Dogs are amazing companions who bring endless joy to the lives of their owners. However, these cherished pets still require training to properly adjust to their lifestyles. Even the most patient pet parents can get tired of their dog’s antics, like chewing valuable shoes or nipping strangers they’re not familiar with. Training any pup can be an especially daunting task for first-time owners or those whose dogs exhibit difficult behavioral problems.
As a dog lover, you might be interested in setting up a dog training business to help ensure pet parents and their furry friends are living their best lives. However, being passionate about canines is only one prerequisite for starting this kind of venture. Since you’ll be handling an assortment of dogs with different needs while managing the business aspects of a training program, you must set aside time and effort to provide the quality service that’ll help you stand out in the industry. Though this seems challenging, it’s certainly possible if you have clear goals and dedication to accomplish them.
If you’d like to know where to start when setting up a dog training business, below are five tips to help you ensure that your future clients’ beloved pets will be in capable hands.
Create a Thorough Business Plan and Prepare for the Expenses
Proper planning is essential for any business. It helps to create a realistic business plan that includes the goals and potential expenses of your training service. The costs of your business will depend on certain decisions, like your chosen training specialization, the types of classes you’ll be offering and even the training equipment you’ll be using.
For example, you might want to start your business by offering one-on-one training in owners’ homes, which means you won’t be allocating a lot of money to lease a big space for many dogs. You might consider purchasing quality training equipment for your business, like customizable Martingale collars that are designed to safely prevent mischievous canines from escaping their leashes, and are also comfortable alternatives to choke collars.
Additionally, including dog training insurance expenses in your business plan is non-negotiable. Even if you’re an extremely careful person, injuries and accidents can still happen on the job. Plus, future clients will feel more at ease knowing that you’re responsible enough to have accomplished this precautionary measure.
Decide on Your Dog Training Specialization
Dog training offers a wide variety of specializations to choose from. Some specializations, like behavioral issues training, are geared toward fixing certain problems, while other specializations are made for specific jobs like therapy dog training. As tempting as it is to master all specializations, there’s only so much you can handle when you start your training business, so it’s better to pick a specific niche.
It's also easier to market yourself when you know exactly what client-base you want to serve. Being confident in a chosen expertise can connect you to the right clients who trust that you can address a specific need.
Gain Proper Training
Becoming a dog trainer involves more than just reading several manuals and handling a few furry friends. Much like humans, dogs are incredibly diverse when it comes to personalities, behaviors and needs. It’s crucial to acquire hands-on experience and proper training to gain a thorough and comprehensive understanding of the many types of canine cases you’ll be dealing with.
There are a lot of ways to gain the experience you need to become a good dog trainer. You can learn from seasoned trainers or enroll in a training school and gain a professional understanding of the job and earn certifications. Make it a point to run some background checks on any person or institution that offers training before you engage with them, just to make sure you’re learning effective techniques that aren’t harmful for your future canine students.
Build Your Credibility with Certifications
The dog training industry is a largely unregulated one, which means there aren’t a lot of authorities keeping tabs on businesses that actually use irresponsible and counterproductive training methods. With this in mind, it’s important to gain certifications from well-known dog training organizations while you’re learning the ropes, so you can really establish yourself as a trustworthy and reliable trainer to potential clients.
Promote Your Business
Even if you’re incredibly skilled in what you do, it’s going to be difficult to gain a footing in the world of dog training if you don’t promote your business. One way to get started is by setting up a website or social media page for your brand, so any potential clients can easily learn more about your services.
Invest in branded pet merchandise that you can give to new or first time customers for their dogs. This merchandise will keep your name and business in front of the new client and their dog and might help you pick up new dog clients through "word-of--mouth" that another pet parent seeing a client dog wearing a harness or collar or using a leash with your company name on it.
It also helps to build a strong network with other pet businesses and institutions, like veterinary clinics or dog grooming salons, which can help you gain more clients through referrals. Establishing good rapport with your clients as well as other pet businesses is one of the best ways to ensure that you’re always connected to the large community of dog-lovers in your area.
Setting up a dog training business is not a simple task. Being in a service-based industry means that you have to be prepared to handle clients rather than products, and this requires a great deal of training, care, and attention. However, as long as you harbor a strong desire to change the lives of dogs and owners for the better, you’ll find that such requirements are well worth the effort and time.