The Pet Professional Guild Australia

The Association for Force-Free Pet Professionals


PPG Australia Latest News

August 2016 See Registration for Recording of Summit

Tampa, FL - May 31, 2016 – The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) has announced its first-ever virtual summit for pet care professionals taking place on August 11-12, 2016. The event will feature 26 hours of virtual webinars covering a range of pet care topics such as health and force-free handling for cats and dogs, how to walk dogs positively and manage multiple dogs, canine and feline behavior and social communication, appropriate canine play, how animals learn, dog bite safety, managing a dog day care facility, and a host of business and marketing options for small business owners.

The inception of the Virtual Pet Care Summit reflects the growing numbers of PPG members who work in the field of pet care, including kennel technicians, groomers, pet sitters, dog walkers, day care operators, veterinary assistants, student dog trainers, animal shelter employees, and dog trainers. Virtual summit webinars will run from 9 a.m. (EST) till approximately 7:30 p.m. (EST) over the two- day period with ample time in the schedule for lunch and breaks. Participants will be able to select webinars from two tracks and all webinars will be recorded and available for purchase after the event.

Open to all, the Virtual Pet Care Summit features two registration options: The basic package includes 13 hours of live webinars over the two-day period at a cost per hour of $9 for PPG members and $12 for non-members, while the premium package includes 13 hours of live webinars over the two-day period at a cost per hour of $8 for PPG members and $9 for non-members. Premium package purchasers will also have access to over 24 hours of recordings and PDF handouts of each webinar.

“PPG has launched the Virtual Pet Care Summit in direct response to the growing numbers of pet care professionals joining the organization to ensure we provide them with access to the best educational resources possible,” said PPG founder and president, Niki Tudge. “There is also a great need in the market for a range of force-free educational options to increase awareness amongst those working in the field of pet care - as well as pet owners themselves - that there are kinder, more effective alternatives to restraint or aversive handling techniques.”

“Grooming, for example, can be a very stressful experience for many dogs,” added professional groomer and PPG member Michelle Martiya, who will be presenting on the do’s and don’ts of dog grooming at the event. “The combination of loud dryers, buzzing clippers, and being physically manipulated by a stranger can be difficult for a dog to accept. Restraint is often necessary, even on a well-trained dog, but how we introduce and use restraints can be the difference between a stressful, scary experience (which makes the dog more uncooperative for the next grooming visit), or a mildly unpleasant but temporary experience that the dog can quickly get past.”

Registration for the Virtual Pet Care Summit is now open and monthly payment plans are available to all. For more details click here 

Pet Professional Guild launches Pet Dog Ambassador program worldwide

New initiative enables dog guardians to test their knowledge, skills and ability to manage their canine companions in real life settings while representing force-free training methods.

Tampa, FL – The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) has launched the Pet Dog Ambassador (PDA) program, an international licensing initiative focused on improving and strengthening dogs' and their guardians' skills, both in a class situation and in the real world.

PDA’s key aims are to acknowledge the hard work and commitment that dog guardians and their pets undertake to make their shared lives enjoyable, and to encourage guardians to continue training and developing new skills, abilities and knowledge. Agility dogs, show dogs, obedience dogs and many other dog sport competitors already gain titles as acknowledgement for the hours of dedicated training undertaken. The PDA program ensures that pet dogs and their people can now gain similar accolades. Specifically, PDA recognizes the efforts made by dog guardians from a puppy or new dog’s very early training. Designed as a progressive assessment, PDA is a five-level program with each level building on the previous, working up from puppy/beginner to “championship” level.

Benefits of PDA include improving the relationships between pet dogs and their guardians, helping guardians gain a better appreciation of force-free dog training and its applications to everyday life, improving the knowledge of socially responsible pet guardians, increasing their knowledge and understanding of local laws in their locality, and equipping dogs and their guardians with the skills to be out in the wider community in public settings thereby demonstrating the many advantages of having a well-trained dog.

PPG members are able to participate in PDA as both dog guardians and instructors/assessors. Qualified professional dog trainers will be tested rigorously on the program before receiving their license to instruct, and assessors will be tested on both the program knowledge and their ability to test pet guardians across all the assessment markers for each level.

“We wanted an assessment process that tested real life situations,” said Debra Millikan, PPG board member and project chair. “PDA differs from anything else that is currently available in the sense that there is much more real life testing and I am delighted that it has finally come to fruition. The program has been developed over a long period of time by a team of dedicated PPG members in Australia who have done an excellent job in developing the skill levels and the program guide.”

