SDOS Episode 33 – The Business of dog training (and dog walking and grooming)



Episode 33 – If you are a dog walker, a dog trainer or a dog groomer then you need to listen to today’s show because Dom is going to share with you some super simple tips that will supercharge your dog business. In fact, Dom has noticed that there are many similarities between how you run a dog business and how you train your dog, so today he tells you what they are AND where you can get more FREE advice that you can use to improve how you market your dog business. All that is in Episode 33. Enjoy!


[.36] The singing Alex [2.10] Why Alex the video guy doesn’t work with just anyone [3.00] Why has Dom been to Ireland [3.35] Why it’s important to invest in yourself [4.38] Similarities between training your dog and running a dog business [5.48] Why it’s best to approach dog training with no preconceived ideas [7.05] Who Dom’s book is for [8.34] Why you need to address the problems [10.21] Why Dom loves emailing [12.10] What your dog needs every day [14.12] Why you should ignore the bright shiny social media objects [15.24] Why you need to listen up if you are a dog trainer, dog groomer or a dog walker you need to listen up now. [16.20] Why Alex loved the 33 Ideas [17.52] What was the straw that broke the dog training back for Dom [20.08] Why having a business website isn’t enough [21.45] What to do if your dog doesn’t listen to you [23.00] Next week’s guest is Kamal Fernandez

Mentioned in this episode:

If you run a pet business then you can get Dom’s free 33 Ideas emailed to you by signing up at

Join Dom’s Inner Circle

Get a signed copy of Dom’s book here

Buy Dom’s book on Amazon

Get the audio book here

Dom’s daily dog training emails

Dom’s Youtube Channel

Full Show Transcript

Dom:     Hello, me bonnie bairns and welcome to The Superhero Dog Owner’s Show. I’m your host Dom Hodgson. I’m joined by my very good friend and technical wizard, Alex the video guy.

Alex:      Hello, everyone.

Dom :    Singing his welcome today.

Alex:      Apparently so.

Dom :    That wasn’t in the script. Thanks for joining us again everyone. We [inaudible 00:00:41].

Alex:      Yes.

Dom:     Me and you are going to be having a bit of business banter.

Alex:      Sounds good.

Dom :    Because we both run a business, Alex.

Alex:      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dom :    And we’re both in the business of growing our businesses.

Alex:      Yes, indeed.

Dom :    As best we can and hopefully making more money and helping more people as well. That’s the whole idea of it. So, how’s things been going for you lately?

Alex:      Really good. Really good. Super, super busy. Yes, lot of different filming, filming lots of dogs for you and for other people as well. I’ve also been kind of jumping back in with emails and wanting to show up a bit more on social media and that kind of thing.

Dom :    Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alex:      Not necessarily with the aim of kind of being mega popular and getting lots and lots of followers and that kind of thing. Although that would be good, but I think it’s just important to kind of show the world what you’re doing, what you’re up to. You know what I mean?

Dom:     Yep. Yep. Definitely.

Alex:      And being very honest about it as well.

Dom:     Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alex:      And not being like, “Look at this great work we’re doing. That’s glossy, this is all great.” Sharing the wins and the mistakes and the lessons you learn, stuff like that, as well.

Dom:     Yeah, definitely.

Alex:      I think it’s important. SO I’m trying to do as much of that as possible.

Dom:     Yeah, and you definitely have more success because of that, don’t you?

Alex:      I would think so, yeah. And no doubt it sends some people away.

Dom:     Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alex:      Some people will come and be like, “What? He’s a video production guy? Really? He’s not like any of the other companies I’ve seen.” Do you know what I mean? And that is fine, ’cause they’re probably not the type of people that I’d like to work with anyway. I like to work with kind of real people.

Dom:     Yeah.

Alex:      Especially like small businesses, obviously like yourself and kind of want to do the same thing for their followers. You know?

Dom:     Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alex:      And show up and be like, “This is who I am, this is what I find … These are my beliefs, what I find valuable.”

Dom:     Yeah.

Alex:      And they will do the same thing.

Dom:     Yeah.

Alex:      They will cast aside the people who aren’t really ideal for them, not going to benefit from anywhere and then what it’ll do on the positive side is find the people who they really are going to help and who are going to get them more-

Dom :    Yeah, finding your tribe. That’s right.

Alex:      Exactly.

Dom:     Finding your tribe and building your tribe. That’s a very good point. And your tribe don’t need to be that big either.

Alex:      No, I know.

Dom:     You could have that kind of small, little following of people, group of people and still it’s a lot of great business.

Alex:      Definitely.

Dom :    So I’ve just recently got back from Ireland.

