Certified Dog Groomer & Trainer
My Background Story
The dog grooming course I attended in 2002 provided me with the basic tools I needed to start my own business and build experience and clients! I was lucky enough to earn a grant from Clare Enterprise Board to help with buying the equipment and fitting out the parlour.
After a brief stint at a local vets, a 6-week ‘Start Your Own Business’ course (again courtesy of the wonderful Clare Enterprise Board), I coined my new business name ‘Peter Barks Dog Grooming’ (a play on ‘Peter Marks’ hairdressers). I attended many lectures, seminars and demonstrations during this time to expand my knowledge and skills.
I opened in January 2002 in Centre Point, Ennis and spent ten very successful years there before relocating to Shanaway Road, Ennis in 2012.
In 2003, I started to spend time shadowing a local trainer. I quickly felt uncomfortable with the corrections he was giving the dogs with a choke chain. Surely there was another way to communicate our desires, us being the supposed superior species. After a few weeks, I stopped going. It was not for me. The only thing I have to thank him is for giving me the name of the trainer John Rogerson. John was a trainer and behaviourist, based in the UK with a wealth of experience and talent. And the better news was he ran regular course in dog rescues around in UK, including at Dogs Trust and Battersea.
These varied from theory only to hands on week-long training with our chosen rescue dog for IKC good citizen tests. No other courses were around that offered the opportunity to work directly with dogs. And better still rescue dogs that needed the training and one to one attention badly. His dog aggression course allowed us to see first-hand how he dealt with issues such as food aggression, in a safe controlled manner.
I did all his courses, sometimes twice, before culminating in a 21-day course in Battersea London in 2005. At this stage I had bought my own house in order to adopt my first dog, a boxer mix called Oscar, and give him the life he deserved. He was a challenging dog who was going to teach me a lot! After the course, to my surprise and delight, John asked me to become one of his 6 associates. This meant I would assist him at courses, and he would be available to assist me if I had any questions with training or behaviour sessions I was doing.
I had only just acquired my first dog and was so flattered and excited that he had seen something in me to give me this amazing opportunity. It really gave my confidence a boost and propelled me on my path to offering dog training classes, as well as one-to-one sessions.
After the course I rescued a tiny 6-week pup that was part of an unwanted litter of collie pups. I groomed the mother and the grandmother and at this stage, after Johns puppy course, I understood the importance of temperament and health when choosing a pup. I knew this pup would have both, and writing this almost 14 years later, with her beside me, I know she has both, and much more!
So, with two dogs and a new business to develop I decided I needed to “walk-the-walk” and get busy training my own dogs!
As well as ensuring they were good dog ambassadors in public, with good lead manners and excellent recalls, if I was going to advise others on how to train their dogs, I felt i should be aiming for the next level with my own dogs.
Agility was an exciting fun dog sport that caught my attention, but there was no one in the area training it. I had the space and a few bob so I decided to invest in some equipment and teach myself (with the help of a few videos). I went on to compete successfully with both dogs for 6 years, traveling all around Dublin competing against the best from Ireland and Northern Ireland. I founded Ennis Dog Club and ran agility classes as well as tracking, scent detection and Irish Kennel Club Good citizen tests. I ran Rover Rescue for 7 years, which gave me invaluable experience handing and training a vast range of breeds of dogs with varying and many training and behavioural issues.
In 2012 I took a step back from my training commitments to concentrate on my family. I resumed the dog training classes in 2015 and as my twin girls are now almost 7, I am enjoying being back competing in obedience and Working Trials competitions and hope to get back to competing in agility next year.
In December 2019, I completed QQ1 Level 6 in Dog Obedience in Training, to refresh my training and learning theory, at Creedon’s College in Cork . In February 2020 I started a canine nutrition course, will attend a Dog First Aid and CPR workshop plus a dog agility seminar with Britain’s Got Talent star Ashleigh Butler at Waggy Mamas Agility in Dublin. I love to learn and enhance my skills and keep up to date with current training methods.
I.M.D.T.B. Qualified Dog Behaviourist
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