Rules for puppy love from top dog trainer

Dog trainer Rhonda Robinson at home in Casuarina.
Dog trainer Rhonda Robinson at home in Casuarina. Blainey Woodham

ASPIN the golden retriever is well groomed, well behaved and a happy boy.

That is because he knows his place in life, according to dog trainer Rhonda Robinson.

Mrs Robinson practises what she preaches on Aspin, two other dogs and a cat she has at her home in Casuarina.

She has loved dogs and cats her entire life and three years ago decided to capitalise on her ability to train animals, opening Top Dog Academy on the Tweed.

"I have always been involved with dogs.

"My parents bred dogs, so I have a long history," Mrs Robinson said.

Only after moving to the Tweed Coast did Mrs Robinson decide to open her dog training business, which she runs from home.

"I didn't get an opportunity to do anything until we moved up here from Sydney. I saw there was a hole in the market on this end of the coast," she said.

Dog trainer Rhonda Robinson at home in Casuarina.
Dog trainer Rhonda Robinson at home in Casuarina. Blainey Woodham

Not only does she teach dogs new tricks, Mrs Robinson fosters homeless dogs as well.

At the moment she is looking after Sooky, a young female she found at the Tweed pound while doing volunteer work.

"I have fostered around half-a-dozen dogs over the years. They have all turned out to be great animals after some love and attention.

"Sooky was probably going to be put down."

With customers spanning from Palm Beach south to Byron Bay, she is kept busy but still has time for her own animals, including Aspin, Garfield the cat and Pandas the kelpie cross.

"Garfield runs the show. My husband said he didn't like cats but now all he asks when he gets home is 'where is Garfield?'" Mrs Robinson said.

She said all problem dogs needed was consistency with regards to training and boundaries, and older dogs could still be trained out of bad habits.

"A lot of socialising is needed and they have to understand boundaries and rules, which takes some repetition and reward.

"Dogs don't grow out of anything - you have to train it out of them. Jumping, for example, is a common problem for owners of big dogs especially."

Tips for training your pooch

Rhonda Robinson shares advice on how to train your dog:

  • Supervise puppies and provide alternate items to chew on
  • Investigate your dog's diet if chewing is excessive, particularly with puppies
  • Remove the dog from the environment that is causing him/her to bark and put in a comfortable area
  • Provide bored dogs with toys, frozen bones and kongs to keep them entertained while you are away
  • Squirt your dog with water to stop jumping
  • Punish only when caught in the act.

Topics:  dog training weekender

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