Pandemic Pets: How Retailers Are Supporting with Coaching and Behavior Challenges | Existing Problem

Pandemic Pets: How Retailers Are Supporting with Coaching and Behavior Challenges | Existing Problem

As the post-pandemic planet reopens, pet entrepreneurs are heading back to the business or classroom. Furry household customers, many having joined their families all through the shutdowns, are predicted to navigate still a different “new normal”—that of being home alone—and the will need for schooling and habits aids to cope with this life-style shift is progressively clear.

“We all know what comes about to little boys when they are accidentally still left driving, from the legendary comedy, ‘Home On your own,’” reported Kevin Dixon, founder and CEO of Clawguard, a producer in Charlotte, N.C. “However, when the protagonist in a authentic-life story is not Macaulay Culkin, but somewhat a pet dog still left household by yourself, the repercussions may be distinct, whilst equally costly and painful.”

Dr. Roger Mugford, CEO and founder of Organization of Animals, a U.K.-based manufacturer with workplaces in Colorado and Australia, noted that through the pandemic, pets available unrivalled companionship and aided to abate psychological overall health problems formed in the course of a one of a kind and tricky time, but as pet homeowners head again to do the job, pets can become lonely and anxious.

As a consequence, pets are demonstrating a myriad of behavioral difficulties, industry insiders documented.

“While recurrent walks and good quality time are highly inspired to retain pets lively, we also really encourage enrichment toys to stimulate senses and redirect anxious behavior,” mentioned Mandie Sweetnam, class manager for toys and habits for PetSafe, a maker in Knoxville, Tenn.

Toys this kind of as PetSafe’s Kibble Nibble, which can be stuffed with a pup’s favorite treats, are valuable in relieving panic, she added.

“Before formally leaving a pet all day, fill up a toy and allow them have entertaining with it although you take a limited wander outside the house to check out the mailbox,” she suggested. “Continue this action in small intervals so they associate leaving the residence with beneficial gatherings.”

Heather Blum, co-operator of Petagogy, a retailer with destinations in the Pittsburgh area, agreed.

“Separation panic is a tough 1 since the resolution is a slow course of action,” she said.

She suggested leaving animals for modest intervals of time with things this sort of as a frozen handle-stuffed Kong toy or LickiMats inside of a pet’s crate.

“Enrichment toys and puzzles also assistance, alongside with physical exercise, so pet dogs are mentally and physically weary,” she additional.

Every single pet is diverse, Sweetnam claimed, so when picking a reward, deciding concerning food, toys or interactive participate in can be difficult. Having said that, most pet proprietors will appear to find out what solution is most effective for their pet.

Alongside with addressing separation anxiousness, pet owners are also contacting for applications that will establish manners and simple obedience.

“Pet proprietors want a effectively-behaved pet when having walks or when buddies and household come to take a look at at the residence,” reported Kevin Lee, group manager for teaching at PetSafe. “They can attain fundamental obedience—sit, here, heel and down—through a range of our distant trainers.”

Angela Pantalone, operator of Wag Central, a retailer and pet solutions provider in Stratford, Conn., features staples these types of as education treats.

“My most loved brand is Polkadog simply because they are essentially a one component,” she claimed.

Wag Central presents training lessons, and supplying house owners with guidance in picking correct products and solutions is also central to addressing behavioral issues.

A 2019 research commissioned by Enterprise of Animals relating to coaching and habits observed that 55 % of dog owners claimed that their canine pulled on the leash, according to Dr. Mugford.

At Petagogy, harnesses are a favored schooling remedy to deal with the issue.

“Harnesses give the owner additional leverage in a optimistic way,” Blum said. “In conditions of coaching, we are a power-no cost, non-adversive store and have no prongs or shocks. We want anything to be constructive reinforcement.”

Long sales opportunities for remember schooling, clickers, teaching treats and enrichment pursuits are also in Petagogy’s education solution combine.

Nuisance barking is an additional difficulty pet homeowners are hunting to handle, according to Lee.

“While pet dad and mom want to know if someone or a thing is likely on outside the residence, when it comes to nuisance barking, they are choosing to use answers these as Petsafe’s bark collars to discourage the continual barking challenges,” Lee explained.

Cat & Dog Dissimilarities

Cats and canine are inclined to have unique behavioral troubles, and retailers really should be completely ready with products and information to help house owners of both species.

For occasion, scratching is a primeval compulsion for cats and typically an issue for their house owners, Dixon famous.

“Understanding ‘the simply call to scratch’ and employing scratch-defense items can greatly reduce this trouble,” he explained.

