Education is incredibly important in a category like behavior and training, said Dave Colella,
founder of Earthdog in Brentwood, Tenn. While many pet owners do their shopping online
these days, there’s a reason they still go to their local pet stores.
“That reason is education and experience,” Colella said. “Despite the fact that every-
thing is available on the Internet, they come to a storefront for their pet needs because
they want guidance and help. That’s an experience they can’t get online, and I think it’s a
big deal. It’s what differentiates you.”
But stores need to be prepared. Staff must be able to answer questions and provide
education. When it comes to behavior and training products, consumers likely already
have a problem in mind. They’re coming to you for the solution.
“Behavior and training products are some of the easiest items to sell because the
majority of the time customers come into our store asking for a solution to a specific
problem,” said Laura Clark, co-owner of Wylie Wagg, which has locations in Virginia and
“The strength of the category in our stores is directly related to staff training,” she
added. “If our team member can confidently and accurately predict the efficacy of a tool,
we can quickly provide a great solution for a customer. If the employee identifies the right
product and the results are positive, it is likely the customer will not only be happy, but will
spread the word.”
Whether they join a home as puppies or are adopted when they are older, all dogs
can benefit from training, said Ann Hudson, vice president of marketing for St. Louis-based
Whitebridge Pet Brands, maker of Cloud Star products.
“New owners need your guidance—make training products part of the new-owner
checklist and actively recommend them,” she said.
No Pain, All Gain
DISPLAY AND PROMOTION
Training and behavior products that are made to be worn—such as leashes and harnesses—are easier to sell with a demonstration.
“With these kinds of products, demonstration on [the customer’s] dog is best,” said Steve Fante, owner of C.B. Paws in Aspen, Colo.
“We also have a stuffed dog in the store to show how products work.”
“You really have to put the product on and show how it works,” said Katrina Boldry, owner and designer of Bold Lead Designs LLC in
Aurora, Colo. “Once people see the product in action, they can’t walk away.
“The products in our Perfect Pace product lineup present beautifully on the shelf, but there’s nothing like a real-life product demo,”
she said. “Maybe even have them take the dog around the block.”
In displays, making products easy to find and understand is most effective. Because consumers love a one-stop shop, Bridget
Richlen, director of sales and marketing for Exclusively Pet in Milwaukee, suggests doing some cross promotion.
“A display with no-pull leads, training dog treats, bells for housebreaking and literature makes a convenient place for new and
existing dog owners to learn what products will help them,” she said.
Merchandise training treats like the ones from Cloud Star in a special training section with other products such as leashes and
books, said Ann Hudson, vice president of marketing for St. Louis-based Whitebridge Pet Brands, maker of Cloud Star products.
As with any display, catching the shopper’s eye is key.
“EzyDog offers racks and signage that help retailers to best display their products,” said Katie Wood, sales and marketing coordinator for EzyDog in Sandpoint, Idaho. “The signage and racks are categorized by specific product and feature lifestyle images as well as key
selling features. A full presentation with an assortment of colors and sizes always makes for a more compelling display. It shows that the
retailer believes in the product and so should the customer.”
RADIO SYSTEMS CORP.’S PetSafe Drinkwell Sedona Pet Fountain has a trendy, cutting-edge
design and 100-oz. water capacity. It is great for pets of all sizes or multiple-pet households. The
clear bowl design not only minimizes spills and splashes,
but also provides a large drinking
area to accommodate pets with
large or flat faces. The fountain
is whisper-quiet, making it easily
approachable for apprehensive pets
or pet owners that do not like the
sound of falling water.
If you’re looking to strengthen
your sales in the behavior and
training category, partnering with
a local trainer can be an incredibly effective way to build a strong
reputation with your customers.
“It’s a great way for trainers
and shops to cross promote,”
said Bridget Richlen, director of
sales and marketing for Exclusively Pet in Milwaukee.
“We strongly believe in idea
sharing. Training tips and class-
es can come from trainers, while
nutrition education can come
from the retailer,” Richlen contin-
ued. “Both parties benefit, and it
helps pet parents raise the best
Lisa Borregine, owner of The
New York Dog Shop in Edgewater,
N.J., works with a local franchise
of Bark Busters.
“I personally work with a
trainer, which has helped me to
teach my dog to walk well on a
leash,” Borregine said. “I’m personally very pro harness and
anticollar, and I like that they’ve
worked with me on that.
“When customers come in,
pulling and separation anxiety
are the two biggest concerns
they have,” Borregine added.
“Since I personally work with
a trainer, it’s helpful to have
someone to talk to and share
SALES WITH A
control and train their dog without causing them any pain. Dogs
are part of the family, after all.”
The biggest change in training
is that the dog owner now takes a
bigger role in the training process,
said Ann Hudson, vice president
of marketing for St. Louis -based
Whitebridge Pet Brands, maker of
Cloud Star products.
“There is more recognition
of the power of the human-animal bond, and that extends
to training programs,” Hudson
said. “Where once a dog would
have gone off on his own to a
week-long training course, now
owner participation is pretty
much required by most trainers.
It sounds a bit corny, but it’s as
much about establishing a personal connection as it is learning
PETEDGE’S Guardian Gear Tri-Fold Vehicle Pet Ramp makes
it easier for small, older or ailing pets to get in and out of
vehicles. The durably constructed product has a carrying
handle for easy transport and an antiskid surface for improved
traction. It is designed to hold pets up to 130 lb., and it folds
down for easy storage.
SOLVIT PRODUCTS offers the Homeaway Travel Organizer Kit. It can carry all of the items a dog needs to feel
at home on the road including: a leash, a towel, a chew
toy, a fetch toy, a blanket, a brush, medications, first aid supplies and poop bags.
It comes with a 10-cup food bag,
an unbreakable water bottle and
from page 34
Muzzles are increasingly
being used in all sorts of
situations, such as visits
to the veterinarian or
with new dogs or during
stressful social events.
They are another great
tool in the training kit
for responsible owners,
discipline and positive
I created the Baskerville
Ultra Muzzle for pet
parents to have on hand
for situations like these.
What makes this muzzle
unique is that it allows
dogs to eat, drink and
pant freely. So retailers
who stock the Baskerville
Ultra Muzzle can offer
their customers maximum
peace of mind as well as
guarantee both dog
welfare and human
- Dr. Roger Mugford,
pioneer of pet behavior
therapy and The Company
of Animals founder
©The Company of Animals LLC
All Rights Reserved.