Vicki Austin 


Vicki is an experienced and respected dog trainer. Her passion is education. A self-confessed ‘nerd’ of the Science of Learning and Behaviour, she loves lively discussion on how best to apply the science in a practical context. Her students often admit to actually enjoying learning the science that previously alluded them.


Vicki’s experience ranges from achieving the title of Australian Obedience Champion (AOC) when it included tracking titles; being a full-panel Obedience Judge; training birds and presenting the Free-Flight Bird Show at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo; training dogs and handlers in various scent detection applications; obedience and trick training classes; success in canine behaviour modification consultations; and perhaps most importantly, Puppy Class Instructing.

During her extensive experience in providing behavioural consultations, Vicki became concerned that many behavioural issues in her clients’ dogs could be traced back to poor experiences or advice provided in puppy classes. It was this concern that motivated Vicki to provide specific education in instructing puppy classes with the aim of reducing the numbers of pet dogs being surrendered. It is during the critical or sensitive developmental phases of puppies that the greatest effects can be achieved in improving the quality of life of the dog and its family. The Puppy Class Instructors’ Course (PCI) is a must for anyone involved with puppies, whether or not you’ll be actually instructing puppy classes.

Vicki’s formal qualifications include:

  • CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed) - CCPDT (Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers, New York, USA)
  • Certificate IV in Workplace Learning and Assessment
  • Certificate III Dog Behaviour
  • Certificate IV Substance Detection
  • Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services

Some of Vicki’s accomplishments:

  • Mother, daughter, sister, wife, friend
  • Successful professional dog trainer since 1993
  • Dog training and behaviour consultations and puppy classes for Mosman Veterinary Hospital (Sydney) 1998-2020
  • Began amateur dog training in 1984
  • Presenter/Instructor for various professional and hobbyist dog training organisations in Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia and USA
  • Trained scent detection dogs and handlers for Tasmania BioSecurity, Perth BioSecurity and New Caledonia BioSecurity
  • Trained dogs in narcotic scent detection
  • Trained dogs in explosive scent detection
  • Provided consultation for various sections of Taronga Zoo
  • Animal wrangling for media, television commercials and shows including six seasons with Chilli as “Lucky” in A Place to Call Home, Fighting Season, Harry’s Practice and Better Homes and Gardens
  • A member of the team of trainers and presenters at the Free Flight Bird Show at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, 2001-2004
  • Casual teacher for TAFE NSW, Cert IV Captive Animal Management, Veterinary Nursing and Companion Animal Services
  • Performed MC roles for Mosman Council Dogs’ Day Out and RSPCA Million Paws Walk
  • Australian Obedience Champion title, Australian National Kennel Control (ANKC)
  • Full-panel ANKC Obedience Judge (now retired)
  • Awarded life membership of Hornsby Dog Training Club Inc - no longer an active member. Held positions of President, Chief Instructor and Trial Secretary 1984 to 1996
  • Awarded life membership of NDTF (National Dog Trainers Federation of Australia) - no longer an active member. Active Instructor 2005-2011

Learn with Vicki

Puppy Class Instructors’ Course


Dog Training and Behaviour Certificate


Help for Anxious Dogs Workshop


Treating Aggression Problems 


Puppy Class Instructors Course


Vicki's Background

  • Vicki Austin 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 the next 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, Vicki 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. She continues to act as a consultant trainer and instructor of trainers to the Marine Mammal Division.
  • TAFE NSW employs Vicki Austin as a teacher of animal training and behaviour modification.
  • Vicki has lectured and presented to the NSW Police Explosive and Narcotic Detector Dog Handlers and Trainers; Sydney University Veterinary Science Students; various dog training clubs, etc
  • Vicki holds a Certificate IV (Assessment and Workplace Training); Certificate IV Companion Animal Management; Certificate III Dog Training and Behaviour.
  • Vicki performs 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.


  • CPDT-KA – What is CPDT-KA? Read More
  • Certificate IV Canine Behaviour Specialist – 21574(VIC)
  • Certificate III Dog Behaviour and Training
  • Certificate IV Substance Detection
  • Certificate IV Assessment and Workplace Training (TAE40110)
  • Certificate IV (RUV40304) Companion Animal Services
  • Owned and trained Australian Obedience Champion
  • Retired full-panel Obedience Judge – Australian National Kennel Control
  • Trainer and Presenter, Free Flight Bird Show at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo
  • Consultant to Marine Mammal Trainers (Seal Show) at Taronga Zoo
  • Trainer of professional scent detector dog teams for quarantine, narcotics, explosives, etc
  • Animal wrangler for the media industry
  • Member of the Pet Industry Association of Australia


I did Vicki Austin’s Puppy Instructors course 2 years (2011) ago and it was the best thing I have ever done. I now run a very successful Puppy School on the Northern Beaches and I am also employed by my local vet to teach their puppy class as well. I am training 25 – 30 puppies a week and I love every minute of it! It has been an amazing career change for me and something I can manage very well as a busy Mum of 3 boys! I cannot thank Vicki enough.