Added PPG president, Niki Tudge: “PDA is another exciting product for PPG members to provide to their dog owning community. Not only does it provide the curriculum, skills and assessment markers, it also offers a wealth of marketing support and tools to help the program grow. I am very proud of the international effort that has gone into bringing this product to completion.”

Quick Links

Pet Dog Ambassador Website

Pet Dog Ambassador Levels

Pet Dog Ambassador Assessment Markers

Professionals Enroll Today

Pet Guardians Enroll Today

Pet Professional Guild announces presenters, opens registration for second educational summit

Tampa, FL - January 22, 2016 – The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) has announced an impressive line-up of speakers and opened registration for its second educational summit taking place in Tampa, Florida on November 8-11, 2016. 

 Following on from the resounding success of the inaugural event in 2015 and based on member feedback, PPG has promised an even bigger and better summit this year, complete with over 30 internationally acclaimed presenters, superior accommodation options, an expanded schedule in a relaxed environment for greater networking opportunities, and enhanced menu options and evening activities.

 Summit 2016 will take place at the Sheraton Tampa East hotel which allows pets and is offering a special discounted rate for summit attendees. Like last year, PPG is offering a choice of three attendance packages, which include various combinations of accommodation, meals and entertainment, enabling attendees to personalize their itinerary and overall summit experience. Monthly payment options are available to both members and non-members.

 Making a return this year is popular 2015 keynote speaker, Dr. Karen Overall, who will be joined by pet industry luminaries such as Dr. Marty Becker, Victoria Stilwell, Ken Ramirez, Malena DeMartini Price and Pamela Dennison. Also making a return are renowned canine behavior experts Chirag Patel, Pat Miller, Ken McCort, Dr. Soraya Juarbe-Diaz, Janis Bradley and Emily Larlham. Miller said at the close of last year’s event that it was “the best dog training conference ever,” while McCort stated that it was “one of the greatest collections of experts… and dog trainers” he had seen in a long time. 

 In addition to the many educational opportunities available for canine behavior consultants and trainers, feline behavior will have greater representation at this year’s Summit with the return of cat specialist, Jacqueline Munera. She will be joined by PPG’s Feline Committee chairwoman, Jane Ehrlich, and Dr. Juarbe-Diaz for an expanded program comprising all things feline. Equine behavior will be addressed for the first time, with a presentation by horse trainer, Sara Richter. The vendor exhibition will also be expanded with PPG already clocking interest from several industry partners.

 “We are thrilled that our first ever summit was such a success and got such positive feedback from our members and industry peers,” said PPG president, Niki Tudge. “For this year’s event we have improved on some of the logistics and are also offering an expanded program that will provide numerous opportunities for attendees, both in terms of their professional education and individual networking. We are overwhelmed by the support we have received from so many quarters, which shows that the force-free movement is gaining traction and that outdated, aversive training methods have no place in the 21st century when we have the benefit of a wealth of scientific research to aid us in our pet training choices.”

 This year is shaping up to be another period of growth for PPG, with an expanded steering committee, new educational and advocacy initiatives, more international chapters and unprecedented interest in Summit 2016.

About The Pet Professional Guild

 The Pet Professional Guild is a 501(c)6 a member organization founded on the principles of force-free training and pet care. Its membership represents pet industry professionals who are committed to force-free training, pet care philosophies, practices and methods. Pet Professional Guild members understand force-free to mean: no shock, no pain, no choke, no fear, no physical force, no physical molding, and that no compulsion-based methods are employed to train or care for a pet.

For more information on PPG’s 2016 Summit, see

With more than 34 acclaimed presenters over 3.5 days this educational summit promises to build on the overwhelming success of the first event held in 2015. Attracting attendees from all over the world it will be the networking venue of the year!

12 October 2015

The Pet Professional Guild Australia (PPGA) is pleased to announce key appointments to its Special Council.  

Professor Paul McGreevy, RCVS, Specialist in Veterinary Behavioural Medicine; Dr Katrina Ward, Veterinary Behaviour Consultant; and Dr Gabrielle Carter, Veterinary Specialist in Animal Behaviour, will join the Committee in helping spread the force-free message to professionals within the pet industry, and to the general public.  

