Frequently Asked Questions
PUPPY SCHOOL CLASS
Why is puppy school important?
To set them up for success before they've practiced unwanted behaviours and to make the most of their critical phase for socialisation (up to 16 weeks old) while they haven’t yet finished their vaccinations.
When is the best time to start?
8-12 weeks. Cut-off age is generally 16 weeks. This is to make the most of the critical phase for socialisation and ensure puppies are in similar stages of development.
Does my puppy need to be fully vaccinated?
No, just 1 vaccination. It is a very low risk environment. The space is indoors with veterinary grade disinfectant used prior to your arrival.
What happens if I can’t make it to a class?
I can’t guarantee a makeup class will be available, however, I will do my best to fit you in. The session’s training notes will be available through the online Puppy School Member Portal.
How do I book?
How many people can attend?
2 people per Puppy (or 1 adult 2 children) in line with 1 person per 2 sqm restrictions.
Are you Covid safe?
- Clients are asked to follow current health advice and are required to wear a mask.
- Surfaces are disinfected prior to your arrival for the safety of both you and your puppy.
- Please ensure you stay home if you or anyone in your home is showing cold-like symptoms.
What areas do you service?
1. Private Training & Puppy Home School
Anywhere in the Eastern Suburbs.
2. Puppy School Class
North Randwick Veterinary Clinic
Dogue Bondi Junction
3. Group & 1:1 Walk & Train (limited availability) pickup and drop off available in the following suburbs and immediate surrounds:
Clovelly, Bronte, Waverly, Queens Park & Bondi Junction.
How long will it take to ‘fix’ my dog?
I cannot guarantee behaviour. Every dog and owner are different. Some dogs and/or owners understand and respond quickly to training. Others require multiple sessions, trial and error to get things right. Some dogs have had long term practice and success in an undesirable behaviour that it takes time and consistency to change. Just like building strength and fitness requires commitment with a personal trainer, your dog may require many sessions to change behaviour.
What training methods do you use?
I am a positive reinforcement based trainer who follows the LIMA approach: Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive.
Behaviour is driven by 3 main factors:
Past experiences and learning
Much of perceived ‘bad’ dog behaviour is instinctive and successful for the dog in getting the outcome it wants. As owners, we need to understand their needs and set realistic goals.
Dogs cannot learn new information when stressed or distracted, much like humans, so it’s important when training new behaviour that we set up the environment so that it is conducive for learning and gradually add distractions.
I don’t believe it to be ethical to repeatedly put a dog into situations where they may react with aggression, fear, anxiety or hyper excitement and then "correct" using punishment after a behaviour occurs. The situation is causing them stress and when we punish for communicating how they feel, we further add to their stress. This also leads down a dangerous route. For example, if you “correct” a dog for growling using punishment, he may no longer growl, but will he warn you before he bites? Punishment doesn't address the cause of the problem or how the dog is feeling. Suppressing one behaviour can pop up as another.
Will I always have to use food rewards?
When you have completed the teaching and proofing phases with your dog, you can begin to phase out food rewards in the maintenance phase. This however, doesn't mean we stop reinforcing the dog completely. Reinforcement is whatever the dog finds desirable. This includes food, life rewards, pats, praise or games such as fetch or tug of war.
What equipment do you use?
Leash, flat collar, front attaching harness, head halter, long training leash, training pouch, treats, toys
WALK & TRAIN FAQs - Group & 1 : 1
How long will my dog be out of the house?
1 hour walking and training, plus pick up and drop off so anywhere from 1 - 2 hours depending on where you fall along the pick up/drop off routes that day. The time may vary depending on cancellations, traffic and weather.
How are you different from other dog walkers?
Maddy is a certified dog trainer with nearly a decade of professional experience across the pet care industry at animal shelters, vet clinics, grooming salons, daycares, and running her own business.
Training starts from the moment Maddy arrives at your home to pickup your dog. Behaviour like sitting for attention is reinforced instead of jumping up. Dogs must wait for their name to be called before jumping out of the van. This starts their walks with some focus and calmness for obedience and safety. The group Walk and Train service closely supervises play and match the groups appropriately, while providing physical and mental exercise in the form of training and games.
Will my dog be on or off leash?
Group Walk & Train
For their first walk we use a long training leash (5+ metres) so they can enjoy running around and wrestling with the group while Maddy builds trust and practices training. Your dog will be off leash only if Maddy is confident in their recall ability.
Some dogs require the use of the training leash long term to set them up for success, manage behaviour and keep them safe while we build up training. There is limited availability to take dogs without recall on a group walk as I only take 1 on-lead dog per group walk so they don’t get tangled.
1-on-1 Walk & Train:
This depends entirely on their behaviour and training goals. Some dogs are:
- On leash street walking only
- At the park but need a long training leash (5+ metres)
- Semi-off leash at the park with the long leash used as a drag line ‘just in case’. I’m not always holding the other end while they play.
Where will my dog be walked?
Mostly to Queens Park and Centennial Parklands.
Who will be walking my dog?
Maddy will be personally looking after your dog.
What if it’s raining?
We walk rain or shine! Only cancelling in the event of hail or storms. You will be notified by text.
When will my dog be walked ?
Group walks are done between 8.30am and 1pm Tuesday to Friday.
Will my dog get dirty?
Whilst I do make a considerable effort to keep them relatively clean and out of the mud, at the end of the day they are dogs! At Maddy’s dog school we provide a fun and adventurous walking experience for your dog…so they may come home wet or dirty! We do however, try to bring them home as clean as possible and wipe down any excess dirt or water/sand with a towel.
Do you need a house key?
Generally, we have access to a key which we keep labelled and safe. Alternatively, some clients leave their dog’s in the garden and we can get access through an unlocked side gate or they are already at home to hand over their dog. We are happy to come up with an arrangement that works best for you.
Will my dog be safe?
Maddy’s Dog School is insured. Maddy is a certified dog trainer and has nearly a decade of experience working professionally with dogs. Their welfare is of the utmost importance.
Every dog who joins a group walk & train has a screening process to assess the temperament and suitability of each dog:
- Completed questionnaire form.
- Initial meet and greet at client's home. This provides an opportunity for Maddy to assess your dog's behavioural needs, familiarise with your dog before taking them out and for the client to handover keys.
- Trial period. It is of the utmost important that the dog's personalities mix well so they can all enjoy their outing. Not all dogs cope with group walks.
Maddy tends to walk the group of dogs in quieter areas for safety and training, rather than hanging in the busy areas of the park.