A dog with behavioural issues is unlike a crooked shelf, or a broken alternator.
Dogs with behavioural issues can’t be ‘fixed’ per se, but many can be helped to live much better lives. Some can even see their behavioural issues be completely resolved.
We focus our efforts on trying to meaningfully address the issues that the dog and owner are facing, with an aim to help them produce better outcomes for all involved.
A great many factors affect the outlook for improvement for each individual dog.
Some dogs are more profoundly effected than others, some owners put in a lot more intelligent effort than others, and some problems are simply easier to deal with than others in a comparative sense.
It can also add significant difficulty where the problem behaviour has a strong history of working well for the dog, and it's been practiced successfully many times.
As a general rule the more profound the issues, the more lengthy and difficult the road to improvement is likely to be for owner and dog alike.
No, absolutely not.
Where we believe that a dog may require medication we will refer our clients to a veterinarian that is appropriately experienced with the types of medication most often prescribed for behavioural modification.
We will then liaise with the prescribing veterinarian and our clients to offer our input and observations, at the behest of the client and/or the veterinarian they are working with.
Occasionally we will be presented with a case where the consideration of medication is truly compelling, however any decision to medicate a dog is completely up to the owner to make.
We have previously had situations where despite the compelling evidence presented to them, and supporting advice from a veterinarian, the clients in question still remained opposed to medicating their dog.
In these situations we may choose to discontinue our training relationship with that client if we feel that this constitutes a level of neglect, cruelty or unnecessary emotional hardship on the dog in question.
Great question – and it’s a complicated one to answer.
Dogs that are affected by anxiety often have problems learning new things, and processing and/or retaining the information.
The ability of the individual dog to learn whilst feeling anxious is patiently evaluated on a case by case basis by our staff, and will be discussed with you as an owner if it becomes a relevant consideration.
No, it’s not possible – and anybody that claims that they can is an idiot.
Please be very careful of any professional making such claims, as it is generally an indicator or poor practice and gross misrepresentation.
A better question to ask is whether we can positively affect the behaviour of a dog expressing anxiety-driven behaviour. The answer is yes, very often we can.
No, we don't currently offer a class training format.
Our work with our clients and their dogs takes place in a one-to-one, 'personal training' fashion.
We do run workshops and seminars, which are of course offered as a group learning experience.
Perhaps the most asked question a dog trainer will field, ever.
There are just so many factors that need to be considered to provide a meaningful answer that is of any value.
For us to offer an answer that has any level of specific value, we would first need to know you and your dog.
This said, because it’s such a reasonable question for a dog owner to ask we have attempted to offer some broad form of guidance on the topic below.
The following is a broad guideline provided for an adult pet dog 1-3 yo with the following considerations:
– A stable temperament;
– a good level of motivation to eat and/or play with it’s owner;
– without any seriously problematic behaviour;
– with a motivated owner displaying sustained commitment to doing the necessary work;
5-6 weeks of work will typically see the dog described above beginning to get a good solid grasp of basic obedience commands, with some reliability in performance beginning to be a reasonable expectation.
Below are just some of the factors that can begin to affect the training timeline mentioned above:
– The earlier in your dog’s life you start, the faster your progress will be.
– The older the dog, the less flexible they become in terms of learning new things.
– If your dog has received poor training in the past, then it will likely add time to the training process.
– If your dog has developed significant problem behaviours, or has emotional issues, it will likely increase the time it takes for you to realise your training goals.
– If you don’t put in much intelligent effort outside of our training sessions together, it will take much longer.
– If you’ve been an overbearing figure in your dog’s life, then it may take the dog longer to want to engage in the learning process.
Without motivation, training quickly becomes a sorry and distinctly unenjoyable activity for both dog and owner.
A dog that wants to perform will always look and respond very differently to a dog that is being forced to perform.
Creating a working attitude in your dog that is characterised by a strong desire to listen to and receive direction because the task is considered enjoyable is and should always be considered far more preferable to a dog that performs a task purely out of avoidance of consequence.
So, there you go - that's why we train the way we do.
Yes, it's something of a speciality for CSI.
We have many trainers refer severe cases to us, as well as vets and other canine professionals.
