Tara Choules


Tara Choules CCPDT, MAPDT 00852, CAP2, HNC

Tara owns Dog Training Ireland www.dogtrainingireland.ie with Lisa Whelan.  Tara lives with her two dogs Zak, a mini Dachshund and Boomer, a mini Schnauzer and her husband Philip in Ratoath, Co Meath, Ireland.

Dog Training Ireland is a training company that has a mission to help dogs live in our human world through better understanding and communication.  Tara started out rescuing dogs from pounds in Dublin and re-homing them back in 2001 with Lisa.  It became apparent that many dogs were surrendered to the pounds for reasons that were easily solvable.  Resources and help for people were virtually non-existent.  

As a result Tara attended Bishop Burton in East Yorkshire (UK) with Lisa and they received their HNC in Canine Training & Behaviour in 2004.  Later that year they became members of the APDT (UK), which requires assessment, and in 2005 they achieved their CAP2 from Learning About Dogs (Kay Laurence).  In 2008 they achieved their CPDT certification.  Tara is currently studying a BSc (HONS) in applied animal behaviour with with Sparsholt College.
Since it’s inception in 2004 Dog Training Ireland and it’s trainers have gone from strength to strength and is still growing.  The company now employs 6 staff and runs a busy Intern programme for those studying in the area of canine training and behaviour.

Almost 3000 Irish dogs have been trained at Dog Training Ireland classes.  DTI runs courses and workshops in Puppy Socialisation, Pet Dog Obedience, Behaviour modification and Aggression, Agility and Gundog and of course hosts Seminars and workshops by Dr Ian Dunbar.

In January 2009 Dog Training Ireland moved to a new 5000 square foot training centre and we have introduced day-care for all breeds. This is the first Day-care facility in Ireland and boy are we proud!

We have hosted two Dr Ian Dunbar Seminars and Workshops and hope to host many more in the future. We enjoy every minute of Kelly and Ian's visits.

Blog posts by Tara Choules

Jack trained using positive reinforcement aka "throw the ball throw the ball"!

What "method" of Dog Training should I "use"?

There are many types and "methods" of Dog Training. The marketing behind dog training is massive. We have whisperers, listeners, lifetime trainers, "grew up with wild wolves", pack leaders, bonding, natural dog training, protection dog training, positive reinforcement, reward based training, motivational training and more. It's quite difficult to decide and the internet can be unhelpful in aiding that decision.




Being the Pack Leader feels GREAT!

It's human nature for us to want to control our resources and our environment. We become anxious and stressed when we loose the ability to predict and plan or when control is taken away from us. This applies to some people more than others. 

So when it comes to our dogs and our family 'pack' why is the top dog method so very popular? Why do we find it fairly easy to implement and in many cases we clearly enjoy implementing the pack rules?

The pack rules involve the human in the relationship displaying a number of behaviours around the dog in order to reinforce that the human is in fact the alpha wolf or alpha domestic dog! This will also include human infants and children demoting the family pet wolf, I mean dog into the position where the dog understands they are at the bottom of the family pack hierarchy.  


It is OK to Change Your Mind!

It’s OK to Change Your Mind

It is my personal view that there is a strong correlation between people who seek education, further learning and new experiences and positive open mindedness and that there is also a strong correlation between those who do not seek education, new experiences and closed mindedness. By education I mean experiences, meeting new people, trying something new, trying a new way of doing something and learning more. I do not mean education from a purely academic point of view.


DSD is becoming very popular in Ireland

Denise Cox owner of Irish Animals on the net is an Email Newsletter Specialist and has extensive knowledge in email marketing - from best practice, marketing know-how to writing content that works. Named a Net Visionary in 2002, Denise has been involved in email marketing since 1996 and provides practical consultancy to Newsweaver's clients, enabling them to maximise their investment in email.

Denise has her own email marketing blog email matters! and also publishes The Business of Email – one of Europe's leading email newsletters specialising in email marketing. She is a regular speaker at conferences and seminars, as well as a contributor to publications on the subject of email marketing.


