You are currently viewing Steve Austin: Training Greyhounds as Police Therapy Dogs
Left: Steve Austin and officers with the Dallas Police Department during Greyhound training

Episode 43: Recorded April 3, 2024

“They’re built to be a service dog in terms of physicality and temperament…”

Australian animal trainer Steve Austin, on the Greyhound as a breed suitable for therapy dog training

Show Notes

Steve Austin had a knack for training animals at an early age. Growing up in New South Wales, Australia, he realized the value of positive reinforcement for dog training. As a teenager, Steve and his first dog — a stray by the name of Sooty — entertained the crowds on paydays at the local pub. Sooty was trained to balance a “schooner” of beer on his head.

In Steve’s words, “When he got it right, I made a lot of money that night…”

Steve describes Sooty as rough, tough, black and mean — a dog that would live to the age of 17. “He loved me, and I loved him.” Along with dog obedience competitions, Steve fed his passion for animal training, and his skills as a trainer would expand beyond dogs to other animal species, including elephants and pigs. Steve’s accomplishments include training animals for TV and film, prison dog behavior programs, and preparing PTSD dogs for Australian soldiers returning from combat. His book — Working Dog Heroes — is a heartfelt memoir of all these experiences as a trainer.

In this episode, host John Parker explores Steve’s latest initiative — training former Australian racing Greyhounds as police therapy dogs in the United States. Steve shares the inception of the partnership with Greyhound Racing New South Wales and the results of the first Greyhound placements. He discusses the characteristics of the Greyhound breed that make them suited for training, and he waxes poetic about his expectations of his first ever personal Greyhound adoption.


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