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  • Writer's pictureJessica Brody

How To Start A Dog Training Business

Guest blog by Jessica Brody of Our Best Friends


Having a dog training business of your own is an excellent idea. According to The Zebra, 68 percent of U.S. households own pets and further spend $99 billion on them each year. If you play your cards right, you could tap into this massive market and build up a future-proof business. Did we mention working with animals can be enjoyable and rewarding? Of course, being a successful dog trainer and business owner is easier said than done. Breaking into this industry can take some doing, and running a business is never easy.


Start A Dog Training Business


Pick a Dog Training Specialization

Running a specialty business tends to pay more and could help you get settled faster. Dog trainers come in many shapes and sizes – puppy trainers, service animal specialists, general obedience trainers, sports trainers, and behavioral troubleshooters. You could also always be a general dog trainer if that’s more to your liking.


Education and Certifications Could Help

Dog training is, as of now, completely unregulated, which means you don’t need education or certifications to become a trainer (or run a business). However, pursuing a dog training program from a good school could put you in touch with knowledgeable trainers, gain relevant industry knowledge, and brush up on essential dog-training skills (or acquire new ones). Certifications can help you gain trust with potential future clients.

 

Also, pursuing a business bachelor degree could give you an advantage over the competition by providing you with special insights into the business world. Furthermore, if you take advantage of the flexibility of online learning platforms, you’ll be able to proceed at your own pace and implement what you’ve learned into your business in real time.


Buying Supplies

Starting a successful dog training business requires investing in the right supplies, not just for effectiveness but also for safety. One essential item is muzzles. They are crucial for your safety when training dogs that may exhibit poor behavior or aggression. Additionally, some areas have regulations requiring dogs to be muzzled in public, so having a variety on hand ensures compliance with local laws if you intend to walk them. And in terms of disinfectant treatments for your dog training facility, Poodini can be a big help!.


Consider Training Your Own Dog or Gaining Experience in Other Ways

Dog training isn’t something you can learn overnight. It can also be unexpectedly challenging and stressful – dogs, much like people, can have complex behavioral issues that you may be called upon to troubleshoot. And then, on top of that, you also have to manage dog owners. Having experience in your chosen specialization will make running your business easier. There are various ways you could acquire experience, each with its own pros and cons:

 

●     Training your own dog (or dogs)

●     Apprenticing with an experienced dog trainer

●     Working as an assistant trainer

●     Pursuing an educational program


What Kind of Business Model Will You Have? 

You could offer your dog training services in a few different ways – aka your business model or monetization method. For instance, you could offer one-on-one private training, have your own dog day training school, or provide board training (where the dogs stay with you). Some dog trainers also offer online training for pet owners. You could follow one or multiple strategies. 


Write a Business Plan

If you’re not sure of the best way to offer your services, writing a business plan will help. This is a document that maps out the specifics of a business, from the services and pricing to marketing and customer care – and everything in between. When drafting this plan, you’ll research market conditions and be able to figure out the best way to structure your business.


Keep Your Business and Financial Records Organized

You will be required to maintain financial records for taxation and other purposes. Also, it’s always good to stay organized – it saves time, helps you troubleshoot problems, and keeps you in control of your business.


Plan Your Walks

When starting a dog training business that also offers dog walking services, it's crucial to meticulously plan your walking routes. Safety and enjoyment for both you and the dogs are paramount, so scout for pedestrian-friendly areas on your own before taking dogs there. Try visiting at different times to make sure you have a thorough understanding of what kind of traffic to expect. By focusing on routes with low traffic, good sidewalks, and ideally, some green spaces, you can provide the dogs with stimulating and secure walks. Additionally, choosing pedestrian-friendly areas not only enhances the dogs' experience but also reflects positively on the professionalism and thoughtfulness of your service, making it more appealing to potential clients.


Market Yourself

Last but not least is marketing. Marketing is, arguably, the difference between success and failure in business. You will need marketing to raise your profile, draw in clients, and keep existing clients engaged. Consider creating a mix of online and offline marketing strategies. Also, cover the basics – get a business website, put up business listings (Google, Yelp, Nextdoor), and get on social media. Focus on creating a following.

 

Becoming a successful dog trainer cum business owner could take a while – it takes several months or a handful of years for most businesses to get set up. Getting the basics right, picking up key entrepreneurial skills, and putting in the necessary effort will all help you to succeed!



 

Guest article courtesy of:

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Jessica Brody created Our Best Friends so others could find a place to share stories and photos of their beloved animal companions. Please visit her site for even more images, articles, and pet-related resources.


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