Much of my training is about supporting the owners to learn how to become great leaders and communicators in a language their pet can understand. This, in conjunction with clear rules and boundaries is the key to unconditional love from your animal as opposed to food and cuddles (a mistake I see often). However, food and cuddles are important and used often in training.
I used to work from Wahroonga on the Upper North Shore but moved to the Northern Beaches in August 2012. I now train primarily in Rowland Reserve, Bayview but also train at people’s houses, various parks or in places that have proved to be ‘problem areas’ for the dog (such as roads, busy shopping areas and driveways). I tailor the training to the individual animal, targeting specific problems as well as doing general obedience.
Some common challenges people have that I help with are: how to handle being left alone, toilet training made easy, being left happily outside the shop while you get your groceries, introducing them to scary things such as horses, walking close on trails and to come when called – EVERY time! Some dogs have anxiety issues, others need to learn to socialise with others in dog parks. I seem to be the last resort after people have tried many ways and trainers before finally coming to me.
I use mainly positive reinforcement but also consequences when needed. I find it’s vital to give instant consequences (either positive or negative) as this is what occurs in nature. It cannot be in between. So it’s either good or it’s not when a dog acts or reacts. It’s our job to teach him/her what the answer is and what we are looking for from them. At the end of each session my aim is to have both happy owners and happy dogs.
I have also been very fortunate to work with some amazing horses. Working with dogs and horses are two very different things as one is a predator and one a flight animal, but there are also many things they have in common. Again, it is all about being great leaders and communicators. Its about caring enough to find a solution that works. It’s about being patient and consistent. Its about speaking the language the animal understands and it’s about having a connection.
Animals have taught me how to truly communicate in life…both with animals and people. I have learned how to be patient and kind when I’m about to give up, how to be present in this crazy and busy world, and finally my connection to animals reminds me daily that above else, life is about relationships.