About Us

Grace Pet Dog SchoolOwning a dog is a privilege. Owning a well trained, happy, balanced family pet is something all owners dream of and what all dogs, without exception, deserve.

On the other hand, owning an unhappy, ill-mannered, badly behaved dog can be a nightmare, and not just for their owners.

Pet Dog School has been created with the sole intention of providing practical help and knowledgeable advice to all dog owners. Gentle techniques focus on play and getting dogs to be good for us because they want to be, not because we forced them.

Pet Dog School training starts for puppies at 10 weeks old. Owners are shown how to effectively train good behaviour and most importantly are shown how to communicate with their pets to prevent problems occurring later in life.

Owners are shown how to calmly establish themselves as leader by using a language that dogs understand. Then as a valued leader in the eyes of their dog, owners find themselves in a position to start shaping their pet’s behaviour for the better.

Whatever age, whatever breed and whatever training you require, Pet Dog School is here to guide, support and help you grow as a team.

Whether you are the first time owner of a puppy or a life long dog owner, positive, effective training techniques will ensure you and your pet live happily ever after!

Dog Problems: Help for every type of dog problem; training, antisocial or annoying misbehaviour is available, plus you will be shown how to prevent future unwanted behaviour and so ensure your dog is happy confident and relaxed throughout its life.

To complete the comprehensive service we aim to offer pet dog owners we proudly opened our doggy day care centre in 2012. Dogs are social animals and with constant supervision from caring, knowledgeable humans and large indoor space and grassy paddocks to play in your dog can socialise and play for the morning (half day up to 5 hours) or all day. (Up to 9.5 hours)

Who will train and look after you and your dog?

The owner and head instructor at Pet Dog School is Sarah Hesketh. An English import, with 30 years experience in pet dog behaviour and training, she trains with her two Papillon dogs, Josh and Libby, a rescued, behaviourally challenged Maltese Terrier called Toby and a Suffolk sheep called Max Baa Humbug (Max to his friends). Sarah regularly attends seminars and conferences to listen too and discuss modern dog training methods and learn about the latest dog behaviour understandings. Most recently attending the Association of Pet Dog Trainers NZ (APDTNZ) conference in Auckland in June, other seminars and workshops attended include the DELTA SOCIETY AUS, Dr. Ian Dunbar, Anna Holland, The Dog Guru, Cesar Milan ‘The Dog Whisperer’ and the inaugural Association of Pet Dog Trainers NZ conference in Wellington 2010. By sharing information with some of the worlds leading dog trainers and behavioural trainers in NZ and overseas her clients are guaranteed the most comprehensive understanding of the needs of their dogs and the best way of creating harmony within their household.

Libby, Ruby and Josh

Libby, Ruby and Josh

Introducing Josh and Libby

Sarahs’ own dogs, Josh and Libby train in Obedience, Fly ‘gility, Agility and Rally ‘O’ they also enjoy regular visits to local rest homes and schools and are part of the display team that currently train with Sarah – as well as this they help Sarah rehabilitate dogs who have behavioural problems that only another dog can help with.

Josh and Libby (and Max sometimes too) are always on hand to demonstrate all of the exercises that Sarah teaches so owners can always see what they are aiming for and what is possible with their own dogs.

In 2009 Josh became the first NZ/UK International Canine Good Citizen. He achieved this by successfully gaining a second set of the Canine Good Citizen awards here in New Zealand having already gained the full set in the UK 4 years earlier.

Libby, not to be outdone, was also presented with her full set of Canine Good Citizen Awards, Foundation, Bronze, Silver and Gold by the president of the New Zealand Kennel Club in September 2009.

Sarah believes that through education dog owners can help their dogs become happy, balanced members of the community. With an invitation only Canine Good Citizen class for the more advanced dogs and handlers and a beginners Canine Good Citizen class each week Sarah is able to teach good dog owners how to be GREAT dog owners and as a result turn their dogs into GREAT dogs – as Sarah says “the best dogs they can be”. Sarah is an official Canine Good Citizen Assessor for the New Zealand Kennel Club. Attending training weekends with fellow assessors from North and South at the NZKC’s headquarters in Porirua to review the CGC exercises in order that the NZKC’s high standards are maintained. This position allows her to assess students from other clubs enabling them to prove they are GREAT dog owners too.

2012 saw Sarah open the new Doggy Day Care centre at the Pet Dog School. Doggy Day Care accepts dog friendly dogs Monday to Friday from 7:45 to 6:00 and is a fantastic way to allow Sarah and her staff to entertain lucky dogs in play, while practicing social skills and while enjoying a day of fresh air, cuddles and company. Now Wanganui dog owners can go to work without having to feel guilty about saying good bye or can simply give their pet something exciting to look forward to.

In order to provide balance in her own work Sarah enjoys the help of a small pack of calm, balanced dogs who have themselves been rehabilitated from a wide range of behavioural problems. These friendly, social dogs are now able to work with other unfortunate dogs and so help them become happy and balanced, successful family pets again.

“Knowledge means nothing if it cannot be shared.”

Contact the Pet Dog School and share your problems, concerns and goals; Sarah in turn will share with you the knowledge she has gathered from the thousands of dogs she has worked with for over a quarter of a century – together you can share the thrill of watching your dogs behaviour improve and your relationship grow.