An interview with Storm Higgins
We sat down with the Greater Springfield Veterinary ‘puppy trainer extraordinaire!’
How did your dog-training career begin?
‘I started working at Greater Springfield Veterinary in February 2010 as a receptionist and retail assistant. I had high hopes to go to university to study Veterinary Science. I became increasingly interested in canine behaviour, and under the guidance of a certified nurse and trainer already working at the practice, began my journey when the classes became too busy for one person to handle!
Training was something that came very naturally to me as I have always had the ability to engage and communicate well with clients and these skills are paramount in gaining the best results from the families I work with.’
Do you have a behavioural key area of interest?
‘Yes! Good socialisation! I love helping owners achieve calm and relaxed dogs – what a lot of people do not realise is that ‘socialisation’ doesn’t just apply to how well your dog interacts with other dogs. The true meaning of the word relates to how relaxed your dog is when in a variety of situations. It is about becoming acclimated to all types of sights, sounds, and smells in a positive manner and ultimately, ensures a well-mannered, happy companion!
I also love helping to reinforce the beautiful bonds between owners and dogs. Providing education to owners about how dogs learn ultimately improves the relationship and stops frustrations on both sides from occurring.’
What is your favourite part of the job?
‘I love seeing the ‘brain light bulb’ go off in both owners and their dogs! A true highlight is seeing the joy in the faces of my clients when their pup finally begins to understand what it is being asked to do – and when these behaviours are repeated, resulting in big wins for all.’
Do you have a dog of your own?
I sure do! I have a lovely 6-year-old British Bulldog named ‘Bulldozer’ (or ‘Dozer’ for short).
‘Dozer is the offspring of my family’s beloved (and dearly missed) Bulldog – ‘Stella’. Dozer got his name because he used to ‘bulldoze’ his litter mates off his mothers teats at feeding time!
‘Dozer’ is not only a calm and obedient dog – he can also do some pretty neat tricks! He can spin, play dead and resuscitate, high 10, roll over, and even ride a skateboard! He only ever attended puppy preschool but, it goes to show, the amount of work that a family puts in at home is vital to a successful training outcome. The methods that I teach in my puppy classes provide the groundwork for nearly every trick or command you could ever want to teach your pooch!
The thing I appreciate most about ‘Dozer’ is that I can have him off leash in any situation, and he consistently ‘checks in’ with me – no matter what. He is always looking for his next ‘cue’.
Dozer and I share a special bond – I honestly don’t know if I will ever experience this again with another dog.’
What is your training/qualification/level of experience?
‘I have been fortunate to have been taught by two amazing Delta Accredited dog trainers at Greater Springfield Veterinary. The Delta Institute use exclusively evidence based, least-harm, positive training methods, drawn only from validated research in the fields of behaviour, learning theory and welfare.
I am currently working towards completing my recognised Delta qualification and look forward to being fully accredited soon.’
What are the benefits of puppy school?
The benefits are endless! But the main points are:
- To assist owners in successfully raising a focused and relaxed pup.
- To increase social skills and learn how to behave appropriately with other people and dogs in unfamiliar environments.
- To teach useful commands & fun tricks.
- Owner education – understand how dogs think, learn, communicate and what requirements are essential to provide so your pup can live an enriched and happy life.
- To ultimately to build the bond between owner and dog.
Storm currently runs classes for pups aged between 8 – 15 weeks of age at Greater Springfield Veterinary on Saturdays.
GREATER SPRINGFIELD VETERINARY
Under the leadership of Dr Jeannet Kessels, we have been caring for pets in the Greater Springfield area since 2006.
We are one dedicated team working across two easy-to-access locations.
We are here for you 7am-10pm, 7 days a week.
Emergencies are seen at our Augustine Heights Hospital.