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Behavioural and
Rehabilitation Training

Our Philosophy

We do our best to help owners and dogs.

In

New South Wales more than 80,000[1] dogs each year end up in pounds as unwanted pets. And it's believed 90%[2] are there because of preventable behaviour problems – where manners, obedience and life-skills training or just providing owners with practical information on how to address unwanted behaviours early on would have turned the situation around.

That's where our soul is. In helping prevent shelter dog cases, helping adopted dogs thrive in their new home, and helping all owners live successfully with their pets. So everyone can enjoy dogs as much as we do!                        

Prevention begins in puppyhood, and most people are completely unaware of the key role that breeder and litter selection plays, or just how critical the socialisation period up to 13 weeks of age is for a dog's adult personality, or how to avoid serious problems with anxiety, arousal and aggression by taking the appropriate approach with puppies from the start. We run puppy classes that follow best-practice, no-harm, positive training methods, and have initiated pupp-related campaigns such as making Dr Ian Dunbar's BEFORE & AFTER You Get Your Puppy books freely available to everyone.

Adult dogs might sometimes seem far from perfect, but then we as owners are the same. Perhaps puppies 'turned unmanageable' at 6 months, or adopted dogs came with a hidden history or 'baggage' - but that needn't be a deal-breaker. What matters is knowing the right way to address the behaviour, and where to seek the the right help. So we run adult classes to help put relationships with dogs back on track and keep them there - using practical, safe, reliable and proven training principles. And using our professional network we can refer to others who can help with special cases if needed.

The science of training has been known for decades, and those who follow it find success. Science is not a cult or "one person's way of doing things", nor is it something to easily dismiss.

Instead it's an incredibly powerful way to sort out myth from fact, and understand methods fully as the first step to using them properly. Scientific, or evidence-based training methods have been scrutinised for more than 100 years, ever since Dr B. F. Skinner first proposed the tenets of behaviourism. That means literally millions of people, including those with vested interests in disproving it, have examined the world's collective knowledge on dog behaviour but none have been shaken its foundation.

What we teach and use in our classes then is based on fundamentals like 'the Law of Learning determines future behaviour', ideas such as 'punishment isn't necessary in training', and that 'motivational methods work best'[3].  Our methods are also "best-practice" because they follow rigorous and accepted professional frameworks such as that set out by DPDTA Inc.

Knowledge is always evolving so staying up-to-date is important too. Theories that developed decades ago like "dominance in dogs" have since been abandoned (and in fact recanted) and we now have much better models to describe what's going on with dogs. It can be hard to counter the teachings of other trainers that aren't up-to-date though, especially charismatic ones with highly visible public profiles, but at least no amount of propaganda and no media machine can ever change the fact that aversives, abuse, pack mentality and avoidance training will never provide the miracle solution owners look for. Instead, we ourselves focus on humane, dog-friendly and safe training methods that are not only free of unwanted side-effects, but are known to work better than any other methods.

Mostly we hope to help owners achieve the relationship they want with their companion dogs. When our relationship with dogs, and our understanding of their nature improves, then so does our dogs' behaviour. We offer friendly help, solid advice – and fun class environments – to try and make that happen as often as we can.

Come join us!

References:

1. PIAA Dog Rehoming Policy Paper, Feb 2012

2. Mike Arms, Helen Woodward Animal Center, Sep 2009

3. "Dog training methods: their use, effectiveness and interaction with behaviour and welfare", Hiby, Rooney & Bradshaw, UFAW 2004

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