Our Partners

Vicki Austin – Canine Behaviour and Training

Vicki has enjoyed success across a wide range of dog training applications.  There are few dog trainers in Australia who can equal her achievements.

Vicki began dog training as an amateur in 1984, successfully competing in officially sanctioned, Australian National Kennel Control (ANKC), Obedience Trials.  She attained the highest award in Australia of Australian Obedience Champion.  Over twelve years she held official positions of Chief Instructor and President of two large dog training clubs in Sydney.

In 1990 she began her dog obedience judging career and by 1995 held her full-panel Obedience Judge’s Licence under the ANKC.

Vicki began her own dog training/behaviour modification business on the north side of Sydney in 1993 and built up her clientele and reputation, resulting in a successful business venture.

In 1998, she accepted the position of Manager of Training with a large boarding and Dog Training Centre in Sydney, achieving excellent (documented) results

Vicki trained the first Quarantine Detector Dogs and Handler teams for the French government of New Caledonia and also trained detector dog teams for the state governments of Tasmania and Western Australia.

A slight career path change in 2001 saw Vicki employed by Taronga Zoo in Sydney as a trainer and presenter of their Free Flight Bird Show.  She was also utilised as a training consultant to other Zoo divisions.

NSW TAFE has employed Vicki as a teacher for the Animal Training and Conditioning module of the Zoo Keepers’ Certificate IV and Companion Animal Services Certificate IV.

Currently, Vicki and husband, Steve, offer various dog training education opportunities in a commercial partnership with TAFE, NSW, Sydney Institute.  Vicki is also utilised as an “industry expert” and specialist teacher for Veterinary Nursing and Companion Animal Services students.

Vicki has lectured/presented to the NSW Police Explosive and Narcotic Detector Dog Handlers and Trainers.

She was a key lecturer/instructor between 2005 – 2011 for the National Dog Trainers’ Federation (NDTF), Cert III in Dog Behaviour and Training (21574VIC) presenting and instructing on a wide range of dog training techniques and applications; and the theory of learning.  She was awarded a Life Membership of NDTF in 2010.  Vicki ceased involvement with the NDTF in 2011.

Formal Qualifications:

CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Asssessed) –  CCPDT   (Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, New York, USA)

Certificate III in Dog Behaviour and Training.

Certificate IV Canine Behaviour Specialist

Certificate IV Substance Detection

Certificate IV Companion Animal Services

Certificate IV (Assessment and Workplace Training).


Vicki has performed the Master of Ceremonies role at pet events such as the RSPCA Million Paws Walk at Centennial Park in Sydney, industry conferences and Pet Festivals conducted by local councils.

She has also provided Animal wrangling for numerous television commercials, movies and television shows.  Currently, her Border Collie, Chilli, can be seen in Foxtel’s “A Place to Call Home” and “Fighting Season”.

In March 2012, Vicki returned to the ANKC obedience competition trial ring with her dog, “Chilli”.  They attended three trials, and won three first places, all on 196/200 points, to gain a Companion Dog (CD) title.

Vicki regularly attends seminars presented by international and national speakers to ensure she remains up to date with current best practices.



Steve Austin, CPDT-KA – Canine Training and Behaviour

Steve has been a leading and charismatic figure in the professional pet industry for the past two decades. Renowned worldwide, he’s lectured at American Law Enforcement Agencies, trained Australia’s first truffle detector dog, taught animal training at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo and Mount Everest Kennel Club in Katmandu. Steve has done it all. His knowledge and experience is second to none in Australia.

Formal Qualifications
CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Asssessed) – CCPDT
(Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, New York, USA)
Certificate IV in Workplace Learning and Assessment
Certificate III Dog Behaviour
Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services
Steve Austin, CPDT-KA
Canine Training and Behaviour
Licensed Judge under the Australian National Kennel Control (ANKC) in both Field Trials and Gundog Obedience Tests.
Holds A & B class NSW Gun License.

Steve’s Achievements
National Trainer, Australian Quarantine Inspection Service
• Appointed 1996 to 2006.
State Trainer, Quarantine Inspection Services, Tasmania
• Appointed 1996 to current.
Department of Primary Industries and Water, Resource Management and Conservation Fox Eradication Program, Tasmania
• Appointed 2007 to current.
Certified Official of the California Narcotics (and Explosives) Canine Association of USA
• One of only two non-Americans to have received certification to validate scent detector dogs for the US government.
• The certification recognises Steve’s advanced expertise, which he shares regularly with the Californian Narcotics and Explosives Canine Association of United State of America.
Approved Temperament Assessor (TA0007) for the Department of Local Government, NSW, Australia
• Consultant to NSW’s “Dangerous Dog” legislation which passed in 2005.
• Nominated as a state approved Dog Temperament Assessor.
Awarded two Australian Field Trial Champions
• Steve trained winning dogs for Field Trials, involving following the handler’s directions for the search of game; flushing the game; remaining steady to gun; and finally locating and retrieving fallen game.
• Active in competing and judging Field Trials throughout Australia.
Achieved Australian Obedience Champion (AOC) title of ANKC
• The AOC is the highest accolade in Australia, awarded to dogs trained to an advanced level. Winner of Sydney Royal Dog Obedience Utility Dog section of the prestigious Sydney
Royal Agricultural Show.