Compared with cats, pet dogs have a organic desire to sense secure in their surroundings and will attempt to relieve anxiousness and boredom by scratching at partitions, doors and flooring, digging, biting or chewing, in accordance to Dixon.

“This can come about when pet dogs improve extremely reliant on their proprietor and are unable to cope with staying still left alone for a interval of time,” Dixon additional. “It’s essential for pet mother and father to comprehend that undesirable pet behavior can be ‘treated’ with residence security goods, coupled with positive reinforcement education.”

New Merchandise

Improvements in Training

From remote-managed take care of dispensers to no-pull options and anti-scratch limitations, companies are assisting retailers clear up pet owners’ instruction and habits problems with a range of new solutions.

The enhance in pet entrepreneurs working from home throughout the pandemic translated to a lot more chances to coach and deal with canines throughout the working day, in accordance to Dr. Roger Mugford, CEO and founder of Organization of Animals, a U.K.-primarily based producer with offices in Colorado and Australia.

To additional the doggy-operator bond and superior support the growing range of puppy house owners whose pets are not foods oriented, Corporation of Animals is launching Coachi, a brand dedicated to positive reinforcement instruction as a result of play and reward toys.

This interactive new assortment focuses on nurturing confident, content puppies of all ages, Dr. Mugford said. The shopper-helpful selection of teaching equipment incorporates whistles, instruction strains, rest room schooling bells, clickers, and fetch-and-reward pouches.

Suppliers keep on to innovate in the address-centered training class as properly.

PetSafe’s new Instruct and Handle, a remote-controlled treat dispenser, allows pet proprietors to reward a canine quickly from up to 30 toes absent.

“Reward-primarily based instruction makes it possible for for rapid, targeted lessons that can be tailored for unique schooling desires,” claimed Kevin Lee, category manager for training for the Knoxville, Tenn.-primarily based company.

Furthermore, PetSafe options to release its Gentle Position coaching collar in November. The collar is a no-pull resolution that is an alternate to prong collars, working with rubber details to utilize gentle force to discourage pulling, stated Mandie Sweetnam, category manager for toys and behavior.

Clawguard has introduced a number of updates in the teaching and conduct place.

“To address the root lead to of a pet’s behaviors, we usually advocate pairing Clawguard products and solutions with optimistic reinforcement education,” mentioned Kevin Dixon, founder and CEO of the Charlotte, N.C.-primarily based corporation. “Our new spouse, Free of charge Will Animal Instruction, does just that.”

Primarily based in Charlotte, N.C., Cost-free Will Animal Teaching presents distant or in-human being teaching. Information can be uncovered on the Clawguard web page or at

Produced in spring 2022, Clawguard’s Window Sill Protectors are distinct, high-high-quality, anti-scratch claw and slobber obstacles for properties or any inside that embraces pets. The items give security from scratching, clawing and chewing injury caused by canines of all dimensions, cats, birds and other pets.

“The crystal obvious superior tech plastic we use is made to match any décor,” Dixon mentioned. “By creating a strong barrier, window sills are protected.”

Clawguard’s new Anti-Scratch Cat Schooling Tape XL Sheets and Custom made Strips are clear, double-sided adhesive film obstacles engineered to practice and prevent cats from scratching, clawing and leaping on household furniture, couches, drapes, screens, counters and more.

“Simply set up the Education Tape to the wanted surface area to produce a long lasting barrier with anti-scratch attributes to defend widespread scratching places,” Dixon mentioned. 

The product is very easily eradicated, leaving no residue.

Shopper Instruction

Navigating a Variety of Instruments

The breadth of the coaching and behavior group helps make it crucial for pet source shops to know their products and solutions and be all set to assist information customers to the alternatives that could work for their particular pet and situation.

Retailers can help pet entrepreneurs to zero in on distinct teaching plans.

“There are so quite a few resources to pick out from when deciding on actions modifications for a pet,” reported Mandie Sweetnam, class manager for toys and actions at PetSafe, a producer in Knoxville, Tenn. “Focusing on precise objectives, like free-leash strolling, is an critical to start with move for pet mothers and fathers.”

Suppliers agreed that giving extra support—for instance, with sizing guides, instructional videos, articles, weblogs, behavior alternatives, responses to regularly questioned inquiries and proficient staff—will aid shops set pet entrepreneurs up for achievement when it will come to picking out the correct equipment for their schooling and habits wants.

Angela Pantalone, operator of Wag Central, a retailer and pet support company in Stratford, Conn., mentioned that investigation is central to helping buyers in locating answers to education problems.

