Barry Harris

Barry is a dog training instructor from the Wirral in Merseyside who teaches the Good Citizen Dog Scheme, puppy classes, and runs behavioural lessons. He is studying for a degree in Applied Canine Behaviour and runs a doggy day care service. He has been a KCAI Scheme member for four years and is working towards achieving accreditation as a Kennel Club Accredited Instructor.

We caught up with Barry to find out a little more about his involvement in the canine world....

Barry has been training dogs for around 14 years in a professional capacity but has spent his whole life with dogs.  He describes his life as “pretty much 24/7 dogs” and says that he doesn’t take holidays, and any break he does get normally revolves around dog training, trips away with his dogs, dog training seminars, lectures or studying for his degree.

What Barry enjoys most about being a dog training instructor is loving what he does and getting paid to do it.  He said “I get to spend my days in the company of dogs and puppies, all day every day.  Every day is a little bit different and I get an enormous sense of achievement being able to help people and their dogs become happier together. Most of all I love to help dogs that may be on their last chance.  It might be a rescue dog or a dog nobody has been able to help so far and this gets me emotionally.”

Barry was nominated by clients for the KCAI Trainer of the Year award in 2014, 2015 and 2016!  In 2015 he made the final five and got to appear at Crufts, which he says was amazing and one of his biggest career achievements. He is also extremely proud to be in his second year of university at Bishop Burton, studying Applied Canine Behaviour and says “this is a massive sense of achievement.” Barry has also recently opened a new Wirral dog training venue which has taken three years to complete, with hopes of bringing new and exciting speakers and dog events to the local area.

In addition to his daily duties as a dog training instructor, Barry tells us that he also helps raise funds when possible for Wirral Animal Welfare and Saints Sled Dogs, which also have a dog Christmas event being held in December.  He has told us to make sure we check it out!

Barry currently has four dogs including three Cocker Spaniels; Jet aged four, Gunner aged two and Shadow, six months. His fourth dog who he says “is a real daddy’s girl” is a Dogue De Bordeaux called Zena and is three years old. Over the years Barry says that he has undertaken lots of activities with his dogs and helped demonstrate how using positive reinforcement can overcome many obstacles – for example loose lead walking his seven-stone mastiff, Zena, without the use of force. Shadow, his youngest dog, is also currently being trained as a pet detective to help locate missing pets.

Barry says he is a sucker for a sob story and finds it difficult to say no to people, taking on lots of troublesome canine cases that end up becoming family pets. He added that his partner, Holly, has been a pillar of strength over the years and has strongly understood his desire to help many people, even when it has involved him working and studying in the early morning until late evening, almost every day.  Just like Barry, Holly trains her horses using positive reinforcement.  He said that he is “in awe of her training ability, especially in a world where positive horse training still seems to be playing catch up to positive dog training!”

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