Alex:      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dom:     I finally bit the bullet and stepped up to the plate, as you know, and I joined Jon McCulloch’s guy I’ve been following for quite a while. I’ve been in his business and his circle and stuff and I learned so much stuff from him. I finally stepped up and was accepted into his kind of mastermind that he runs over there.

Alex:      Yeah, yeah.

Dom :    Once every three months, we go over to Ireland and meet another bunch of business owners and you kind of talk through your goals and challenges and stuff and it was pretty awesome. I came back with a good plan for the next three months.

Alex:      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dom:     It’s cost me a bunch of money to do it.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     But I think it’s important to invest in yourself. Especially as a business owner, but in anything that you do in life. I think we do a lot of learning at schools, I don’t mean at college, possibly, maybe at university.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     Then you kind of leave and that’s it and you kind of coast a lot to the time.

Alex:      You do.

Dom:     If you don’t have your own personal development, be that with your business or with your dog even, you could be a more knowledgeable and a more … Just a better business owner doing more of the right things. Same as you can be with your dogs. You know what I mean?

Alex:      Definitely.

Dom:     So it’s definitely given me some more accountability. Some of that stuff we’ve been talking about that I shared with you.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     I’ve got a lot of excited things planned over the next few months as well, which you’ll be finding more about as they get done. I thought it would be interesting because I see a lot of similarities between certainly the way that I run my business and the way a lot of other people run their businesses and the way that you train your dog.

Alex:      Right. Yeah.

Dom:     Certainly the easy way to train your dog and anyway which I’m a big fan of. The first thing is that when you … Obviously when I’m training a dog I like to recommend, and I have done I think it was in podcast number two.

And I want you to find your dog’s kryptonite.

Finding the kryptonite. You know why you need to find the kryptonite. I think it’s so important when you’re dealing with a dog, when you’re training a dog, be it your dog or somebody else’s, that you find out what that dog wants.

Alex:      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dom:     Because if you can find out what the dog wants, what he really wants, then you can use that to get him to do stuff for you. I call it finding the kryptonite. For one dog it could be hotdogs, for another dog it could be a tennis ball, for another dog it could be a feather duster, for another dog it could be one of your slippers or a plastic bottle. It just depends. You know what I mean. It’s all kinds of different things that dogs like. I find it easier to approach the situation that way with a kind of a blank slate. You know what I mean? With no preconceived ideas kind of thing.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     It’s a great place to start because then you got that connexion with your dog.

Alex:      Definitely.

Dom:     In business, what I try and do is, and we all try and do it as well and lots of people do it. We try and find out what it is that our ideal client, what the problem is that they’re suffering from.

Alex:      Yes.

Dom:     Then you speak to them about that problem. You know what I mean? For example, like my book. Let’s use the book as an example. My book was written for pet dog owners who love their dogs daily but they can’t control them.

Alex:      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dom:     I know there are people out there like that because I’ve spoken to them obviously. Not only that but I was one of those people as well.

Alex:      I was going to say, yeah.

Dom:     Yeah. You don’t need to rub it in. I’m going to come clean. I’m going to come clean. I started a dog adventure business and I didn’t really know very much about dogs. I loved the dogs and I wanted to be with the dogs, I wanted the dogs to be with me, but I didn’t know how to connect with them and how to influence the dogs in a way that was fun for them and for me. When I learned how to do that from the courses and stuff that I went on, it completely changed my life.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     It was like so much happier. The business went from strength to strength as well. That’s who I aimed the book at. You know what I mean? And that’s why the book … The book’s very warts and all. It’s a tale about the mistakes that I’ve made. I think that’s what’s resonated with people who’ve bought it. I know it has because they’ve sent me emails or they’ve left like 100 reviews on Amazon and stuff. It’s meeting people where they’re at.

Alex:      Yep.

Dom:     Rather than trying to impose a solution on people or offer an answer before you even know what the problem is.

Alex:      Totally, yeah. I think you just sticking on the business thing for a while, I think you see plenty of businesses making this mistake now, don’t you? Because everyone’s kind of stuck in their ways of you go on a website of a business, small, large, doesn’t matter, and it’s like, “Hi, we’re Company X and we do this and we do this and this and this.” It’s like, “That’s fine and I’m sure you do a great job of it, but it doesn’t sing to the customer.”

Dom:     It doesn’t.

Alex:      What it should be saying is like, “Do you have this problem? Are you this person?”

Dom:     Yeah.

Alex:      If you’re not then-

Dom:     Not knocking people because I’m a person, but people don’t care.

Alex:      No.