“When it comes to the manufacturers, I do my research,” she mentioned. “I’ll go to trade demonstrates throughout the yr to make contacts. I know if I have a issue or want to purchase some thing, I can arrive at out to that man or woman straight.”

As a outcome, when a pet operator arrives to Wag Central with a particular difficulty, Pantalone is ready to steer that consumer to the right item.

“I am genuine if it is anything that I never have but they may possibly want to test,” she extra.

Heather Blum, co-proprietor of Petagogy, a retailer with destinations in the Pittsburgh place, mentioned that dialogue with pet homeowners is a different element to instruction accomplishment.

“We just question a ton of inquiries. We want to know what they have experimented with, and we have trainers to suggest,” Blum claimed. “A good deal of it depends on the distinct want, but it also comes down to vitality, boredom, psychological stimulation and training demands.”

Recommendations are also centered on personalized knowledge, Blum ongoing, “for instance, our individual utilization skills, or what our teaching companions could possibly recommend.”

Being familiar with and remaining thoughtful of each and every pet owner’s scenario is essential to offering beneficial and significant steerage, claimed Kevin Dixon, founder and CEO of Clawguard, a producer in Charlotte, N.C.  

“In this group in particular, it is practical for the retailer to fully grasp what the pet guardian is going via and to use compassion when suggesting alternatives,” Dixon reported.

Merchandising & Advertising

It’s in the Presentation

On the revenue flooring, placing a highlight on pet training products can aid guideline consumers in their education journey.

At Huck and Harlowe, a retailer with places in Rosemary Seaside and Seaside, Fla., instruction treats are exhibited on a pedestal in close proximity to the product sales sign-up.

“We have 3 unique sorts of teaching treats: hen, duck and salmon,” claimed Mason Blackwell, co-owner and co-founder. “We inform buyers these treats are very good for household coaching their puppy.”

Huck and Harlowe also stocks education doorway bells, which are shown hanging on a hook.

“A puppy dog or pet dog can be taught to hit its nose on the bells to go out,” Blackwell mentioned.

Merchants agreed that social media plays a central purpose in marketing and advertising.

“Every day, our Instagram tales showcase solutions, with a link to our Instagram retail store where by buyers can order items,” explained Angela Pantalone, operator of Wag Central, a retailer and pet company provider in Stratford, Conn.

At Petagogy, a retailer with places in the Pittsburgh area, highlighting a refreshed assortment of puzzles and enrichment toys garners pet operator fascination. Having said that, co-proprietor Heather Blum emphasized face-to-confront conversation as the ideal marketing technique when helping pet proprietors in teaching product choice.

“We have discussions with our consumers and display them objects that might solve a distinct problem,” she reported.

Trade Chat


Joe McIver, director of brand name promoting at Whitebridge Pet Brand names in St. Louis

What are the leading troubles pet entrepreneurs are wanting to handle as it relates to schooling and actions, and how can aids such as education treats aid?

With pet dogs staying handled as portion of the relatives and involved in extra activities, owners have come to be attuned to the rewards of obtaining a nicely-behaved pet and are trying to find out thriving coaching strategies. Scientific studies have proven that optimistic-reinforcement schooling making use of treats and benefits is substantially additional helpful in motivating pet dogs to discover commands and behaviors than punishment-based strategies like coaching collars. That is why numerous organizations that prepare service pet dogs, such as the U.S. military, have adopted the optimistic strategy.

Making use of the ideal reward treats as incentives is the vital to thriving positive-reinforcement instruction. The treats will have to have an irresistible flavor and aroma to capture the dog’s awareness and motivate her to master. They ought to also be very low in energy because education demands repetitive gratifying. Shops should inventory a wide assortment of coaching treats throughout numerous formats, taste options and rate points to appeal to distinctive varieties of pet dogs and pet dad and mom.

At Whitebridge, we offer one particular of the major portfolios of coaching treats, with three key Usa-produced brands—Tricky Trainers, Pet Botanics and Crazy Doggy. Challenging Trainers, our premium manufacturer, is designed with healthful natural substances and consists of Crunchy, Delicate & Chewy treats and a new Freeze-Dried structure.

Pet Botanics is a mid-top quality manufacturer with botanical inclusions that has lengthy been well known with professional trainers. It is out there in a 3-calorie or a Mini 1.5-calorie dimensions for smaller canines, and presents a broad preference of meaty flavors (Rooster, Bacon, Beef, Duck) and formats (Delicate & Chewy, Jerky Bites and Freeze-Dried). Mad Canine places enjoyable into teaching, with colorful customer-attracting packaging featuring cartoon dogs. But within, these chunk-sized treats are significantly productive coaching tools, out there in two dimensions and four flavors.