Two years ago George Barrett had a serious illness. Then a border collie came into his life and nothing has been the same since.

The 60-year-old plunged into a passion he had nurtured since he was 18 years old – he became a full-time dog trainer.

He qualified as a dog psychologist and in the past 12 months or so has helped at least 300 owners, many at their wits’ end, forge new relationships with their pets.

Mr Barrett, of Salt Pie Farm, Sutton-in-Craven, near Skipton, said: “Ki helped me with my recuperation and was my inspiration. Without her I don’t think I would have taken on this work.”

A farmer brought her to him because she had a blood lust having been killing hens and could no longer be trusted with sheep.

Working with Ki and concentrating on what he loved best also helped George find himself again. And Ki has stayed with him.

“I’m now living the dream – doing exactly what I’ve wanted to do since I was 18.”

At that time George wanted to train guide dogs but was persuaded to take on an apprenticeship as a joiner.

He went on to a senior job in the construction industry and bought a farm 25 years ago and began training sheepdogs in his spare time, using many of the methods shown to him when he was a youngster by his dad who was a dog trainer.

Those methods included wise advice about body language, establishing authority and the benefits of proper rewards.

“For instance, why give a dog food for nothing? When dad got a new dog he only fed it out of his pocket for a week, so the dog understood who it relied on,” said Mr Barrett, who has a team of four dogs helping him at the training sessions.

“I think more in terms of rewarding your dog for doing what you want it to do. They are creatures of habit and you train them into a pattern of behaviour you want. Play is one of the strongest rewards,”

His dogs are Ki, eight, rottweilers Ruby and Lily and King Charles spaniel Ellie.

He said: “I make sure my dogs understand who is providing them with food, shelter, water – everything. Ki’s story shows that anything is possible and that dad and I were using methods in the 1950s that are being called revolutionary today.”

Mr Barrett can be contacted on (01535) 633863 or 07552 975016.