Saturday, 27 October 2012

On the Road to Success...

Checkout what former graduate Mary McCarthy has been up to, it is always great to hear about a graduate’s success. I hope this inspires others on their path to success. Way to go Mary!


Thanks so much for that! I really appreciate that although I graduated over a year ago I still feel connected; updates, resources, facebook/support groups, refreshers... Nobody's being left out, nobody's being tossed to the wolves ;) Well... maybe we are, but darn it, we're prepared (and can go back to check our notes and ask questions if we forget something!).

I am now managing a PetValu store (same company as Bosley's and Paulmac's) here in Nova Scotia. There is a huge learning curve for me. It's great though! It's sort of like going back to school and getting paid for it. I am gaining excellent experience in a few areas that I know I need: management experience, sales experience, and more in depth pet nutrition knowledge. In addition, I can build my network in Nova Scotia; getting to know local animal rescues, becoming more familiar with dog/pet issues specific to NS (bylaws, parks, etc), and of course, simply talking to pet owners and learning their needs. (It's all part of a bigger plan I have for myself!)

Although I'm not training, I love when I can help advise customers on the best collar type for their dog, recommend a fun and safe toy, or help solve a behavioural problem. I'm learning a lot of new things, and I still get to help owners build a better relationship with their dog!

So thank you so much Ben! My supervisor was thrilled with the reference you gave me, so of course I am too! I really appreciate you taking the time to chat with him; that means a lot to me.

Please take care Ben, Nancy, and staff!

All the best,

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Selling Your Service

Hi all,

Anyone in the dog walking business? Thought this email I received from Heather Barron was interesting. Bottom line: How you can sell your service when there are cheaper options available to your clients.


Hi Ben,

Thought you'd be interested in taking a look at what I did to convince a client that my 1 hour walks are better than somebody else's 4 hour hikes for the same price. It worked!

Well she's definitely cheaper! We tend to go for quality over quantity so she would either be walked by herself or with 1 or maybe 2 other dogs at the most, and the duration is one hour. When you take out a huge pack of dogs and one of them gets hurt it doesn't leave you with many options so it isn't the safest arrangement unless there are multiple people walking the group of dogs. Since we're trainers (not just dog walkers) we make sure our clients dogs are behaving appropriately and following their leash etiquette rules while getting socialization and exercise. Our leash policy is that the dogs are either on leash the entire time, in a completely fenced in environment or they are allowed off leash if they have done advanced off leash obedience training through us in the recent she would be on leash or in a 100% contained area.
Here's a quick little list of a few things that may be noteworthy for your situation:

-if a dog is used to having a certain amount of exercise and all of a sudden it doubles or triples overnight you run the risk of injury to the joints, pads of the feet and muscles
-we don't leave dogs together unattended for any period of time, not even in the vehicle
-we have emergency prevention and preparedness policies and procedures in place
-we are certified, licensed and insured
-all my staff is formally trained in canine body language and certified in DogSafe canine first aid

I'm sure this other person that does the 4 hour hikes is great, hopefully this gives you a couple of questions to ask her about that you may not have thought of yet. Alternatively, we have a 4-hour daycare option and an 8-hour daycare option ...both include outdoor exercise and socialization, there's more info on the website if you have time to read up on it.

Keep us posted about what you think is going to be best for you and your dog!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The Power of the Pen

Received this email from David, a grad from a year and a half ago.  Thought I would share it as he really articulates how important good note taking is - even years later!

Hi Ben,

I was doing a little clean up of my office last week and came upon all of the 'stuff' from PTP Spring 2011. Naturally, I started to flip through various things - photos, keepsakes etc.; but as I began to reread the classroom notes I had taken, I rediscovered a veritable treasure chest of information. Having been in the dog business now for about 16 months, those old classroom notes almost started to speak. What had been frantically written down every afternoon now made so much more sense. There were some important things that I had either forgotten or let slide. (I'll have to blame that short-term memory loss on having grown up during the 60s and early 70s). I can't tell you how beneficial it was to reread the classroom material from a working perspective. I think that a review of the classroom material confirms the importance of some of the basic methods that were taught. I think this review also helped me to understand some of the changes or modifications that I have made in my training methods. Either way, rereading your classroom notes 10 to 12 months later is a great experience....a should do for everyone.

Hope all is well. Please send my best to everyone.


David Dussault