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"Man’s Best Friend Leads To New Business"

WHEELCHAIR bound Gold Coast entrepreneur Tom Ross knows all too well that behind every good man is a great woman.


And a brilliant business plan, and an intuitive rapport with man’s best friend – and a display of bravery that has the dog-training industry barking mad.


Tom and his wife Maddie have just passed the 18-month anniversary since they started Beacon Dog Training – a unique dog-training business they started after Tom suffered a severe spinal injury and their pooch Toby subsequently proved a problem child.


“I was with the girls for a week on Hamilton Island and Tom was away with the boys for a week in Bali and he tripped and fell off a cliff,” Maddie said.


“I had just finished a computer animation degree and Tom was about to finish his degree in exercise physiology.


“But after all the time he spent in hospital in rehabilitation he decided he didn’t really want to spend the rest of his life working in one, so we decided to start a business.”


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As a T12 paraplegic, Tom realised that not all disabled people could work with their dogs the same way, so they approached Sarina Russo Job Access, completed the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) and did it their way.


“Toby developed aggression issues when he was about 12-months-old,” Maddie said.


“And it was rehabilitating him that ignited my passion for dog training – so I started as a professional trainer, so I could help others in similar situations.


“I’m now a Certified Personal Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA), the only trainer on the Gold Coast and with this level of qualification and one of only 20 in Australia.


“Tom’s area of expertise is the back end and administration and together we make a great team.”


Since the first class with one puppy on August 2, 2017, Beacon Dog Training now hosts 18 classes every week, has employed two permanent staff who put more than 120 dogs through their specialised courses every week.


In a throwback to her digital degree, Maddie has also launched That Dog Geek – an online channel watched by thousands of people each week.


“Our videos focus on making the latest scientific training methods accessible to the public by presenting them in easy to understand, enjoyable videos.”


Maddie and Tom’s mentor at Sarina Russo, Sandra Gartner had no doubt her husband and wife students had what it took when they completed the NEIS.


“They realised the Gold Coast was a growth area and more importantly, in light of Tom’s condition, they established it was devoid of high-quality dog-trainers,” Sandra said.


“Tom did a Certificate IV in New Small Business, he presented an excellent business plan and now a thriving little business – I’m very proud of them both.”



  • Premium dog training service that offers group classes and private consultations on the Gold Coast
  • Individual sessions for behavioural issues or for owners who would like extra assistance with their obedience training in their own home
  • Group classed held weekly at Robina State School, 1 Investigator Dve, Robina
  • In-home consultations for and Gold Coast southern Brisbane residents
  • Phone 0473 404 378 or visit www.beacondogtraining.com.au