A lifelong love of dogs

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Hi there! I'm Harriet

"Harriet may get more done in her workbook if she spent less time drawing pictures of dogs in the margins" suggested one of my school reports.

 

I've been dog crazy since I was young and grew up surrounded by them in Daylesford, Australia. After working in the arts and not-for-profit sectors in London I finally adopted my own dog - a gorgeous three legged sighthound named Pedro. My relationship with Pedro was transformative for both of us. Supporting him to recover from a life of neglect opened my eyes to the power of kind, thoughtful and empathetic approaches towards dogs. 

I swapped my office life to study canine behaviour and have been fortunate to learn from incredible experts all around the globe, as well as being involved in community building, events and mentoring other trainers.

My biggest passion is helping people connect with and understand their dogs so that both species can have a great life together.

I am now based in Castlemaine and live with Enzo the Italian Greyhound and Zelda the Kelpie/Cattle Dog/German Shepherd/Border Collie/Who Knows What mix!

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Get in touch to discuss your training needs
Approach and methods

Working with you

In the dog training world, the setup is often that the trainer comes in, tells you to make a bunch of changes, teaches your dog a few commands, and then leaves again. In my experience, this can leave people feeling overwhelmed, confused and at a loss as to how to address the actual issue they were struggling with.

 

I don't really think of myself as a dog trainer. I'm more interested in being your coach - my aim is to equip you with the tools and understanding you need to build the relationship you want with your dog. My role is work with you to create a plan that fits your lifestyle and aspirations. We'll build it together and then I'll cheer you on along the way.

Working with your dog

My methods are firmly in the 'positive training' category in that I am big on rewards and never use or recommend harsh, painful, scary or intimidating techniques. Not only are these unnecessary, but they can also cause serious psychological and physical damage (and yep, there's loads of research now to back this up!). I focus on reinforcing behaviour we want to see more of, providing dogs with outlets for natural canine behaviour and encouraging better communication through fun, games and consistency. The average modern pet dog lives a fairly restricted life, so I also look for opportunities for dogs to think for themselves, make good choices and problem solve.

My focus is not on traditional obedience, so you won't be learning a lot of 'sit', 'down', 'stay' and 'give a paw'. Instead, we'll identify the life skills that you and your dog need most to thrive day to day. That way you can focus less on issuing boring commands and more on having fun adventures with your dog!

Commitment to learning

​I LOVE learning. The field of dog behaviour and cognition is particularly exciting as it's expanding rapidly - we are learning more about these amazing animals every day. To ensure my methods remain current I regularly attend workshops, conferences and online events and continue to learn from many amazing colleagues. While I couldn't possibly list them all, some highlights include:

  • Completing an Advanced Diploma in Canine Behaviour (ISCP)

  • Certified Family Dog Mediator (FDM) as part of the L.E.G.S.® Applied Ethology Family Dog Mediation® Professional Course

  • Canine Nutrition Course with the Centre of Excellence

  • Scent for Six scent work course with The School of Canine Science

  • Mentored for several years by renowned behaviour consultant Winkie Spiers in London, UK

  • Studied with eminent Norwegian dog expert Turid Rugaas in the Netherlands as part of her International Dog Trainer Education

  • Attended a three-day scent work workshop with Anne Lill Kvam in the UK

  • Attended workshops with Dr Amber Batson focused on exercise, adolescent dogs and neutering

  • Attended herding workshop with Diggers Herding & K9 Education

  • Worked at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London, one of the oldest and most esteemed rescue organisations in the world, recruiting, training and supporting kennel volunteers

  • Invited as a guest speaker to the annual Pet Dog Trainers of Europe conference in Durham, UK

  • Supported and also served on the Board of the Pet Dog Trainers of Europe

  • Hosted and ran the first-ever online summit for the Pet Dog Trainers of Europe in 2020, featuring guests such as Dr. Jane Goodall, Marc Bekoff, Sindhoor Pangal, Dr. Risë VanFleet and Dr. Franklin D. McMillan

  • Co-host of the popular Dog Tails podcast

Professional associations

​I belong to the following organisations based on their commitment to modern and humane training methods as well as their condemnation of punishment and fear-based approaches.