We use a wide variety of training methods which vary from dog to dog, and situation to situation.
It’s a very reasonable question for folks to ask, however for a true professional dog trainer to answer this question is much harder than folks realise.
Well, in the way the term ‘training methods’ is used by the average dog owner it is usually meant to provide definition – a point of reference for them to try and understand the general method of operation of a dog trainer.
From the perspective of a person that practices dog training as a craft, methods are perhaps the least important defining factor…because they should vary from dog to dog, and methods should shift and change for the same dog based on what is effective and what is not.
As an example, luring is a common method involving the use of food to produce and then positively reinforce behaviour. Like all methods it has some strong points, and also some limitations.
The choice to use luring should be made based on the relative merits of luring to move the dog’s training forward in the broader context of what is trying to be achieved…not because it’s the only method the trainer understands how to employ.
Without getting more bogged down than we should on this point, let’s move on to provide a solid answer about our ‘training methods’:
We have a very strong preference for creating motivated, engaged and enthusiastic attitude to learning in the dogs we work with.
Our predominant focus is on helping folks build behaviours they’d prefer to see their dog express, and this generally involves the intelligent application of positive reinforcement to build a strong history or reward for correct performance.
It’s been our experience that where this is achieved it overcomes the greatest part of the change our clients are seeking in how their dog behaves.
There are also times that it’s wise to form inhibitions in relation to certain behaviours. Sometimes this is for the benefit and safety of the dog himself, and sometimes for the safety and benefit of the human.
This means that we do consider the use of positive punishment and negative reinforcement in our training practice. Where we do so it’s a considered decision made based on the relative merits of the options available to us given the entire situation we are presented with.
As professionals it is our responsibility to remain completely open minded about how we approach training with each and every individual dog and handler that we work with.
By doing so we can help the widest variety of dogs and owners most effectively.
NB: Typically speaking if a trainer is myopically focussed on only using one given tool or method then they’re not broadly skilled, and it’s often the case that they do so at the expense of the dog that they are working with.
This narrow-minded focus often shows up where the trainer defines themselves by the tool they use, or what methods or tools they won’t even consider using – even where that method or tool may be the best fit for the dog and handler they are working with.
Without an open mind, a kind heart, and a huge ‘tool box’ of options they can employ a professional dog trainer will always be limited in how much value they can offer in a given situation.
Just in case you’ve gotten this far and you don’t feel you’ve been provided with a clear, quality answer about our approach to training:
We’re patient, we’re skilled, we’re highly experienced, and we’re well informed and educated.
We practice good dog training. We don’t fit any label well, nor do we define ourselves by the tools or methods we will or won’t use.
We have a strong focus on canine welfare, and building desirable behaviour in dogs to help interfere with any problem behaviour the dog is predisposed to displaying.
We train for action first, however we also train for abstinence as required. Where we train for abstinence we do so in a Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive fashion.
This term refers to developing specific behaviours in dogs through motivational means, with the intent of creating a situation where the dog begins to display the desirable behaviour with an increasing frequency and intensity.
Yes, our training methods focus heavily on teaching our clients how to create, maintain and apply both verbal and mechanical markers to build desirable behaviour in dogs.
Markers make it easier and faster for a dog to learn, and help our clients to develop superior timing - an essential ingredient to successful dog training.
Yes, a hell of a lot.
We tend to use it most frequently in the context of withholding positive reinforcement from a dog because his performance at a given moment isn't up to scratch.
Perhaps your dog is easily motivated by something else which we can harness to create the training outcomes you’re seeking.
That said, most folks that oppose the use of food in training do so without a solid basis upon which to object.
With just a little foresight and work we can (and do, day in and day out) use food to create great responses and performances in dogs without detriment to the relationship between owner and dog.
In fact, we usually begin to improve relationship using food in training. True story.
Many folks assume that their dog doesn't have much motivation for food, but with a few tweaks they turn out to work like demons for it.
If your dog doesn't like to work for food even after a few adjustments though, it still won't stop us working together.
Our insurance does not allow us to be “responsible for, or have on our premises, any dog [breed] that is considered a ‘banned breed’, or any dog of a mixed breed that visibly contains any of these breeds”.
