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Setting Dogs and Their People Up for Success in Behavior, Health, and Life - Progress Thread

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Roli

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he was terrified of going potty in front of me (he wouldn't go on several-hour long walks and would hold it until he was literally leaking).

My little dog, Rocky, was exactly the same when we rescued him. If he entered a park and another dog barked, even if that dog was a couple of hundred metres away, Rocky would not go. Those first few weeks were tough, sometimes I'd have to walk him five times a day just to get him to do a poo!

Can I ask, what do you think was the major thing you did to stop your German Shepherd snapping at, or attacking other dogs?

Rocky snaps at a lot of dogs, but he is fairly small so rarely tries to bite.
 
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My little dog, Rocky, was exactly the same when we rescued him. If he entered a park and another dog barked, even if that dog was a couple of hundred metres away, Rocky would not go. Those first few weeks were tough, sometimes I'd have to walk him five times a day just to get him to do a poo!
Poor guy hard to think about what he went through before you rescued him. He's lucky to have you!

Can I ask, what do you think was the major thing you did to stop your German Shepherd snapping at, or attacking other dogs?
Two things come to mind.
1. I built a positive association between her and my other dogs. Basically using treats and praise and pets when the others would be near her.
2. Helping them set boundaries and being there to diffuse situations. Essentially, I don't let her get herself into trouble (she's kind of bossy around food), and I don't let the others push her around either. Crate training helped too.

As for when we're out on walks, I first got her comfortable and calm on a leash. I also got her to respond to her name (using treats). Then as we started seeing triggers I'd be able to use her name and treats to build the positive association. Sometimes it surpassed her threshold so we just went in a different direction and would try again. It took a bit of practice with her. She can see other dogs and keep walking, but we can't really meet other dogs yet. I honestly haven't tried too much yet. I'm pretty sure we're both happy and less stressed to just have a stable household dynamic and go on peaceful walks. I don't think at her age she really cares to make doggie friends. But I will try some more deliberate socialization sometime.

Rocky snaps at a lot of dogs, but he is fairly small so rarely tries to bite.
A snap is a form of communication. He's just saying "hey, I'm uncomfortable with you being this close, back off!" Where it gets tricky is if he snaps at another reactive dog who doesn't understand that communication and takes it as a threat. That's when fights happen. And that's why you need to be present to diffuse the situation and let the dogs know it's okay and there's no need to escalate things. You'd also most likely help Rocky feel more secure, like "okay, someone's got my back, I don't need to feel so tense when another dog is around." So, never punish a snap or a growl. Punishing these forms of communication will teach the dog not to communicate - that's when you hear stories about how "he just went crazy out of nowhere! No warning signs or anything!"
 

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Finally got Bella to go on a walk with just me this morning.

For the last two months she's insisted on only going for walks with two or more of us, although my wife managed once last week by dropping the lead and walking off without her so she ended up following.

I did it using one of those 5m training leads and allowing her to lag behind or go ahead without feeling she's on a lead. Had to watch a YouTube video to figure out how to use one of them dang leads without getting tangled up.

I swear it's me on the learning curve, not Bella.

Here's where she suddenly realised she was just with me and sat down in protest. A little bit of luring with a treat got her to come to me and then we kept walking.

20240521_094157.jpg
 

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Finally got Bella to go on a walk with just me this morning.

For the last two months she's insisted on only going for walks with two or more of us, although my wife managed one last week by dropping the lead and walking off without her so she ended up following.

I did it using one of those 5m training leads and allowing her to lag behind or go ahead without feeling she's on a lead. Had to watch a YouTube video to figure out how to use one of them dang leads without getting tangled up.

I swear it's me on the learning curve, not Bella.

Here's where she suddenly realised she was just with me and sat down in protest. A little bit of luring with a treat got her to come to me and then we kept walking.
Sounds like you're well on your way to being a dog trainer yourself!
 
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Poor guy hard to think about what he went through before you rescued him. He's lucky to have you!


