Hey everyone! This week has been so crazy, loving all the new faces I have had the pleasure of meeting, both furry and not haha. Among a million other things, I had the privilege of chatting with a local puppy trainer, to bring you guys some more information on the incredible local services there are for our precious pets around the Southern Highlands.
Imagine having your puppy listen to your voice commands, sitting, speaking, coming when called, no jumping! Sounds amazing right? When our dogs are well trained, pet ownership becomes so much more enjoyable and fun not only for us as owners, but also for the dogs, and other people in our lives such as guests, friends made at the dog park, neighbours, the list goes on.
I spoke with Crystal Roberson, who started Crystal's Canine Classes in The Southern Highlands, to help improve the bond between people and their canine companions. She loves canine training, behaviour and psychology, so the fact that she can share her knowledge and passion with you all is a dream come true.
She grew up in the Southern Highlands and has over 10 years experience in the animal health and welfare departments. This includes veterinary nursing, practice manager, dog trainer, student educator and teacher. She currently works as a part time veterinary nurse in Bowral.
When not working she loves spending time with her husband Mat, their 18 month old son Oliver, Hudson the Labrador Retriever and Astro the Alexandrine parrot. She is always practicing her dog training at home, "Hudson on your bed, Oliver get off the dog bed." (haha)
I asked Crystal some questions to try and get inside the mind of a puppy trainer, what inspired her, what her top tips are, and what keeps her going!
What made you want to be a puppy / dog trainer, and how long have you been doing it
I love animal behaviour and psychology. Being a dog trainer I can share my passion and knowledge with clients to help the relationship between their canine companions prosper. I started Crystal's Canine Classes in 2015. I have worked in the animal industry for over 10 years and have completed degrees and certificates in sciences, behaviour, training and psychology. I have a large amount of experience when it comes to your 4- legged families.
What breeds do you find most difficult, and easier to train
I have to say the more food driven the dog the easier they usually are to train. The trend these days for dog training is based around positive reinforcement; we ask them to do something, we give them a reward (food/praise). Just like if someone asked me to sit next to them to have a chocolate I would! (I think I was a Labrador in a past life!)
What is a common problem you find people coming to you with, and how easy is it to fix?
I have many clients who struggle to walk there dog as they pull too hard. This then leads to them not enjoying walks or even worse isolating themselves to their house and yard. I concentrate on loose lead walking. There are a free steps but basically if your dog pulls forward, stop and wait until they stop pulling then move forward. There are also front attach harnesses and head collars that work well in some cases.
What is your top tip for new puppy owners
Search out a highly recommended puppy class. It is about the owner learning the up-to-date training methods. Puppy usually gets some great socialising too! Chat to the trainer even before you get your puppy. Talk about the breed you've picked, how the will fit into your life and what you have set up (bedding, food, routine etc.)
What is your favourite part of the job
I'd love to say getting to cuddle puppies all day long! But I have to say when I see how happy the owners are when they achieve something they never thought possible. It could be something as simple as getting their puppy to sit for the first time, getting their dog to walk nicely on lead, or having a calm dog laying on their bed for a period of time.
Are there common mistakes people make when it comes to new puppy ownership?
Misunderstanding puppies emotions and body language. I have clients come to me saying their puppy is naughty and doesn't listen. Instead their puppy is board and doesn't understand what's acceptable behaviour. Remember your puppies have come from living with their litter mates, playing rough, sleeping and toileting wherever. They don't know that the house isn't their toilet and fingers shouldn't be chew toys. These are just a few things we need to teach them. This must start as soon as you bring them home. If you let your puppy jump up at you, they will get 'better' at it every day and think it's the correct behaviour to do.
Do you have any advice for when it comes to choosing a dog trainer suited to a person and pooches particular needs ?
Trainers must be adaptive, not all puppies like to play, not all like to learn with food or in a large group. The trainer should be able to offer numerous solutions to find which works best for your situation. If you find the trainer doesn't connect with you or your dog move to another trainer.
I currently run classes for puppies under 5 months of age, adult classes, private in-home consultations and phone consultations.
If you are ready to transform yours and your puppies life, bond with your babies, and have fun doing it, then here are some ways we invite you to contact Crystal today
Ph: 0407 285 721