The Outside World
As dog owners become more active with their pets outdoors, demand for products that
fit the adventure—whether it be leisurely walks or advanced hikes—has grown.
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“Fit is key for wearable gear, so making it easy for consumers to know what size is best for
TO YOU IN PART BY
their dog when in-store is key to customer satisfaction and a happy dog.”
—Michael Parness of Outward Hound
BY HILARY DANINHIRSCH
Nothing gets a dog’s tail wagging more furiously than the ques- tion, “Who wants to go for a walk?” Not only do dogs love to go outdoors and explore, but the exercise from regular walks
contributes to good health. While some dogs like leisurely strolls,
others are more adventurous, preferring runs, hikes or boating.
No matter the adventure, products for outdoor activities have a
dominant place in the dog market.
As people engage in healthier and more active lifestyles, they
often bring their pets along for company—while the dog receives
“Today, people include their pets on routine activities ranging from walking and hiking to vacations,” said Cathy LeDonne,
product development manager at Coastal Pet Products in Alliance,
Susan Strible, director of marketing for Ruffwear in Bend, Ore.,
said the company’s customers have reported their pets as “their
trail mates, biking buddies and paddling partners.”
While the desire to get outdoors is universal, consumer buying
trends for dog walking and outdoor adventure equipment often
reflects specific geographic locale.
Although Preuss Pets in Lansing, Mich., is located in an urban
setting, the store is not far from rural areas; so outdoor adventure
products are popular, as are products catering to city dwellers.
Due to Preuss Pets’ proximity to a rescue shelter to, the store
also sees a lot of new dog owners seeking advice on how to best
walk their rescues, said Kirbay Preuss, general manager.
“We see a lot of demand for products that help to minimize
pulling,” Preuss said.
Norm Shrout, co-owner of Long Leash on Life in Albuquerque,
N.M., also noted dog owners’ interest in products that stop pulling
during walks. He added that owners are turning to rubberized and
elastic leashes as well as harnesses, which are generally safer for
a dog’s trachea.
“Harnesses minimize risk and allow the dog more comfort and
freedom during outdoor sessions,” Shrout said. “The front-of-
chest-leash-attachment harness works the best to control pulling
and helps encourage continued positive training methods.”
To make walks safer, Two Bostons, which has stores in Illinois,
began carrying a new light-up collar.
“Collar lights that can be recharged using a USB plug are a huge
value for customers, making it super easy to recharge the light,”
said co-owner AdreAnne Tesene.
More pet owners are bringing their canine counterparts along
with them on their excursions in the great outdoors.
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