About Diane

Diane Gallagher has been enjoying the company of dogs her entire life; her active involvement in training started around 1967 with the TriState Kennel Club in Joplin, Missouri. Very early on, she decided to be involved in dog shows as a professional handler, and worked towards that end by apprenticing with leaders in the field-Dora Lee Wilson, Roy Murray and occasionally, Bill Trainor. This handling career spanned about 15 years, and included wins in the United States and Canada with a number of different dogs. She finished many Championships in both countries, on dogs from all seven groups, at both All-Breed and Specialty shows. Highlights include Best in Show at Detroit Kennel Club in 1981 with a Lhasa Apso, Am/Can/Ber CH Bihar’s Revenger of Sammi Raja, a top ten Non Sporting dog that year. Diane also won Best in Show with her own Lhasa, Am/Can CH Thudpucker Zehnacker at Ottawa Kennel Club in 1980. At this same time, she was collecting numerous group wins and placements with other dogs in her care.


While showing dogs was a passion, grooming dogs was a day to day endeavor when not on the road, at her grooming business “Especially Dogs”, near Syracuse, New York. With this daily immersion in dogs from the time she was a teenager, Diane learned a great deal about how to manage and modify canine behavior, then took this a step further when she started teaching classes in Obedience training to the general public in the early 80’s. Diane and several of her students won titles on their dogs in both conformation and obedience during this time, and she gradually slowed the pace of dog showing down and concentrated on the training and grooming businesses.


While still showing dogs, Diane attended her first Retriever Field Trial for something to do between dog shows. She was completely taken by the Retriever work she observed and decided to learn more about that world by volunteering to work at a local Field Trial. Later she joined the Central New York Retriever Club, eventually becoming secretary, working hard to help make their annual field trials successful. Diane was also instrumental in getting the Club involved in the newly hatched Hunt Test program.
In 1991, she and her husband Steve relocated to Wilmington, North Carolina where Diane took up training promptly, soon making the acquaintance of Barbara Eagles. The two women started working together in 1993 to build DOGTRAIN into a successful training business. In 1998 Diane bought Barbara’s share of the business from her, and has been at the helm ever since.


In nearly 17 years of DOGTRAIN’s existence, countless pet owners from Southeastern North Carolina have come to learn how to communicate with their dogs more effectively. Many have brought biting, out-of-control dogs to DOGTRAIN. Using the combination of a personalized, flexible and balanced approach to training, Kinaesthetics BodyWork and nutrition Diane has made it possible for many of these problem dogs to stay in their “forever” homes.
DOGTRAIN was one of the first training facilities in the region to offer a Puppy Pre-School Program. Many of our Puppy School graduates have gone on to be successful in various facets of canine competition: Conformation, Obedience, Rally, Field trials and Hunt Tests. Many have acquired titles from both the AKC and UKC. We have also assisted many teams in the pursuit of their Therapy Dog Certifications; one of our graduates has been nationally recognized for over 350 hospice and Nursing home visits with her owner.


Still in love with Retriever training, Diane has helped a number of local people train their own personal hunting companions, and trains a very limited number of outside dogs for those who would like competent duck dogs but don’t want to send their dogs away for months of Retriever training. Currently, all Retriever training spots are full.

DOGTRAIN • 1038 South Kerr Avenue • Wilmington, NC 28403 • 1 (910) 395-4399 • dgtrain1@bellsouth.net