The Pet Professional Guild is a membership organisation representing pet industry professionals who are committed to results based, science based force-free training and pet care.  The Pet Professional Guild Australia was formed in early 2015, becoming the first International chapter of the organisation, which has been in existence since 2012.  

“To have three leading veterinarians, who have already done so much to spread the force-free message, join our Special Council is fantastic” said PPGA President Stephanie McColl.  “Professor McGreevy is world-renowned in the field of animal behaviour, and his ongoing research has improved the lives of so many companion animals.  It is such a fabulous fit to have him lend his support to our membership base, many of whom are trainers, groomers, veterinarians and vet nurses.  

We thank Professor McGreevy, Dr Carter & Dr Ward for taking time out of their busy schedules to advise PPGA in their areas of expertise, and are excited about the positive impact the Pet Professional Guild Australia will make on the lives of pets over the coming years.”

About Professor Paul McGreevy

Professor McGreevy is a RCVS Recognised Specialist in Veterinary Behavioural Medicine, and Sub Dean of Animal Welfare at the University of Sydney.  Professor McGreevy’s research interests include, amongst others, animal welfare science, and learning theory as applied to animal training and behaviour modification. 

Professor McGreevy is widely-published, including Carrots & Sticks: Principles of Animal Training in 2011.  He has presented at Conferences across the globe, is sought-after for commentary in the media regarding animal behaviour & welfare, and sits on the Scientific Advisory Panel of the RSPCA (Australia), amongst much more!

About Dr Gabrielle Carter

Dr. Gabrielle Carter is a Melbourne veterinarian with a special interest – and special education – in the field of Animal Behaviour.

After 20 years as a veterinarian and practice owner in general small animal practice, Gabrielle successfully completed a three year residency program, and Masters degree in Veterinary Behaviour, at Purdue University in Indiana, USA. Recently she qualified as a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists—one of only two specialists in Australia with this qualification—and she is also a member of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists. Gabrielle is a Veterinary Specialist, having been registered as such by the Victorian Veterinary Practitioners Board.

About Dr Katrina Ward

Dr Katrina Ward BVSc MANZCVS CMAVA graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science. She has worked as a veterinarian in Australia and England for 20 years, with all types of animals from turtles to cattle, in all forms from orthopaedic surgery to cancer therapy. Since studying behavioural medicine and focusing on the mental welfare of her patients, she has acquired Membership to the Australia and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists. She is a Chartered Member of the Australian Veterinary Association, member of the International Society of Anthrozoology and President of the Australian Veterinary Behaviour Interest Group.

Katrina’s passion is about helping to keep pets and their people together harmoniously and kindly and to ensure the welfare of all species is respected.

Dr Katrina runs her own business, Dr Katrina Ward Animal Behaviour Consultant, based in Hobart, Tasmania.

The Pet Professional Guild Australia (PPGA) is pleased to announce a further key appointment to its Special Council.  Dr Kersti Seksel, (BVSc (Hons), MRCVS, MA (Hons), FACVSc (Animal Behaviour), Diplomate ACVB, Diplomate ECAWBM, Registered Veterinary Specialist, (Behavioural Medicine), will join the Committee in helping spread the force-free message to professionals within the pet industry, and to the general public.  This is in addition to Professor Paul McGreevy, Dr Katrina Ward & Dr Gabrielle Carter, who all recently announced their commitment. 

About Dr Kersti Seksel

Dr Kersti Seksel (BVSc (Hons), MRCVS, MA (Hons), FACVSc (Animal Behaviour), Diplomate ACVB, Dip ECAWBM, Registered Veterinary Specialist, (Behavioural Medicine) graduated in Veterinary Science from Sydney University and became very interested in animal behaviour while working overseas. To further her knowledge she went back to university graduating from Macquarie University with a BA in Behavioural Sciences with a major in psychology. In 1992 she began developing the program of Puppy Preschools® in veterinary hospitals around Australia. This interest led her to complete a MA (Hons) degree by thesis on the long and short term behavioural effects of puppy socialisation and training programs. She also pioneered Kitten Kindy® nationally and internationally.

She is a registered veterinary specialist in Animal Behaviour, a Fellow of the Australian College of Veterinary scientists in Animal Behaviour, a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviourists and a Diplomate of the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine. She is an adjunct senior lecturer at Charles Sturt University and honorary associate at University of Sydney. She currently sits on the Board of the Delta Society and is Chair of the NSW Animal Welfare Advisory Council.

