PetCoach Comprehensive In-Store Dog Support System

My husband and I are fans of Shark Tank, and we happened to watch a vintage episode from November 2016 where Pupbox was pitched,  The company was offering a subscription box to puppy owners which followed the puppies with age-appropriate offerings through adulthood, when they switched to an adult dog version of the box.  The segment ends happily as Shark Robert Herjavec makes an offer that the owners accept.

As the owners mentioned the struggles that inspired the business, which involved figuring out what they should be buying for their own pet, it struck me that had they only purchased their dog from a responsible, AKC Breeder of Merit type of breeder, they would not have had so much trouble, as a dedicated dog breeder will follow and support their puppy buyers throughout the puppies’ lifetime and often beyond.

But Pupbox, and in turn, Petco realized that not every dog or puppy buyer is so lucky. People acquire dogs many ways including, from friends and family who no longer want the dog, from rescues and shelters that don’t have the staff to engage in long-term follow-up, as strays that wander into their lives, and from breeders whose motivation to engage with puppy buyers ends at the point of sale. Petco acquired Pupbox in November 2017,  about 5 months after they acquired Petcoach, an online consulting service which also provides the same type of support that comes with a responsibly bred puppy.

In July 2018, Petco announced a retail experiment, turning PetCoach into a retail store in San Marcos, California.  The concept provides a select group of high-quality products and services inside a PetCoach store. Products include high quality, curated food selection, including custom formulations from Petco’s partner Just Food For Dogs and also offers comprehensive online record keeping for dog services available in-store.

In today’s world where specialty retail is under attack from both online vendors and the expanding pet product set in mass retailers, this provides a service level that will be very hard to match.  The question is whether this concept will generate sufficient loyalty and in turn profit, to survive.

 

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Dog Whisperer debuts Cesar’s Way magazine

Cesar Millan, aka The Dog Whisperer
Cesar Millan - The Dog Whisperer

MediaPost reports that Cesar Millan, also known as The Dog Whisperer from his National Geographic television series of that name, launched a magazine titled Cesar’s Way with the first issue published on September 15, 2009.  Cesar’s Way will publish two issues in 2009 and go to a bi-monthly schedule in 2010.

This provides further proof of not only Mr Millan’s personal celebrity status, but the strength of the dog services industry in the face of the recession and weakness in the magazine sector generally.  The magazine will focus on the human-canine bond with stories about people and their dogs, including both celebrity and non-celebrity dog owners.  Stories about dog training and adapting to life with dogs will also be included in the magazine.

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Nanny 911 for Dogs

Jetta Rose and friend Mimi
Jetta Rose and friend Mimi

A friend of mine who pet sits forwarded a copy of a dog tips newsletter from Nanny 911 for dogs,  which is distributed to over 2800 subscribers weekly. The author is Victoria Rose, a positively oriented dog trainer who currently lives in the Portland, OR area with her Doberman Pinscher, Jetta.

The  Nanny 911 e-newsletter includes dog care and training tips drawn from Victoria’s vast experience, often using personal anecdotes to make her point.  As a former journalist, Victoria still has the writing urge despite her transition to a dog training career and and leverages this passion to educate dog owners far beyond her own circle of clients.  Her motivation is to help people and their dogs live more fulfilling lives.  Although she occasionally  mentions products by name in the newsletter the publication does not accept advertising.

Victoria finds that occasionally subscribers will reach out to become clients, either in-person or for telephone consultation if they live farther away, but the newsletter is not her primary marketing tool.   She finds that Craigslist is actually the most effective means of marketing her business.  In a bit of a twist,  she has been successful getting people who posted dogs for sale on Craigslist to change their mind by  training the person and the dog to better understand and fulfill each others’ needs.

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Affiliate Marketing comes to dog training

A new follower on Twitter looked like a dog person, so I followed back and then she sent me a direct message (DM) which is not uncommon.  She invited me to contact her for dog training advice, again not that uncommon, especially since  you’d have to dig through my Linkedin profile that I reference on Twitter to realize that I already know a great deal about the topic.  But I was surprised to find the link she provided was to “Secrets of Dog Training” written by an entirely different person.  Affliate marketing, gotta love it!

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Northfield Dog Training – Betsy’s Photography

Adele Yunck, owner of Northfield Dog Training, is having some professional photography taken of her facility for use on the NDT website. Betsy Finn of Betsy’s Photography is doing this work and was laying on the floor taking photos of Adele’s Open and Utility Proofing class doing their long downs when Anna and I arrived for the Novice Proofing class last Wednesday evening.  Some of the photos are now up on Betsy’s site as she blogs about the experience. Betsy is also on Twitter. It’s amazing how good she can make a pole barn (nice training facility that it is) look from the outside!

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