Two things come to mind.
1. I built a positive association between her and my other dogs. Basically using treats and praise and pets when the others would be near her.
2. Helping them set boundaries and being there to diffuse situations. Essentially, I don't let her get herself into trouble (she's kind of bossy around food), and I don't let the others push her around either. Crate training helped too.

As for when we're out on walks, I first got her comfortable and calm on a leash. I also got her to respond to her name (using treats). Then as we started seeing triggers I'd be able to use her name and treats to build the positive association. Sometimes it surpassed her threshold so we just went in a different direction and would try again. It took a bit of practice with her. She can see other dogs and keep walking, but we can't really meet other dogs yet. I honestly haven't tried too much yet. I'm pretty sure we're both happy and less stressed to just have a stable household dynamic and go on peaceful walks. I don't think at her age she really cares to make doggie friends. But I will try some more deliberate socialization sometime.


A snap is a form of communication. He's just saying "hey, I'm uncomfortable with you being this close, back off!" Where it gets tricky is if he snaps at another reactive dog who doesn't understand that communication and takes it as a threat. That's when fights happen. And that's why you need to be present to diffuse the situation and let the dogs know it's okay and there's no need to escalate things. You'd also most likely help Rocky feel more secure, like "okay, someone's got my back, I don't need to feel so tense when another dog is around." So, never punish a snap or a growl. Punishing these forms of communication will teach the dog not to communicate - that's when you hear stories about how "he just went crazy out of nowhere! No warning signs or anything!"

Thank you for this. I think like your dog, Rocky is not too fussed when it comes to making new doggy friends. Plus, he thinks he's human! Aww, I wish we could get them together, along with @Andy Black's Bella!
 

Andy Black

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Sounds like you're well on your way to being a dog trainer yourself!
Ha. I think not. There's so much to learn, and one thing I'm learning is there's sooo many different opinions on what's right and wrong.

I'm enjoying learning one skill/command and then practicing it with Bella. She's a very quick leaner, especially if there's treats involved.

Is there an email newsletter you'd recommend for newbies that might take them through a weekly programme of things to learn and practice that week?
 

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Ha. I think not. There's so much to learn, and one thing I'm learning is there's sooo many different opinions on what's right and wrong.

I'm enjoying learning one skill/command and then practicing it with Bella. She's a very quick leaner, especially if there's treats involved.

Is there an email newsletter you'd recommend for newbies that might take them through a weekly programme of things to learn and practice that week?
There really are a lot of differing opinions out there. And I'm glad you both are learning and enjoying the process together :)

I do not know of any newsletters, unfortunately. I have been thinking of making one of my offered service packages geared towards new dog owners that would cover things like initial essential equipment checklists, crate training, etc. I was also thinking about offering a service for how to choose a good fit - so many people just choose a dog based on looks rather than assessing energy levels, size, etc. and how that would fit in with their lifestyle, abilities, etc.
 
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Start posting your tips to social media and start helping people who already know you, and let them share your knowledge with others. In your platform bio you can link to your website which links to your newsletter, or link straight to your newsletter.

You can maybe also drop your info into communities online such as Facebook groups.

What platform are you using for your newsletter? Some allow you to post email issues as articles on your site.

Also, these might help:

 

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Start posting your tips to social media and start helping people who already know you, and let them share your knowledge with others. In your platform bio you can link to your website which links to your newsletter, or link straight to your newsletter.

You can maybe also drop your info into communities online such as Facebook groups.

What platform are you using for your newsletter? Some allow you to post email issues as articles on your site.

Also, these might help:

Thanks for pointing me to those posts, Andy.

I have been posting to my dog training Facebook page, Instagram, and YouTube. My newsletter is through beehiiv.

I have lots of ideas for posts/videos/newsletters, and additionally getting more eyeballs on them - it has just been going really slow because of the time I have to put towards my 9-to-5, general adult tasks, one-on-one sessions, and taking care of my recovering dog.
 

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Thanks for pointing me to those posts, Andy.