Dom:     People just don’t care about anybody else. Not that they don’t care about anybody else, but they don’t care about your business. You know what I mean?

Alex:      No, no.

Dom:     People don’t care. They care about themselves. They care about their own problems. So if you can speak to them about a problem that they’re suffering from in a language that they understand, you’re going to resonate with them a lot better, aren’t you? That’s going to be the connexion point with you.

Alex:      Yes.

Dom:     Similar to the dogs where you find that thing that connects you both.

Alex:      I suppose it’s the equivalent of buying an expensive new toy from Kong or something and be like, “Come on, play with this, play with this.” And if your dog doesn’t like it, that’s the point you need to kind of take a step back and be like the problem is that you’re trying to impose this solution on him, as it were.

Dom:     Yeah, yeah.

Alex:      But if it’s not what he’s into, if that’s not what he needs, then it’s not going to-

Dom:     Yeah, yeah, exactly. Then once you’ve got his attention and you’ve got that little connexion with him, you found something that he likes, then you can start to ask him to do stuff then for you.

Alex:      Yes. Exactly.

Dom:     Then you can start to say, “Well, yes you can have this tennis ball if you do a recall or if you do a sit or whatever. If you look at me even.”

Alex:      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dom:     Whatever it is. The you get a tennis ball and the dog will be more willing to do more stuff for you if he knows that he’s going to get appropriately rewarded for it. You know what I mean?

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     If you can, and it’s the same in business, if you can meet people at the point where they’re at and talk to them about the problem that they’re suffering from, then you’re going to resonate with them. Then you’re going to have a connexion with them. Then they’re going to empathise and understand that you empathise them.

Alex:      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dom:     You understand what they’re going through. Then you can start to talk to them about their solution. You know what I mean?

Alex:      Yes.

Dom:     Which hopefully you’ll be able to provide through your product or your service or whatever it is.

Alex:      Yeah, yeah.

Dom:     That’s a big point. That’s the main point really. The main similarity that I see. Then a lot of the other things that we do, that I do in my business, is I try and be consistent. I’ve discovered a few things that I can do with my clients and my potential clients that help me to sell more books and get people in my inner circle and get more clients for the dog walking business.

Alex:      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dom:     And get more training clients and these things are just showing up. Showing up regularly.

Alex:      Yep.

Dom:     I show up every day with email.

Alex:      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dom;     I like to email every day. I email a little story, a little tip, or a little hint. I’m selling in these emails as well because I want people to know that I’ve got things to sell.

Alex:      Yeah, of course.

Dom:     I’ve got solutions but I’m not just emailing them saying, “Buy this stuff, buy this stuff.”

Alex:      Which, again, you see by a lot of companies.

Dom:     Yeah, all the time. Yeah, yeah. That’s really effective and it’s really a good use of my time because it takes like 20 minutes to write an email, I can send it to like a 1,000 people, 2,000, 3,000 people, or 500 people. It enables me to have this conversation all the time. What that does is it puts me top of mind for them so that they wake up the day that they need a solution, I’m the guy that they’re going to think of. And you don’t have to use email. There’ll be lots of ways you could do it. You could send them a postcard, or you could do a Facebook like post every day, or whatever it is. You know what I mean? Just some way of trying to connect with that audience. Like I say, there’s lots of reasons I like to email and I prefer email. We’re not going to go into those now. Just like small things like this and how I think this compares to the dog training side of it is that there’s only a few key things that you need to do with your dog every day as well. You know what I mean?

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     To make them really happy.

Alex:      The consistency is the key.

Dom:     Yeah, and the consistency, yeah. Providing a bit of a challenge for him with a Kong or teaching him some tricks or a few nose games or something like that. Giving him, obviously, the appropriate exercise depending on what kind of dog he is. Making sure that he feels safe. Obviously he needs to have food and a warm beds and that. But these are the main things and that’s it. Then you provide those things for your dog, you’re going to have a happy dog. You’re going to have a happy dog who’s going to be happy to go to the park and stay with you and want to be with you because he’s going to be fulfilled. He’s going to get all the things that he needs. I think it gets more difficult when you start making it more complicated for yourself.

Alex:      Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

Dom:     With the dig training you can think, “Oh well, I need to learn about this or I need to learn about that. My dog needs to be socialised more with other dogs.”

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     I’m not going to labour the point with socialising but you make things more difficult for yourself then by moving away from the basics I guess. You know what I mean?

Alex:      Yeah. Over complicating stuff.

Dom:     Yeah. And the basics, again, with a business, same thing. The basics. Basically what I’m doing when I’m emailing every day, I’m following up with people.

