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Learn to Bond with your Dog

Calling all dog owners! Learn to have fun with your pup at PPGA's biennial Conference in June 2024

Hear from the best Australian and international pet trainers at this educational 3-day event.

Have you ever wanted to try a dog sport with your pooch but didn’t know where to start?

Australia’s leading dog training organisation, Pet Professional Guild Australia (PPGA), has opened registrations for its pet industry conference - Learn, Grow, Influence - which will be held in Sydney from 14 to 16 June 2024. Here, you can learn how to teach your pup herding, scent work or even try hoopers from some of the best animal trainers in the world!

Credit: Ethan Richardson
PPGA represents pet industry professionals who are committed to science- based, force-free training and pet care and offers
educational resources for pet lovers.

“PPGA prides itself in using force-free methods based on the latest research and science on the ethical treatment of animals,” says PPGA Vice President Barbara Hodel.
“We encourage pet owners to attend this special event to learn from our presenters, grow their skills and influence their community.”

The conference offers a unique learning experience for pet owners through lectures and practical workshops by globally renowned pet training and behaviour experts.

“Attendees will be spoilt for choice with an assortment of workshops designed to provide a 'taster' of new and innovative ideas for owners and their pets,” says Hodel.

The world's leading developer of and advocate for positive herding training Barbara Buchmayer from the USA will come to Australia for the first time to present a workshop and presentations on positive herding!

“My workshops will cater to both the average pet owner and those passionate about positive herding, welcoming all breeds from Poodles to Border Collies,” says Buchmayer. “The beauty of these games is that they teach valuable skills such as self-control, cueing and timing in a fun and relaxed way.”

Arriving from the UK, Dr Robert Hewings, a former police dog handler and internationally recognised trainer in explosive search and narcotics, will share his expertise in canine scent detection plus recent research and training of assistance dogs in scent work.

Some of the Aussie presenters include Bondi Behaviourist’s Ian Shivers and dog behaviour experts Louise Newman and Jari Castle. Castle’s friendly competition, Clicker Games Tournament, will see participants demonstrate their clicker timing and mechanical skills through a series of fun, interactive challenges!

At Shivers’ Practical Ways to Use Enrichment in our Training Plan workshop, pet lovers will learn how to meet their dog’s needs and resolve unwanted behaviours through enrichment.

“You don’t have to be a pet professional to get a lot out of this one,” says Shivers. “The goal is for everyone that attends to walk away with a real insight into how to effectively apply their knowledge of enrichment into their dog’s life. In my workshop, we’ll be diving deep into enrichment, what it is, how to apply it and what the benefits of it really are.”

Newman will team up with animal trainer Shelley Aukett to demonstrate Hoopers: a fun dog sport that is a cross between motion puzzles and low-impact agility.
“You don’t have to have the perfect dog. You just need desire from both of you to build a stronger connection,” says Newman. 
“Hoopers is like doubles tennis. It’s low-impact agility with less equipment but all the skills. To flourish, you need a dog-handler connection. That’s the glue.”

The practical workshops will run on June 14 at St Ives Showground (transport from the city is organised) and the lectures are scheduled for June 15 and 16 at the Rydges World Square in the CBD.

For the full Conference schedule, visit

International Speakers & Workshop Presenters

  • UK’s Dr Robert Hewings is a former police dog handler and trainer in explosive search and narcotics, and will share his expertise in canine scent detection plus recent research and training of assistance dogs in scent work.
  • Barbara Buchmayer from the US will come to Australia for the first time to present a workshop and presentations covering all things positive herding! Whether you’re interested in the sport or looking for fabulous exercises and strategies to incorporate into pet dog life, Buchmayer will share her 30 years of knowledge in herding training methods using positive reinforcement.
  • UK’s Dr Zazie Todd PhD (Psych), creator of the Companion Animal Psychology blog and award-winning author of Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy and Purr: The Science of Making Your Cat Happy, will cover counter-conditioning, the role of emotions in animal welfare, how to prevent and resolve common cat behaviour issues; strategies for the human side of fearful/reactive dogs and changing minds on training methods.

The Australian line-up is as impressive with many workshops on offer:

  • At the ‘Un-Chase!® – In Action!’ workshop, Alexis Davison will help clients set up for success, teach key alternate behaviours, build calmness, and change chase triggers to cues.
  • Ian Shivers workshop is all about incorporating enrichment into your training plan.
  • If you want to train a different species, Noeline Cassettari's trick training with a donkey and a miniature horse might be your choice. (Her miniature horse Rose holds a Guinness World Record for ‘the most tricks performed by a horse in one minute!).

The conference is packed with learning and networking opportunities and in addition to the international presenters, the Australians present new and exciting topics!

  • University of Adelaide’s Dr Eduardo Fernandez will introduce the LIFE (Least Inhibitive, Functionally Effective) approach to animal training methods, the new best practice model for teaching and training.
  • In ‘Pet Bereavement – PrĂ©cis of a Complex Journey’, Debra Milikan will talk about grief, which comes in many forms when losing a pet.
  • Alex Matsoukas will help you drum up more business with her talk on SEO and website analytics, and Jari Castle will explain how to run seminars for reactive dog owners.

Here’s how to register:

Attend this incredible 3-day conference and workshops to become the very best dog owner you can be!

PPGA Members ticket: $700; Non-members ticket: $800

To register:

If you’re unable to make the entire three days, other ticketing options are available.

For more ticketing information and conference registration details, click here.

Thank you to PPGA 2024 Biennial Conference Sponsors!

Thank you to our PREMIER sponsor Antinol! 
Our event sponsors Safe4, Pet Behaviour Vet, Harbour City Dog Gear, Institute of Modern Dog Trainers (IMDT), Association of Pet Dog Trainers Australia Inc (APDT), and Assistance Animals International. Our main swag bag sponsor Kong and swag bag sponsors Karen Pryor Academy, Chew Proof Dog Beds, Goodog, Pet Perspective, Delta Institute and Ziwi Peak No 1.

About the Pet Professional Guild Australia

The Pet Professional Guild Australia (PPGA) is a membership organisation representing pet industry professionals who are committed to science-based, force-free training and pet care.

We are an official branch of the Pet Professional Guild, a worldwide organisation committed to advocating, educating and encouraging improvements in companion animal welfare through the use of fear-free techniques.

Currently, PPGA has over 350 professional members, many of whom are trainers in the animal industry, mostly with companion animals such as dogs, cats, horses, birds, and pocket pets. Our PPGA members include some of the most well-renowned veterinary behaviourists and trainers, many of whom have worked with rescues and councils in the past and have a wealth of knowledge in behavioural modification.

The PPGA members and affiliates focus on a pet’s physical, mental, environmental, and nutritional well-being, a holistic approach to the care and training of family pets.
To learn more:

MEDIA RELEASE, 24th May 2024

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