Pandemic pups prompting surge in demand for dog training

ORLANDO – The pandemic sparked a wave of pet adoptions as many people sought a furry friend as they were mostly stuck at home for months. Local dog trainers say they are busy now as the demand for dog training services has increased.

What you need to know

  • The demand for dog training services has increased over the past few weeks and months
  • The kennel is full at Sit Means Sit Orlando
  • The owner says it could take some time for the “COVID companion” to act

At Sit Means Sit Orlando, owner Matt Smith says this is the busiest demand since opening his store more than 10 years ago.

“Demand is going through the roof,” said Smith.

“We work seven days a week approving overtime for our employees,” said Smith. “We’re trying to hire more people to bring them here because I’ve never seen that demand at this level before.”

It wasn’t long ago when the pandemic began, he had to lay off all his staff and shut everything down completely.

“No dogs, no trainers, no people – it was dead, pitch black – and this is the first time this has happened to us in 10 years,” said Smith.

But when things reopened in 2020, Smith said things turned quickly when his business got overwhelming demand from people buying or adopting new dogs during quarantine.

“Customers come in worrying like there’s nothing I can do and my dogs aren’t socialized now – I have an X, Y, and Z challenge – can you help me,” said Smith.

“So we’ve seen a huge surge in these types of questions.”

Smith says he and his staff trained almost as many dogs this year as they did all of last year.

His kennel is full.

“We’ve seen a small wait for a review – for people who may sign up – sometimes four days, sometimes 14 days,” said Smith.

Smith is now working to add more coaches to his staff – a long-term business goal that the pandemic forced him to accelerate. Smith says frustrated dog owners shouldn’t get discouraged.

He says it might just take some work to get her new “COVID companion” to behave.

“We’re trying to make people understand that you can do anything you want – a little effort and you can make it happen,” said Smith.

“It may take a little longer, but it’s worth the job.”

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