Alex:      Yeah. I suppose the opposite would be thinking, “Okay, I need a flashy website and I need some videos and I need this and I need to not respond to sequence and all this stuff.”

Dom:     Yeah.

Alex:      Without getting the basics stuff from the start. Without knowing who it is you’re talking to.

Dom:     That’s right.

Alex:      The problems that you’re going to be fixing.

Dom:     Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alex:      If you kind of think about the solution first, then you’re kind of back at square on in a way. If you keep it basic, you’re much more likely to arrive at a [crosstalk 00:13:52].

Dom:     It’s exactly the same. Doing the basics every day and not being distracted by too many things.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     Bright shiny objects and Periscope, “I need to be on Periscope every day.”

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     I need to do this or I need to do that. Do something, pick something, pick a medium. Which obviously it should ideally be a medium that your clients are in.

Alex:      Yes.

Dom:     Prob no good trying to, no offence to old people here, but don’t go trying to market something to pensioners on Instagram. You know what I mean? Probably just lost half my audience. My Instagram using audience.

Alex:      Do you know 90% of pensioners use Instagram?

Dom:     You know the point I’m making, yeah?

Alex:      Yeah, yeah.

Dom:     They might be likely to read a magazine in which case you should think about maybe advertise in the magazine. Just lots of different ways to do it. Speaking to them on a medium that they’re on.

Alex:      Definitely.

Dom:     And being consistent. Being consistent is the main thing.

Alex:      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dom:     The reason why I have chose to talk about this today, it’s something I’ve been wanting to talk about for a little while actually as well. The other part of my business, which is starting really, not start at sports really, but we’re going to be cranking up with this year is I’m going to be helping more dog walkers, dog trainers, dog groomers, pet biscuit manufacturers, that kind of. We’re going to be helping them to grow their business a bit more.

Alex:      Awesome.

Dom:     Using some of the things that I’ve learned that I’ve implemented in my own business over the last couple of years. I’ve seen really good results with and I think it’s something that will change a lot of people’s lives if they knuckle down and they do it. I’m not going to talk about it too much because this is a show particularly for pet dog owners. If you are a dog trainer, or you’re a groomer, or you’re a dog walker, or you own a day care, or a hydrotherapy, like I say you make pet biscuits and stuff, then you should definitely sign up for my 33 ideas that will help grow your pet business fast. You can sign up for these at

Alex:      So that’s one email a day, isn’t it? For 33 days.

Dom:     So you have one email a day. It’s a sequence. I’ve had loads of good feedback from it already.

Alex:      Including from me and genuinely as well because you sort of said, “You should sign up for these as well and genuinely have a read at them.” They’re really good. They’re really, really good. This is obviously for someone whose business is not in pets and dogs and stuff.

Dom:     Yeah, definitely.

Alex:      But for those that are, all of those places you just mentioned, I think they’re going to be really, really useful for people.

Dom:     Yeah, I hope so. I mean these are not … I’m not reinventing the wheel here. This is just stuff that I’ve learned from other people but I’ve applied within my pet business niche. You know what I mean?

Alex:      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dominic H. :        I have a slightly more advantageous skew on the pet business side of it. You know what I mean? Because it’s what I do.

Alex:      Yes.

Dom:     But yeah. These things are applicable to any business, applicable to yourself or anybody, if you own a café or anything. But specifically if you’re in the pet business then you should get signed up with emails because they will help you to connect more with your clients, with your potential clients that you want to. I think people … This is another thing. This is another similarity. Might as well finish with this one.

Alex:      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dom:     I think people, when you got a dog, when I had the dogs and I was standing in the middle of that field, and all the dogs were running around me and they were all having a great time, and I was feeling pretty despondent, tugging on the dog lead, shouting my head off for them to come back and nothing was happening. I kind of thought to myself, “There must be an easier way of doing this. There must be a way for me to connect with these dogs. Surely this isn’t all I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life.” You know what I mean?

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     Eventually the dogs that I can’t control.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     Sure enough, there was another way. Some dog trainers watching this might be thinking, “Well of course there was.” But obviously at the time I did not know that.

Alex:      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dom:     I felt stuck. I was like stuck and Linda told me about John Rogerson, who I went on a course, met Dave Dailies, blah, blah, and then the rest is history. You know what I mean? So not we know and now this is what we teach in the book and the inner circle and stuff as well.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     I think that the pet business people all feel the same or any small business owner, but I’m talking from a pet business owner point of view. You start the business. It takes a lot of guts to start any business and you build yourself up to start it and you get a lot of knock backs from family and friends who say, “That’ll never work. You’ll never make any money doing that.”

