The Team

Meet the team who will help you to choose the right dog for you, guide you through the adoption process and help you with training and settling your new dog in.

Barbara Sykes MCFBA MBIPDT

Founder Trustee, Chief Executive, Manager
Canine Behaviourist

Barbara is a Member of the Canine and Feline Behaviour Association and the British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers, is a Canine Behaviour Practitioner and owns Mainline Border Collie Centre. For over 40 years she has been involved in training, teaching and canine behaviour and from early on realised that training a dog becomes much easier if you understand pack instincts and canine communication. From there developed the concept that to train a dog you first need to teach the handler basic pack rules and body language. This became the basis for her own training technique which was officially named TLC – Thinking Like Canines – in 1998. Barbara is the author of six books, including Understanding Border Collies with the seventh book Training Border Collies out in early 2015. Barbara’s relaxation time with her dogs used to be sheepdog trialling however she retired from competition to spend time developing the Trust but not before competing in nine English National Trials and qualifying to be in the English team at the International Trials. As the Trust’s behaviourist Barbara is responsible for assessing the dogs and developing individual training schedules for them according to their needs.

Vicki Sykes

Deputy Manager
Head Trainer

Vicki is head trainer and runs Mainline Border Collie Centre with Barbara. She is a fully qualified TLC trainer and although she is involved mainly in the running of the farm and sheepdog training she takes an active part in the Trust and its welfare.

Permanent Volunteers

Anne, Gary and Sian walk our Sanctuary and older dogs and whatever the weather they can be seen either in the woods or on the moors making sure their charges have lots of exercise. In summer its great taking the dogs out but not so good in winter when the wind is streaking up from the valley but, with the dogs probably better wrapped up than themselves, they can be relied upon to make sure the dogs they walk get out at least twice a week for a nice long walk

John and Sheila help with general maintenance, fencing, painting, keeping our lighting in order (essential in the winter months) and fund raising, and in their spare time(!) walk the older dogs.

Gemma and Ben

Trainers

Ben and Gemma are TLC trainers and are fully qualified to work with and train the dogs in the Trust’s care. Our trainers are responsible for carrying out any specific training programmes, and making sure that when the dogs are ready they are taught to walk on leads without pulling, they monitor the progress of the dogs and are responsible for day to day health checks, routine worming and medication.

Gemma is currently studying animal physiotherapy so is not able to do full time training until her studies are finished, but helping rescues is a way of life which means she is here every spare moment walking out and spending time with our Sanctuary dogs.