I have been posting to my dog training Facebook page, Instagram, and YouTube. My newsletter is through beehiiv.

I have lots of ideas for posts/videos/newsletters, and additionally getting more eyeballs on them - it has just been going really slow because of the time I have to put towards my 9-to-5, general adult tasks, one-on-one sessions, and taking care of my recovering dog.
Nothing wrong going slow. In fact, someone once told me "You can go slower than you think."

Do personal Facebook profiles get more traction at the start than Facebook pages? I stopped posting yo my Facebook page and think it's mostly for running ads.

How're you finding Beehiiv? I'm torn between that and ConvertKit which just announced its Newsletter Plan which is free for 10,000 subscribers.

Wishing your dog a speedy recovery.


 
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In fact, someone once told me "You can go slower than you think."
Really? That's an interesting thought! I'm constantly torn between slowing down and speeding up. But right now I think my body and life in general are telling me I need to recover a bit myself - get back to better sleeping, eating, and exercising habits. I think once I leave my 9-to-5 I will have a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and I'll be able to focus and heal more.

Do personal Facebook profiles get more traction at the start than Facebook pages? I stopped posting yo my Facebook page and think it's mostly for running ads.
I would probably do better posting to my personal FB page, though I haven't posted anything at all in a very long time (like 5 years). But, maybe FB would incentivize me to post more/more often by "boosting" my post and sending out notifications about how "Rhiannon posted for the first time in a while, check it out!" Not sure if they do that or if that's a different platform I'm thinking of. I know Strava does it.

How're you finding Beehiiv?
So far I think I like it. It seems to both have a lot of functionality and ease of use. I'm finding their newsletters to be interesting and helpful too. Still a lot I need to explore. I think they also have a free "launch" plan, with growth and scale tiers as well. It was also pretty easy to incorporate my link to my Wix website. With my current pace and situation, I kind of just chose beehiiv without too much thought on many others - figured I'd just get started and could change platforms later if needed.

Wishing your dog a speedy recovery.
Thank you <3 He could be better, could be worse. He's had a couple of seizures in the last week and a half and still seems to have some muscle tremors. He was falling over, running into things, and going in circles for a couple of weeks, but he seems to be getting better in those regards. He's still pacing quite a bit and having accidents in the house. I'm probably over paranoid about his seizures, so I tend to follow him around when he's pacing and also every little noise he makes at night wakes me up. But, fingers crossed, knock on wood, he seems to be stabilizing.
 

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REV5028

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Have you guys seen this introverted dog meet-up? I really need this for my shy little Rocky.
This is how dog socializing should work, imo. Dogs are like people, some energies mix well and some don't. Knowing your dog and what kind of energies they do well with is so important. This is why I really dislike dog parks. As people, we have a choice to be wherever we want and around whoever we want (usually), but dogs often just get thrown into a dog park with a bunch of different energies, and often times a lot of poorly trained/socialized dogs that people think are "friendly" when really they're disrespectful and dominating.
 

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I've been thinking of signing up to this. I saw some of his YouTube shorts and liked them.

I like that he trains dogs in dog shelters, and trains other people to train dogs in dog shelters.

Some of the other trainers online are ex police/military dog trainers. Their background and goals don't align as well with mine, or how I aspire to be and the relationship I'd like with our family pet.

 

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I've been thinking of signing up to this. I saw some of his YouTube shorts and liked some of them.

I like that he trains dogs in dog shelters, and helps others train dogs in dog shelters.

Some of the other trainers online are ex police/military dog trainers. Their background and goals don't align as well with mine, or how I aspire to be.


Interesting, how did you find him? I would be very interested to hear the results if you do sign up. Are there any particular problems you need to address?
 
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Interesting, how did you find him? I would be very interested to hear the results if you do sign up. Are there any particular problems you need to address?
We have some specific problems with Bella in that she chews things when in the back of the car (we have to pay to get a seat repaired) and she won't go on walks with only one of us unless we lure her with food and start off without her on the lead and get her to follow us. This surely isn't the right way to go about it, but she's winning in the stubborness battle.