Current Work
Department of Environment, Parks, Heritage and the Arts – PARKS AND WILDLIFE SERVICE Detector Dog Unit for pest eradication Macquarie Island. Steve is contracted by the Tasmanian government to train hunting dogs for an environmental project on Macquarie Island, a World Heritage site that is home to several
endangered species. After being invaded by non native vermin that have been jeopardizing the sustainability of vegetation and native species Steve is training dogs, accompanied by shooters, to flush out any remaining vermin.

NSW Parks and Wildlife – Detection of endangered bird species and detection of feral animals such as fox and feral cat.

NSW Parks and Wildlife – Training dogs to detect cane toads which are having a devastating impact on native fauna.

Australian Wildlife Conservancy – Detection of feral cat and fox.

Cheetah Conservation Fund, Namibia, Africa – Training dogs for scent detection to find cheetah scat for vital genetic research.

NSW Fire and Rescue and NSW State Emergency Services – Head Trainer, Canine Unit and co-ordinator of Search and Rescue dog teams.

Work History
1996 – 2006 National Trainer, Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS), Detector

Dog Unit – Federal Government of Australia.
• For ten years, Steve single-handedly provided the Australian Government with teams of handlers and dogs to protect Australia’s agriculture. The teams were installed in all major airports and also inspected courier and Australia Post items.
• Steve has trained over 150 teams with a success rate of 98%.
• Steve was involved in all aspects of team training from selection of dogs and instructing handlers (theory and practice) to ensuring teams were fully operational in their working environments.

State Trainer, Tasmania Quarantine Inspection Service, Detector Dog Unit
• Sole trainer.
• Tasmania conducts it’s own independent Quarantine Service. Tasmania’s large agricultural industry is free of many of the diseases and pests of the mainland and is vigilant about protecting its environment.

Trainer, Western Australian Quarantine Inspection Service, Detector Dog Unit
• Steve has provided the Western Australian Quarantine Inspection Service training of handler/dog teams.

Trainer, Japanese Agricultural Detector Dog Unit
• Trained the original two teams of handlers/dogs for the Japanese Government.
• Initiated a process to ensure language barriers were not obstacles to success.

Trainer, New Caledonia Agricultural Detector Dog Unit
• Contracted by the French Government of New Caledonia for almost ten years to train its Quarantine Detector Dog Unit.
• Steve founded and expanded unit and still performs annual validation tests and update training.

Trainer for Fox Task Force, Tasmania Department of Primary Industries and Water
• Successfully trained Labradors to locate fox scat (droppings) as part of initiative to eradicate foxes.
• Until recently, foxes (not native to Australia) were restricted to the mainland. Consequently, many Australian native animals have been able to flourish in Tasmania while becoming extinct on the mainland.

Trainer, Perigord Truffles, Detector Dog Unit
• Provided the initial dogs for this project in 1996 and has acted as their training consultant since.

Lecturer and Judge, Czech Republic Customs Detector Dog Unit (International event)
• Served as judge in 2006, 2007 event which brought together 21 countries.

Lecturer, California Narcotic and Explosive Detector Dog Association
• A keynote speaker at the prestigious annual Californian Police Narcotic and Explosive Detector Dog Association which brings together dog trainers from across America and around the world.

Lecturer to Sydney’s Taronga Zoo
• Guest speaker at the “Animal Training and Conditioning Workshop” conducted by Sydney’s Taronga Zoo and attended by Zoo Keepers and Trainers from all over Australia and New Zealand.

Trainer and presenter, Movie World, Gold Coast, Australia
• Presented hugely popular animal show.
• Steve was contracted by Warner Bros Movie World to script and train animals for an animal show.

Trainer and presenter, Colleges throughout Japan
• Guest lecturer at Japanese colleges and also trains large student groups from Japan at his facilities in Australia.

Validator for NSW Police Detector Dog Unit (narcotics and explosives)
Conducts course in “Dangerous Dog Assessing and Handling” to council rangers and staff, Police, the veterinary industry and pet industry throughout Australia.

Key Contractors
Department of Environment, Parks, Heritage and the Arts
Canine Association of USA
Department of Local Government, NSW, Australia
TAFE NSW, Sydney Institute
Australian National Kennel Control (ANKC)
Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS)
Western Australian & Tasmanian Quarantine Inspection Service
Japanese Agricultural Detector Dog Unit
New Caledonia Agricultural Detector Dog Unit
Tasmania Department of Primary Industries and Water
Czech Republic Customs Detector Dog Unit
California Narcotic and Explosive Detector Dog Association
Sydney’s Taronga Park Zoo
Movie World, Gold Coast, Australia
NSW Police Detector Dog Unit