DOGTOR STEVE'S PACK
                                                     Chana, Toffie, Spike, Brady, Dusty, Kiara, Winston, Bokkie

Steve acquired his first puppy ever at the age of 29 (1983), a Tricolor Rough Collie (male - 6 weeks old) and shortly afterwards a Sable Rough Collie (female - 10 months old). In those days all that was available to him regarding pet education was the old `yank and crank' or `leash jerk' methods where dogs obey out of fear. 
People said his dogs seemed to be `remote controlled' due to their quick responses.
In 1995 he started a small training school and shortly afterwards found out about animal psychology through Dr Melvyn Greenberg, a well known Vet Behaviourist based in Johannesburg. So after a dog training period of 12 years and then a mixture of dog training coupled with psychology, Steve presently only uses psychology based techniques. He says that when he thinks back to the old `fear' based methods to which he subjected his pets, it makes him sad.

Due to the number of recipients of dog bites or attacks that he met on occasion, a 16 week Lifeline Counsellors course has enabled him to help these victims overcome their fears. In 1999, on completion of a certificate in Companion Animal Behaviour at the University of Pretoria with the late Professor Johannes Odendaal, Head of Veterinary Ethology, Steve believed he was on the right track regarding canine behaviour. Eventually he realised that these qualifications meant very little. He has seen too many examples of all kinds of meaningless qualifications or claims and is adamant that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Many dog's have been euthanased as a result of poor training methods or bad advice, something which is extremely disturbing. If one does not understand the canine mind, or, if the behaviour takes place in seconds, then all the academic qualifications in the world will not help in determining the causes.

He attributes his abilities, firstly, to thousands of hours spent studying dogs and puppies interacting with each other. Secondly, he believes his concern for dog's welfare, as well as a passion for what he does, is a major factor in achieving behaviour changes quickly. Thirdly, understanding the human psyche, especially temperaments and personalities, is another big plus. His reasons for needing to know owner's and pet's temperaments, is that dogs are experts at picking up dominant and submissive behaviour in each other, and also in humans.

Having assisted many pet owners in achieving peace and harmony in the home, Steve is quick to point out that not all consults are successful. He attributes this to the human factor such as pet owners who are not cut-out to be around dogs, or people do not complete the process, or they revert back to old life styles, thereby allowing their dog or puppy to become dominant again.

His own pack of 8 dogs are all rehomed or abandoned, some of them being traumatised from abuse or neglect. When they first arrive he concentrates on calming them down and winning their trust. He emphasises that this is not achieved by leash-jerking, hitting, shouting, throwing objects, squirting water etc., methods which he abhors. His approach is gentle, but firm.