My father had many dogs in his life and I grew up with my pet dogs, so I always had an interest in dog behaviour from a young age. At one stage I considered looking into joining the police force, but when I was just 19 years old, I had the opportunity to work at The Melbourne Zoo. To my amazement, I ended up working there for 17 years as a Zoo Keeper and Precinct Supervisor, with my roles having a strong focus on training and behaviour.
Working with the elephants was an incredible experience. I traveled around the world learning and working under many highly skilled professionals. Skills and knowledge that I then passed on to my team at the zoo. We needed to ensure our keepers were safe from the obvious dangers of working with large and capable animals, but we also wanted to develop a training program with an absolute focus on the highest level of health care; both physical and psychological.
We had one of the world’s strongest elephant breeding programs at the time and some of my best memories are when the three elephant calves were born. One of them was the first successful artificial insemination of an elephant in Australia and also the first elephant calf born in Melbourne Zoo’s 150 year history.
Elephants have fascinating animal traits and like people, they form family groups (herds). Working with captive elephants who have never had calves (or ever been around calves) is a huge and dangerous task because when a baby elephant is born, it can create considerable anxiety in the new mother and it changes the dynamic of the herd. Like young children, calves are playful and captive elephants need to learn how to parent, which takes dedication, coaching and patience for the inexperienced.
HOW DOES ALL THIS RELATE TO DOGS?
Much of my experience with elephants crosses over into my work with dogs because I believe a good balance of safety, obedience, fitness and fun are key areas that can create an extremely rewarding life experience for you, your dog and your family.
My team and I are passionate about helping you understand your dog. Along with teaching you the skills you need to train your pet, we also consider its innate motivations, learned behaviours, temperament and previous experiences, so that we can create opportunities for successful outcomes.
Dogs need to learn appropriate behaviour but they also need to be happy and balanced. At Pro Dog Training our qualified team helps you achieve the best results for you and your dog, because good training creates freedom and opportunity.
FOUNDER | DIRECTOR
NDTF Certificate III in Dog Behaviour and Training
Certified Dog Training Instructor
Certificate III in Captive Animals
Diploma of Business Management
David is an experienced and fully qualified canine specialist, certified dog trainer and wildlife specialist with a Diploma in Business Management and Cert III in Captive Animals. He is also a member of the National Dog Training Federation and the International Association of Canine Professionals and is a regular contributor and organiser of industry events throughout Australia.
MEET THE TEAM
MEET THE TEAM
MEET THE TEAM
Sigrid Herbst – Training Coordinator
My favourite thing about professional dog training is seeing people and their dogs grow together as a team. Through coaching and confidence building in both the animal and its owner, our Academy provides a fantastic outlet for dogs to express themselves.
Storm (my Amstaff) and I like to explore and spend time in nature together. We are regularly building and developing our obedience skills, working on strength & conditioning such as weight pull, parachute sprints and balance work; we also focus on having fun together through connected play sessions.
Being the founding member of the Melbourne GRC Dog Sports Club, I am happy to pass on my knowledge and skills in this area to help committed owners provide even more opportunities for their dog to shine.
Jules Makohon – Senior Trainer
To gain solid obedience in your dog, you must first have a solid connection. I believe that relationship building is a two-way process and healthy, strong relationships can exist because of clear communication, trust and support. I love helping to translate the different ways in which dogs behave and then seeing the understanding and clarity form within the owners. There is a lot of joy that can come when dogs and their owners connect and enjoy each other’s company. I do this through teaching owners how to play with their dogs! It is the best way to spend time together in a fun and spirited way.
I love my Australian Shepherd and you will often find us practicing with disc dog training, but we also like to dabble in tricks and agility training and one day we may even look at ‘herding’. Wherever we are, it’s about connecting, being present in the moment and enjoying each other’s company.
Sallie Longo – Senior Trainer
I really enjoy seeing that light bulb moment for the dog when they have learned something new and are genuinely proud of themselves. Watching the relationship and confidence grow between the dog and owner is a huge reward every time. Another part of my job is preparing foster dogs in readiness for a new home, which is an exciting time for the dog and their new family.
I have a few dogs at home that actively participate in the daily jobs on my farm property and are currently training to work small flocks of sheep.
Emily Gerard – Daycare Coordinator
The part of my job that I love is assisting in strengthening the bonds between people and their dogs, and much of the time that means exploring what works, developing a program and then seeing everyone’s dedication and persistence pay off.
My dog and I love going for runs together at the park! Training wise we are working on a lot of things at the moment, but our big new skill is riding a skateboard. It is fantastic seeing how much confidence he’s gained since learning new skills and how much calmer he is in general, which is very rewarding.
BENEFITS OF PRODOG TRAINING
Professional Dog Services
Private and small group puppy and dog training classes
Smaller groups of dogs to best maximise support for all owners