I (Brad) am one of the relative few dog trainers in Australia that received the following national accreditation:
This course was developed and delivered by DogsNSW and was based on the premise that identification of breeds can be reliably performed based purely on the visual presentation of a dog.
There is a significant body of research and recognition that the above premise is ridiculously flawed, and visual identification of a dogs breed based on it’s physical appearance is horrendously unreliable.
The National Canine Research Council offers significant resourcing on this issue. Below are four relevant peer reviewed papers of relevance:
Reliance on visual breed identification in spite of what is known about it's wild inaccuracy reaches is perhaps most deplorable where those decisions made have a negative impact on a dogs welfare - either directly (eg: the dog is killed based on it's presentation) or indirectly (eg: denial of access to training, treatment, or fair assessment of it's temperament as an individual).
Thankfully action taken by friends of mine in the dog training/behaviour/welfare community resulted in this course being essentially ‘delisted’. The vast majority of the Australian dog training community was very grateful for the actions of these good humans.
In terms of general use the term ‘pitbull’ has become synonymous with a very broad type of dog – short haired, generally muscular dogs with a tendency towards having a broad head, with no upper or lower weight limit.
Accordingly, where somebody makes an enquiry with us about a ‘pitbull’ we proceed with said enquiry on the assumption that the broad definition above is the spirit in which they use that term, however as part of our process we will ask these owners to provide any relevant pedigrees.
This stated, we must remain compliant with our insurers terms.
Any dog presenting to us with a verifiable pedigree matching it’s microchip number, stating that it is one of the following breeds, will be ineligible to train with us or be on our premises:
It is our hope that in the future our Government will adopt a more intelligent and informed attitude favouring legislation backed by peer reviewed research, and designed to achieve higher levels of community safety along with improved canine welfare outcomes.
Until that time it is likely that our insurer will maintain the above expectations, however baseless the spirit of these guidelines may be.
You’ll have a good feel for who Brad is and what CSI is about after checking out our social media channels.
A large part of the success you’ll realise as a result of working with a professional dog trainer will be as a result of having a great working relationship with them.
We encourage you to seek that kind of relationship with your trainer, and if you don’t feel you can enjoy that kind of relationship with our staff then it’s definitely time for you to seek a better arrangement.
We’ve only encountered that situation a handful of times in all our years of operation though, so we’re quite confident that we’ll get along just fine.
Our aim is to see you learn how to train and manage your own dog, which means that our goal is to see you learn how to maintain your dog’s training as part of your lifestyle.
The vast majority of dog owners we work with reach this point with their dog.
If do you need help to maintain your dog’s training though, then know we’re here to help.
Yes, most likely we can.
If you’re seeking to work with a professional dog trainer that can help you with general pet dog obedience training, then your best bet is to find one that is capable of far more than just that level of training.
The training we do with our own dogs is well beyond what most people have an interest in doing with their pet dogs.
This said, it should give you confidence in seeking a working a relationship with us as opposed to turning you away.
Yes, potentially we can..
We’ve done a lot of this type of work over the years.
We’d need to look at the specific directions given by the Court, and possibly discuss with your legal representative to make sure that the direction we take with training is going to offer you maximal benefit given the situation.
We don’t take dogs into our residential training program for reasons of aggression, however we take your dog into our program to provide general training.
As a general rule the benefit of residential training (AKA boarding and training) has limited benefit for clients and their dogs where aggression is the key issue to be dealt with.
If we do take your dog on we’ll discuss the ins and outs of this policy beforehand, and we’ll have an agreement in writing so that everybody is crystal clear on expectations of the arrangement.
Yes, under certain circumstances, and where we assess the handler as being capable of doing the necessary work.
No. That is completely untrue.
There is a lot of misinformation out there on the interwebs, and in the broader community, about the legalities and ethically sound use cases of electronic training collars.
Though legalities relating to training equipment vary greatly between states, as of 2020 it is still possible to use an ecollar as a tool for dog training and behavioural modification work in the state of Victoria, Australia.
Before CSI allow any of our clients to use and electronic collar we educate them on the relevant legislation and ethical responsibilities, and we have a very robust process in place to ensure that our business and our clients remain legally compliant.
