Frequently Asked Questions

PUPPY SCHOOL 

 

  • Why is puppy school important?

To set them up for success right from the beginning and make the most of their critical phase for socialisation up to 16 weeks of age, while they haven’t yet finished their vaccinations.

Not introducing them to the big outside world until after their 3rd vaccination at 16 weeks can be very overwhelming for them. This can lead to behavioural issues such as fear, anxiety and reactivity and fear aggression (please note these behaviours are also caused by other things including genetics, past learned experiences and their current environment.)

 

  • When is the best time to start?

8-12 weeks. Cut-off age is 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 and disinfected with veterinary grade disinfectant prior to your arrival. However, I understand if you'd prefer to wait until they've had their 2nd vaccination.

 

  • 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 all be available on the online Puppy School Member Portal for your viewing as well so you are welcome to use these too. 

 

  • How do I book?

Simply click on 'Step 1: Book Now' below to purchase. Once payment has been processed,

Click 'Step 2: New Member' below to log in to our Member Portal. You will be contacted once your log in has been approved and will then have access to all Puppy School Resources online and available on any device.

 

 

  • 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?

As per current health restrictions, clients are required to:

- Be double vaccinated against Covid to be inside a venue. 

- Surfaces are disinfected prior to your arrival for the safety of both yourself and your pup.

- We provide masks for all attendees to wear and have a QR code for all to use to sign in and hand sanitiser on arrival.

- As per the current health advice, please ensure you stay home and get tested if you or anyone in your home is showing cold-like symptoms or if you have visited an exposure site - we want to have fun at Puppy School and keep everyone safe! Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

GENERAL FAQs

  • How long will it take to ‘fix’ my dog?

I cannot guarantee behaviour. Every dog, and every owner is completely different. Some dogs and/or owners understand and respond really quickly to training. Others require multiple sessions, trial and error to get things right.

 

Some dogs have had so much practice and success in an undesirable behaviour that it takes time, commitment and consistency to change. There will likely be steps forward and steps back along the way as we work through the behaviour and can’t always control the environment and they do have a mind of their own after all.

 

  • What Training Methods do you use?

I am a positive reinforcement based trainer who follows the LIMA approach: Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive. 

https://apdt.com/lima.pdf

Behaviour is driven by 3 main factors:

  • Genetics

  • Past experiences and learning

  • The current environment.

 

If we can proactively manage their environment and overall health and well-being, while understanding that their behaviour is shaped by past experiences or a lack there of, then the owner must take responsibility to help the dog through situations by letting the dog know they are safe and communicating through training what you would like them to do instead.

 

So much of perceived ‘bad’ dog behaviour is natural and instinctive and successful for the dog in getting the outcome it wants. As owners, we need to understand their needs, set up their environment for success, set realistic goals and reinforce desirable behaviour as a means of communicating what we want them to do and making them feel good about their choice.

 

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 them after a behaviour occurs when the situation is clearly causing them stress and they are communicating how they feel, this adding further to the stress. This also leads you 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? Has it dealt with the cause of the problem? Suppressing one behaviour can pop up as another behaviour.

 

  • Will I always have to use food rewards?

Imagine your boss called you today and said, I’d like to keep working just as hard and just as long, but I’m not going to pay you anymore. Your productivity would fall off a cliff. Dogs are the same. We are asking a lot of them to adapt to our human worlds and much of their behaviour is instinctive or selectively bred by humans. Many so-called ‘bad’ behaviours are simply normal for a dog but is undesirable in the context of our homes. It’s up to us owners to manage their environment to prevent them practicing the behaviour, provide appropriate outlets and reinforce the behaviour that we do want.

 

Reinforcement is whatever the dog finds desirable. Some dogs will always be hopeful for that food reward after doing their job. Others are more motivated by life rewards, pats, praise or games such as fetch or tug of war. 

 

  • What equipment do you use?

Leash, flat collar, front attaching harness, halti, long training leash, training pouch, treats, toys.

 

  • What areas do you service?

 

1. Dog walking (limited availability)

Pickup and drop off available in the following suburbs and immediate surrounds:

Clovelly

Bronte

Waverly

Queens Park

Bondi Junction

If you live outside these areas, please get in touch to see if I can accommodate you or refer you to another trusted dog professional.

 

2. Private Training & Puppy Home School

Anywhere in the Eastern Suburbs. 

 

3. Puppy School Class

North Randwick Veterinary Clinic

Dogue Bondi Junction


 

WALK & TRAIN - Group & 1 : 1 Walk and Train

 

  • 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 if there are cancellations.

 

  • How are you different from other dog walkers?

Maddy is a certified and experienced dog trainer who has over 8+ years professional experience across the pet care industry at animal shelters, vet clinics, grooming salons, daycares, and running her own business, Maddy’s Dog School. 

 

With multiple certifications in positive reinforcement based training and care services it is clear that Maddy has a lifelong passion for working with dogs. Maddy is always looking for new and up to date information about dog training, whether it be networking with others in the industry, reading books, listening to podcasts, completing certificates or attending webinars, seminars and conferences.

Training starts from the moment I arrive at your home to pickup your pup. I reinforce behaviour like sitting for attention instead of jumping up and teach them not to jump out of the van until they hear their name. This starts their walks with some focus and calmness for obedience and safety around roads. 

