Meet Tracy Bache, puppy training extraordinaire and director of Adelaide Veterinary Behaviour Services. Tracy has over 10 years experience when it comes to animal behaviour and once taught a chicken to jump up on a table and walk across a plank of wood! Tracy is part of the dynamic duo at AVBS paving the way in behavioural services. Tracy is an education leader in the upcoming Educating Puppies Workshop on November 8-9th.

Seeing puppies is routine for most of us, and you are excited and interested all the time. Why is that?  

I enjoy bringing new information to the puppy preschool workshops. Unfortunately, there is a lot of out dated information presented either through television or internet, and people believe the “quick fixes” actually work. It feels so good to help them understand and get results.

How can general practitioners and vet nurses benefit from educating owners better at such an early age?

Updated knowledge allows people to feel confident that what they are teaching their pet is the best available. They expect these lessons will turn their young pet into a well behaved adult. They want to be proud of their pet, not ashamed.

Vets and vet nurses who advise clients on puppy care or run puppy preschools, need to pass on the right knowledge and confidence. We do it so commonly, its important to stay current. In our Puppy Education Workshop they will see how their classes can feel more structured. This will also enable them to recognise puppies that may have a certain level of medical anxiety early. 20-25 percent of dogs have medical behavioural conditions that would benefit from treatment. If we miss it, a child could be bitten, or the dog could end up abandoned. We have an opportunity to dramatically improve their lives from the beginning.

In this workshop our colleagues will be given the tools & resources to provide the client with the right support to help them identify and treat their puppy’s anxiety as well.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I always find it so rewarding when vet and nursing colleagues that have attended our workshops call me with an issue with a particular puppy. With everything they have learnt from the workshop they are able to provide the appropriate help for that puppy. So, the puppy is being treated and the client is happy. And, then I am happy!

What have you learned from experience that you didn’t learn from a textbook?

I learned how to teach a chicken to jump up on a table and walk across a plank of wood. Training a different species instead of dog makes you “think outside the square”. You have to trust everything you know in the learning theory to apply to training a chicken. You can’t force a chicken to do anything so you need to work with the chicken rather than against it.

What practical tips would you give to general practitioners?

Understand the difference between a “behaviour problem & problem behaviour”. Also don’t be afraid to refer puppies to a Veterinary Behaviourist. Puppies don’t grow out of behaviour problems they generally become worse. Recognising the problem is the first step.

What advice would you give new graduates?

Read, learn, observe & understand animal body language. Know the four F’s !!!!

If you have any questions for Tracy feel free to email her at [email protected]