Not all of our clients use ecollars, and it’s very rare for a new client to start working on an ecollar any time soon because we like to ensure our clients aren’t reliant on an ecollar to train their dog.
Also, it’s a fact that not all dogs require an ecollar to achieve the training goals they’re being developed towards.
Ecollars are just a dog training tool – simple. Not all tools are well suited for all tasks, and in this regard the ecollar is no exception.
Where our clients make a decision to integrate and ecollar into their training practice with their dog, we have a strict process that we follow to ensure that they do so in a fashion that is completely compliant with the legislative obligations in their geographical area.
Not all tools are suited to all dogs or all training situations.
Where our clients use check chains or slip collars we educate them in how to apply them in a least invasive, minimally aversive fashion.
Yes, but very rarely.
Where we recommend our clients use head collars with their dog it is usually part of a broader plan not to use them.
Typically speaking head collars don’t offer a lot of advantage as a training tool, when compared to other options available.
Yes, where it is legal to do so in the geographical region we are training in.
This means that we don't use pinch collars with our Victorian clients when training in the state of Victoria.
No. Your dog is required to stay securely in your vehicle unless given other advice in writing prior to the day.
If a dog is granted permission to be crated inside the facility then it is solely the responsibility of the owner to ensure that the dog does not disturb the presenter or participants, or it may be necessary to remove the dog from the inside environment.
Not all events are designed to accomodate attendance with dogs.
Some events only allow the attendance of approved dogs. In these cases we discourage folks from attending our facility with dogs that are not scheduled and permitted to officially participate.
As a general rule you can consider that if you’re allowed to attend with your dog then you will have filled out an associated online form and been contacted telling you to arrive with your dog on the day.
CSI runs some of the events you’ll see on the page, and in that case any payments you make via the website will most certainly come to us.
We also deliver some events at CSI HQ that are promoted by a third party.
If we’re delivering an event but it’s hosted by another person or business, that will also generally be reflected in the event listing.
CSI runs a large number of events that are restricted in terms of those that can attend, such as corporate events, or specialised training events.
Unless otherwise stated though, if you can see it listed on our Events page then you can probably attend.
It always pays to read the event listing carefully though, in case there are prerequisites you need to participate.
Great stuff – we love that kind of work.
You can start by filling out the contact form below – just choose ‘Hosting A CSI Workshop’ as your enquiry type.
We’ll reach out to you from there to continue the conversation and make it happen.
No, as this would constitute unethical conduct where the dog is not ‘fit to train’.
The relevant Code Of Practice does not allow us to train dogs that are sick or injured.
All dogs entering our training facility must have proof of current vaccination or a vet issued letter with current titre test results stating that your dog has an appropriate immunity level.
Yes, on commencement of our initial session together we need to see proof that your dog is properly vaccinated, or has proof of sufficient immunity.
As a registered Domestic Animal Business we are bound to this through the applicable Code of Practice.
No, your dog cannot be on our property.
All dogs entering our training facility must have proof of current vaccination or a vet issued letter with current titre test results stating that your dog has an appropriate immunity level.
Our facility is able to be hired to host seminars, workshops and other events.
If you're interested in this, please fill out the form below and select "Hire Our Facility" as your enquiry type.
Our office has three car parks which our clients are welcome to use.
As you pull into the driveway we share with the business next door our car parks are on the left.
If you see traffic bollards there, don't worry - it's safe to park there, we just do it to keep them clear for you, our clients.
It is extremely important that you observe the signage when attending our facility.
The entry door for the training area is clearly marked as such, and a doorbell is fixed beside the door.
Please ring that bell and a staff member will come and provide access to the facility.
Do not open the door as you run the risk of interrupting a training session taking place inside.
Do not enter through the door that has this prominent sign on it:
No, we operate by appointment or scheduled event only.
Our hours of operation vary depending on our training commitments and associated travel.
As a general rule of thumb we operate Monday to Saturday from 8am.
Sorry, our offices are not open to the public without appointment.
Most folks have no concept of the actual amount of work required to get a dog to the point where it may be suitable to fill such a role, and when they find out they tend to drop the idea.
