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Woman patting dog

Why work with me?

If you are open to trying something different, you might find my approach suits you and your dog.  

Emotional regulation is always our ​
start point.

We won't just work with your dog's brain, and try and teach them stuff.
We'll work with their body. 

Diet, appropriate exercise, play, massage, calming, and confidence building activities, are all part of the Wings system.

We want your dog to feel safe, to be able to pay attention and to think straight, before we try and train them.

If you've reached the point of loving,
but not liking, your dog very much,

Have hope. 

You can like your dog again


Save yourself a lot of hassle

Many kind, well meaning owners give their dogs far too much freedom far too early.  This leads to many training and behaviour problems like toileting in the house, harrassing visitors, chasing other animals, not coming when called etc.  

I can show you how to set fair, sensible boundaries with your dog to avoid problems.

(This is the only quick fix I can offer you, and believe me, the results are indeed quick!) 

Find some ideas here.



What do they actually KNOW?

Dog training is like the education system. Each level has increasingly advanced teaching and expectations e.g. preschool, early primary, later primary, intermediate, college, university. 


A dog trained in the backyard or at a class while you hold food, may look like they 'know' what you want, but they may only know what you want in a SITUATION which looks like that.

When they completely ignore you elsewhere, it is very probably because you are asking for university level skills from a dog with lower level education. They simply cannot do what you ask.

I can show you what to look for and how to train to

more advanced levels. 

Communication works both ways

It's not just about training what we want our dog to do, when we want them to do it. They're not machines.


When we better understand their emotions, we become aware they may not be able to 

function right now.

Listening, observing, and understanding build trust.

When trust is present, our dogs can expect that what we ask of them will be safe and fair.

They will be more able, and likely, to do what they're asked.

I will help you understand what your dog might be trying to tell you, so you can be fair with what you ask and can help them regulate their emotions. 

Emotions lead - behaviour follows.


Formal Education

(Lincoln University)
*Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Waikato University) *Feuerstein courses
in thinking
(1 & 2)
*SOLO taxonomy of learning
*Concept teaching
Online learning
about dog behaviour, 
training and handling.
e.g. Fenzi courses 
*Reducing arousal
*Agility handling
*Co-operative care
Dog Centred Care
*Working through trauma

Reading books about people e.g.

*Thanks for the Feedback

*Atomic Habits

*The Talent Code

*The Gifts of Imperfection 

*The Body Keeps

the Score 

Dog training and behaviour seminars  e.g.
*Sarah Stremming
*Patricia McConnell
*Sophia Yin
*Bob Bailey
*Cristine Dahl
*Steve White
*Roger Abrantes
*Ian Dunbar
Reading books about dogs  e.g.
*Control Unleashed
*Fired up, Frantic and Freaked out
*The Body Language and Emotions of Dogs
*Calming Signals
A woman with her border collie

I'm Diana Bird. 


This is me with my much loved border collie, Spring, preparing for a run in agility.

If you are thinking about working with me, this is what to expect.

1. Big picture thinking.   Feelings matter. When we are rushed and anxious, or lack confidence, or are angry and frustrated – it affects many corners of our lives, not just our dog training.

I am always looking for ways to help you take steps which will be useful for living with your dog AND life in general.

2. Clear communication. I like to get to the point and use understandable language. I'll also help you establish a clear communication system with your dog. 

3. Curiosity. I'm curious. I want you to be curious too. Please ask questions!

4Empathy. If you love your dog, are doing the best you can, want my support to move you forward, and are willing to invest some time and energy into doing that, we will work together well.  

Kind words about me...

I’ve known Diana for around a decade now and she has never failed to impress me with the depth of knowledge she has, not only around dog training but also on how to apply it to different dogs. She also has the added knowledge of how to teach people which she utilises incredibly well by tailoring the approach to the handler and not just the dog. On a personal note, Diana has been my unofficial coach with my youngest dog right from when he came home at 8 weeks old. While he has many traits I wanted and hoped for we struggled very early on with managing his excitement levels which has led to a lot of frustration on both our parts. Diana’s support has been critical to our progress, and while we are far from a perfect team we understand each other a lot more now and have a strong foundation which we will continue to build on. She always pushes me to improve and holds me accountable for my piece in the training puzzle, but never hesitates to cheerlead – even if the change is something so minor that nobody else would notice it. I would always recommend Diana as a trainer, whether it’s for puppy classes, basic obedience, behaviour or sports – I’ve done bits of all this work with her and will continue to be a ‘repeat customer’.

A woman with her border collie
~Amy and Tripp
Photo credit Grace Matulovic
Two women and a labrador cross
~Amy, Ruby and me
Photo credit Michael Jeans

I aim to provide you and your dog with a genuine learning zone. I want you to feel free to take learning risks, get support, ask questions, try, make mistakes, adjust what you’ve done, try again, celebrate successes, lament difficulties and also have a laugh! 


If I don’t know something, I’ll find out. If your difficulties are beyond the scope of my knowledge and skills, I’ll support you to find someone more able to help.


I became a trainer because of the struggles I had to work through with my own dogs. I understand how hard it can be to live with a wild, bitey puppy or a reactive dog.  



No pressure or obligation. :)

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