This time on Independent Worthing: Unwrapped, we chat to the lovely Babette Tappin of 'Pawsome Puppies', a unique, local coaching and support service for dogs and their humans. This service enables you doggy peeps among us to get the best out of your relationship with your canine friend - and even more so, for your lucky dog to get the best out of you!
Over to you, Babette:
IW: Give us an elevator pitch for your business
BT: I set up Pawsome Puppies to offer force-free, positive, ethical, and humane, relationship-centred help, advice and training for you and your puppy. I don’t do puppy classes or groups. I don’t train your dog for you. I coach YOU to be the best person you can be for your canine companion and empower you to train your puppy yourself through understanding not just the ‘how’, but the ‘why’!
IW: What is your favourite thing about Worthing?
BT: The fact that I can walk at the beach, in deserted woodland or on the Downs, all within four miles of my house!
IW: What skill or talent would you most like to learn and why?
BT: I have a French name (although I was born in Coventry haha) so I would love to be able to live up to that and speak fluent French!
IW: What topic could you give a 20-minute presentation on without any preparation?
BT: Obviously puppies and dogs! I also used to be a breastfeeding counsellor for the National Childbirth Trust over 25 years ago so that’s another speciality subject, along with dyslexia, having worked in this field with children and young people for over 20 years.
IW: What are you really bad at?
BT: Undoing packaging. I’m absolutely rubbish with anything child-proof and anything with a cork is off the list! Years ago, someone at work asked me if I’d like help getting into my car to go home as they’d seen me struggle so many times with packaging that day! It still makes me laugh when I think of my colleague’s deadpan delivery!
IW: What is your go-to local independent business and why? Go on, you can have more than one if you like ;)
BT: I love Karen and Jasmine at Souk for embracing vegan options and for their vegetable box deliveries; Julia from Eclectic Home for interior decor items and gift ideas; and our absolute fave takeaway is always from Rob at The Green Trailer!
IW: What inspired you to start your own business?
BT: Pawsome Puppies was born out of ‘pandemic puppy syndrome’, where people were at home and thought it would be a great time to add a puppy to their family but discovered they had not done the research and had no face-to-face teaching to help them. Setting baby puppies up for success in a force-free, ethical, relationship-centred manner to avoid problems further down the line had been my passion for a long time, and seeing some of the awful TikTok ‘dog trainers’ who became popular during the first lockdown using aversive, outdated and forceful methods made me so upset and angry that I vowed to counter this with educating puppy guardians about how their dog thinks, feels and learns. I had the very best opportunity to do this formally when I was made redundant last spring, and I’ve been so glad to be able to help so many people and dogs since then, using video call consultations to educate and empower new guardians.
IW: What is the best thing about what you do?
BT: Coaching others has always been a recurring theme in all my previous jobs. I have been told I have the knack of being able to help others understand concepts in a way that is uniquely relatable to them and their situation. There’s so much satisfaction in witnessing people having a ‘lightbulb moment’ when they truly understand not just ‘how’ to do something, but also ‘why’. That’s where I get the warm fuzzy feeling!
IW: What’s your guilty pleasure?
BT: Staying in! I absolutely love being at home in the evenings, lighting our log burner when it’s cold and dark and binge-watching Netflix with my hubby and pups!
IW: What’s your favourite way to start the day?
BT: Walking my two Labradors, Jasper and Bix. If you’d like to come along with their adventures, follow @jasperthecollegedog on Instagram! And yes, he really was the Worthing College Dog!
IW: Anything else you would like to add?
BT: If you know somebody who is getting a puppy soon, or has just got one, please do put them in touch with Pawsome Puppies. It’s so much easier to set someone up for success from the get-go than for them to struggle and feel like they’ve made the wrong decision. One person I helped was at her wits’ end and was ready to give up her puppy. She was so grateful to feel listened to and have some real practical help. Check out the reviews on the Facebook page and I look forward to helping many more pups and their people ?