What inspired you to become a dog trainer? How did you become a dog trainer?
I’ve had a passion for dogs since I was a very young child. Over the years I realised that I had a natural affinity with them and also with helping people to understand them. Over time, I realised that by educating dog owners I could also help so many dogs to be more fulfilled.
I started volunteering at numerous dog training organisations across Brisbane as an instructor; after many years, and many students suggesting I should train professionally, I decided that I would leave the corporate world and become a full time dog trainer. I started my professional career being affiliated with the ‘Dog Whisperer’ in Brisbane, and received extensive training with him over a ten year period. As my studies progressed I began to develop my own ideas about dog whispering techniques based on some of these foundations.
What technique do you find most effective in dog training?
The right timing is very important, you must also be calm, patient and use positive leadership – these are all aspects of dog whispering. Most of our training is about teaching the guardians how to interact and live with their dogs as well as communicate with them in a way that they understand.
Do you believe every dog is trainable?
Yes. Every dog is trainable. Certain breeds and certain individuals can be harder than others but that’s where leadership and patience come in; you must understand the individual dog and its surrounding circumstances. Working to your dog’s particular drive can be a great motivating factor to get them to perform the way you want – some dogs may value a game with you whereas others may prefer a morsel of food or a pat on the head.
What does a typical day at work look like?
I firstly take my dogs for a morning walk – this includes a short training session. This helps to keep them in tune and settle them for the day. I then make my way to the office to check and respond to any correspondence that may have come in overnight.
After this, I set off to my first home consultation. There, I speak to the guardian to determine their goals, assess the individual dog and examine its home environment. This helps me tailor a specific training program to help the family to mould their dog into their “ideal” pet. I demonstrate the techniques that they need to practice and answer any questions relating to behaviour, nutrition, exercise, boundaries and grooming.
I then head back to the car to return any phone messages, after that I visit my next client. Next, I pick up my dogs and take them to a local dog park where I often catch up with dogs and owners who I have worked with before.
The last call of the day is a puppy school at one of our many partnering Brisbane veterinary clinic locations. These schools provide a safe and controlled environment to allow puppies to safely socialise and get off to the best start in life. They also educate guardians about everything they need to keep their puppies happy, healthy, and well adjusted.
What is your favorite breed of dog?
I don’t have a particular favourite breed of dog, but I do have a soft spot for Labradors, Retrievers, Rottweilers, Beagles, and Weimeraners. Every breed has their own characteristics and every dog has its own unique personality – this makes them all individually special.
Do you have any tips for owners on how to become a “dog whisperer”?
Get the basics right: diet, exercise, boundaries, discipline. The rest generally just falls into place. Above all, remember to fulfill the dog’s needs before your desires. Remember LEAD – Leadership, Exercise, Affection, Diet.
What has been your best experience so far since the opening of your business?
Helping to save so many of Brisbane’s dogs from being rehomed or worse, and also knowing that I’ve given so many dogs a better life by simply guiding their guardians in the right direction. I have received an overwhelming number of appreciation letters from clients, all thanking me for the change they have seen in their dog following the training program we created for their family.
What has been your biggest challenge as a dog trainer?
Learning to effectively communicate my techniques to the dogs’ guardians – mastering the art of the “dog whisper” takes time, and the training process must be explained in a clear and concise manner. This is so that guardians are able to implement the changes to get the best out of their dog and rectify any behavioural issues.