Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Ruffing it? No way, it’s a dog’s life: Graeme Hall on his Dogfather stage show

Master dog trainer Graeme Hall, star of Channel 5’s Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly, is bringing his stage show to Edinburgh
Master dog trainer Graeme Hall, star of Channel 5’s Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly, is bringing his stage show to Edinburgh

For dog owners around the country, Graeme Hall has become a saviour. Known as The Dogfather, he has worked with more than 5,000 problem pooches around Britain since becoming a dog trainer.

His TV show, Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly, is watched by millions each week, he has written two bestselling books, he has his own podcast, and now he is on a national theatre tour. Hall is as surprised as anyone at how life has turned out, considering he worked with Weetabix for 20 years.

“We never had a dog as kids, despite my sister and I asking for one, as my parents were out working,” he explained. “I went to university and started a proper job, and it wasn’t until I began going out with someone who had dogs that I got used to them.

“The big turnaround was when I got a dog of my own, quickly followed by another. Axel and Gordon were nine months apart and were rottweilers, so serious dogs that had to be immaculately behaved. They’re usually lovely big teddy bears, but are very powerful so it can go wrong. I threw myself into it as a hobby, and from there I started a little dog training business.

“I put a classified ad in the local paper – it was the smallest, cheapest ad you could buy – and in the second week a lady called asking for the dog trainer and that’s how it started. I built it from there and my reputation grew. If you do a good job, people talk about you, and before I knew it, I was working further afield. My first Scottish job was three years later, in Ayr, but I’ve since gone as far as the north of Aberdeenshire.”

TV producers at Channel 5, who had discovered his website and saw the buzz he was generating, invited him in for a meeting, and an hour later he had signed to do his own primetime show, which has now been on for four years.

With the surge in new dog owners during lockdown, people are requesting help more than ever before.

“It’s been a double whammy,” continued Hall, from Selby in Yorkshire. “For lots of dogs born in lockdown, their normal isn’t what is actually normal. They were used to people being in the house with them all the time, now that isn’t the case, so they are getting separation anxiety. Neither do they understand that visitors come to your house, because it wasn’t allowed for a while.

“There are also a lot of first-time owners who don’t know how to deal with it all. This is the biggest problem period in a generation and lots of people feel out of their depth.”

Despite how it might appear, Hall says he can’t fix every canine problem.

“You can always do something to improve the situation, but sometimes it’s not enough,” he admitted. “If you’re in a situation, for example, where you have a dog that’s aggressive and there’s maybe a baby in the house, sometimes you have to put your hand on your heart and say, ‘Look, we mustn’t put anyone at risk here’.”

Hall’s Dogfather Live tour sees him explaining what he does, as well as showing clips from the TV series and revealing behind the scenes details. The second half of the night is turned over to the audience to ask questions. He’ll also invite an owner to come on stage with their dog, where he’ll hopefully do a training demonstration.

He’s looking forward to returning to Scotland, which means a lot to him thanks to his childhood.

“My dad, who didn’t have any Scottish heritage, used to come home with a Sunday Post every weekend,” he added. “For years I was addicted to Oor Wullie and The Broons. I loved them and have very happy memories.

“I feel very at home in Scotland – Scottish people get me and there are similarities between a Yorkshire and Scottish outlook. We call a spade a spade and don’t mind taking the mickey out of ourselves.”

Graeme Hall: The Dogfather Live on Stage, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, May 26