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2023 Curriculum
Level 1


Step 1 - Introductory Workshop

January 28, 2023

The purpose of this 2 – 3-hour workshop is for you to get to know your fellow students as well as your teachers; and it will give your teachers a chance to learn more about you while we give you a quick introduction of Affective Dog Behavior and the curriculum to this course.  

Step 2 - Knowledge Phase

Knowlege Phase

February – May 2023

True to our teachings, we have structured this course in ways that help promote the very thing that makes us social: Connection.


Zoom classes will be held on Saturdays from 11 am MST to 5:30 pm MST with 30 minute breaks; the 2023 dates are as outlined below. The supporting course book will be released to you in chapters two days prior to each corresponding class. While the course book includes assignments, these written assignments are voluntary and can be submitted to us for assessment. However, each class is concluded with a practical 2 to 4-minute video assignment to be submitted within the week.

While the classes are taught using PowerPoint, we encourage our students to ask questions and actively participate in the discussions. 


The (proposed) schedule is as follows:

(final dates will be announced after enrollment closes)


Modules 1 – 3

  • The concept of Affective Dog Behavior

  • The nervous system & the brain

  • The levels of control 

          (the "levels of control" is a term used in Jaak Panksepp's Affective Neuroscience to identify how the brain organizes itself)

Class: February 18, 2023


Module 4                                  

The Primary Emotional Systems of SEEKING, RAGE and FEAR

Class: March 4, 2023


The Primary Emotional Systems of LUST, CARE, PANIC/GRIEF and PLAY

Class: March 18, 2023


Module 5

Social creature comfort

(taking a look at basic Social Neuroscience)

Class: April 1, 2023


Module 6

  • Helping dogs feel safe WITH us but in THEIR ways

  • "Learned Helplessness"

Class: April 15, 2023


Modules 7 - 10

  • How do dogs really learn?

  • The ups and downs of stress

  • Oxytocin, endogenous opioids & dopamine

  • The Polyvagal Theory (basics)

Class: April 29, 2023

Final Q&A with group video analyses

Thank you for hanging in there with us during the past few weeks.

This final class is set aside solely for your questions, to discuss ADB as a group and to analyze some of your video assignments as a group.

Class: May 13, 2023


Classes start at: 







Additional classes: (dates/times TBD)

(1) Diversity Class - required attendance

(2) Role Play Class(es) - required attendance

Missed classes:

To pass all certification requirements, you will have to attend all scheduled classes, including the Diversity Class and a minimum of one Role Play Class as a role play participant. However, if you have to miss a class due to an unforeseeable circumstance, you can watch the recording of the missed class followed by a 30-minute catch-up zoom session for further discussion. 


One scheduled (date/time tbd) Diversity Class will be taught through a 3rd party and included in your course tuition. If you miss this scheduled class, special arrangements will allow you to complete this class at another time for an additional 3rd-party fee.

Knowledge Diploma students only:

If you have chosen to attend our virtual classes only, all attendance and assignment requirements have to be met to earn the "Knowledge Diploma". Should you decide at a later date that you would like to complete the entire Level 1 Certification Course, you will not have to repeat these classes, but, depending on time passed between Knowledge Diploma and course completion, may be required to attend a specially-designed refresher workshop (at an additional cost).

Auditioning select individual classes only:

If you are not able to commit to the full Certification Course or the Knowledge Diploma Course, but you are interested in the topics covered in our classes, you can choose to audit select individual classes. At this point, auditing classes will not count as credits towards future course enrollment. The cost to audit is $150 per class, paid in full prior to class.

1 pm EST

12 pm CST

11 am MST

10 am PST

Step 3 - Skill Week

Timeframe to be determined

Knowledge, though vital in everything we do, is only one element of the ADB equation; the other is to learn how to apply this knowledge in real life, with the focus being on how dogs process their environment internally rather than limiting ourselves to protocol and techniques. This in-person* coaching week allows for some flexibility to accommodate each student’s unique personal or professional situation in one of five special interest areas: private individual (non-professional), dog trainer, dog walker, daycare staff, rescue/shelter staff or volunteer. This is the time of undivided attention between you and your coach. Below is a list of coaching situations for Skill Week. Of these options, you and your coach will choose a minimum of seven 1 to 1.5-hr sessions during which your coach will help you fine-tune your skills. Skill Week starts with a Zoom meeting to discuss the details, and the Week ends with another Zoom meeting to discuss your progress.  

Non-professional (have own dog)

  • In-home coaching

  • Coaching on walk/trail

  • Dog park observations

  • Optional: coaching with a "borrowed" dog (shelter, family or friends)

Dog trainer (have access to human/dog clients)

  • Individual human/dog client session - in home

  • Individual human/dog client session - on walk/trail

  • Multi-dog household client session

  • Dog park observations

  • Optional: daycare PLAY (have pre-authorized access to daycare)

  • Optional: professional dog walking session (with written client authorization)

Dog walker (have pre-authorized access to clients)

  • Individual dog walk

  • Multi-dog walk

  • Dog park observations

  • Optional: daycare PLAY (have pre-authorized access to daycare)

  • Optional: dog training session

Daycare (have pre-authorized access to doggie daycare)

  • PLAY & managing a group of dogs

  • Incoming dogs

  • Daycare dog walk

  • Dog park observations

  • Optional: dog training session

Rescue/Shelter (have pre-authorized access to rescue/shelter dogs)

  • Individual dog walk

  • Multi-dog walk

  • Dog park observations

  • Optional: PLAY & managing a group of dogs

  • Optional: dog training session

(*) the location is to-be-determined and either at the student’s location or at one of our tour-stop locations; if in-person coaching is not an option, coaching will be done via Zoom with Scott Stauffer and Diana Kastner

Step 4 - Practice Phase

Immediately following Skill Week

Following Skill Week, a minimum of four months of practical ADB application with human and canine clients (own dog, if applicable) will allow you to refine your ADB skills independently. Throughout this time, you will submit 8 YouTube videos (1 video every 2 weeks) of real-life training sessions for assessment by your teachers. Upon assessment, these videos will be analyzed by randomly selected peer students as part of their learning process. The purpose of this exercise is to refine each student’s observation skills.

