working with can’t answer your questions, don’t walk, run!



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