About Us


Introducing a dog into a human household is potentially a clash of cultures. Dog behaviours that humans want to label as “bad” are viewed as normal dog behaviours in the dog’s culture. It is the responsibility of the humans to refine the dog’s behaviours by eliminating the unwanted behaviours without punishing the dog.

We describe our approach as “Balanced” as we promote two major engagements with the dog:

  1. To create the behaviours we want, we set up the dog to give us those behaviours and positively reinforce the behaviour so that the dog will naturally want to repeat those behaviours.
  2. To discourage the behaviours we don’t want, we take away something that has meaning to the dog at that time, e.g. if the dog is jumping on us we take away our attention and movement until the dog calms or sits and we reinforce that alternate behaviour.

We never ever administer an aversive to the dog. We do not shout, pull against the dog on a lead or intimidate a dog in any way.

It is the humans’ responsibility to clearly define, reinforce and maintain the desired behaviours of a dog through consistent interaction and regular training.

It is crucial that before a puppy is 18 weeks of age he/she has learned that it is not acceptable to break the skin of humans or other animals. Before 18 weeks of age a puppy needs to have been systematically and positively introduced to a wide variety of methods of handling, new sights, sounds and sensations. This will prepare the dog for a confident and secure journey into adulthood. We have woven these facts into our puppy programs. This is what makes our puppy classes so unique and successful.


Julie Tolliday

Dog Training Newcastle

Background Experience: Diploma of Teaching, Graduate Diploma of Special Education (Behavioural Sciences), former owner of dog training franchise, committed attendee of APDT conferences and other dog-related seminars, following such world authorities as Patricia McConnell, Ian Dunbar, Suzanne Clothier, Turid Rugaas, Sophia Yin, Emily Larlham, Nicole Wilde, Steve White, to name a few.

Founded Barkers in Balance: 2009

Current dogs: Charlie, Miniature Groodle, born 2013. Lakota, Labrador, born 2014.

Favourite dog quote: There is a light that shines in our dogs’ eyes. Our work is to keep that light shining.

Best part about leading the Barkers in Balance team? Enabling others with a passion to be able to work with dogs and their owners to build relationships of understanding, reliability and trust. Seeing the team members grow in confidence and watching them take delight in the changes they help to make.

Most fulfilling course outcome you’ve seen: Having new students enrol saying not one but several people had told them to enrol their dog in our courses.

Reflections on your leadership of the Barkers in Balance team: I am continually overwhelmed by the commitment of team members, not only working to make classes successful but carrying the Barkers in Balance name proudly and wanting genuinely to provide a service of excellence. I am grateful on a daily basis to the whole team for this.

Suzanne Madden

Dog Trainer - Suzanne Madden

Background Experience: Qualifications in Adult Education, along with a Cert IV in Companion Animal Services (TAFE NSW), Pet First Aid (Pets Australia), Tellington Touch Massage for Dogs and Cats, participation in “Chaos to Calm” workshops, volunteer obedience instructor at Newcastle All Breeds Training Club and volunteer with the Delta Pets as Therapy program. Also a member of APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers), PIAA (Pet Industry Association of Australia) and Pets Australia.

First contacted Barkers in Balance: 2013

Current dogs: Zac, a Poodle x Maltese (Moodle), born 2007. Roxy, a Poodle x Silky Terrier (Silkypoo) born 2011. Both dogs are qualified Delta therapy dogs.

Favourite dog quote: “In a perfect world every home would have a dog and every dog would have a home.”

Why did you want to be part of the Barkers in Balance team? Having seen Barkers in Balance from the client perspective I knew their dog training philosophy aligned with mine. They have small groups which allow the trainers to support and assist everyone in the group – not to mention, the classes are fun!

Most fulfilling course outcome you’ve seen: Quite often on the first day the dog needs to be out of sight of other dogs. The owners are often distraught (and sometimes embarrassed) and worry that this situation will never get better. However, over the course of a few weeks, with the skills we teach them and owners practising these skills at home, their dog is able to work closer to other dogs. The owners and the dogs are happier – their relationship has been strengthened!

Reflections on your leadership of the Barkers in Balance team: I enjoy working with like-minded people who love dogs as much as I do. In particular I enjoy haring and building knowledge and experience in a supportive environment, meeting lots of people and their dogs and seeing them build great relationships with their dogs(and I get to pat puppies !).

Hayley Tuttleby, Admin

Hayley Tuttleby at Puppy School

Hayley Tuttleby at Puppy School

First contacted Barkers in Balance: 2016.

Which Barkers in Balance service did you first use? Puppy Pre School at Salamander Bay

What prompted you to contact Barkers in Balance in the first instance?

For my dog: I am a first-time dog owner and wanted a working dog my whole life, I decided to get a Border Collie and was well and truly in over my head. Julie’s help and expertise proved to be more help than I could have ever expected from puppy school. I realised then that I needed to continue working with my crazy dog.

I hadn’t heard of Barkers in Balance before I had a dog as we were new to the area. I googled puppy school as directed by my amazing breeder and stumbled across Barkers In Balance.

For employment: I offered to help Julie when she was in a crisis. I could see at training one day that she was struggling with current circumstances and I wanted to be able to help her after all the help she had offered me.

Current dogs: Jupiter, Border Collie, 2 Years

Favourite dog quote: “Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.”

Why did you want to be part of the Barkers in Balance team? I wanted to be able to help people the way Julie had helped me.Since starting with Julie the stories and the positive connections I’ve made with people are so amazing. I love hearing about how our work has changed their lives.

Most fulfilling course outcome you’ve seen: Hearing success stories from clients about how their dog has changed for the better or the excitement when they call for the very first time with a new puppy.

Reflections on your membership of the Barkers in Balance team: I have not just an amazing boss, but a friend. I also have job satisfaction and flexibility. Working for Barkers in Balance has allowed me to be able to go back to Uni and follow my dreams.

Charlie the Groodle

trained dog newcastle

Background Experience: Enrolled in puppy school with Barkers in Balance in 2013 with my first owners. When they decided I was not the right fit for their family, I became part of the Barkers in Balance team, soon to become one of the faces of the business. I bring with me years of experience as the demo dog in Good Manners classes, Growly classes and private consultations with just one dog who may be nervous or reactive.

First contacted Barkers in Balance: 2013

Current dogs humans: Julie and Katrina, a couple of kind old birds who took me in back in 2013 when I looked like being homeless.

Favourite dog quote: “Do you ever look at your dog and think, How did I get so lucky?

Why did you want to be part of the Barkers in Balance team? I didn’t have much choice, really but I couldn’t be happier. My life now is full of exciting and varied adventures with lots of mental stimulation to keep my busy little “oodle” mind occupied.

Most fulfilling course outcome you’ve seen: Seeing the looks of joy on the faces of the kids at the school where I volunteer each week. From the minute I walk in they’re calling out, “It’s Charlie! Hi, Charlie!” When they play and train with me I try my very hardest to make them feel proud and happy with the activities they are doing with me. I also love seeing reactive dogs able to trust and lie down close to me and relax. I can be the start of them changing the way they look at the world of dogs. That’s a good feeling!

Reflections on your leadership of the Barkers in Balance team: I love being part of the team, letting everyone in the team pat me, throw the ball for me and give me heaps of love and adoring.

Please visit our testimonial page to read how dog owners have benefited from attending Barkers in Balance courses.