Alex:      Yep.

Dom:     You ignore them and you knuckle down and you save up enough money to buy a van or to rent a shop or whatever it is. You think, “Yes, I’ve done it. Screw you everybody.” You know what I mean? “I did it.” Then comes the hard part though, the really hard part of actually marketing the business and getting people in through the door.

Alex:      Totally.

Dom:     Not that it’s not a hard thing to start because it is. I think hopefully if there’s people out there who are trainers or dog walkers and they’re struggling, they want to learn how to have a better business with better paying clients, less stress. Or they want to do some of the things that I’m doing with books and online courses and that kind of thing as well. If you’re feeling stuck, that one reason why you should sign up for the emails.

Alex:      Definitely.

Dom:     Would you agree?

Alex:      Totally. I think the reason why a lot people might be stuck and stuff is just because they might not, obviously a lot of people won’t know about … It’s 2017, there’s a million ways you can market your business now. I think either people don’t know about those because that think, some people might think, “I’ve got a website, that’s all I need to do.” Right?

Dom:     Yep, yep.

Alex:      But it’s not that simple anymore. Then at the same time, there are so many ways you can market your business. Like you said before, you have to know which one, or which few, are going to give you the best results and which ones are going to be worth doing. I think that might put a lot of people off because they think, “Well, I haven’t got a clue about Facebook ads or emails or writing a book.” I’m sure you would probably say that a year and a half, two years ago, you might have thought about writing a book but you probably didn’t think you would do one.

Dom:     No.

Alex:      Now you’re aware and you’ve got more in the pipeline and stuff, but it all kind of comes from doing stuff consistently, knowing who you’re talking to, and chipping away at it every day until you’ve got this product and you know your message and your market. It becomes easy, doesn’t it?

Dom:     Yeah, yeah.

Alex:      You’d probably say that there’s a lot of work to but-

Dom:     Definitely, yeah. It’s not easy but it’s simple. It’s difficult but it’s simple. You know what I mean?

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     You have to work hard and be consistent, but you hit the nail on the head that it’s like people don’t know where to start often.

Alex:      Yeah.

Dom:     They’ve got all these good ideas or they’ve got a great idea for a business and they just don’t know where to start. They know they need to put themselves out there but they don’t know how.

Alex:      Yeah, yeah.

Dom:     They know that they should be doing some marketing but they don’t know what. They know the kind of clients they wan to get but they don’t know how to get them. You know what I mean? They don’t know how to talk to them and stuff.

Alex:      Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dom:     So these daily emails will certainly help you do that.

Alex:      Absolutely.

Dom:     And if you want some help with your book, with your book? With your dog. Book’s on the brain. You want some help with your dog training, then you should definitely, definitely, definitely order yourself a copy of my best selling How to be a Dog Superhero book. This book will show you how to bond and connect with your dog so that he listens to you. So that he actually listens to you, so that he actually wants to listen to you as well. You’ll not be forcing him or yanking him around with a choke chain or an e-collar or anything like that. This is about finding out what your dog likes then using that to influence and collect and to get him following you around the park like the Pied Piper. You don’t believe me, read the 100 reviews on Amazon from people who have read the book and it’s changed their lives.

If you can get this on Kindle, if you want to be a cheapskate, you don’t want to buy the paper copy, you can buy the paper copy from me. We’ll put the link up there now and I’ll send you a free chocolate bar as well. I’ll send that anywhere in the world. If you want to buy the Kindle version, you can get the Kindle version. If you want to listen to my dulcet tones reading you the book, you should go to Audible and you should buy the book on there as well. But I want to give the address for the 33 ideas one more time. Podcast 33, 33 ideas. How about that?

Alex:      We didn’t actually plan that. That’s pretty good isn’t it?

Dom:     The fates were aligned for that one. So it’s Next week, Alex, we’ll going to be talking to Kamal Fernandez.

Alex:      Awesome. Excellent.

Dom:     I think he was possibly the last interview we did in the old house.

Alex:      Yes. I think you might be right there. Yeah.

Dom:     Really a good interview with Kamal coming up. He’s done lots of stuff since then. He’s been all over the place. He’s been up here doing a seminar up at Rebecca’s place.

Alex:      Awesome, yeah.

Dom:     He’s also had a baby. Well, obviously his old lady had a baby. So yeah, so next week we’re going to be talking to Kamal.

Alex:      Excellent.

Dom:     Thanks for your time today Alex.

Alex:      No problem. Enjoyed it.

Dom:     Me too, me too. And we’ll see you next week and if we don’t see you through the week, then we’ll see you through the window.


Meet the Author

Dom Hodgson