So, you’re thinking a career in Dog Training, Pet Care is for you? You may be right. Let’s hear what Heather has to say about her thriving business and see if this is a good match for you as a side gig or new full time career! While this isn’t actually ‘work from home’, a choice like this gives you flexibility to work locally and set the tone for your own goals. The financial limits are only set by your own motivation and passion to succeed.
Heather has been in our Barefoot Budgeting Community since we started a little over a year ago. I’ve followed her success and naturally when I was looking to interview someone in the Dog and Pet Industry, she was my go to professional!
Please Welcome Heather from Natural Paws Pet Care.
Hi Heather, What is your business name? Natural Paws Pet Care
2. Can you tell me a bit about yourself ?
Heather: I have a diploma in animal science, graduate of canine behavior and training, foster home and dog trainer for Attleboro Animal Shelter , a mother to a 12 year old, married and many dogs and farm animals reside with us. I’ve been involved with animals as long as I can remember. Most days, I swear I work 3 full time jobs… massage therapy for both humans and animals, dog trainer and occupational therapy assistant. You can read more about me here too.
3. Where did you get your passion for this job?
Heather: My passion came from seeing dog owners struggle with behavior problems and face the potential devastation of re homing, surrender to a shelter or even putting to sleep due to behavior problems they can’t figure out what to do with. Also, most of what I do stemmed from dogs who were abused and neglected that gave up in life, only to find them loving and trusting after almost near death.
4. Have you been doing this long?
Heather: That’s a tough answer. I’m 39, and have been with animals since a child. However, I taught my first group dog training class back in 1999. Ever since then, it just grew from there.
5. How do you find clients?
Heather: Usually, they just find me.. word of mouth, referring, prior client who have a new dog or new problem, shelter referrals, website etc.. honestly, hardly any from paid advertising.
6. What is the average rate you could charge?
Heather: My fees vary, depending on the service. From $25 per day for home boarding and up $60 an hour for in home training. I also do a lot of ‘free’ services for local shelters. If you’ve adopted from a shelter I work with I will offer a discounted rate for training.
7. If I couldn’t hire you because of location, what would be some good tips on finding a great trainer and pet sitter ?
Heather: Ask local dog clubs, veterinarians, Google the name and business of the person, ask for references.. ask to see them with someone else training a clients dog.
8. Any tips on starting a business like this?
Heather: For anyone looking for experience and learning to dog train. One simple way to gain experience would be to volunteer for a shelter and work with the dogs. . Watch their body language, see what motivates them, or what doesn’t. There is nothing more rewarding then to help an animal in need. Watch videos, attend dog training seminars, compete with your own dog in obedience, agility, herding, rally-o, fly-ball etc.. so many ways to learn about behavior. However, don’t fall for an online program for thousands of dollars to have a piece of paper saying you graduated… at the end of the day, it’s the results of your work that will speak volumes, not the school you virtually attended.
9. How do you get the word out about your business/ find customers?
Heather: Website and business cards are great, I donate gifts for fundraisers, I take on local shelter dogs in need, referrals from dog officers, veterinarians, friends of clients who have a dog. I’ve also been known to have business cards on me,and leave them in menus and on tables at restaurants.