Barbara is the head trainer and founder of Puppy Poppins. She's been around dogs all her life and has always been interested in canine behaviour and training.
Barbara trained with the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT No.01273) and has completed a Certificate in canine behaviour & training with the Cambridge Institute of Dog Behaviour and Training (CIDBT), completed several courses with leading behaviourist Sarah Whitehead and regularly attends conferences and training to further expand her knowledge and stay up to date with the latest training methods.
Our Training Method
We only use positive, force-free methods in our training sessions and classes. Not only is this a fair and fun way to teach new things and communicate with our dogs, it is also usually the fastest and most sustainable way to teach new behaviours. Your dog will want to behave well for you so you won’t have to constantly remind it not to pull, not to jump up on people etc.
Dogs learn by repeating behaviours that get them a reward until that behaviour becomes “the thing to do in that situation”. We then fade out the rewards but the dog will still behave well even if he only gets rewarded every once in a while.
We like to use a clicker to teach our dogs new things because it helps communicate clearly with our dogs so they learn quickly and with little misunderstanding and frustration along the way. Most dogs that have been clicker trained will actively offer good behaviours and thoroughly enjoy training!
A few words on dominance and pack theory
For a long time people have been taking inspiration from wolves to explain our pet dogs’ behaviour because of studies conducted in the early 80's. The assumption was that dogs, who are misbehaving, want to exert dominance over their owner and challenge the owners leadership in the pack. Therefore, the owner has to be the alpha in the house and show the dog who is the boss.
Nowadays we know that these studies had been performed on randomly mixed, captive wolves who show very different behavioural patterns than actual wild wolf families would naturally do; wolves are shy, family oriented animals that work as a team in a well structured manner. The alpha pair has a similar function to a mother and a father in a human family: they breed, help provide food and protect the family.
And that’s why our philosophy is based on modern training techniques and the belief that dogs and their owners should build a strong relationship and work as a team as opposed to creating a power struggle over who is in charge resulting in frustration on both sides.