Dog Trainers Are Booked Solid After Millions Adopted Pandemic Puppies
- Millions of Americans have adopted or bought pets to keep them company during the pandemic.
- The trend has given dog trainers a boom, which have now been fully booked for months.
- “We are in a crisis,” said a dog trainer. “We say no because we can no longer.”
Loading Something is loading.
These days, Mark Forrest Patrick is on his feet before the sun comes up. His work day starts around 4 a.m. when he replies to text messages, emails, and voicemails. He teaches group classes throughout the day and also visits clients’ homes for private sessions. His last appointment of the day ends around 9 p.m. He’s been doing this for months now, but it hasn’t always been that way.
Patrick is not a teacher or a doctor. He is a dog trainer. With more than 10 million U.S. households purchased during the pandemic, many dog trainers like Patrick are overwhelmed.
“There are days when I leave a customer’s house, find a place to stop, and break down; We can’t continue working like this, ”he told Insider. “We are in a crisis.”
Before the pandemic broke out, Patrick typically ran four group classes per week and saw two additional clients for private sessions each day. These numbers have now tripled: he leads 13 group courses per week and makes five or six house calls a day.
“It’s important that people understand that we don’t say no because we don’t want to help,” he said. “We say no because we can no longer.”
Despite tripling his schedule offers, Patrick’s courses are still fully booked less than 24 hours after he posted them online, and he’s been fully booked for two months.
“I go to bed at night and think, ‘How could I do more than what I’m doing now?'” He said. “The day only has so many hours.”
With many adults now preparing to go back to the office at some point and bring their children back to face-to-face classes, many of them are concerned about leaving their dogs home alone after pets have been used to a full house for most of the time the day.
That’s why they turn to dog trainers like Fanna Easter, who specializes in helping dogs with separation anxiety.
Before the pandemic, Easter was booked six weeks in advance. Now she has no free space for the next four months.
“This is by no means normal,” she said. “We’re bursting at the seams and trying to accommodate people everywhere.”
Dog trainer Beth Berkobien also specializes in pet separation anxiety, as well as aggression and reactivity. You have seen an “absolutely astronomical increase” in business. Berkobien has grown from 10 to 15 customers a week last summer to around 70 customers a week now.
“It can be a bit of a challenge as my free time is very limited,” she said.
Your working day has stretched to accommodate the extra sessions. After working seven hours a day before the pandemic, she now works 11 hour days.
“I’ve been experiencing a little compassion fatigue,” she said. “So I make sure that I reach out to my colleagues, my therapist, and that we talk about how we can fight this, and I also make sure that I take care of myself.”
Although the increased workload was exhausting, Berkobien says that one ray of hope has shone through.
“It was definitely a challenge, but it was really worth it because I had to help some animal parents solve some behavioral problems with their dogs or work on my way to finding a solution.”