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
Barb and Jeff started their journey with Bark Busters as Canadians working abroad in Sydney, Australia in 1997. Always dog lovers, they decided to visit the RSPCA and rescue Vivaldi, a 180lb Newfoundland. One of the first things he did was promptly mark his territory on the stereo cabinet.
After settling in, Vivaldi appeared bored during the day so they found her a friend, an Australian terrier named Big Red. Unfortunately, rather than enjoying each other’s company while Jeff and Barb were at work, Big Red began barking, drawing complaints from the neighbours. It became clear that they needed help and called Bark Busters. They were so impressed with the training and results, that they became curious about the business itself. They met with Syliva and Danny, who were incredibly genuine, passionate and generous, and left their roles in a large multinational corporation to own the North Sydney franchise in 1998.
After 5 years of learning the business, Jeff and Barb moved back to Canada with their young family, and of course Vivaldi and Big Red.
Today, Jeff is the President of Bark Busters Canada and Barb is the Director of Training. They are among the most experienced trainers for Bark Busters worldwide.