'In Optimism there is Magic'….Abraham-Hicks
I am based in Yeadon, near Leeds and I have loved animals, and dogs in particular, since being a very small child but the field of dog behaviour has been my main interest for the last 17 years when I first took a Canine Psychology course with the Animal Care College.
Since then I have passionately enjoyed learning about dog behaviour and along with years of hands-on experience working with dogs, I have undertaken courses with The Animal Care College, Compass Education and IDBTC (International Dog Behaviour Training College) who are a preferred educational provider for the Kennel Club KCAI Scheme. Courses include Canine Psychology, Introduction to, Intermediate and Advanced Behaviour Modification, Brain & Behaviour, Canine Reactivity, Instructing pet dog owners, How dogs learn, Tellington T-Touch, Anatomy and Physiology, Separation Anxiety.
I am currently working towards my KCAI accreditation with the Kennel Club. I am a member of the Guild of Dog Trainers. I am part of the Blue Cross Education Team which involves going into Schools and teaching children about animal welfare and dog safety. I am a presenter for Family Dog and Doggone Safe (Be a tree programme), both of which are aimed at helping children learn how to be safe around dogs.
People sometimes ask me about why I do what I do and how I got started. So I thought I would tell you the story of how the Fairydogmother was born.
ONE MAN AND TWO DOGS
Billy was a ‘special’ dog; one of those naughty but nice dogs you can’t help but love because they make you laugh, but also drive you to distraction because of their behaviour.
Billy was a spinning/tail chasing, attention seeking nightmare who refused to let go of anything he was having fun with. Billy was never aggressive, he just loved to play tuggy. Unfortunately Billy liked playing tuggy with everything he could get his teeth into – hosepipes still attached to the tap, branches still attached to trees. He destroyed my mum’s lawnmower when she left him unattended in her garden for a mere 30 minutes, he played tuggy with my sister’s curtains and once sank his teeth into a live electric cooker cable sticking out of the wall when we were renovating the kitchen. The only reason he survived that particular game of tug was lightening quick reflexes turning the power off!
Billy was a nightmare, but I loved him and wanted to help him and make our lives easier. Billy had lit the spark in my interest in dog behaviour, so I really got stuck into finding out how I could help change his behaviour and started doing Dog Behaviour courses in 2001 – 2003.
Fast forward a few years (after having two children that kept me busy and interrupted my studies) I now had a new dog; Lola who was a two and a half year old rescue who had been abandoned in a flat to starve. She was absolutely wonderful, except for one thing; her obsession with footballs. I discovered said football obsession when I decided to take her to my eldest son’s football match one very wet, muddy Saturday morning.
I walked up to the edge of the pitch with Lola on a lead and she spotted the football … and ran for it (she is a hefty American Bulldog x Staffy) and, taken by surprise and suddenly helpless on the other end of the lead she dragged me face down in the mud, slowly but surely trying to make progress towards the ball being kicked around the pitch. Watched by all the other parents I had to be unceremoniously rescued from the quagmire.
Lola’s sheer determination to get at footballs wasn’t getting any better and a friend of mine said to me that if I went to see Keith, a dog trainer who helped run a local rescue, he would be able to help. So I rang and booked an appointment and I went to see him … and that day changed everything.
He didn’t just help with Lola, he offered to teach me real hands on dog training working with dogs at the rescue. As long as I turned up regularly and got stuck in, that was the deal, and I was eager to start.
I loved it, it was my dream come true!
There I met Colin, a huge Mastiff type Cross who was scared of his own shadow. I adored Colin, he was gentle, worried and needed lots of reassurance but slowly his confidence built, and I loved every minute I spent helping Keith with his training. Often freezing cold, wet, and knee deep in mud and snow but I didn’t care, I turned up and carried on. Working with Keith and Colin taught me much more than the pages of the coursework I had done so far.
I recently found the diary I had kept about the work I was doing with Colin, Venice and Nico and the excitement and enthusiasm in the pages of the diary made me smile.
One day I was sat with Keith in the classroom discussing another dog we were working with and I plucked up the courage to ask Keith “How will I know when I am good enough to do it on my own”. Keith said, “You are good enough now Kerry”.
I will forever be grateful to Keith, Billy and Colin as without them my thirst for knowledge, my determination to be great at this and the absolute love for what I do would never have been ignited.
They lit the spark that will never diminish.
So, seven years on, here I am still loving every minute with the same enthusiasm and love for my job as I found in the pages of my training diary from all those years ago.
My job is to help build relationships between people and their dogs, to enrich their lives together so they have more fun. It’s what I do.
Someone once asked me what I was most proud of (dog-wise) and I replied “every dog that didn’t end up in rescue because I helped them work their problems out”
I stand by that every day.
Since then I have continued to increase my knowledge, with many, many courses in dog behaviour. I still go to all the seminars and conferences I can get to: I am a bit of a seminar junkie to be honest, and a bit of a dog geek, but I believe that you should never stop learning and updating your skills as new research is released all the time.
And it took one man and two dogs to start the fire.
Kerry did an amazing job with Princess, she does training with her for all our TV performances. She’s also helped our other pup Empress with her recall. Highly recommend!Krystyna LennonObedience, recall & Trick Training
Just had one session so far and Kerry has shown me a lot of good techniques. For the first time in the last week I have a dog that is tired - mentally. Definitely recommend to anyone with a new dog - puppy or not.Caroline `StewartMac - Obedience
Awsome Lady. Her advice was great and solved behaviour problem between my two dogs. Highly recommendedMagdalena BartosiakBehaviour problem
Just attended a 6 week course and found it excellent. I have a very timid pooch who would not be around anyone. The Fairydogmother is patient, knowledgeable, kind and fun. Wonderful display technique of 'how to do sit, stay, leave' etc ...Marie-Claire HallPuppy Class
Absolutely awesome. Very knowledgeable so professional but easily approachable too. My dogs adored her. It's still early days but following her instructions, I can already see a difference. Cannot recommend highly enough. She's AWESOMEJay NeeBehaviour problem
Attended a six week puppy course for my cocker spaniel and I loved it! Charlie had so much fun, Kerry was so patient and gave such good advice and training methods. Charlie is now a well socialised puppy, loves meeting people and new situations which is definitely down to these puppy classes! Such good value for money.Amy BrookCharlie - puppy class
Had a home visit behaviour consultation as our new puppy is very low on confidence and was fab! Kerry is brilliant and I would recommend her to everybody. Took the time to teach my children how to handle our new pup and they are now following her methods.Alex SheffieldHome puppy/children's training