OUR STORY

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 the experience I gained working with elephants, and other animals, crosses over into my work with dogs. Developing training programs that focus on building meaningful relationships built on trust and understanding, and high standards of animal training that ultimately create freedom and opportunity, are key areas that can build an extremely rewarding life experience for a dog and their family.

Our team are passionate about helping their clients understand their dog. Along with teaching the skills needed to train their dog, we also considers a dog’s innate motivations, history of learned behaviours/experiences and temperament, so that a tailored program can be created for successful outcomes.

Developing a well-trained dog is essential, but they also need to be happy and balanced. Our qualified team helps clients achieve the best results for them and their dog. With a strong focus on play and building meaningful relationships, our program may be one of the most comprehensive in the world.

FOUNDER | DIRECTOR

QUALIFICATIONS

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

Michèle Zuber – Trainer

Doing what I love as my job with like minded people makes me feel incredibly grateful. There is always more to learn, making dog training continuously interesting and humbling. I enjoy working with clients to learn who their individual dog is and what they find fulfilling to create lasting and mutual relationships.

Alongside training I regularly foster dogs which is rewarding and gives me invaluable understanding to help both dogs and people.

I feel most at home in nature and my two dogs, Fin and Nala and I regularly go on adventures, they also often assist me in working with clients dogs. Fin and I are part of the GRC dog sports club which gives both dogs and people amazing opportunities to take things to the next level.

Buddy Spohn – Trainer

Most days, both of my dogs are in tow with me at the facility. My girl Skye is a sweet natured mix breed who will run through a wall for food. My boy Huck is a Belgian Malinois who mostly gets up to mischief, as most Malinois do.

I have always loved teaching and coaching sport, which carries over greatly to the dog training world. I have a background in youth and senior ice hockey, junior AFL football, and high school track and field.

I enjoy working with high drive dogs, scent detection, puppy development, and owners who desire to achieve more than the bare minimum with their dogs. I love helping people achieve a meaningful relationship and understanding with their dog and strive to make positive and continual progress with all my clients.

Sallie Longo – 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.

Chloe Jang – Trainer

Through fostering a number of dogs I eventually adopted a dog with significant behavioural issues. Having a dog with aggression lead my interest and passion for working with difficult behavioural cases.

My dog Sunny (staffy x kelpie) is my best work mate now. We love to work on obedience, going on daily adventures in new environments and working together in club practice at GRC Melbourne.

There’s nothing more rewarding than watching a handler and dog building trust and a meaningful relationship through training, resulting in them living a more comfortable, cooperative and enjoyable life together.

Emma Hales – Trainer

My interest in dog training stemmed from adopting my current, beautiful dog Audrey. I felt when I brought her home that I couldn’t make sense of her. Growing as a handler, I took huge pleasure in writing her a clear dictionary. These days I enjoy giving the same experience to others and watching dog/handler teams understand each other and thrive.

My most recent work has been focussed around the training and matching of guide dogs with their prospective handlers as well as making sure they have the tools to travel safely through the streets of Melbourne. This work has expanded my understanding of how humans and dogs can relate to each other and work together. I’m passionate about helping all dog owners achieve a sense of understanding their dog so as to better include their dog in their day to day lives.

Sue Purves – Trainer

Teaching (the majority in Primary Schools) and animals (dogs, horses, chooks!) have been my life. Whatever skills I have learnt and am learning I am drawn to share this with others. Apart from teaching full time I learnt to ride, studied (Diploma in Science—Horse management) and then gained my instructors qualification with the EFA.

When I got my current dog (Max the super kelpie!!) I was determined to develop his genetic instinct as a herding dog but without the availability of access to sheep. As part of my goals I completed my NTDF qualification and started training. Unfortunately (or fortunately!) I had several false starts with methods seemed to be designed to squash his herding instincts, I landed at Pro Dog and with the tutoring from David McKelson (founder and director of Pro Dog). I was then able to develop a relationship with Max through engagement, developing a communication system to teach him many skills (obedience, agility, tricks, scent work) and provide him with outlets that satisfy his instincts.

I am honoured to be part of the Pro Dog team and (of course) wish to share my knowledge and experience with others.

BENEFITS OF PRODOG TRAINING

Professional Dog Services

  • Highly skilled certified dog training instructors

  • Smaller groups of dogs to best maximise support for all owners
  • Open 7 days a week
  • Indoor purpose built facilities
  • Events and workshops

OUR TEAM ARE QUALIFIED TO ASSIST WITH

Obedience
Puppy Training
Aggression
Fear & Anxiety
Drive Fulfillment
Behaviour

Professional Development

Our trainer shadow program targets multiple discipline areas including dog training/behaviour modification, animal handling and coaching skills, with the ability to target your key areas of interest.