I have had the pleasure of living with dogs for my entire life. They have taught me more about psychology and learning than I could ever have thought possible. I was always surrounded by dogs in my childhood because my parents were keen show dog exhibitors and had the odd litter of English Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Although my passion for dog show (conformation) competitions has wained over the years I do appreciate a regal looking dog when I see one and perhaps my early experience in handling and observing many dog breeds at dog shows has nurtured my passion for capturing these divine creatures in photographs.
For as long as I can remember I have had a camera in my hands, I can recall photographing our dogs and going to the developers to have the film processed and being so excited to see that perfect shot of one of our beautiful dogs. I can also recall getting my first digital camera and being blown away at the possibilities of this new technology. I absolutely love photographing dogs, capturing their soul and the endearing relationship we share with our fur-kids. I hope you enjoy my photography as much as I do creating it.
I can recall being at school and anticipating the last bell that signalled ‘home time’. Probably because I was always day dreaming about what I would get up to with my beloved dogs that afternoon. Dogs have changed my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I have studied dog training and behaviour with who I consider to be some of the best positive force free dog trainers in the world. Recently I have been on a journey of discovery with my Dobermann Kaiser, who is reactive to strange dogs. I don’t like to slap a label on any dog by calling him ‘reactive’ but it’s probably the easiest way to convey his insecurity around dogs that he doesn’t know. I am grateful for the steady progress we are making and for the insight & knowledge that I have gleamed into working with fearful dogs.
I have studied Animal veterinary bioscience and a Bachelor of Pharmacy (1st Class Hons) at the University of Sydney. My background in Pharmacy stems from an interest in wellness and I am always striving to learn more about how we can all reach our full potential. This interest in peak performance carries over into my involvement in dog sport where the importance of canine nutrition, stress/arousal & dog training protocols cannot be overlooked. When working through dog behaviour, I draw on the knowledge gained during my pharmacy degree relating to the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Stress can have negative effects on the health of humans and dogs and I believe it is critical to always be aware of this factor when formulating dog training and behaviour modification programs. Many trainers overlook the biological significance of stress and the impact it can have on dog training and behaviour.
I enjoy training my dogs in obedience and agility using modern dog training methods. I use a system of positive reinforcement to train new behaviours and classical conditioning for behaviour modification. I employ clicker training to capture and shape new behaviours in my dogs and I’m never in a hurry to go from a schedule of continual to variable reinforcement as I believe everyday life throws in many opportunities for variable reinforcement and I live dog training.
I do not support the use of negative reinforcement or punishment in dog training, such methods are outdated, not supported by scientific research and do not consider the welfare of the dog. You will not see me using or advocating choke/check chains, prong collars, electric collars/ecollars etc.
Currently I compete in ANKC obedience dog trials with my standard poodle, Zimba and we have had great success. Zimba has attained 2 titles and came first in the CD level at the 2014 Obedience State Titles! Kaiser my Dobermann is an Australian champion in ANKC conformation having won many best in groups and when and if he is ready, we will commence competition in obedience.
I decided to share my journey, knowledge, experience and inspiration with other dog lovers and so this blog was born. I really hope it can inspire others to see the beauty in our canines and the potential every dog has to enrich our lives as we can theirs.