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How Dog Training Has Evolved in the Wake of COVID-19

The pandemic negatively impacted many trainers initially, but now opportunity for growth exists for all.




THE PANDEMIC has forced most businesses to make changes both big and small, and dog training is no exception. Trainers had to think quickly and nimbly adapt to developing circumstances, sometimes overnight.

Here are some ways dog training has evolved during the pandemic:


Shelter-in-place orders dealt crushing blows to the livelihood of some dog trainers, with federal PPP and EIDL programs the only possible lifeline in sight. For others, the tidal wave of new puppy and dog owners posed its own unique challenge as demand outpaced their capacity to supply.

Many dog trainers quickly realized that dog training needed to move online. Remote training via video conferencing platforms became the primary means of delivering training services to needful clients and their new family members.

At Zoom Room, having provided in-person dog training to more than 200,000 owners and authored the best-selling book, Puppy Training in 7 Easy Steps: Everything You Need to Know to Raise the Perfect Dog, we found that the majority of people taking advantage of online training were new puppy owners. Although these remote sessions paled significantly in comparison to in-person training, puppy clients greatly valued this resource out of sheer necessity.

For independent trainers, going into other people’s homes became essentially impossible. The natural pivot for these solo practitioners was to offer lessons in outdoor spaces. Unfortunately, this naturally introduces the element of countless distractions and inclement weather, all anathema to good training. For puppies, working outdoors is not even an option if they haven’t yet had all of their vaccinations.


Brick-and-Mortar Training Facilities

For brick-and-mortar training facilities, when in-person training was again permitted, clients were eager to participate, but the requirement of face coverings posed new challenges to trainers. Training involves a great deal of speaking, and each trainer had to find just the right mask material that afforded protection while allowing for comfort while breathing.

Additionally, they had to add buffers between classes to allow for extra cleaning, reducing the number of classes that could be offered each day. Many facilities had to also reduce class sizes.

Opportunity for Growth

On the other hand, with demand surging, by enjoying full capacity in every class and extending operating hours, some businesses experienced a sizable increase in revenue during the pandemic.

But we, as an industry, have been fortunate in many ways compared to other sectors. The demand for dog training services has never been higher, and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight. The Pandemic Puppies of 2020 are now the Determined Dogs of 2021, and their need for training, socialization and enrichment will continue into the foreseeable future.

Dog training providers who were flexible and sufficiently capitalized to weather the storms of 2020 have a bright outlook for the future, accompanied by the deepest level of public appreciation we have ever experienced.




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