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A good trainer should have a 'balanced' science based qualification such as issued by the National
Dog Training Federation. There is no place for narrow minded and irrational extremism in animal
welfare or any form of animal abuse. They shall demonstrate continued learning and evolution
though seminars, trials and further qualification or employment, remaining open minded to new
learning and sharing it with others.They shall understand and acknowledge that no piece of
professional dog training equipment is intrinsically good or bad and that it's the method of usage
which may make it so. Gordon believes that language is important too, "If you can't explain it
simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Finally, besides achieving results, a good trainer shall treat you with respect, always. "I speak to
everyone in the same way, whether it's the garbage man or the president of the University"
Give the dog the tools to make it
easy to 'win'
Dog Behaviour Specialist
Recognise the Dogs welfare
as the highest priority
Nationally Accredited Dog Trainer
Gordon loves nothing more than visiting peoples homes every day and assisting them to live in harmony
with their dogs. With an emphasis on a holistic dog training program, Gordon builds upon a foundation
of empowerment. He does this by educating owners how to teach their dogs to become active
participants in their own care.
In 2012 Gordon's interest in canine psychology prompted his enrolment at the National Dog Trainers
Federation and in 2013 complete the Cert. III in Canine Behaviour, Psychology and Training. This
decision proved to be the most rewarding of all. It is a critical process, full of subtlety and timing, but
most of all, positive and rewarding. As Konrad Most once articulated "dog training requires a kind heart
as well as a cool, well informed head."
After graduating from the N.D.T.F Gordon knew this was just the beginning and instantly sought further
knowledge and experience by approaching one of his N.D.T.F lecturers, Mr Jean Claude Bertoni who is
one of Australia's most respected and qualified dog trainers, actively working with Victoria Police,
Corrective Services, the S.A.S and Task9 tactical K9. After being mentored by Claude for 4 years Gordon
decided to spread his wings and Launched 'White Collar' whilst continuing to further his learning through
seminars, other educational platforms and dog training disciplines. Gordon likes to place a large emphasis
on installing an emotional language system as a priority to compliment the operant processes which govern
how our animals learn.
Gordon's mission is to empower Melbourne's dogs and owners, alike. To achieve positive outcomes,
whether it's puppy development, basic obedience or behavioural modification.
"Gaining knowledge is the first step to wisdom. Sharing it, is the first step to humanity." - Unknown
About White Collar
"A qualification from the National Dog Training
Federation is a qualification in a 'balanced'
scientific based approach to animal training. Its open
minded and neutral. It's a case by case assessment
which is not restricted by one ideology or methodology.
The principle to be applied by graduates is 'L.I.M.A.'
The Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive pathway to
learning and success."
- Gordon Gill
Know that it's never the dogs fault
With so many variables and subtleties it's a confusing world to enter, and Gordon certainly doesn't
envy the prospective client. Egos don't belong in animal welfare, so to make it easier, here are a few
essentials to remember. First of all, It's never the dogs fault - understand this and you'll go far. Let's
face it, If everyone knew how to effectively communicate with their dogs there would be little need for
dog trainers, right? So it's important to remain open minded and question everything. Don't be afraid
to take notes, get second opinions or referrals. Good trainers will always have the best interests of
the dog as their first priority, meaning that they will acknowledge if they may not possess the
required skill set for a specific situation and consequently they should be able to make the relevant
referral. Criticism is sometimes part of dog training, but only if it's constructive and accompanied by
explanation and further learning. A good trainer may request to discuss histories of training
procedures and enter into constructive dialogue with previous trainers. There is no place for egos in
How to choose from the many dog trainers out there
All good dog trainers...
"Motivation is the heart and soul of dog training. Finding what motivates any given dog and the
optimum level to use, is the secret of achieving high levels of training." - N.D.T.F
The motivational matrix (fig.1) displays the 4 quadrants of motivation and the relative
associations of each. As we can see, 'reinforcement' is the termed used for a stimulus which
strengthens behaviour whilst 'punishment' is the term used for something that weakens a
behaviour. Each of these reinforcing or weakening outcomes can be a result of adding (+) a
stimulus (eg. praise or correction) or the result of removing (-) a stimulus (eg. removal of
restraint/pressure or removal of freedom).
Modern dog training has progressed from days of old and now places a greater emphasis on
the INDUCIVE diagonal as opposed to the COMPULSIVE diagonal (fig.1). However, it's
important to note that you can't have one without the other. The motivational matrix is a
representation of life on earth itself, life which functions as a direct result of the existence of all 4
Which Dog Training Approach?
The National Dog Trainers Federation (NDTF) is Australia’s only
government-approved provider for professional canine trainers. We offer a
nationally recognised Certificate III in Dog Behaviour and Training.
The NDTF was established in 1993 to serve as a representative and educational
organisation for Australians involved in the professional dog training industry. By
bringing our members together, the NDTF opens up channels of communication
and mutual support for all Australian dog trainers. We also promote ongoing
education with professional dog training courses for Australia.
So, back to the question, which dog training approach? The answer should be a considered
combination of all 4 quadrants, and the 'art' of a good trainer is the application of the right teaching
technique and environment, using the right quadrant at the right intensity, at the right time. Just as it
would be extremely rare to achieve unwavering reliability or "perfection" through purely + Reinforcement
methods, inversely, a dog trained through purely + Punishment methods will come with a set of problems
such as avoidance and lack of motivation.
If Gordon had to use a 'label' to describe himself it would be that he considers himself a 'balanced'
trainer. It's not that a 'balanced' trainer places 25% of their techniques into each quadrant, quite the
contrary. It's simply that the 'balanced' trainer will consider the measured application of either one of
the 4 quadrants at any particular moment in time and weigh up their selection on a case by case basis.
"The dog will tell you what to do." - Boyd Hooper.
Remain open minded, never rely
on a 'one size fits all' approach to
Use a 'balanced approach'
acquired from a science based
Figure 1. Motivational Matrix
Selecting a dog trainer
"Everybody wants loyalty,
consistency and somebody
who just won't quit, but
everybody forgets that to get
the person, you have to be
'Understanding your dog and knowing how to control him, develop his potentials, and resolve behaviour problems, emotional conflicts and frustrations are no less essential than love and respect.' - Michael W. Fox
Always give the dog the tools