Learn More About Pooch Proficiency

Pooch Proficiency: Dog, Puppy Training for Melbourne Dogs and Their Guardians, Separation Anxiety Training for Dogs Everywhere

Our Mission

At Pooch Proficiency, we are dedicated to improving the lives of dogs and their guardians not only in Melbourne, Australia but everywhere. 

Our mission is to empower dogs and their guardians to build a deeper understanding of each other and develop a strong, bonded relationship. Our customised training services are designed to meet the unique needs of each dog and their family, prioritising communication, trust, and the use of positive reinforcement.

Through modern, fear-free methods, we’ll help your furry friend build confidence and teach them new behaviours, all the while strengthening the bond between you and your pooch. Our top priority is your pup’s welfare and giving you the skills to help your dog be the best version of themselves.

Meet David

Owner | Lead Trainer and Class Instructor

David’s first pet was a blue budgerigar that he got for his birthday. At the ripe age of three, he aptly named this bird “Birthday Bluey”, and a love of animals was born. David has been working professionally with animals since 2010. He began volunteering at the RSPCA, and completed his Certificate II in Animal Studies before finishing High School. He went on to study Animal Behaviour through his tertiary studies, researching Animal Welfare and Behaviour through the University of Melbourne and Zoos Victoria.  

Pooch Proficiency started as a way to support a few puppy school clients who expressed a need for help outside of class. It has evolved into a team of dedicated dog professionals helping dogs and their guardians better communicate with one another. We’re dedicated to ethical dog training, leading our training with empathy and the latest scientific method. We are constantly learning through professional development and shadowing other pet professionals.

Meet The Team


Dog Trainer and Class Instructor

Ken started training dogs some 30 years ago when his sister-in-law decided she wanted a puppy and then thought it would be a great idea to get him a litter mate so they could play together. He soon fell in love with his newly acquired GSD puppy. Kody, as he named her, immediately became his sidekick, and came everywhere with him that she could. Ken quickly realised that he knew nothing about training her and went looking for help. He soon found a local obedience club and joined straight away.

Kody and Ken quickly progressed through the levels and participated in demonstrations held by the club. While Ken enjoyed their time there, something wasn’t quite as he expected with some of the training methods of that time. Ken’s personal circumstances changed when Kody was about 3 years old and that was enough to drive him away from competitions and he concentrated on his own training, using methods he was more comfortable with. His partner had a King Charles who had a beautiful nature but absolutely no manners or training at all. Ollie, as he was called, re-ignited Ken’s desire to learn as much as he could about training methods and finding a better way than he was first introduced to.

Soon after, Ken re-joined the club with his adorable Golden Retriever x Border Collie, Abby. While they were moving in a direction he was more comfortable with, Ken thought there was plenty of room for further improvement and proceeded to become a committee member moving to President with a view to changing things from the inside. Along with several other club members, they spent several years changing the mindset of the rest of the instructors. They also pushed the club towards a reward-based training method and withdrawal of the aversive side of their training.

Ken will never stop studying animal behaviour and striving to be the best he can be, in order to help our furry friends.


Dog Walker and Puppy School Assistant

Hannah has been working in the animal care space since 2016 and has worked in many different facets of the industry: rescue, vet nursing, shelter, walking and pet sitting – even chaperoning pets at weddings! 

After growing up surrounded by dogs and with a strong love for animals, Hannah began volunteering at the SPCA in Wellington (New Zealand) in the Dog House. This sparked her passion for rescue. After moving to Melbourne in 2017, she began pet sitting and dog walking within her local community, and has continued to do this over the years. In 2020, Hannah undertook a Certificate III in Animal Studies and worked as a trainee veterinary nurse at a local clinic. 

Currently, Hannah works as a dog walker and as a wedding day pet attendant! She chaperones dogs at weddings, helping couples to have their beloved fur babies involved in their special day. Hannah volunteers for a local rescue group, Project Underdog Rescue, as Dogs Case Manager. 

Hannah has her own rescue dog – a three legged Staffy named Margie! Outside of animals she enjoys watching sitcoms, listening to music from the 60s-80s, reading and dancing. She actually trained as a professional dancer pre pandemic! 

Hannah is passionate about Force Free and Fear Free training and interaction with animals. She enjoys applying these methods across all her roles with animals. She is excited to join the Pooch Proficiency team as an Assistant and continue to grow her knowledge about Force Free training.


 Dog Trainer, Dog Walker and Class Instructor

Olivia has over 12 years of experience working directly with animals and educating pet guardians across a variety of unique species.  She has a passion for promoting a better understanding of animal behaviour and husbandry. Outside of her experience with dogs, she has used trust based (fear free) training techniques working with horses, birds, reptiles and marsupials. Having worked with such a diverse range of animals, Olivia is proficient in understanding animal behaviour and helping people better understand their pets.

Feel free to ask her about her Spencer’s Monitor – Joanna the Goanna or her Mitchell’s Cockatoo Freddie!

Olivia is near the end of her Certificate IV in Animal Behaviour and Training and has a particular soft spot for working breeds.


Puppy School Assistant

Ren has been walking, boarding, and house sitting for households with multiple pets for the past seven years. Her experience has given her a soft spot for furry friends, especially dogs, and she is passionate about helping them live comfortable and happy lives in our society.

To further her knowledge, Ren obtained a Certificate III in Dog Training and Behaviour, which has given her a deeper understanding of the canine mind and how to train and shape their behaviour. She has also obtained a Pet First Aid Certificate from RSPCA, which has equipped her with the skills to respond to emergencies and provide first aid to pets.

In addition to pet sitting, Ren works at a doggy day care and grooming facility. She finds it fun and rewarding and has learned how to care for dogs of different breeds and sizes and make sure they are happy and comfortable while their owners are away.

Ren values the bond between a pet guardian and their dog and understands the importance of providing excellent care to ensure that bond remains strong. Her friendly and empathetic nature has allowed her to develop strong relationships with dogs, and she is always excited to meet new furry friends.

Service Area

We offer our private training services in your home through Melbourne's Inner North and Inner East.

Class Venues:

  • Blackburn
  • Brunswick
  • Carlton
  • Donvale
  • Forest Hill
  • Fitzroy
  • Northcote
  • Richmond

Dog Walking:

  • City of Yarra
    (Fitzroy North, Fitzroy, Carlton North, Clifton Hill, Collingwood)
  • City of Melbourne (Carlton)
  • Merri-bek City Council
    (Brunswick West, Brunswick, Brunswick East)
  • City of Darebin
    (Northcote, Thornbury)
  • City of Yarra
    (Fitzroy North, Fitzroy, Carlton North, Clifton Hill, Collingwood)
  • City of Melbourne (Carlton)
  • Merri-bek City Council
    (Brunswick West, Brunswick, Brunswick East)
  • City of Darebin
    (Northcote, Thornbury)

Ready To Improve Your Dog’s Life And Build A Stronger Bond?