Here are a few words about working together and cross promotion of services to benefit both dogs and their owners from Gerry Moss at Jay K9 – whose Settle Café won the 2018 Best New Event in the National Pet Month Competition. This year for National Pet Month, they are offering free eye and ear drop training sessions at their local vets and are supporting their ‘Pledge Your Pooch’ participants to encourage more regular dog walking . She says:
“Getting people to access your services in order to improve and promote responsible pet ownership can be a challenge.
“With a whopping 26% of people owning a dog, it’s the most popular pet in the UK. As a trainer, the majority of customers I get contacting me fall into the ‘responsible’ owner category. Watch at any public space and you’ll soon see people struggle with the daily dog walk...The dog may be so excited it’s jumping around in the air, pulling like a steam train or simply putting the brakes on and refusing to budge. Some of these issues may be more than a simple lack of training and could have underlying behaviour issue. The crazy dog at the end of the lead that barks and lunges at every dog it passes, with the embarrassed owner apologising for their lack of ‘friendliness’, that dog may well be finding her daily walk terrifying...For many pooches, these problems can be improved, making both the owners and dogs lives more relaxed, happy and content.
“Local vets have more dog owners registered with them than all the local training centres put together... so I can help if needed, I need each of my local vets to understand what we do and the services we offer: really I need each member of staff at the vets to understand this….This takes more than a letter of introduction and few leaflets, this takes free CPD opportunities for vet staff, where staff can meet us and see that we know what we’re talking about.
“Once these foundations are made, we can start working and cross promoting our services. I may have a dog that doesn’t move quite right: maybe the owner hasn’t noticed, but this is one I’ll be suggesting goes off to the vet. Similarly, the vet may have a dog with an aggression issue, that perhaps they’ll be sending to me.
“We all need to make ourselves approachable too, to ensure dog owners are not put off something that may seem daunting! We’ve developed strategies for this… We don’t pretend we’re perfect owners with amazingly well-trained dogs, training is a journey with highs and lows and our Facebook Page and Group share both of these!
“Last year for National Pet Month we ran ‘Settle Cafe’ where we invited people to join us for a tea, cake and a chat with a trainer. This informal session encouraged those that hadn’t previously accessed our services to come to see us….and were welcomed either with or without their dog...No topic of dog related conversation was barred!
“This year for National Pet Month we’re offering free eye and ear drop training sessions at our local vets. One area lots of owners struggle with, but an essential skill that doesn’t need to become a battle of wills.
“In addition, with reports that 45% dogs are overweight and a recent study suggested that only 42% of dogs are walked daily with the average weekday walk of less than 20 minutes. Jay K9 decided we needed to do something to support owners to do that little bit more. Working with local charity Luna Animal Rescue we developed Pledge Your Pooch (PYP). At the start of each month owners are asked to promise their dogs that they will do something a little bit extra with them during that month. They register their Pledge with PYP HQ and pay a £7 donation to Luna Animal Rescue. During the month the Pledge Your Pooch Facebook Group is busy with support and encouragement as people share their stories. At the end of the month successfully completed pledges are awarded a medal and certificate (and occasionally some special treats for the pooches).
“As part of National Pet Month we’ll be hosting a free drop in session with some ‘Have A Go’ activities to offer inspiration for our Pledgers both old and new!”
She says: “April is looking like a busy month for us….What are you doing to build your engagement?”