Starting a Dog Training Business?

This is a guest post by John Van Olden of the Canine Trade Group. John has been in the dog training and pet industry for 23 years. He has owned sole-proprietorships, was the owner of the first dog training franchise in the United States been the president of one of the largest dog training companies in the country, and has served on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Canine Professionals. He has personally trained more than 50 professional dog trainers, many of whom are considered to be the best in their communities. Additionally, he has consulted with dog training and pet businesses both large and small, helping them with business growth and development, marketing and franchise development. John now operates a small school for dog trainers in the San Francisco Bay Area. LESS IS MORE “In my opinion, while many of the schools that exist around the United States offer a good education, their scope of coverage is so broad that many graduates leave with a little bit of knowledge about a lot of dog training, much of which was never in their area of business interest in the first place”, Van Olden says. “They also receive very little in the way of business or marketing training, outside of generic, cookie cutter approaches.” “While operating my training business, I would receive calls from people from all over the United States and Canada who were searching for the right school or opportunity, and were coming away completely confused about what would be the right choice for them. Often these people would ask me if they could intern with me. This, after spending a significant amount of money to learn the trade already” ”Having personally visited many of these schools, and knowing some of the operators of others, I could often help clear up some of their issues and make their decision easier.” This, along with his diverse background in the dog training and pet business led to John starting a consulting business called Canine Trade Group. A CUSTOM APPROACH John consults with those interested in an entry into the canine business to find out what might be the best route to take. “I’m not interested in putting round pegs into square holes”, he says. “If someone is unable to travel away from their home or family for a month or so at a time, a vocational school in another state might not be a good fit. Likewise, if someone is interested in starting an agility school, or training companion dogs, taking my course, which focuses on training dogs and their people in their homes, and solving behavior problems, may also not be a good match.” He goes on to say, “other factors that come into play is whether someone is interested in replacing a full-time income, or if they are looking for something to supplement their income part-time”. CONSULTATION FEES & SERVICES John also consults with existing dog businesses who are seeking to add services, locations, employees, or just increase business. He generally charges about $500.00 per day for in-person consulting services, and his trainer’s course, which, in addition to providing an enormous amount of dog training theory and knowledge, is geared to set the graduate up to start their own successful practice upon completion. His course fee is $9,500.00 and it is conducted in the San Francisco Bay Area in class sizes of 5 or less, 4 times per year. In addition to equipping his students to successfully start their own training practice after completing his course, he provides ongoing business and dog behavior support to everyone he’s trained. Having a large network within the canine and pet industry, John is also happy to refer people to other opportunities, or answer your questions, and does this free of charge.

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