I don't like the feeling of not knowing what I'm doing, that I might be giving Bella bad habits, and that I should be getting better each week but don't know what to get better at, or how.

I did some searches for dog training on YouTube and watched a few long videos. YouTube then started showing dog training videos in the short videos.

There's too much information online, and too many conflicting opinions. We'd go round in circles if we were to try and follow everyone, and we wouldn't know where to start either.

So once I found someone who I liked from the few videos I saw of his, I then watched some more of his videos, found his Facebook account and started following there to read what he wrote too.

I found out he has a paid course and community and have been checking it out and thinking about it for a couple of weeks.

Just brain-dumping the thinking process behind finding and consuming content online, to narrowing down on one person, and then considering their paid community.
 

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I only just decided to do this search. It's a search that makes sense for someone considering buying.

Ha... I must search for "andy black google ads reviews"...

1717144570962.png
 

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nd she won't go on walks with only one of us unless we lure her with food and start off without her on the lead and get her to follow us. This surely isn't the right way to go about it, but she's winning in the stubborness battle.
I can't remember if you said already, is she a rescue? My Rocky still has issues going out with my daughter, she ends up having to drag him.

I only just decided to do this search. It's a search that makes sense for someone considering buying.

Sounds good, I think he's worth a try.

I'm pretty sure your reviews are all glowing! :)
 
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Any updates @REV5028 ?


I managed to take Bella for a walk on my own at 6:30am. I've been up since 5am, which I never used to do. Bedtime is a lot earlier nowadays too.

And this afternoon was her first time walking in the woods. It made it much more fun for the kids.

20240602_141910.jpg

20240602_144415.jpg

20240602_145010.jpg
 

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Ah sweet! Maybe that's what she needs, the peace and quiet of the early morn, with you and the human puppies. :)
 

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Any updates @REV5028 ?
I've been meaning to hop on and give an update, but things have been extremely rough for Klaus the last few days and I've been beyond exhausted. I've had some good chats with my vet and I think we have a better idea on how to move forward with Klaus. He's having a much much better day today.

walking in the woods. It made it much more fun for the kids.
That's great enrichment! You're doing a great thing for all of you by getting out and exploring together.

We have some specific problems with Bella in that she chews things when in the back of the car (we have to pay to get a seat repaired)
Do you use any sort of backseat cover? I use a hammock (this one, currently), but I'm going to get a hard bottom one next as the hammocks tend to stretch out and not work so nicely after a while. I believe they also make covers for hatchback areas (not sure what kind of vehicle you have). I also use a seatbelt clip like this one to keep them in place better (and in case of an accident). What is her energy like regarding the car? Is she chewing because she's really excited or is she nervous/scared?

There's too much information online, and too many conflicting opinions. We'd go round in circles if we were to try and follow everyone, and we wouldn't know where to start either.
There really is. "Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy" by Zazzie Todd has been really enlightening to the science of how dogs learn, and it might help you determine which techniques/trainers you feel better with.

So once I found someone who I liked from the few videos I saw of his, I then watched some more of his videos, found his Facebook account and started following there to read what he wrote too.
This is the best place to start. See what feels right. When I was first getting started, I had learned a few techniques that didn't really feel good. I also went to a trainer in the city to get some more perspective, and that felt awful. That's when I started searching things like "positive reinforcement" and "force free" and "least invasive, minimally aversive (LIMA)" techniques. Plus, that book I mentioned helped make things click.

human puppies
I love this. I'm going to use this relentlessly now. Thank you.



Ah, I almost forgot my update...

Not too much to report since my mid-month check in. A state university has a small-business support program, and they're actually giving a free 6-week course specifically to small business owners in my town. It starts next week. I think I will mostly learn more about New Mexico law and maybe get some more helpful resources/connections, but we'll see!

Sessions and reach-outs have slowed down over the last two weeks, but I'm happy to catch my breath for a minute especially since Klaus has been having a really rough time.

