What have you done professionally and personally with dogs?
I worked at a doggy daycare centre casually for 2 years whilst studying at university. This involved handling up to 25 dogs at any one time, all of different breeds, sizes and temperaments. This really helped me develop my understanding of dog behaviour. During this time I also did quite a bit of causal dog walking.
I trained Bailey from a puppy until 3 years of age at PK9 which has given us the obedience skills to compete in rally obedience. We’re currently half way there to gaining our Rally Excellent title. I have also done some agility and flyball training with him, once we had a strong foundation in obedience. He is almost ready to start competing in flyball after a few more months of training. My 6 month old Rottweiler puppy Sage, is in the process of being trained for ANKC competition obedience and tracking.
What dog training education have you undertaken? What seminars have you attended?
As an assistant with PK9 I have been taught by Chris and the other trainers here. I have recently enrolled with the NDTF, to start in October, with the aim of achieving a qualification as a nationally recognised dog trainer.
What aspects of dog training and behaviour do you have particular interest in?
I love obedience more than any other discipline (although tracking is working its way up there), but I particularly love precision and competition obedience, despite being quite new to it with a lot to learn. Training and competing with your dog develops your relationship and bond together; you develop a strong team mentality.
What do you enjoy most about working with dogs?
I love that they know more about you than you do. They pick up on your behaviour and movements that you don’t even realise you’re doing. Often if something isn’t working out, it’s because you’re doing something you’re not aware of. Dogs teach you to be self-aware, to have patience and compassion.
Tell us a bit about your own dogs- Age, breed, what you enjoy doing with them etc? What they most enjoy.
As I mentioned earlier, Bailey is my 3 year old whippet. Despite being a pro at zoomies he truly is a calm, chilled out couch potato. He doesn’t wake up til 1pm, he doesn’t really like food at all, he likes swimming at the doggy pool, always gets the squeaker out of the toys and adds them to his ‘secret’ stash in his crate. He always wants cuddles, is quite sensitive and always gets mistaken for a female Italian greyhound!
Sage is a 6 month old Rottweiler puppy. She is the exact opposite of Bailey! Full of beans every hour of the day, always ready to go and do something. She is a really sweet girl, loves all people and insists on letting them know this through big kisses. She has to be touching you as much as possible and is very affectionate. She absolutely loves her food (I love it)! She also loves her obedience and tracking training (as there is food involved). Sage was raised by her breeder using the puppy culture system. As result she is resilient and a true enrichment seeker.
What are your best two pieces of advice you can give to dog owners?
Always be aware of what your dog is feeling! This means do your best to learn about dog behaviour and body language. Your relationship and your training will dramatically improve if you are aware of what your dog’s behaviour is telling you.
Be clear and consistent! I am always telling clients this! Your training won’t progress if you don’t and you’re dog won’t know what is expected of him. Eg. rather than saying “Fido can you please sit for mummy”, just say “Fido sit”. We chatter to our dogs too much and this confuses them, and also enables them to check out as half the words you’re saying don’t mean anything to them.
Secondly, be consistent. If you ask for a behaviour and you’re sure you were clear, you must follow through with it! This creates reliability!