There is a commonly held misconception that the ideal personal protection dog is surly, aggressive individual that is created through ‘hardening the dog up’. This is untrue.
Proper selection of a dog for such a role is without argument the most important step – most dogs are simply not cut out for such an application.
A dog with the willingness, attitude and aptitude to perform a personal protection role is comparatively rare to find. In almost all cases suitable dogs are first bred with such work in mind, and then developed from puppyhood towards becoming a suitable candidate.
Developing your dog to be highly trainable and responsive to you is important, however without the right socialisation and habituation exposures the most promising young dog can wind up unsuitable.
There are many aspects of developing a dog towards such a role that we can assist you with, and should we choose to work with you please be crystal clear that we will flatly refuse to provide you with any training or service that falls outside of the Code of Practice and legislation that governs our business.
If you’re interested though, go ahead and reach out to us via our Contact Us page, and mention your goals with your dog when you submit the contact form. We’ll continue the conversation with you from there and decide if you’re the type of responsible, committed, motivated client that we seek to work with.
Absolutely it is.
If that item is worn by or attached to a person (as opposed to being held) then there becomes an issue with breaching legislation, and having your dog declared as a Dangerous dog.
In the eyes of any knowledgeable dog training professional the training of a dog to participate in a sporting curriculum is very different to training a dog to function in a personal protection role.
This said, in the state of Victoria the training of a dog to perform the bitework components of these sporting curriculums is legally viewed as training the dog to attack.
We remain hopeful that the Victorian Government will soon come to their senses and recognise the obvious facts that dogs participating in a sporting curriculums involving a bitework component are undergoing training that is very, very different to training a dog to act as a personal protection dog.
Until that day comes, we have no choice but to remain compliant with Victorian legislation in this regard.
There are still many great aspects of dogsports which our Victorian clients can participate in with their dog, and we strongly encourage those that wish to do so to reach out to us via our Contact Us page to make further enquiries.
Whilst guard dogs can be a great deterrent for business' with certain types of security risks, it's generally not a great return on investment.
Many folks perceive guard dogs to be able to do much more to protect their business than what the dog is actually capable of doing.
Before you make the choice to own a guard dog trained to protect your commercial premises you should do significant research relating to the legislative requirements associated with that decision.
Nothing posted on any social media platform that CSI maintains is shared with the intent to offend.
If you’ve taken offence at an opinion or outlook shared on one of our social media accounts, then we suggest that you examine why this may be and whether indeed it’s appropriate for you to feel that level of offence
If you still feel offended after reflecting in the fashion suggested above, it may be worth you considering unfollowing our accounts.
Great! Please message us directly via the platform on which you follow our accounts.
You can access our social media channels via the floating icons to the right of this text, or via the icons in the very top menu - next to the FAQ link you clicked to read this.
Our clients are very important to us, and coaching and supporting them requires significant attention. We also have a thriving business to run which involves maintaining a full time indoor dog training facility, business administration, etc.
We believe that every person that wants to talk with us deserves deliberate and thoughtful attention, and in order to do that effectively we need to put time aside to engage in that conversation and make it meaningful.
When you book a time for a call we put aside time beforehand to make sure that we are prepared for our chat, and we put aside after to make appropriate notes and send any follow up information we commit to sending.
It’s a system that works much better for those with a genuine intent to converse with a goal of seeking answers to their questions, and it also allows us the necessary focus day to day that it takes to run our business as it should be run.
Yes, of course you can!
If you have a quick question and we're available to take your call, then we're most happy to give you the answer on the spot.
If we're busy and unlikely to have the time to return your call any time soon, then we may send you a text reply and ask you to book a call.
If you have multiple questions, or a question that may be particularly involved to answer then we request you to click on this text and it will take you to a link to book a call with us.
This said, we work very hard to provide great email answers, so you may wish to head over to our contact page and just fill out the online contact form instead.
If you have an enquiry or question the most reliable way to contact us is via the Contact Us page.
That's what we're here for!
Reach out by email and let us know, but you could also try and call us too.
We'll work out what's going on, coach you through it, and get you back on track ASAP.