Every trainer is different in the way they approach their expertise, and after talking with Kacie Gauld from “Kacie’s Puppy School” we discovered how important this is.
Kacie has built a long-term relationship with us, as we first come in contact with her many years ago, completing her Certificate III in Dog Behaviour in Training as a Distance Learning student. We got back in contact with her recently as she became a part of our Find A Trainer Service, and recently opened her new business. We discussed all areas of the industry from extending her knowledge on an international level, and her development as a trainer to opening her puppy school and her opinion on the role of child awareness when it comes to them interacting with the dogs around them.
Kacie being based in Brisbane looked at becoming a Distance Learning Student which she claims studying online “is a great way to gain a qualification”. As Kacie began to work full time and study, Kacie explained how “the amount of content and assessments were manageable if I (she) had organised my time right”. As many of us know working full time and studying also can be quite the hard feat as we look to manage the two simultaneously, however, many years later, a business, international education and a child, Kacie seems to be proof that it is possible to still find success.
Studying our course we are constantly intrigued by our students’ response to our education structure, which is something Kacie liked to highlight in our interview with her. We wondered about Kacie’s thoughts on the dog training industry and how it has evolved over the years to which she opened her response with “One of the reasons I chose to do the NDTF course was because it was the only course I could find that gave an overview of all training methods and tools/equipment.” She continues throughout the interview to exclaim that we don’t only encourage compulsion and dominance-based training, or positive reinforcement and so on, but rather we educate our students on all facets of the training industry and allow our students to explore which method works for them and the pets that they train. As she continues, Kacie believes that “training methods have developed and shifted over the years. It’s gone from heavily compulsion/dominance-based training, shifted to a global positive only movement, and now I feel as though it’s shifting slightly back to a more balanced approach”.
If there’s one thing we took from our interview it’s that Kacie adapts her training and knowledge to all different clients and situations. She explains her philosophy and values to be based on “finding what motivates dogs”. She explains how training shouldn’t be a chore but rather a positive and fun experience. Although Kacie personally skews her training style towards that of positive reinforcement, as she believes it develops motivation and ensures the mental state of the pup isn’t jeopardized, she does realise that for some animals such as working dogs, compulsive methods and tools may be a more viable option. She began exploring her knowledge gained internationally as she talks about her experience with “The Liveable Dog” a live seminar she recently attended where they explored “strategies to decrease the negative impact pet dog owners and their dogs have on each other’s lives” where she says they ‘focused on finding what motivates your dog to learn through play, not compulsion – which speaks to my soul” which really sums up Kacie’s ethos as a trainer.
Continuing to discuss Kacie’s international education we were intrigued to see how Australia’s dog training industry compared to that of an overseas landscape. With 90 million pet dogs living in that country (USA)” she stated that “the assistant dog industry is also much larger than that of Australia” which is the area in which Kacie looks to work in down the line. Due to there being a larger landscape in the States, we found out that there was more “access to in-depth training in a specific area” as she believes the main difference is the sheer volume and variety of topic-specific learning available”. However, the “fundamentals of training were the same there as they are in Australia”. We were happy to learn that with Kacie completing our Assistant Dog Elective in her course with us, she applauded it on how it was “great from a foundation learning perspective”.
Speaking of foundation learning we began to Segway across to establishing a solid foundation for dogs, in which trainers and owners look to build upon. Kacie offers a puppy pre-school class where she places a “focus on socialisation, independence training, impulse control and conditioned relaxation”. Kacie explains that the “first 3-16 weeks of a puppy’s life from a socialization and independence training perspective” is crucial. Kacie holds the belief that we need to ensure our pups have positive experience to all things they are likely to encounter during their lives throughout their critical period of development, to limit them ending up in shelters due to destructive behavioural issues, which is why she puts much focus on socialization as opposed to the mainstream opinion of pushing primarily obedience training, which she does implement however does not highlight.
In our next post, we continue to explore Kacie’s training methods and dive deeper into her business and future projects, how she manages a raising a child and continuing her business goals as a dog trainer; as well as how she feels about children around animals. We also look more into her personal training methods as well as how she manages to continue living the busy life she does and be a successful trainer.
Part 2 Coming Soon
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