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Frequently Asked Questions  

I am told Puppy Pre School is important for Socialisation?

People are generally told this is important for socialisation. Nothing in our opinion could be further from the truth. Puppies do not socialise with dogs out of their pack in strange environments. Most pre schools are conducted by well meaning Vet Nurses or amateur dog trainers who unfortunately are misinformed. This only causes confusion for owners and their dogs. Unfortunatley, the highest percentage of dogs we attend to with anti social and undesirable behaviour have been to puppy pre-schools. Pups should not socialise in strange environments with unknown dogs and people. As professional dog trainers and behavioural specialists with over 30 years experience we teach you how to correctly handle and condition your pup in realistic situations which in the long term benefits you and your dog.  We invite you to contact us to discuss the myth and misconception surrounding puppy socialisation.

What about Puppy Pre School?

We totally disagree with the concept of puppy pre school.  What is right for you and your individual  pup will be different for other owners and their pups.

The first 18 weeks in a pup's life is the most crucial learning period therefore pups should be trained and handled correctly in and around their own environment. It is vital  at a young age to correctly set up and establish all the right routines, toilet training management and obedience, correct handling and communication with your own individual pup this is what establishes the long term good behaviour of your pup. Be well informed.  Owners should only accept advice from a very experienced dog trainer in relation to puppy rearing and training to suit their individual pup's character and temperament .  

What is the best breed as a family companion  

There are so many variables that without investigating the family’s lifestyle requirements such as home layout, family structure, likes and dislikes, it is impossible to say. A dog or breed that is fantastic for one family of four may be a disaster for a family of four next door. For this reason we strongly recommend people use our pre selection service to establish what dog will be best suited to you. 

What should we feed our dog  

Dogs in their natural state will eat almost anything, your family companion is not in it’s natural state, it is in your home. There are more dog foods on the market than ever, many good many fair and some excellent.  We recommend the premium foods.  Often they may appear expensive, if fed correctly the end result is they do not cost much more, and your dog will maintain excellent health.  Some dogs may have special dietery needs due to health problems, if so consult your veterinarian.  

How often should we walk our dog  

As often as possible. But be inconsistent and try to avoid getting into a routine as it can be difficult to maintain.  Dogs have a very good inbuilt clock and will be very disappointed if they do not get their 6 o’clock walk.  Six enjoyable 20 minute walks per week. Vary times and locations of walks.  Exercise with caution in hot weather and remember pavements can get very hot and burn the pads on dogs feet.   Also small dogs vital organs are very close to hot pavements.

Where should we buy a dog  


We see good and bad come from all outlets, many excellent dogs end up in shelters, so do many bad one’s.  Most shelters are very careful as to which dogs they will rehome, however regardless of how carefully they are assessed exercise caution, the best can make mistakes.  Give the dog a little time to settle in before you become too confident with him/her.  


There are good and bad.  Have a good look, do your homework. Just because their dogs are good well behaved dogs does not necessarily mean yours will be the same. Most breeders put in a lot of time and effort to raise and train their dogs, are you in a position to do the same?  Many will tell you good behaviour is genetic a very small percentage is, by far the largest percentage is environment and training.  

Pet Shops  

Again good and bad.  Often the description of breed or mix of breeds is incorrect. We have trained many excellent dogs that have been purchased at pet shops, but please do not buy on impulse.  Think about it and come back.  There will always be another puppy if you don’t buy one today.     

What should we look for when buying a pup   

Firstly we recommend use our professional service if you can (it may save you)  

  1. The condition must be 100% healthy, never buy a sick or underweight pup.  Do not even accept one given to you for free.  It may be the most expensive gift you ever receive. 
  2. The environment/conditions the pup is in must be 100% clean and hygienic.  
  3. All vaccination and worming must be up to date and card provided.  
  4. Health certificate from Vet  (their vet)  
  5. Think long and hard and don’t forget all pups are cute (they grow up quickly).  Look at adult dogs of the breed you are considering.  Written permission to have the pup checked by your independent vet and 100% money back if not 100% healthy. 

Should we get a male or female  

As family pets generally females are a little softer and better with children. If you don’t intend breeding be sure to desex as recommended by your vet. This does not mean males are no good, they are just a bit more of a handful and can be a little harder to control.  

When should we start training our dog  

As soon as you get the dog you should be teaching good habits every minute you are with your pup or dog. Pups learn bad behaviour as quick as they learn good behaviour. Do not allow bad habits to develop..  

What do you think of group training schools  

It can be time consuming, and very confusing and intimidating for both handler and dog. Generally children cannot participate and our view is that they are most important and require teaching with the dog. Often a lot of conflicting advice is received due to not having the same instructor every week. Generally very little individual attention is given to you and your dog. Most at home problems can't be addressed in a group situation.

What books would you recommend to train my dog  

None.  Every home we attend to with a badly behaved dog has at least two if not more books on how to train a dog sitting on their table.  If you could train a dog with a book there would be no badly behaved dogs.  Would you buy a horse and attempt to ride and train it from a book?  Unlikely.                         

What training method do you use  

We are often asked what ‘method’ do you use we fully understand why people ask this question with so many 'so called methods' now being marketed. The fact is no ‘one method’ suits every dog.
Our unique style of training has been developed over 30 years and is not based on any ‘one method’  As each dog is an individual training should be structured to suit the individual dog.  Training that is suitable for one dog can be totally unsuitable for another.            

As training and behavioural specialists we have  the ability to quickly assess a dog's character, temperament and disposition and then structure training to suit.                                              

Why should we use Ausdog

AUSDOG is a government licensed training company owned and operated by John Harkin

John is highly respected and highly skilled, he knows how to achieve the best results for his clients and their dogs. 

John's has the experience, expertise and knowledge and with proven results.  You will learn in a fraction of the time. Where others talk about it, John achieves positive outcomes for his clients  time after time where others fail.   John will help make owning a dog an enjoyable safe and rewarding experience for all concerned. 

How much training do you recommend?

A 1½ hour consultation lesson at and around your home with AUSDOG will quickly get results and in most cases is all that may be needed to achieve the desired result that is right for you and your companion dog.

Our consultation and training fees are determined through our discussion with you, depending on what issues you may be experiencing and what your requirements are. We provide consultation training lessons at home and also where you would normally take your companion dog for walks, around local streets, and parks for example. We work with you and your companion dog, the training is tailored for your individual situation, in fact you will be surprised how little it takes.

What payment method do you accept

We accept Visa, Mastercard, cash for your convenience.



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