Ryan is a highly experienced animal trainer who has completed a degree in Marine Biology focusing on animal behaviour, Certificate III in Captive Animals, Vicki Austin’s puppy instructor’s class, a Statement of Attainment in Dog Training and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessing.

Ryan’s knowledge of animal behaviour is exceptional. He has just wrapped up 12 years at Taronga Zoo where he worked with and trained a variety of species that range from marine mammals to birds. He is now focusing heavily on training dogs for detection work, primarily for conservation purposes.

Ryan is always challenging himself and pushing the limits of what is considered possible.


Jen has been working and training in the zoo industry for seven years with almost every species possible. From native mammals and birds to exotic carnivores and ungluates, she has trained gliders to glide and zebra finches to free fly in bird shows. Jen has completed a Certificate II in Animal Studies and Vicki Austin’s Puppy Instructor Course.

She has a passion for native wildlife and is the Author and illustrator of a children’s book called ‘Pouches, Paws, Tails & Claws” with two more in the pipeline.

Claire Chiotti

Claire is a skilled animal trainer who has been working in the industry for over 15 years. She has completed an Associates Degree in Exotic Animal Training and Management in California, a Statement of Attainment in Dog Training in Australia and Vicki Austin’s Puppy Training Instructors course.

Her passion for animal training and conservation has seen her working in zoos around the world. She has worked training a variety of species from birds and marine mammals to ungulates and primates. She has always maintained a strong interest in dog training and is now able to bring her passion for wildlife and training together by working with conservation detection dogs.


Ari is a four-year-old working line Australian Shepherd. He has received first place in obedience dog trials and is well on his way to achieving his first obedience title with his owner, Ryan. He loves to learn new things, all for a game of tug ‘o war.

Ari has also made many acting appearances in advertisements and short films because of his ability to perform incredibly well under pressure. His latest short film, Trespass, just won BEST SHORT at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

Ari goes almost everywhere with Ryan doing demonstrations at puppy class, doggy days’ out across Sydney and loves being the centre of attention. Ari also holds a world record for the most tricks performed in under one minute. And his next project? Tackling the upcoming truffle season.


Alfred is a two-year-old Rock Dove, aka ‘common pigeon’. He was brought into his local veterinary clinic as a hatchling and imprinted so quickly on the nurses who looked after him that he was unable to be released back into the wild.

Jen saw this as a great opportunity to extend the family and challenge her skill set, so chose to adopt him into the Tate clan. Alfie quickly began learning basic search and rescue skills with Jen and Ryan, and now has the ability to find a person in the bush or a park and discriminate between bodies that are lying down or upright.

Alfie is also a blossoming actor who has already completed some on-screen work, but generally he loves to hang out with Ari in the backyard most of all.


Ahhhhh Taylor. Our Springer Spaniel and very own conservation dog! Her job is to protect our endangered wildlife. There is only one thing on this dogs mind and that’s to sniff anything and everything. If she could have it her way, she would never stop moving. She is currently contracted to RMS for Koala detection.


Rafa is our youngest dog trained for dangerous dog/aggression presentations (for councils, private organisations and Zoos), film and television and scent detection. He is by far the goofiest of them all with no concept of personal space but when it’s time to work, he is a force to be reckoned with.


Meet Hugo, our 10-year-old pound dog. Once upon a time Hugo had a drive like no other and his ability to learn new tricks made him an exceptional dog to work with. After being diagnosed with hip dysplasia when he was four years old, he underwent two operations, which meant easing up on his training.

Every now and then you see that twinkle in his eye as he switches that part of his brain on again, and he puts Ari to shame with his skills. But for the majority of time, he loves long snoozes on the couch or destroying the most industructable of dog toys.


Finn is a family dog who finds the world to be the happiest place. He loves doing circles, chasing hoses and has an easy-going personality where nothing phases him, nor does he hold grudges.

When he is not just hanging out with the kids, he assists Jen and Ryan with their consults by helping to relax reactive dogs that may be fearful or aggressive by calming them with his nonchalant attitude.

BUT his favourite job in the world? Finding truffles!