This coming week I'm going to be informing my teammates and project leads that I am leaving in September. I also aim to swing by the vet's to inquire about potentially working there in the upcoming months.

My goal for the evening is to make moves on creating a package deal for leash pulling and associated ads. If I have time after that, I have some decent footage for various YT videos/shorts to pull together. And then there's the newsletter. And so much more.
 
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I hope things get better for Klaus. Must be tiring and stressful for you all.

A state university has a small-business support program, and they're actually giving a free 6-week course specifically to small business owners in my town. It starts next week. I think I will mostly learn more about New Mexico law and maybe get some more helpful resources/connections, but we'll see!
Ha. Be careful of these programs. I've found they can make business way more complicated than it is. I hope I'm proven wrong. Regardless,the networking is worth it.
 

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Do you use any sort of backseat cover? I use a hammock (this one, currently), but I'm going to get a hard bottom one next as the hammocks tend to stretch out and not work so nicely after a while. I believe they also make covers for hatchback areas (not sure what kind of vehicle you have). I also use a seatbelt clip like this one to keep them in place better (and in case of an accident). What is her energy like regarding the car? Is she chewing because she's really excited or is she nervous/scared?
She was on the boot of my wife's RAV4 and bit a chunk out. She loves getting in the car but that journey was 30mins with just me driving. I think she got bored/mischievous, or maybe stressed it was that long.20240529_133233.jpg20240529_133239.jpg
 

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My goal for the evening is to make moves on creating a package deal for leash pulling and associated ads. If I have time after that, I have some decent footage for various YT videos/shorts to pull together. And then there's the newsletter. And so much more.
Have you asked folks what they want most, and got people to raise their hand?
 
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I hope things get better for Klaus. Must be tiring and stressful for you all.


Ha. Be careful of these programs. I've found they can make business way more complicated than it is. I hope I'm proven wrong. Regardless,the networking is worth it.
Thank you, I hope so too. It has been very difficult as he has lost his sense of potty training, and for a couple of days he lost a lot of stability in his backend - he kept falling and getting stuck and had a hard time keeping himself upright when going potty. He also hasn't been sleeping well at night. But today he's running around and taking himself out the dog door to do his business, so hopefully we keep moving in that direction.

Oh, thanks for the heads up. I'll be interested to see what they say. It was free and seems to be low commitment, so I figured I'd check it out.

She was on the boot of my wife's RAV4 and bit a chunk out. She loves getting in the car but that journey was 30mins with just me driving. I think she got bored/mischievous, or maybe stressed it was that long.
Wow! Given her young age, I would agree with you that she probably got a bit bored or possibly stressed. When I first got Klaus I had to make sure I didn't leave his leash on his harness or else he'd chew through them. I think I lost 4 or so leashes because I forgot to take them off. Every once in a while he will still try to chew the seatbelt clip, but it's pretty rare and I think he only does it when he's uncomfortable, hungry, or stressed. I see you had a couple of toys back there for her, but maybe you could try something a bit more rewarding? Like a frozen Kong or treat puzzle? It could get messy depending what it is though. And you'd want to keep it to something that won't be hard on the tummy and in small quantities to prevent car sickness. She should grow out of this kind of behavior as she gets more familiar with longer car rides and as her attention span increases with age.

Have you asked folks what they want most, and got people to raise their hand?
A lot of people ask me for help with leash work. That and jumping/nipping. Other than that, so so many people have expressed interest in a boarding facility either for boarding when they go out of town, or for training purposes. I'm somewhat exploring that option, but I don't really have much capital to put towards starting that yet. There are some parcels for sale in great locations here, so I can ask about seller financing or see what the monthly payment would be on a standard loan. But I think I need to raise my hourly rate and move more towards productized services to increase my income with what I currently have available to me first. Maybe my view on it is limited? Any further thoughts on this?
 

