Welcome to our site and thanks for having a look around. Animal behaviour and training has been a life long passion of ours. We pride ourselves on finding effective solutions for our clients that prioritizes the welfare and wellbeing of the dogs that we work with.
MSc clinical animal behaviourist
Since 2009 I have been studying behaviour and training dogs professionally.
I specialise in behaviour modification for fear, anxiety and aggression. My priority is always to improve dogs psychological wellbeing and to develop emotionally robust family pets; dogs which can focus and thrive in our lifestyles without the use of fear and pain.
I pride myself on using gentle and effective methods based on scientific fact rather than opinion. As scientific research in the industry grows so to do my methods and techniques.
I am most passionate about husbandry and cooperative care training, which works to reduce fear and stress during handling procedures such as grooming or vet visits, and where dogs are taught to volunteer for (and hopefully enjoy) these day to day inevitable procedures.
I work closely with a number of grooming salons and vet clinics to help overcome fear and aggression in these environments, as well as teaching cooperative care (and many other topics) to owners and professionals in workshops and seminars around the country.
I started out using traditional methods, which focused on using ‘corrections’ and applying outdated ideas about dogs being part of a pack and having then to assert the position as the ‘pack leader’. As my interest grew, so did my interest in behaviourism, cognitivism and the science as a whole. I soon learned that what I was doing was not only unnecessary but also somewhat damaging to a lot of dogs.
Fast forward 10 years and I am now applying evidence based methods when resolving behavioural issues. I like to understand how the method works and I will opt to use the methods that are the least intrusive and minimally aversive to the dog that I am working with.
I have many key interests in dog training but have noticed a select few that seem to have more benefits than others for pet dogs. I am fascinated with how incredible the dog’s nose is and have a keen interest in scent work training. Not only do I think it is a fun thing to teach, I also believe it has so many applications to help with so many problems people face as well. Simple exercises that engage the dog’s nose has been shown to reduce overall stress levels in dogs and this leads me to another keen interest of mine. How stress can impact a dog's behaviour and how we can help them reduce their stress levels using a training programme that focuses heavily on positive reinforcement based methods.
To say I am excited to join the team after being mentored by Hannah and Taz is an understatement! I’ve been working with dogs coming up 10 years; beginning at SPCA Auckland caring for vulnerable dogs, co-managing Dog Days boarding kennels in Greytown, rehoming ex-racing greyhounds through Greyhounds as Pets, and most recently as a trainer at Kiwi Vet Behaviour.
My favourite behaviour quote is by Kim Brophey, “behaviour problems rarely occur in nature,” and it’s certainly been my experience that many dogs find this whole “pet” deal a rough ride. I have a passion for improving relationships between dogs and their families by providing a deeper understanding of the factors influencing behaviour and creating practical, achievable solutions.
I enjoy working with dogs with big feelings and have a soft spot for bull breeds and ex-racing greyhounds. I share my home with sensitive soul Murray and tiny-terrier-terror Fae, along with my housemate’s two greyhounds, Abby and Dougie (which is kinda weird seeing as my name is Abbie Douglas).
I am a great big nerd who is always learning…. I am a certified Family Dog Mediator after completing the L.E.G.S. Applied Ethology Family Dog Mediation Course, completed the Aggression in Dogs Master Course, and working through a 3-year behaviour course through The School of Canine Science.
I’m looking forward to meeting you and your dogs soon