Federal Way man’s dog training business thrives during pandemic

What began as man’s best friend has grown into a thriving business opportunity for a Federal Way resident.

Marcus Wright, a 2005 Federal Way High School graduate, is the owner of The Northwest Dog Trainer, located at 22659 Pacific Highway South in Des Moines. His goal is to improve people’s relationships with their pups through training.

“To see dogs learn and progress to improve people’s relationships and their homes – that’s amazing,” Wright said.

Wright owns six dogs (four American Bullies, a 120-pound Italian Mastiff, and a Terrier) and is a lifelong dog lover.

In high school, he often spent time between classes or after school at local dog parks. College took him to a 10-year career in insurance and finance, but Wright knew his calling was dogs.

He spent years learning the tricks of training through seminars and working with a mentor in Tacoma. Gradually, Wright built a network of local trainers and continued to learn both the business and the education.

In October 2019, he decided to start his own dog trainer business and it started around spring 2020 – just as the pandemic hit.

“It was terrifying,” he said of starting a new business ahead of a global pandemic. “Back then I was still doing both [jobs], and dog training should be a hobby. ”

Thanks to an increase in “pandemic puppies” and community support, Wright left the insurance business and became a full-time dog trainer in 2021. Despite 12-hour days training dogs, Wright rarely feels like work.

The Northwest Dog Trainer sees around 40 dogs a week and focuses on obedience training. Wright says they take in all dogs, regardless of size, breed, or behavioral problems.

From engagement and creating structural boundaries to focus and basic command, Wright said that proper training can improve the longevity of a household and their four-legged friend by reducing relocation rates.

Customers often come from Federal Way, SeaTac, Des Moines, and Burien, and it’s not uncommon for Wright to run into a former classmate or two.

Wright hopes that in the future he can also start a mentoring program to help children and teenagers get to know the profession.

“I would have got into the industry much earlier,” he said if he had had earlier opportunities. “I’ve spent so much time with dogs, I just had no idea that would lead to it.”

For more information about The Northwest Dog Trainer and its services, please visit nwdogtrainers.com.

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