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Thank you, I hope so too. It has been very difficult as he has lost his sense of potty training, and for a couple of days he lost a lot of stability in his backend - he kept falling and getting stuck and had a hard time keeping himself upright when going potty. He also hasn't been sleeping well at night. But today he's running around and taking himself out the dog door to do his business, so hopefully we keep moving in that direction.

Oh, thanks for the heads up. I'll be interested to see what they say. It was free and seems to be low commitment, so I figured I'd check it out.


Wow! Given her young age, I would agree with you that she probably got a bit bored or possibly stressed. When I first got Klaus I had to make sure I didn't leave his leash on his harness or else he'd chew through them. I think I lost 4 or so leashes because I forgot to take them off. Every once in a while he will still try to chew the seatbelt clip, but it's pretty rare and I think he only does it when he's uncomfortable, hungry, or stressed. I see you had a couple of toys back there for her, but maybe you could try something a bit more rewarding? Like a frozen Kong or treat puzzle? It could get messy depending what it is though. And you'd want to keep it to something that won't be hard on the tummy and in small quantities to prevent car sickness. She should grow out of this kind of behavior as she gets more familiar with longer car rides and as her attention span increases with age.


A lot of people ask me for help with leash work. That and jumping/nipping. Other than that, so so many people have expressed interest in a boarding facility either for boarding when they go out of town, or for training purposes. I'm somewhat exploring that option, but I don't really have much capital to put towards starting that yet. There are some parcels for sale in great locations here, so I can ask about seller financing or see what the monthly payment would be on a standard loan. But I think I need to raise my hourly rate and move more towards productized services to increase my income with what I currently have available to me first. Maybe my view on it is limited? Any further thoughts on this?
I was driving to meet a lady who we'd met through payshake.ie She's lovely and was saying she'd love to give upher office job and do the dog sitting in her house. No capital outlay there, and potentially a quick way to get consistent revenue?

Oh, and I saw an ad for this on Facebook. What were you saying about your hourly rate?

 

REV5028

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I was driving to meet a lady who we'd met through payshake.ie She's lovely and was saying she'd love to give upher office job and do the dog sitting in her house. No capital outlay there, and potentially a quick way to get consistent revenue?
If it were only me and my dogs, I'd do it in an instant. Unfortunately my fiancé is against the idea of brining more dogs into our home, which I can't really blame him as we have 3 large dogs already and the dog biz isn't his thing. I'll keep poking around. I inquired about an SBA with one company, but my monthly revenue is currently too low.
 
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Goodfella999

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Start with the end result. Generally people seek out dog professionals when they have a problem with their dog.

A year ago I ran lead generation campaigns for a dog training company. The format was very simple: Google ads for a specific dog problem (let's say separation anxiety), then a simple landing page elucidating what it feels like to have that problem (dog scratching at the door when you're gone, loud noises pissing off the neighbors, furniture and shoes destroyed, urinating & defecating in the house), why it's hard to fix, and what we (the company) can do for you & how.

Clicks and leads were very cheap. The hardest thing I found was actually getting people to commit to training (it's expensive, after all) but if you respond quickly and get a conversation with them you'll close at least a few of them.

Customers know nothing about the dog training industry, certifications, any of that. They know what a vet is, and that's it. At most a customer will know that they don't want to shock or hit their dog. That's about it.

It might be easier to make a lot of money selling board & train programs even though I don't think they work lol. Maybe they would work if you also had them do weekly coaching & homework & you helped them structure an environment that's good for dogs. Board & trains you can charge a lot for.

Barkbusters has an interesting business model, it's a franchise that basically sells the right to use their training programs & lead generation campaigns.

Hope this helps
How is the company doing now? Sounds like a pretty good business idea.
 

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How is the company doing now? Sounds like a pretty good business idea.

They don't need leads they need employees, but they don't want employees. Multiply that times x1000 and you have most of the dog training industry. Most of the ones I talked to (mind you I talked to over 1000 of them) have waiting lists, some over a month long.

Barkbusters seems to be going strong, one of their dog trainers is the top rated dog trainer in my area.

There's a need but the need ain't leads! Their struggle is capacity.
 

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