Meet The Team

Kate with her four dogs

KATE ROBINSON

DIRECTOR AND HEAD TRAINER

When not training, I go running with my own dogs on the beach. I enjoy painting, reading with my kids and hanging out with my family – and our 4 dogs, Djindi, Illy, Lottie and Koa (as well the cat Trixie).

I trained my first dog as a child of 8, so when we got Djindi (who is now 10), I started training with her immediately and was offered a job at a training centre as a dog walker. I started dog training professionally in 2012 after completing my certificate at NDTF. I eventually became the Training Coordinator. When I moved to Ocean Grove I opened my own business.

It is my passion to work with people and enable them to get the best from their dogs by building the necessary communication and understanding between dog and owner. A dog is never too young (from 8 weeks) or too old to benefit from you, the owner, learning more about them.

I have experience of helping hundreds of dogs and their families. I have worked with the full range, from rowdy puppies to rescue dogs with serious behavioural problems. I have fostered rescue dogs, volunteered with Lort Smith and assessed dogs for suitability to work with children, the disabled, and the elderly in the Lort Smith Pet Therapy program. I also work with neurodiverse clients helping with assistance dog training.

I am now studying for my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment to develop my skills in training trainers. I attend regular seminars and courses to keep my training up to date.

Sophie Noss

SOPHIE NOSS

DIRECTOR AND HEAD TRAINER

My passion for dog training started as a hobby while I held a 9-5 office job. It became a more serious pursuit after the arrival of my anxious dog, Lou. She was reactive, seemingly defiant and erratic in her behaviour. I couldn’t understand why all the training I had been doing with her had not “paid off”. I decided to complete my Certificate III in Dog Behaviour and Training in 2017 to learn more. By the end of completing my course, I knew that this was what I wanted to do as a career. 

I love seeing the relationship change between a dog and owner. Seeing both parties grow in confidence and abilities is what makes this job worth it every single day. I also love seeing the “aha” moments people and dogs have that turn a frustrating situation into a successful path forward.

I would like to continue to expand my knowledge in how to assess and rehabilitate anxious dogs. I have learned a lot through my experience with Lou as well as a number of client dogs exhibiting anxious behaviours and reactivity. This area of training is incredibly rich and complex and there’s always more to research and learn.

I enjoy spending time with my young family, bushwalking and diving. Being a new mum is keeping me very busy and giving me great experience with understanding working with kids and dogs.

Wendy Barker

WENDY BARKER

SENIOR TRAINER

My journey in the dog world started when l was 16yrs old, when l attended my first obedience class with my Border Collie. Over the years this has led into a love of competing in Obedience and Agility competitions and gaining several titles. Now over 30 years on l continue with competing particularly in Nose Work with my current dog and am proud of his achievements. I am amazed how dog sports have evolved over the years as well as their popularity. I have been an Obedience Instructor for over 10 years and love teaching people and their dogs the skills they need to have a happy relationship. My biggest reward is watching the dogs improve and watching how proud the owners are when they progress.


I am currently studying Cert. 3 Animal Studies and love learning about animals and how we can improve our relationship with them. I am a big believer that we never stop learning and always looking to gain more knowledge.


l love spending time with my family, volunteering at a local animal shelter and teaching my dog new things.

 

KATE LESZYK

JUNIOR TRAINER

All my life I have been an animal lover. I was raised in a family that always had a dog or two and I was that kid who would interact with any and every animal that I possibly could. For the past 8 years, on the side of a corporate career I have provided dog walking and pet sitting services via multiple platforms, completed a certificate in dog care and grooming, and in 2020 I decided to turn my passion for pets into a new career and start a pet services business.

In the interest of further developing my handling skills and preparing my dog Holly to work by my side and be the best influence she can be to my fur-customers, I enrolled myself in NDTF’s Cert III Dog Training & Behaviour course. Mid way through, as a check on our progress I booked a consult with Pawtastic and the rest is history!

I have really fallen in love with the world of dog training. Every step of the way is so enriching for both dog and owner, it’s the ideal way to bond with your dog and the end result of having a well behaved and happy dog really makes a world of difference to the experience of having a dog in your life. Other passions and hobbies of mine include music (I’m a rockstar in my car), reading, cooking, long nature walks or hikes and skydiving which I do recreationally, competitively and professionally.


 

Karen Witcomb

KAREN WITCOMB

OFFICE SUPERSTAR

I have been working with the  girls for 12 months and love it. I  never realised there was so much to dog training! I enjoy talking and hearing about the clients and their dogs although I have no dog training experience!

I moved here from the UK 15 years ago with my husband and 2 boys and love it, being by the ocean! Love reading and cycling which I have recently taken up and the occasional glass of champers.

Roxy, my shadow, we have had her as long as we have been here, my little best friend!

 

VICTORIA PAINE

TRAINER

I have always loved dogs since I was a child when we rescued a Golden Retriever x Border Collie.  As I grew up with my career, I was not in a position to own my own dog, but instead became all my friend’s dog aunties and did plenty of pet sitting on the side.  As COVID struck, my partner and I took a sea change and thought it was an excellent opportunity to adopt little Wilma. Which then led me to meeting Kate and Sophie at Pawtastic Dog Training and signing up to do my Certificate III in Dog Training and Behaviour.

I love working with our lovely clients and helping them build the best relationships with their pets.  There’s no ‘one size, fits all’ and I love learning and developing my skills.  
 

Outside of dog training, I like to keep active, play sport and long walks on the beach.