Funny Short Story on Choke Chains

On Saturdays we have the all-important Puppy Socialisation course where owners arrived with their new puppies. We really emphasise gentle handing and what equipment should or should not be used when training and why?

We like to think that our clients take on board what we advise and we measure whether learning occurs by monitoring the dogs progress, the owners handling skills and the results.

On Saturday a new client came to visit the centre in order to ask some questions about his new dog who had started to show some aggression when out on the lead. Laura asked him to wait until she had finished with the puppies and he waited outside.


Do you have wonderful staff and where do you find them?

We have been blessed with wonderful staff at Dog Training Ireland (DTI). People who really know dogs, what they need, those who notice little changes such as a lump on a dog or that they are feeling off or tired. Staff who have the dogs interest at heart. Not only do they have to be good with the dogs but also great with people, they have to be able to explain things in a variety of ways, deal with difficult clients or clients who may be harsh on their dogs or help to console owners when things do not work out or a dog passes.

How do you locate your staff? Do you advertise or do people gravitate towards your company? When you do find the people you like how do you train them? How do you portray your company values so they will also value them? What do you think is an important trait in someone who is going to work with dogs and people?

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From the dogs point of view

Have you ever stopped to think of the many variables and aspects involved in training your dog? Better still if we stop, stand back and take a look at some more simple things like what your dog sees, what your dog smells and the effect that the environment has on your dogs ability to process information and learn we could really improve learning for the dog.

I have considered the notion of having some dog owners who come to class sit on the ground and look up at a handler and then have the handler only pay them when they perform a certain exercise. I have definitely considered this notion when arguing against electric shock collars. I feel the best way to do this and prove my point about +P and e-collars would be to put an e-collar onto a person, don't tell them what you want them to do and shock them everytime they get it wrong. Once they get it right stop shocking them. I figure they wouldn't last even 30 seconds!

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Does your dog know that you are "THE BOSS"?!

Frequently we hear that if your dog doesn't know that you are boss he will walk all over you, try to take over the household, control food or things. It is also frequently advised that if there are children in the home that the dog should be "beneath them". The idea is that if your dog knows that you are the "leader" and "in charge" then he will not challenge you and the dog will never rule your life...

In order to show your dog who is the boss we are told to do the following things:
- Never let your dog lie on you or gain height (as per the photo)!
- Eat before your dog by pretending to eat from their bowl
- Walk through doorways before your dog to show them that you are more important than them
- Don't let your dog pull you on your walks as you should lead the hunt
- Show your dog that ALL items are yours by frequently removing toys and putting your hand into the food bowl
- Stand in your dogs bed
- Scruff your dog
- Stare your dog down


If Dogs Could Rehome Their Owners!

I often wonder if dogs could rehome their owners would they?

Veronica a light haired female human loves attention, pulls on the lead and needs training in this area, sleeps all night, house trained but can get a little stressed around other humans. Needs a lap dog.

Harrold, an entire male human. Black hair, has a bad habit of popping at the collar, doesn't like other human company. Needs an independent large confident dog to help him meet other humans and socialise.


The Dog Training Ireland Internship - Our Interns

We have an Internship running at Dog Training Ireland. We help those who are studying in the area of canine training and behaviour to gain practical experience handling and working with dogs. It is a voluntary position so commitment is required but we believe there is no better way to learn about dogs and training than the hand son approach!

The Interns work in the daycare, training classes and can sit in on private training sessions. We also ask them to get involved with various tasks and appreciate their creative input and ideas in all areas. We welcome them into the team and include them in everything from discussions on poop consistency to organising training demonstrations at fun days and competitions!

This current group of Interns are:

Joe Kelly
Emma Heely
Edel O'Meara
Nadine Fiebich
Shaun Quinn
Izaskun Arrietta
Lisa Jones
Andy Harold



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