Animal Care Advice from Industry Professionals

Animal Care Advice from Industry Professionals
Caitlyn Beckinsale

Assistance Dogs

Interview with Caitlyn Beckinsale, Dog Trainer

Caitlyn has been an animal advocate since before she can remember, so it was only natural to find a job that allowed her to live this passion every day. When she finished high school she set out to better understand her furry friends, with a particular focus on canine behaviour and development. Selfless volunteering, studying hard and being proactive helped Caitlyn to turn her lifelong passion into a meaningful career.

As an instructor at Assistance Dogs Australia, Caitlyn wakes up every morning looking forward to working for a charity and feeling good about giving back. Through her work, she provides freedom and independence to people with physical disabilities by training Labradors and Golden Retrievers to assist with otherwise challenging everyday tasks.

Despite her busy schedule of training dogs, where she teaches them to pick up dropped items, open and close doors and cupboards, press pedestrian buttons at traffic lights, pay cashiers at shops, fetch phones and unload washing machines, Caitlyn still finds time to volunteer on weekends at a local animal shelter.

True to her charitable nature, Caitlyn volunteered her time to talk with Open Colleges and tell us more about how she started in the animal care industry and what keeps her going.

“Don’t be afraid to stand up for your beliefs and be the voice the animals don’t have.”

assistance dogs
1 What did you study and how has your career path evolved?

After finishing high school, I went on to complete a BSc in Animal Science. Whilst studying, I carried out a range of volunteer and casual work in the animal industry, including at animal shelters assisting with animal nutrition. Also, prior to working at Assistance Dogs Australia, I worked as an Animal Attendant at Animal Welfare League in NSW.

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2 What qualifications are required to become an Assistance Dogs Instructor?

I am currently completing my Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services, along with in-house training. However, you are constantly learning as you go, as every dog you work with is different.

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3 What does your role at Assistance Dogs Australia involve?

I am a dog trainer and so I spend most of my time with the dogs, teaching them new skills. I am also involved in matching dogs with clients, interviewing volunteers and other client relation tasks.

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4 What are your day-to-day duties?

I am responsible for conducting training sessions with our dogs, including taking them on field trips in public areas. I manage the daily upkeep of the kennels which includes cleaning, feeding and grooming. I regularly carry out enrichment activities too, like walking and playing. I interview new volunteers, provide support for clients and conduct induction workshops and training sessions for other new staff and volunteers.

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5 What advice would you offer students who are looking to get into the industry, to specifically work with assistance dogs?

If you have a passion for animals, start off by offering your time to someone who needs it. Volunteering is hugely rewarding and can often lead to employment opportunities in the future. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your beliefs and be the voice the animals don’t have. Working within this industry can be physically and emotionally tough, but you get so much out of working with animals and helping people at the same time.

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If you would like to work with assistance dogs, we have lots of other interviews with industry professionals. Take a look here to find out more!.