About Me

Di's portrait 2014I’m Diana Bird.  Originally from Gisborne, I now live in Hamilton, New Zealand, with my husband, 11 year old border collie cross dog, Bounce and 2 year old border collie, Spring.  We have three adult children.

I began my training life with German shepherds, followed by a golden retriever X, heading dog and border collies. I dabbled in competitive obedience and then discovered agility. As well as being an active member of my local training clubs (originally teaching domestic obedience classes, now instructing agility), I have also worked as an SPCA volunteer.

Dog training made me ask questions and investigate new ideas about the whole teaching and learning process.

I haven’t used a choker for 20 years and have no use for dominance theory. I generously reward learning with anything that works for the dog. Food, games, affection and life rewards are excellent for teaching and maintaining behaviour.

I have met many people online and face to face who generously shared their thoughts, ideas and experiences. They ‘paid it forward’ and I appreciated it, so now I’m doing it too.  I share my ideas in the hope that dogs will be more humanely and effectively trained, better understood, and people and dogs will have a greater quality of life.

Training my dogs really has changed my life.

These are some of the books I’ve read and DVDs I’ve watched.

  1. The Other End of the Leash    Patricia McConnell
  2. Don’t Shoot the Dog    Karen Pryor
  3. Excel – erated Learning    Pam Reid
  4. Control Unleashed and Control Unleashed – The Puppy Program    Leslie McDevitt
  5. The Focused Puppy    Deborah Jones and Judy Keller
  6. Culture Clash    Jean Donaldson
  7.  Mine    Jean Donaldson
  8.  Fight    Jean Donaldson
  9.  Off Leash Dog Play    Robin Bennett CPDT and Susan Briggs CKD
  10. Calming Signals    Turid Rugaas
  11. Dog Quirks    Lynn Hoover
  12. In Defense of Dogs    John Bradshaw
  13. The Dog Vinci Code    John Rogerson
  14. The Body Language and Emotion of Dogs    Myrna M. Milani DVM
  15. Out and About With Your Dog    Sue Sternberg
  16. Dogs – A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior and Evolution    Ray and Lorna Coppinger
  17. The Evolution of Canine Social Behavior    Roger Abrantes
  18. The Dog’s Mind    Bruce Fogle
  19. How to Speak Dog    Stanley Coren
  20. Plenty in Life is Free    Kathy Sdao
  21. Canine Body Language – A Photographic Guide    Brenda Aloff
  22. Think Dog    John Fisher
  23. It’s Magic    Sylvia Bishop
  24.  Fired up, Frantic and Freaked Out   Laura VanArendonk Baugh

Many books about human behaviour – see my book reviews (and personal musings) on The Power of Yet.

  1. I could do anything, if only I knew what it was    Barbara Sher
  2. Simplicity   Bill Jensen
  3. Anger Management for Everyone Raymond Tafrate and Howard Kassinove.
  4. The Winner Effect  Ian H. Robinson
  5. Leadership and Self Deception

These are books I read out of curiosity, in order to understand the thinking of their authors and the methods they use. I am always interested in understanding other ideas.
1. Man Meets Dog    Konrad Lorenz
2. Natural Dog Training    Kevin Behan
3. Your Dog is Your Mirror    Kevin Behan
4. Cesar’s Way   Cesar Millan
5. The Koehler Dog Training Method    William Koehler

1. BAT and Puppy Training    Grisha Stewart
2. Am I safe?    Sarah Kalnajs
3. Dog Communication Signals    Sarah Kalnajs
4. Expanding the Possibilities    Lynn D. Hoover
5. Dog-Dog Engagements between Unfamiliar Dogs    Sue Sternberg
6. Improve your I-cue    Kathy Sdao

Email Lists:

1. Clicker Solutions (Clicker training list)
2. ARF (Science based training list)
3. CU_Dogs (Control Unleashed training discussions)

Facebook Groups I belong to:
1. Safe Dogs Safe Kids
2. TRONdogs (this is the Hamilton dog walking/ discussion group)
3. Waikato Agility Group
4. Observation Skills for Training Dogs 

5. NZ Puppy Culture Community


Facebook Pages I am interested in:
1. Wings Dog Training
2. The Power of Yet
3. The Pet Professional Guild

Courses attended:

1. Kay Laurence clicker training seminar 2003 Learning About Dogs UK
2. Susan Garrett Agility Training seminar 2008 Susan Garrett’s site
3. Greg Derrett Agility Training seminar 2009 Greg Derrett’s site
4. Ian Dunbar Raising the Bar seminar 2010 Ian and Kelly Dunbar’s site
5. Patricia McConnell seminar 2010 Patricia McConnell’s site
6. Steve White seminar 2012 http://www.i2ik9.com/
7. Sophia Yin seminar 2012 http://drsophiayin.com/
8. Guinea Pig Training Camp 2013 with Roger Abrantes
9. APDTNZ John Rogerson 2015 John Rogerson
10. Engagement training (online course 2015) with Denise Fenzi Fenzi Academy
11. Learn To Talk Dog (online course 2015) with Sarah Whitehead

12. LADSNZ Training Seminar with Bob Bailey  April 2017.

13. Puppy Culture seminar with Jane Killion  September 2017.

Other education
B.Com. Agr (Farm Management and Marketing) Lincoln University
Grad. Dip. Tchg (Primary) Waikato University

Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment Standard 1 and 2





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