For video submissions, please make sure that video and sound are of good quality. The videos should be 5 to 10 minutes in length and clearly capture the dog’s behaviors, the handler (if other than you) as well as the conversations between YOU and the handler and/or the dog. The videos should demonstrate YOUR understanding of Affective Dog Behavior as well as show how well you can communicate the principles of ADB to others.

Step 5 - Final Assessment & Graduation

Dates vary

There are two parts to the final assessment:


  1. When you feel ready (no sooner than 4 months after Skill Week), please submit a final video that was taken during a regular training session with a real-life client; the video should be 20 – 30 minutes in length; written video permission signed by the client needs to be obtained

  2. Rather than submitting a lengthy written essay or completing lengthy written tests, your understanding of Affective Dog Behavior will be assessed in an interview with our team of teachers (this will be recorded and added to your student records) 


Expectations of the final assessment are high but achievable. They are to assure that you have an entry-level understanding of the basic science and the concepts that are the foundation of Affective Dog Behavior, and that you can apply this newly acquired knowledge in real-life situations. Upon passing the final assessment, congratulations, you will be able to call yourself ADB-certified (do not use the term of K9 Life Coach, which is a service mark/trademark of Scott Stauffer and K9 Life Coaching, LLC).

Full certification course

Individual enrollment

If paid in full:

$2,900 payable at time of enrollment

With payment plan:

(payment plans are not available for students enrolled and sponsored by their employers)

$3,300 total payable as follows

$500 at time of enrollment plus (one of three options)

Payment option 1: 8 monthly payments of $350 beginning January 31st

Payment option 2: 12 monthly payments of $233.33 beginning January 31st

Payment option 3: Ask for a personalized payment plan

Please note that final payment is due prior to the issue of ADB-certification!

All payments are via

- PayPal to:

- Venmo to: @ADB-K9LC

Group enrollment (2+ students)

Rescues, shelters and doggie daycares only

Payment plans are not available for group enrollments. However, special discounts may apply if you are enrolling multiple students who will be working at the same location during Skill Week.


Knowledge Diploma only:

If paid in full:

$950 payable at time of enrollment or 


With payment plan:

(payment plans are not available for students enrolled and sponsored by their employers)

$1,050 total payable as follows

$350 at time of enrollment plus 4 monthly payments of $175 beginning January 31st

Auditioning select individual classes only:

$150 payable in full prior to class





In a world that is becoming increasingly more high-tech and less personal, we still believe that connecting with our students on an old-fashioned personal level is fun and the most beneficial for all parties involved. True to these principles, we have decided to implement a manual enrollment process rather than online enrollment. Due to the nature of the course, the 2023 course will be limited to 12 student, and, with the exception of two spots reserved for scholarship students, will be filled first-come first-serve. Enrollment ends December 31, 2022. To enroll, please e-mail or call us directly at:

email: - subject line: enrollment

phone: Diana Kastner at 719-680-2061

By enrolling into this program you acknowledge that you have read and are accepting of our

Terms & Conditions

Once you have decided that this course is right for you, you can download our enrollment form in word or pdf format. Please print the form and e-mail it completed with your information, signature and date: - subject line: enrollment form

Level 1 Certification

Knowledge Diploma


Notice to business owners:  If you enroll a member of your staff, please understand that even though you are entering into a business relationship with us as our client, our primary focus will be on the student's education, emotional and mental well-being and safety. In our role as the educator, we will protect our students' interests in every aspect possible; furthermore, we will require that all students be allowed the time to attend all scheduled classes as well as the time and the opportunities necessary to study, produce and review videos and practice the application of ADB in their professional settings within your organization. 

cancelation & refund policy

Cancelation & Refund Policy

Since Affective Dog Behavior is still a relatively new program, we want to make sure that this journey is right for you. For that reason, you will have 7 calendar days after enrollment to cancel for a full refund. To cancel, send an e-mail with the subject line "withdrawal" to

Generally speaking, after the official withdrawal period, tuition is non-refundable. However, we realize that life doesn't always go as planned and financial circumstances may change. If you do find yourself in a challenging situation, please know that we will try to work with you on an individual basis to find the best solution.

Certification/Diploma requirements

While it is our responsibility to provide you with the education and the tools necessary to pass the knowledge and skill requirements for the ADB Level 1 certification, to earn certification status, you will have to meet the following requirements:

Attendance: Attendance of all classes as outlined in Step 2 (Knowledge Phase) above.

If you have to miss a class due to a justifiable unforeseeable circumstance, you can watch the recording of the missed class followed by a 30-minute catch-up zoom session for further discussion. If you miss the Diversity Class, special arrangements will allow you to complete this class at another time for an additional (3rd-party) fee.

Homework assignments: Homework will be assigned during each class and randomly throughout the course. If you have any difficulty with these assignments, please reach out to any of our teachers for assistance. 

Tuition: Full payment of agreed upon tuition. 

All other requirements as outlined in Steps 1 - 5 above

ADB Certification Levels

ADB Certification levels
(still being developed)

levels chart.png
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