Service dog coach Louise Joesbury offers service dog training, pet dog training and puppy training through her business, K9PATs, in Perth, Australia. She also offers training, grooming and behavior consultations through her second business, Secure Paws and Claws. Louise earned the Cooperative Paws Service Dog Coach certificate, and she is an assistance dog public access test assessor for the Western Australian Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC). She has experience training service dogs for a nonprofit organization, is a professional member of the Pet Professional Guild Australia, has a graduate diploma in education, and has completed numerous programs in dog training and behavior. In addition to professional dog training, Louise has personal experience as a first responder, having worked as a police officer for 17 years.
What made you decide you wanted to train service dogs?
I am a former police officer, and I know firsthand how dogs can make a positive difference in our lives and can assist in public places.
Tell us about your work training service dogs.
Every day I get to meet the most amazing assistance dog owners and their dogs. Whilst many of my clients’ dogs are puppies, the foundation stages of their training are the same irrelevant of their age. My work with each dog commences with teaching life skills like basic obedience and polite greeting behavior, and shaping characteristics most desirable for service dog work like confidence, resilience, focus, calmness, flexibility and impulse control. I use fun games combined with dog obedience skills to motivate my clients and their dogs.
I have loved working with service dogs professionally and have also benefitted personally. My rescue Labrador, Beau, is currently in training as my assistance dog; I experienced serious work-related injuries as a result of my time as a police officer.
Tell us about your dog training business.
My assistance dog and pet dog training business is called K9PATs. We provide quality and positive assistance dog training services and assistance dog public access tests (PAT) for the Western Australian Government, DLGSC. As a PAT assessor I conduct behaviour and obedience assessments (BOA), which assess the suitability of each dog and ensure a potential assistance dog is at a competent level to continue further training in public spaces where pets are not permitted. Once the BOA has been completed successfully, the client then receives authority to train in public and is eligible to complete the PAT assessment within a six-month period for full assistance dog identification and authority.
My other business, Secure Paws & Claws. also offers positive dog training and grooming behavior services for nervous, anxious, fearful and aggressive dogs.
How has offering service dog training had an impact on your business?
Offering assistance dog training services and being certified through the Service Dog Coaching program has had a positive effect on my business overall. Many of my clients were really happy to find a fully qualified positive reinforcement trainer who equips them with the right skills to teach their dogs tasks relevant to their disability, and gives them the best chance of success when working towards the assistance dog public access test.
What motivated you to enroll in the SDC program, and how was your experience in the program?
I was motivated to enroll in the SDC course by the high standards, the enrollment application process and the prerequisite qualifications. Also, most important to me was the program’s positive reinforcement methodology, practical and theory assessments, and up-to-date information. The program challenged my skills as a dog trainer, and I loved the content of the curriculum.
Now that I’ve completed the program, I love being a part of an international community of service dog coaches committed to positive training.
What advice would you give to trainers thinking about getting involved in service dog training?
Training assistance dog owner-trainers is such a huge responsibility. Take the time to learn the right guidelines and equip yourself with the best information and education.