Pooch Proficiency is Shutting Down

Hello Puppy Parents,
First and foremost I want to thank each and every one of you for letting us play a role in the lives of your family and your dog. It has really been an absolute joy getting to work and know each and every one of you. I have made the incredibly difficult decision to shut Pooch Proficiency down come the end of April. We will not be taking any new bookings from this point onwards, but will see our current clients through to the end of their courses and private training packages. If you need any recommendations for local trainers or walkers please reach out! Our email, phone and online courses will be active through to September 2024. They will be monitored roughly once a week.
Phone: 0482 578 032
I started Pooch Proficiency almost 5 years ago. I was running Puppy Preschool for the Fitzroy Vet as a staff member, and had a few people ask for some extra help outside of class. So, I registered the business name, got myself an ABN and started offering one on ones! I have learnt so much and had such an amazing time meeting the community, working with dogs and people of different backgrounds, and helping people understand their dogs better.
Working in the animal industry is incredibly rewarding, but presents its own sets of challenges. I hear all the time “you must have the easiest and best job in the world, getting to play with puppies all day”. While there is a lot of truth to that statement, it is far from easy! The work we do is demanding and challenging. We play the role of dog trainer, human teacher, therapist and confidant while getting glimpses into the most intimate parts of a family’s day to day life, and we are only really trained for one of those things! We get asked about veterinary medical questions well beyond the scope of our training. We provide emotional support when complex behaviour training takes time and people are at the edge. We help guide families through some of the toughest decisions they have to make regarding their dog. We help families learn how to communicate better with their animal, and for their animal to be better understood. We help repair damaged human-animal relationships. We have often done years and years of ongoing training and development, to more often than not be called “JUST a dog trainer”. The burnout is real, the compassion fatigue is real, the struggle with mental health is real. Across the animal industry, vets, vet nurses, trainers, vet techs, animal welfare workers, shelter staff and more do their absolute best to help keep you and your animals supported. Please be kind to them. Please treat them with respect. They are the most passionate and empathetic people I know, who just want what is best for you and your animal. Sometimes they have to tell you things that you don’t want to hear, or present you with impossible decisions. I completely understand you will have your own big emotions through those moments. I just ask that you be kind. The vet who has to euthanise the senior dog, has to then run and put a smile on their face as they jump straight into a puppy vaccination. The trainer who has just had to help guide a family to the decision of behavioural euthanasia, has to then head straight into puppy preschool. They don’t get the beat to reset or process their own emotions after that.
I am now studying Psychology, with the goal of offering mental health support to those in the animal industry. Like every industry, there is good, bad and ugly. There is an enormous amount of absolute joy I have gotten from working this role and that all of my colleagues in the animal industry get when working with you and your pets. All I ask of you going forward is to treat your animal professionals with empathy and kindness.
Thank you again for entrusting me with your dogs over the last half decade. I wish you all the very best in the future.
David – Director and Lead Animal Behaviour Trainer of Pooch Proficiency