Founded in Australia
Sylvia Wilson grew up just south of Sydney, Australia and as a young child, she had a natural love of animals, especially dogs. She would collect dozens of strays and her passion grew as she trained and trialled many of them. By the age of 15, she had one of the first Australian obedience champions and later became the Chief Instructor of the Shoalhaven Dog Training Club. In the 1980s, Sylvia became the manager of the RSPCA shelter in Wollongong. It was there that she met Danny Wilson.
Danny was born in Australia but grew up in the northeast of England. His love of dogs was noticed by the town's local vet, who took him under his wing and brought him on many home visits to treat ailing animals. During these visits, Danny learned how the farmers kept control of their dogs and developed his own training expertise. He moved back to Australia in 1981 and became a volunteer with the RSPCA, where he met and married Sylvia.
At the shelter, both Sylvia and Danny became frustrated by the number of dogs being surrendered due to behaviour problems. They recognized that most people wanted to keep their dogs but felt the problems were too severe. Unable to accept the status quo, the Wilsons began working on a ‘delinquent dog program’, which encouraged dog owners to keep unruly dogs by offering a home service to assist them in gaining control of their wayward wags.
They quickly realized that if they seriously wanted to save disobedient and aggressive dogs from certain death, they needed to perfect a dog-training system that started to work in hours rather than days. So Danny and Sylvia began studying the way in which dogs communicated with each other. Once they had conquered the ‘language of dogs’, they developed the communication, training and behaviour modification methods.
Using these foundational systems, in 1989 Sylvia and Danny formed Bark Busters. Beginning in Australia and New Zealand, the results spoke for themselves. More and more dogs were being saved and more and more families were enjoying their relationship with their dogs. In the early 2000s, Bark Busters entered the UK, USA, Canada and Japan. Today we are one of the largest dog training companies in the world, touching the lives of over 1 million dogs.
Sylvia and Danny's mission for Bark Busters is to save as many dogs as possible from being surrendered to shelters or euthanized because of behaviour problems. Today, over 270 trained Bark Busters carry on with this mission day in and day out...and love every minute of it.
The Leaders of the Canadian Pack
Our original Canadian leaders, Barb and Jeff Cooke, came to Bark Busters first as clients, then as trainers in Australia. The couple came to Canada to blaze a trail for a nation of Bark Busters trainers, and led the company for 20 years. In 2023, the Cookes decided to retired, and handed the “leash” to us - the current head office team of Michelle Bailey, Samantha Mabee, Juliet Prey, Josh Horton and David Dorey.
Like those before us, we all originally came to Bark Busters as clients - lifelong dog owners, animal lovers & rescuers in need of a solution. Bark Busters changed our lives and our relationships with our dogs, immeasurably, for the better. Together, we have helped over over 5000 dogs and their families over the years as trainers.
Our Bark Busters pack has grown since 2003, and our leadership grows with it. Our collective vision is to maintain the legacy of excellence Bark Busters has created in the dog training world.