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Conservation Detection Dog Training & Mentoring

As the profile and evidence-based efficacy of conservation detection dogs has increased in recent years, an interest in those seeking professional development in this field has also grown.  Skylos Ecology receives regular interest from researchers, ecologists, and conservationists to assist them with the development of a dog team for environmental monitoring and data collection.


We understand the need for highly trained teams for conservation works, but also acknowledge that the profession of conservation detection dog training and handling is not something that can be learnt over a short period of time or simply through the training of a dog. It takes time, support and dedication to become a proficient team (dog and handler) in the field.


In response to this growing demand, Skylos Ecology has developed our Conservation Detection Dog Training and Mentoring Program.  

This program is separated into two (2) categories for those who are seeking to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to work with a conservation detection dog for environmental data collection:

Category 1 – Project Mentoring

Category 2 – Business DEVELOPMENT

Our Conservation Detection Dog Training and Mentoring Program is designed for participants to be able to engage our knowledge and support as required for their own specific training and mentoring requirements, no matter their level of experience or stage of their project.  

Program Overview

Spaces for our Training & Mentoring Program are very limited.
Potential applicants will be required to fill in a form telling us a little more about their conservation detection dog vision. 

Only those with a clear conservation project in mind, or those who are already working in the field, or those running a small business requiring mentoring will be considered.

Those applicants will be sent our Conservation Detection Dog Training & Mentoring PDF, detailing each category further, and the costs associated.

Our Ethos

There is little doubt the use of conservation detection dogs as a highly valuable data collection method has been proven the world over. What we believe conservation now needs is more highly trained conservation detection dog teams collecting environmental data. Skylos Ecology wants to help facilitate this.

For us, training and mentoring goes beyond dog training or handler training. We take a holistic approach to any project and determine what benefits it might have to conservation purposes. We are able to support an individual, project or small business from conception through to conservation detection dog deployment, data analysis, reporting and future successes.

For this reason, our training and mentoring is purely led by positive, tangible conservation outcomes.  Whilst our training and mentoring isn't tailored for everyone, we do believe those with conservation projects in mind or in action will find great value from the knowledge and experience we can share with you. 

Conservation is our priority.

Our Experience

Within the team we have a variety of skill sets and expertise that enables us to provide extensive outcome based training and mentoring for an individual and their project. 

Tracy Lyten (Skylos) is a Director of Skylos Ecology and has over 25 years of business management experience and qualifications, including 15 years with National Parks land management agencies Parks Victoria and NSW Parks & Wildlife. Tracy is a management specialist in program development, project management, mentee engagement and professional development, business planning, grant writing, natural values management, stakeholder and community engagement, occupation health and safety management.  

Fiona Jackson (Skylos) is a Director at Skylos Ecology and has over 1200+ conservation detection dog field hours.  From training dogs to find invasive weeds in aquatic environments, to scat detection of multiple threatened species, and wind farm deployments across Victoria and NSW.  Fiona has worked conservation detection dogs in cool temperate rainforests, stony desert landscapes, snowy alpine ranges, costal dunes and heathland, to name a few.  Fiona has many training and deployment lessons to share. Fiona holds a Dog Training & Behaviour qualification and a Masters in International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law.

Dr Stevie Florent (Skylos) heads up our Research and Development department.  She has extensive experience in data collection & handling, critical thinking, research, and the scientific method. Stevie has already co-written a paper on the use of conservation detection dogs at wind farms.  If your project or small business requires guidance in rigorous scientific research and academic publication, Stevie is able to provide advice on such important matters. 



Category 1: Project Mentoring

Our Project Mentoring package is designed to assist those who already have a project in mind or currently underway, who are seeking mentorship in providing their client with a holistic and high-quality service.

Some of the areas we can assist in include:

  • Dog training.

  • Handler training.


  • Grant writing.

  • Budget scoping and development.

  • Project development and planning.

  • Policy and procedure development.

  • Project specific Job Safety Analysis / Safe Work Method Statements​.

  • Data analysis and reporting.

Our Trainers can provide project-specific dog team training, no matter your experience level.


Learning milestones and training steps are clearly identified, with support provided at Skylos Ecology base or via online consultation.  Each dog (and handler) learns at their own pace.  Our program is designed to adapt to the learning styles and stages of a dog team. All mentoring is completed in a private, one-on-one, and supportive training environment.

Initial project consultations are free of charge.


Our extensive experience in project design and implementation can help participants work through the steps to determine a projects viability. The initial evaluation includes: 

- Is the dog the right survey methodology for the project? 

- Heath & Safety considerations.

- Odour selection / odour matching. 

- Dog selection. 


We are happy to assess any team on both their safety & welfare training and detectability for specific projects.  These assessments would be conducted at the same standards as our own internal assessments are carried out, ensuring a professional level of assessment for any dog team.

Please note there is currently no Australian official qualifications in conservation detection dog handling or dog team assessments.  Our assessments have been devised from over a decade of experience working in the conservation detection dog field.  They are designed to replicate field detection scenarios and provide assurances that teams always operate with the upmost safety and efficiency.

Project Mentoring

Do you have a question? Get in touch here

Small Business Mentoring

Category 2: Business development

Our Business Development mentoring caters to those who wish to start their own business in this field, or already have a small business and are seeking additional support. We have over 20 years of business and program management experience. With qualifications across Small Business Management, Frontline Management and Occupational Health and Safety Management. Below is a list of a few things we can assist our participants with:


  • Steps in starting a business.

  • Business plan development.

  • Financial plan development.                           


  • Policy, procedure, and safety documentation development.     


  • Grant writing 101.

  • Developing competitive quotes for clients.       


  • Complete Safety Management System – working dog specific.                    


  • Access to our network.

If you are interesting in seeking our mentorship for your business, fill in our application form here.  


Initial small business consultations are free of charge.

It is important to understand your business’ specific requirements. An initial online meeting allows us to determine the services you will require to meet your small business outcomes and associated costs. 

Do you have a question? Get in touch here

Application Form
Training & Mentoring Application Form
Upload File

Spaces for our Training & Mentoring Program are very limited.

Only those with a clear conservation project in mind, who are already working in the field, or running a small business requiring mentoring will be considered.

Thanks for submitting!

Complete Safety Management System

Skylos Ecology PTY LTD

ABN: 28 630 055 524

Victoria, Australia.

© 2023 Skylos Ecology

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