People & Pet Training and Consultations

Velma Violet Harris holding Coco the toy Poodle

Velma with Coco, her darling Pet Therapy Poodle

Offering expert dog and pet consultations, training, and advice by e-mail, video call, or phone for individuals and groups.

If you wish to know if your pet is likely to be suitable to train in Pets As Therapy or require any kind of Pet Therapy advice, waste no time in contacting us.

We assess your pet for free before offering you our training or courses. Email us now for an assessment questionnaire.

Use our eCourses and eBooks, or talk to us about tailoring a training plan specifically written for you, or your group and the pet you have in mind.

The plan will be tailored to how you wish to include your pet in your work or volunteering, plus the breed, age, and personality of the pet. Contact us for a free quote.
Consultations from $120.00 per hour.

Quick links
* My Qualifications And Experiences
* Free Training Tips

 

My Qualifications And Experiences

I’ve been writing and presenting training, courses, and workshops to adults since 1978; dog training/behaviour consulting since 1999 and working in Pets As Therapy Animal Assisted Therapy since 1997.

I founded Velma’s Pets As Therapy (visiting program ) in April 1999 and have trained thousands of volunteers and health professionals in safe and beneficial, Pets As Therapy practices globably.

I’m considered a leading authority in Pets As Therapy / Animal Assisted Therapy. I give talks, presentations and have supported many large organisations in producing resources, policies, and procedures for visiting, and residential pets for the purpose of therapy.

I worked as a private (people) psychotherapist for 10 years in England and Australia specialising in behaviour modification; fears and phobias; goal setting and achieving, etc. I often call upon this experience when training dogs and their people.

I am a member of the NSW Pet Dog Trainers Association. I use only non-forceful, kind training methods with the use of food, toys, play, and praise, and dog psychology. These are methods dogs enjoy and thrive with. I make sure I am up to date with the latest research and techniques in people and pet training, and believe in treating all animals with the utmost respect and dignity at all times.

I’ve supported dog rescue groups training and rehabilitating shelter / homeless dogs, presenting classes for foster carers and pet adoption guardians. I especially enjoyed helping dogs with a history of abuse and trauma to become well balanced, self-confident, happy, and trusting.

I wrote a dog training advice column in a monthly magazine called ‘Fifty Plus Lifestyle’ for 2 years.

I gained a certificate in ‘Kennel and Cattery Operations’ after studying for 2 years part-time with the Animal Science department of Sydney Technical College, graduating in 1998. Subjects studied included:

  • Dog Behaviour and Training
  • Dog Genetics
  • Dog Nutrition
  • Dog Breeding
  • Dog Care and Grooming
  • Animal Care and Ownership
  • Animal First Aid
  • Kennel Housekeeping
  • Workplace Communications
  • Dog Health and Disease
Free Training Tips

Training Tip 1: Dogs respond to their environment and the people in it. Therefore we don’t train the dog, we train the people in the dog’s life in “dog management skills” to manage the dog’s behaviour. So, don’t blame the dog – get yourself trained!

Training Tip 2: Dogs learn faster when we make it fun. Use special food treats or the dog’s favourite toy, or games as rewards when the dog offers wanted behaviour!

Training Tip 3: Dogs learn more slowly if they feel pressured. If they feel you are getting annoyed or frustrated, they are prone to “freeze” or, fear doing anything in case they make you more unhappy with them. Study “subtle signs of stress” dog body language and facial expressions (free images on search engines) and when you notice these on your dog, stop training immediately, play with the dog for 5 minutes and learn different fun and rewarding dog training skills.

Training Tip 4: All training has to be fun, rewarding and not scary. Many people tell me their dog is not intelligent, or have “selective hearing” because they don’t listen to commands. The main reason they don’t is because your training methods are either boring, unrewarding or scary. So, learn some fun training skills and see just how quickly your dog can learn! All training for your pet should be fun.

Training Tip 5: How do I know my pet training skills are fun? If you are having fun and your pet’s body language, and facial expressions are happy, alert and keen to learn anything you have to teach… you know you are on the right track!