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KAREN McCARTHY MA (Canine Behaviour, Psychology & Training) MCFBA MGODT APDTNZ

Originally from the UK but being mainly raised in New Zealand has given Karen many experiences in the dog world that have helped her create a more universal understanding of our four-footed friends.


Having been around dogs from a young age, she always dreamed of letting her passion become her life’s work.  Breed showing and obedience training since 1981 may have been where Karen started but over the years this developed into many other activities within the dog world from helping out with rescue dogs through to competing with her own dogs at the highest level.


Having travelled to learn more about behaviour, training and grooming as well as attending seminars and workshops in other countries gave Karen the opportunity to work in the UK dog industry for a few years. Having brought her dogs with her meant that she was able to represent New Zealand with her Gordon Setter Connor twice at Cruft's Dog Show both in 2007 & 2008 in two disciplines for both years, International Heelwork to Music and Agility competitions - a first for NZ! And Vienna followed in her father's pawsteps in the Crufts International Agility in 2010 & 2011 and the International Heelwork to Music in 2011. However being in the limelight isn't new as Karen has been profiled in the NZ national media of newspapers, television and radio in relation to dogs and training, including appearing on NZ’s Tux Wonderdogs and has been interviewed by the BBC here in the UK as well appearing in a Polish dog magazine.  Connor was also the very first dog in New Zealand to gain any kind of Canine Good Citizen certificate with the NZ Kennel Club, and the first Gordon Setter in NZ to attain Championship status (breed showing) with CDX (Companion Dog Excellent) and ADX (Agility Dog Excellent) titles.


The training, teaching and coaching of others in regards to dog training as well as a desire to want to make life great for dogs and their owners led to changing careers and taking a hobby into a professional business.  First taking on a mobile dog grooming business she then used her professional business experience to grow the company by adding a grooming salon, all levels of training classes, private consultations and then expanding into the daycare service.  Starting from scratch Karen has been operating a second similar business in Surrey, UK since 2010 and for 10 years the two business have worked side by side; each incorporating ideas from the other.   After having the business for 20 years, Karen sold the New Zealand business (during the 2020 pandemic) in order to be able to further develop the experience that is known as Its The Dogs.

In 2012 Karen completed a Master's Degree in Canine Psychology, Behaviour and Training doing a dissertation in dog training classes.   Karen's knowledge and learning about dogs comes from over 40 years of practical experience and studying in New Zealand, the USA and the UK, as well as attending workshops throughout this time including gaining many certificates in all areas of working and living with canines.  Her experience led her to being invited and becoming a full member of the Canine & Feline Behaviour Association, and is continuing to add to certifications by working towards becoming a Kennel Club Accredited Instructor. The caring method that she uses in grooming has also meant becoming an internationally published author showing how to use clicker training to teach your dog how to be easily and happily groomed (Grooming Book). A personal dedication and innovative style gives Karen the enthusiasm to continue enhancing the dog's world and also the motivation to take the human/canine relationship into the 21st century. Although having trained and successfully competed in many facets of the dog sport's world over the last 40 years Karen still keeps the role of the pet dog firmly in mind as her dogs have and always will firstly be pet/companion dogs.


The Journey to Its The Dogs

(how a lifetime of involvement with dogs developed)

bringing home stray dogs - walking neighbourhood dogs - getting own puppy - grooming, showing, breeding & obedience training that pup/dog - joining clubs - dog passing away - getting another pup - more training, showing, grooming, search & rescue, flyball, competitions, club committees (president/vice president/secretary/treasurer/show organiser), instructing in training dogs - another pup arrives - add in agility & heelwork to music/dancing with dogs - leave the corporate world of finance to take on a mobile dog grooming business - add in taking over a salon in a pet shop - add professional puppy and dog training classes - one dog passes just as another one arrives - add more committees including at Executive National Kennel Club level - bring trainers from other countries - travel to different countries to learn from other trainers/behaviourists & attend dog events - write a book on clicker training a dog to be groomed - expand business into own premises & partnership - daycare added to services - move (incl dogs) to UK - compete at Crufts representing New Zealand in the International Agility & Freestyle - build a grooming & training business from scratch at home - another dog passes - obtain an MA degree in Canine Psychology, Behaviour & Training (Middlesex University) - another dog arrives - buy & develop 27 acres of rural land specifically to use for dogs - another dog passes & another arrives  - expand UK business into a shop to include specialist retail, grooming, daycare & training services plus offering the land up as a secure dog walking field - sell the New Zealand business after 20 years - start competing again in breed shows and agility - the journey continues.........


SOPHIE BSc Hons (Animal Behaviour)

Although now working as a Behaviour and Training Advisor with Battersea Cats & Dogs Home Sophie is able to continue working with us in our training classes and keeps her hand in when able in other areas of the business including grooming.  Sophie has a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Animal Behaviour, knowledge and experience gained from working at animal rescue centres and other animal training establishments plus she has either taught or assisted in puppy and adult classes for many years.  Sophie has a love of all animals and this shows as she shares her life with her dog Charley, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits and ferrets.  All the dogs love Sophie and with her quiet gentle manner she is able to work her magic on even the most nervous or shy of individuals.



Ruth is our Daycare Manager, with years of experience in working with dogs from her time at Battersea as well as working within a veterinary environment she has a wealth of knowledge.  Ruth shares her home with her yorkshire terrier Chloe and is an avid horse rider.


Yzzi has become one of our top groomers but is always on hand to help whoever comes onto the premises whether it be human or canine.  Yzzi started within the daycare team but soon showed her talent for styling and gentle handling of the dogs that come into our care.  All the dogs adore her as she does them which isn't surprising as she has grown up with many different breeds and currently has her own x-breeds Harley & Romeo.


Alli brings her love of dogs with her and shares this with all of our daycare guests.  After her beloved rescue Staffordshire Bull Terrier Cleo passed away, she now shares her home with a recent addition called Ash a x-breed pup which we are looking forward to trying to figure out his parentage.  Alli has a gentle way with all the dogs and the dogs love her empathy and the soft spot she has for them.


Dell works mainly in the daycare area picking up, delivering and looking after all our wonderful guests, she also helps out from time to time bathing the dogs for the groomers.  Dell also works her magic in Canine (& human) Reiki and massage and brings a new dimension to the daycare dogs using essential oils and sprays when needed.  Dell's family has included a few dogs over the years and she has also spent time working in the RSPCA in Australia. Dell also offers her services as a house sitter from time to time.


Nick has recently come out of early retirement to join us in our daycare team.  Nick has been around the business for many years as his family's miniature schnauzer Tara has been groomed with us for most of her life.

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