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Reactive Dogs Get the Space They Need at Spoiled Bitch Dog Boutique

The private shopping experiences have also helped the newly opened store go viral on TikTok.




MOST REACTIVE DOGS don’t get to shop in person at pet stores. Their owners fear running into other dogs, which then creates stress and anxiety for everyone involved when the barking and lunging begins. With this in mind, Cait Cassagne offers private shopping experiences for reactive pups at her Spoiled Bitch Dog Boutique in Nesconset, NY. Dozens of customers have used this service since it became available in February, with the accompanying videos going viral and showing another side of these dogs while building Cassagne’s young business.


When Cassagne learned that one of her favorite customers wouldn’t be bringing in her Labradane, Raven, for her 11th birthday because of dog reactivity, the store owner decided to do something about it. Cassagne hung a birthday banner, put on soothing music and opened before regular hours so Raven could shop in private.

“I just filmed her a little bit, here and there, showing her experience,” says Cassagne, who then posted the video on TikTok. “And that’s when it completely took off, which is completely amazing because it’s bringing a lot of awareness to reactive dogs.” The sessions also can help to lessen such behavior as the dogs get to experience more of the world and have the opportunity to increase their tolerance while out and about.



When customers email the store to request a private shopping experience, Cassagne sends them a list of questions about their pet, including what they are reactive to. She typically gets responses that are pages and pages long.

At first, she booked appointments on Saturdays and Sundays only, but has since expanded to availability during the week before opening and after closing due to demand. Each furry shopper gets 20 minutes in the store, and Cassagne blocks off 10 minutes before and after if needed so dogs don’t overlap.

She creates TikTok videos of some but not all of the reactive shoppers. “Some of them I film from a distance, and some of them I don’t film at all or post them because they are people-reactive,” too, Cassagne says, explaining that in those cases she stays in her office, where the dogs can’t see her, until customers are ready to check out.

Showing the moving movements of these dogs going from nervous to coming out of their shells helps the TikTok videos go viral. One of a sweet pup named Lucy, dressed in a red hoodie with “LOVE” on the back, wagging her tail and running around the store with different toys in her mouth before stopping for a pup cup, has 1.5 million views.


Cassagne has seen increased customer satisfaction, positive Google reviews and a boost in sales thanks to the store’s private shopping appointments. Also, big brands are now reaching out, wanting to get into her store and on her TikTok account, which has more than 3.2 million Likes. “We’re just getting a lot more recognition than I ever thought we would,” she says.

Thanks to the videos going viral, Cassagne has even heard from other pet retailers who want to start their own program. As great as all that is, she stresses that social media fame isn’t really what it’s about for her. “I’m just happy seeing the owners watch their dogs shop.” She says they literally have tears in their eyes as their dog sniffs around and enjoys the experience because they’ve never been able to do that before.



Do It Yourself: 5 Tips for Offering Private Shopping for Reactive Dogs

1. GET HELP: If you don’t have experience with reactive dogs, work with a positive-reinforcement trainer to create the questionnaire and establish guidelines.

2. PERSONALIZE IT: From a “Welcome!” chalkboard with the pet’s name to having their favorite extra-special treat on hand, make the dog and their owner feel like VIPs.

3. ENCOURAGE A SPLURGE: Pair with a discount or coupon to lead your customer toward a minimum purchase amount that makes sense for your business.

4. SET TO A SOUNDTRACK: Cassagne’s videos feature music as moving as the action being captured, which helps with “Likes” and boosting brand awareness.

5. LOCK THE DOOR: And hang a “Reactive dog shopping inside” sign to let other customers know a private session is happening. Include info on how to book such a session.



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