BY SANDY CHEBAT
The two main trends that Eran Konorty, CEO of Angel Pet Supplies in Toronto, has seen in training products are ease
of training and humane, less-invasive items.
“Consumers are looking for products that
will assist them in teaching their dog in the
shortest amount of time and at the highest
level possible,” he said, adding that they want
“humane products that will deliver training
success while avoiding products that may be
more invasive to the dogs.”
Janet Marlow, a sound behaviorist and
the founder and CEO of Pet Acoustics in
Washington Depot, Conn., agreed and said
the industry is trending away from harsh
choke collars to more visual cues with treat
dispensers, sonic collars with apps and click-
“For hunting dogs, the need for obedience
is key, so more harsh training techniques are
used,” she said. “But for the other millions of
dogs in our care, a more gentle and part-of-
the-family approach is being used without
shock and choke collars.”
Along with tools that are intuitive and
easy to use, dog owners want high-quality
“They are drawn toward strong brand
names in the industry,” said Krista Nixon,
category manager of toys and behavior for
PetSafe, a brand of Radio Systems Corp.
in Knoxville, Tenn. “And they place great
weight on the recommendations of their vets,
trainers and other pet professionals.”
CLOUD STAR Easy Does It
Insiders see more products designed to train and improve dog behavior
coming from a place of gentle and less-invasive techniques to build relationships with pets.
INNOVATION IN TRAINING
Closing out 2016, Pet Acoustics in Washington Depot, Conn., released Pet Tunes 2, a new, patented version of the company’s
species-specific music designed to help calm pets and help with everything from separation anxiety behaviors to crate training. It
comes with a USB charging cord and a lanyard to hang from the crate or wherever is preferred.
In the treat category, Whitebridge Pet Brands started the new year off by introducing Cloud Star Grain-Free Tricky
Trainers in Peanut Butter and Liver flavors.
“Our treats have only two to three kcals per piece, and the smaller piece works for multiple breeds and sizes of dogs,”
said Ann Hudson, vice president of marketing for the St. Louis manufacturer.
To help owners of large- and extra-large-breed dogs, Angel Pet Supplies in Toronto released Wide Handle Collars featuring an adjustable handle sewn on to the collar to allow owners to hold and/or control their pet by the collar. Dog owners also
can use the black collars in confined spaces or traffic areas, the manufacturer stated.
Dogtra in Torrance, Calif., launched the YS200, the smallest no-bark collar that Dogtra offers. The collar has a vocal cord
sensor that is designed to distinguish a dog’s bark from other surrounding sounds. It also has six adjustable stimulation levels.
Many companies will launch new products at Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Fla., next month.
Radio Systems Corp. plans to offer its PetSafe Easy Walk Harness in three chic patterns with a matching leash.
“The no-pull harness works with a front leash attachment point and a patented martingale chest piece that humanely and
effectively redirects forward pulling,” said Krista Nixon, category manager of toys and behavior for PetSafe in Knoxville, Tenn.
Also look for the PetSafe 3-in-1 Harness with no-pull applications, extra comfort features and a car restraint option.
INSTRUCTION INCREASES SUCCESS RATES
“The most important aspect of training and behavior products
is consumer education,” said Eran Konorty, CEO of Angel Pet
Supplies in Toronto.
Larry Cobb, CEO for The Company of Animals’ U.S. division
in Davenport, Fla., agreed.
“Detailing consumers about these products is extremely
important because, as all of us know, there is a lot of misinformation on the Internet,” he said, adding that the company
starts by educating the trade to help them recommend the
right product for a given training or behavioral issue.
“We also post numerous training and product guides on our
website categorized by ‘problems’ for easy reference,” he said.
To educate store owners, managers and staff, Janet
Marlow, a sound behaviorist and the founder and CEO of
Pet Acoustics in Washington Depot, Conn., provides a video
explanation of the company’s products on You Tube so they
understand each product.
Manufacturers and pet specialty retailers agree that education in this category can mean the difference between pets
being relinquished to shelters or staying in their forever home.
“Statistics show that behavior is the No. 1 reason that
dogs are relinquished to shelters,” said Ann Hudson, vice pres-
ident of marketing for St. Louis-based Whitebridge Pet Brands,
maker of Cloud Star products, adding that “more than 8 million
dogs enter new homes every year, either as puppies or adults,
and many are not properly trained. All dogs need some training,
even if just to acclimate to the new environment.”
She has found many pet specialty retailers expanding into
services, such as training.
“These training classes offer a great opportunity to
cross-promote with training products,” she said. “When the
consumer comes into the training class, they receive education
on what products they need when training their dog. We have
seen an increase in sales as a result.”
At Healthy Pet Products, which has two stores in the
Pittsburgh area, associate Allison Raithel said a big part of
educating customers is listening and then having an honest
conversation with them.
“Explain the basics and remind customers to correct
behaviors in small increments throughout the day to keep from
exhausting the animal and to create a habit,” she said. “Create
a routine. Consistency creates greater success rates and
Increasingly, people are bringing their dogs with them
wherever they go, so the need for good training and
behavior solutions has grown.
“The category has steadily progressed from
a low-interest, low-traffic section with a limited
selection of items to a dynamic profit center offering
an array of different lines,” said Larry Cobb, CEO for
The Company of Animals’ U.S. division in Davenport,
Fla. “Pet parents are actively seeking new training and
behavior products that promise greater comfort and
freedom of movement for their dogs.”
Seeing a sharp increase in the popularity of train-
ing, Eran Konorty, CEO of Angel Pet Supplies in Toronto,
noted a subsequent “increase in awareness of all the
different types of training, due in large part to social
media and the ease of gathering information.”
Training used to focus on dominating the animal
and forcing it to behave, insiders said. More pet
owners and trainers now choose positive and humane
methods and products.
“Since the 1950s, we have evolved our thinking
from making an animal behave through force to
realizing the complexity of animal needs,” said Janet
Marlow, a sound behaviorist and the founder and CEO
of Pet Acoustics in Washington Depot, Conn. Thus,
“dog training and behavior products have become
much more positive for both the dog and the person.”
Allison Raithel, an associate at Healthy Pet
Products, which has two stores in the Pittsburgh area,
agreed, saying that “most folks we come in contact
with are looking for positive reward-based options
to foster and improve the relationship instead of to
dominate or control the animal.”
Greg Gordon, owner of Dog Patch Pet & Feed in
Naperville, Ill., said the attitude used to be that putting
an electronic collar on the dog will fix everything. But
now there’s more awareness about incremental train-
ing and a focus on treating the source of the issue.
“We’re spending more time anticipating the behaviors than correcting them,” he said. “Occasionally,
there’s a dog that needs a bark collar if all else fails, but
that’s no longer the starting point.”