Tom Johnston started working with dogs professionally in 1996 when he did a fourteen week Detector Dog course with the Australian Customs Service before commencing operational duties as a dog handler and trainer in Sydney.
During that time, Tom became a successful dog handler attaining state and national commendations and awards from not only customs but other law enforcement agencies that required a drug detector dog.
Tom left Customs in 2007 to take up a career in the pet products industry before being recruited by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) as an instructor at their newly completed national dog training centre. Tom’s job was to select dogs for drug, explosives and firearms training. Tom conducted a 14 week training course for the dogs and their handlers. Tom’s responsibiltiy was to not only ensure the dogs and their handlers were succcessful in their role but also identify and address any behavioural issues.
Failure was not an option at the AFP. This now applies to Saxon K9, founded in 2011 by Tom to help dogs and their owners enjoy a more harmonious existence. Positive reinforcement is Saxon K9’s main training methodology. The focus is on the safety of the dog and understanding the dog’s needs in order to raise a healthy, happy and obedient dog. In 2011, Tom undertook further dog training qualifications and completed the Cert. IV Training and Assessing.
Tom lives in Sydney with his wife Michelle and their four dogs: Tippy, Jimmy, Billy and the Baby Drummer who are all Kelpies. When he is working on weekends, Michelle takes the dogs away to do sheep herding and trials just for fun. It’s not all about dogs for Tom, he misses their cats who would greet him and help him to relax with a nap together after a long day.