 

The group Walk and Train service closely supervises the dogs play and match the groups appropriately, while providing physical and mental exercise in the form of games, training and play.  

 

  • Will my dog be on or off leash?

Group Walk & Train 

Your dog will be off leash only if I am confident in their recall, responsiveness and that they won’t run off. 

 

For their first walk I use a long training leash (5+ metres) so they can enjoy running around and wrestling with the group while I work on their responsiveness, build trust and practice training.

 

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 their 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 in the leashes.

 

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.

 

  • Will my dog be safe?

Maddy’s Dog School is completely insured. Maddy herself is also fully certified as a dog trainer and has 8+ years experience working professionally with dogs. 

 

Every dog who joins a group walk & train has a screening process to assess the temperament and suitability of each dog:

  • Answer enquiry questions on form

  • Initial meet and greet at their home. This provides an opportunity for the client to ask me further questions, handover keys and for the dog and myself to familiarise before I take them out for the first time.

  • Trial period. The dog’s welfare is of the utmost importance. Not all dogs cope with group walks and it’s important the group get along and are well suited to each other so they can all enjoy their outing.

I tend to keep the group of dogs in quieter areas for safety and training, rather than hanging in the busy areas of the park.

 

  • 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 8am 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.

Terms & Conditions

General

A booking form must be completed prior to any service. The client agrees they have read and will abide by our Terms and Conditions. Maddy’s Dog School reserves the right to make changes to the services or terms provided at any time without notice. You have access to the Terms and Conditions via the website.

 

Photography

The client agrees to give Maddy’s Dog School and North Randwick Veterinary Hospital / Dogue Bondi Junction (depending on your booked location) permission to use photos and videos taken for promotion, advertising, social media or any other purpose.

 

Behaviour

The client agrees to convey any known behavioural problems or aggression to Maddy’s Dog School. The client is solely responsible for any harm or injury caused by their dog. Maddy’s Dog School reserves the right to refuse or cease services to a client.

 

Health

  • Puppy School

The client agrees that their puppy has had at least 1 vaccination. Whilst Maddy’s Dog School and North Randwick Veterinary Hospital / Dogue Bondi Junction take the utmost care to provide a safe and sterile learning environment, the client agrees that their puppy will be interacting directly and indirectly with other puppies and therefore illness or injury are possible despite being low risk.

 

As per NSW Health advice, the client further agrees to check in using the QR code, wear a mask, use hand sanitiser and stay home and get tested if they or anyone in their household have any cold or flu symptoms or has visited an exposure site.

 

Should a dog or client arrive showing signs of sickness or distress, Maddy’s Dog School reserves the right to turn a client away in their best interest and provide an alternative option.

 

The client acknowledges that whilst precautions are in place for client safety, the client chooses to participate at their own risk. The client is responsible for any injury or harm caused by them or their dog. 

 

  • General Health

The client states that their pet is in good health, and if not, agrees to pass on details of any allergies, injuries, or medical conditions. 

 

Dogs must be micro-chipped, wearing an ID tag, and be up to date with flea, tick and worming prevention and vaccinations. Maddy’s Dog School will not be held responsible for any flea, tick, worm or disease related illnesses.

 

Should your dog need medical attention whilst in our care, we reserve the right to provide necessary first aid, and/or transport them to a veterinary clinic. Any related expenses are to be paid by the client. In this unlikely event, you would be contacted immediately.

 

The client agrees that Maddy’s Dog School allows dogs to interact and play freely in their environment and whilst we ensure safety is the top priority, acknowledges that injuries may occur. Maddy’s Dog School will not be held accountable for any illness/injury caused. The client also agrees that under no circumstances will Maddy’s Dog School, or its employees, be held responsible for theft, death, loss, or damages of any kind whatsoever that may occur to any dog whilst in the care of Maddy’s Dog School.


 

PAYMENTS/CANCELLATIONS

 

Puppy School Class

Payment is made in full at the time of booking via website.

 

Payment is non-refundable if cancellation occurs within 24 hours of the course start date/time or if you cancel after attending the first session or cannot make it to a class. 



 

Walk and Train (Group and 1:1)

Payment can be made in person via cash weekly or fortnightly.

 

Or, if paying by card, you will receive an invoice by email fortnightly. A payment reminder will be sent if not paid. 

 

If payment has not been made within 2 weeks of the due date, a $15 administration fee will be applied and each fortnight thereafter until the amount in full is paid.

 

Cancellation within 24 hours requires payment in full if the spot cannot be filled.

 

If we cannot gain access to your pet on the day of the scheduled walk, the service will still be charged at the full rate. Providing a house key for access will mean this is less likely.
 

Private Training / Behaviour Consultations / Puppy Home School

Payment to be made in full prior to the session commencing. An invoice will be sent to your email address in order for you to process payment. There are no refunds once the session has begun and thereafter.

 

Cancellation within 24 hours results in a 50% cancellation fee if the spot is not filled. The remaining 50% of the booking will be refunded to the client. 

 

Overdue Payments

 

Late payments may be sent to a debt collection agency in order to settle the outstanding amount. Any fees incurred for their services will be the clients responsibility to pay. 

 

Confidentiality

Maddy’s Dog School keeps all customer information and details in the strictest confidence and is not shared with a third party. 

 

We may use your email for marketing purposes within Maddy’s Dog School and you are able to unsubscribe to this at any time. We also send confirmation texts and emails for bookings.