Kersti is the principal of a specialist referral practice for animal behaviour in Sydney (Sydney Animal Behaviour Service), sees cases at the Animal Referral Hospital and also sees clients all around Australia. She has several residents in behavioural medicine and mentors others through their behavioural membership. She is the tutor in the Behavioural Medicine Course (Distance Education for the Centre for Veterinary Education), University of Sydney. She has been President of the Australian Companion Animal Council, Chair of the Companion Animal sectoral group of the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy, sat on the Animal Welfare Advisory Working group for Dairy Australia, President of the Australian Veterinary Association, President of the Chapter of Animal Behaviour as well as Council member of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists.

Kersti has presented at numerous conferences and meetings in Australia, NZ, UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Estonia and other European countries, USA, China, South Africa and Japan.  She has published numerous papers in scientific journals, magazines and periodicals, numerous chapters in numerous text books, written a book ‘Training Your Cat’ and is a regular contributor to print and electronic media. Currently she is a regular presenter on ABC radio on pet care, and behaviour columnist for Dog’s Life Magazine and contributor to several other magazines as well as a consultant on VIN (Veterinary Information Network) in the USA.

Saturday 16 May 2015 - Just in time for the RSPCA Million Paws Walk tomorrow a new campaign has been launced by RSPCA SA. Please see their brilliant website here . 

The Lead by Example campaign has been created by RSPCA South Australia to inform dog owners about dog behaviour and learning, recommended training methods and equipment, and the risks associated with inappropriate training methods. RSPCA across Australia promotes and uses only reward based training – also known as positive reinforcement or force-free training. This approach does not cause pain or distress to the dog.

As a dog owner, you have a choice in how you train your dog and what equipment you use. However, with so much information available it can be a confusing process. RSPCA South Australia’s Lead by Example campaign aims to help you to build a cooperative partnership with your dog.

Knowledge of dog behaviour, learning and training has changed. We no longer consider the ‘dominance’ theory approach as relevant or appropriate. Thanks to the pioneering work of leading researchers and professionals such as Karyn PryorDr Ian DunbarPatricia McConnell PhDDr Sophia YinDr Susan Friedman and Dr Karen Overall we now know that we can humanely and effectively train our dogs by creating positive experiences rather than by using force or punishment.

Pet Professional Guild Announces Independently Assessed Accreditation Program for Industry Professionals

1 May 2015 - Tampa, FL – The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) has officially rolled out its much anticipated accreditation program for dog trainers and behavior consultants. To ensure the program is independently assessed, it will be operated by the Pet Professional Accreditation Board (PPAB), a Doing Business As (DBA) under the PPG corporation. The pilot program has already commenced, with the full accreditation program to follow shortly afterwards.

PPAB has spent two years creating and perfecting the program, having seen the need for consumer protection, better animal welfare and a higher level of skill proficiency amongst animal training and behavior professionals. Its goal is to provide a meaningful credential that supports pets and their owners and guarantees an unprecedented high level of competency, transparency and accountability amongst force-free pet professionals. To that end, applicants will be rigorously tested, both on paper and in practice, for their skills and knowledge in the fields of learning theory; biology and anatomy; ethology, body language and observational skills; canine health, development and life stages; business and consulting skills and best practices and, finally, scientific and practical method. 

“Given that there is, to date, no government oversight in the fields of pet training and behavior, any individual who so chooses can promote him- or herself as a dog trainer or animal behavior consultant, regardless of academic credentials, knowledge , skills and methods used,” said PPG president, Niki Tudge. “As such, anyone is free to open and conduct business, which runs the risk of leaving pet owners unaware of the differences between “balanced” training, positive reinforcement training, and dog training and behavioral counseling in general. PPAB’s program marks the beginning of PPG’s advocacy and education activities to bring about significant change in the pet industry to ensure that only scientifically-sound, force-free techniques are implemented, as well as to the level of professionalism at which we all operate.” 

The PPAB program is independent of any industry school, trade school, college or credentialing body. Applicants who pass the accreditation requirements will earn specific titles – Professional Canine Trainer (Accredited) (PCT-A) and Professional Canine Behavior Consultant (Accredited) (PCBC-A) – which may be used after their names. Applicants do not have to be active PPG members to apply and become accredited through PPAB, but must meet and maintain the eligibility criteria. All accreditation holders must earn continuing education units to maintain the titles earned. They must also adhere to PPAB's Guiding Principles, a collection of professional ethics and non-negotiable business practices and operational practices.


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