Amy Smith
Amy's Puppy Pre-School, Sydney

I enrolled in Vicki Austin's Puppy School Instructor Course and was not only impressed with the course structure but the hands on learning technics I was taught. Vicki's puppy school instructor course is a must if you want to run your own puppy school courses.

I'm so glad that I enrolled in Vicki's course, her knowledge and skills with dogs is truly incredible and she has a wonderful way to teach you how to train owners and their puppies. After graduating from Vicki Austin's course I felt knowledgable and well equiped to run my own puppy school courses.

Aggy Ager
Puppy Class Instructor, Dogue Cremorne, Sydney

I first met Vicki Austin in 2012 at the Pet Industry Association conference, where Vicki was presenting with her dog Chilli. I watched with interest these superb informative presentations.

Although already impressed by Vicki's resume and feedback from people within the pet industry prior to meeting her, I asked Vicki to present aboard the inaugural Dog Lovers cruise I was running the following year. Vicki kindly accepted and what a wonderful, knowledgeable and informative presenter Vicki was with her different power point presentations. So impressed was I, that once again I asked Vicki to present aboard the Dog Lovers Cruise in 2015.

August 2014 Vicki ran a week long Puppy Instructor Course for me on the Gold Coast, with excellent results achieved by all who attended. Once again the feedback was positive and appreciative and the wealth of knowledge Vicki happily shared with everyone was second to none.

The Course was fun for all those who attended and opened many eyes as to the importance of correct training in puppy classes.

I would certainly strongly recommend Vicki to anyone who requires help with their dogs, or who would like an informative presentation at their event.

Valerie Bulte
Activity Dogs & Dog Lovers Cruise

I recently completed Steve and Vicki Austin’s “Statement of Attainment in Dog Training Course” and despite having trained dogs on and off for 28 years, I learnt more in this intensive 8 week course than I could ever have imagined. The course opened my mind, and allowed me to really understand dogs. It also gave me a greater understanding of the many different training techniques, types of equipment, breeds of dogs and the human/dog bond. Steve and Vicki’s combined experience and knowledge is second to none, and their professional and friendly approach to teaching made the course not only informative but also enjoyable.

The course provided a good balance of practical and theory, and I personally enjoyed learning the science behind dog training and dog behaviour.

Steve and Vicki’s passion for what they do is inspiring, and I have no doubt that through the education they provide, thousands of puppies have been given “the right start in life” and this has ultimately prevented many dogs from ending up in shelters or worse.

I am grateful to have had this opportunity, and also to have met some wonderful people within our class.

Ann Harris
Animal Talent Time Agency and Aussie Farm 4 Kids

I wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed the course that you delivered. You kept it interesting and entertaining and although my experience in this field is not as great as others I was refreshed to hear some of your own beliefs on dog behaviour and training. You are certainly the first trainer that I have come across that has aligned views that I have developed only from personal experience and not text books.

Thank you for making the time to come to Cooloongatta and further assistance out learning. I hope to see you again

Theresa Fallon

Every puppy school instructor should do Vicki Austin's Puppy Instructors Course. Your puppy's and clients will love you for it. Mine do!

Tara Thomas
Dog Can Do, Veterinary Nurse and Puppy Class Instructor, Mona Vale Vet, Sydney

After being interested in dog behaviour for many years, I was lucky to have Vicki Austin as the main lecturer during my studies through National Dog Trainers’ Federation. Her incredible knowledge and experience in all areas of of animal behaviour and training, along with her passion for dogs further ignited my own interest and ultimately led me on to what I believe is a lifelong journey into dog behaviour and training.

Realising how much there was to learn I was thrilled to be able to enroll into Vicki’s Puppy Class Instructors’ course in 2010. This course provides in-depth insight into the complexities of dog behaviour and training, learning theory, problem behaviour prevention, and the huge risks and responsibility associated with training puppies during their critical phase of development. I believe this to have been the best decision I have made in my career so far. I manage a no-kill shelter which means I work on a daily basis with dogs that have either missed out on training as puppies, had impoverished early socialisation periods and many who have almost certainly had bad experiences during this time, with catastrophic results. I consider well run puppy classes to be a major factor in keeping dogs out of shelters. As well as training foundation behaviours in class, it sets owners up to better understand and modify their dog’s behaviour and teaches them how dogs learn. This reduces the likelihood of a breakdown in the human-canine relationship and sets them up for a happier, more symbiotic life together, ensuring the dog will be an actively included member of the family.

Running puppy class is one of the most important and rewarding things I do. It balances out my shelter work as I am actively working at the other end of the spectrum, setting dogs and owners up for a successful life together. I cannot recommend Vicki’s Puppy Class Instructors’ Course highly enough as it has enabled me to do this. I consider this course to have been the pivotal course in my extensive studies thus far. The course content is in-depth enough to be taken by seasoned professional trainers as well as those who are serious about beginning their studies. I believe it to be a must for all people working with dogs and training dogs. Please feel free to call me if I can answer any questions or provide more information.

Libby Young