How Dog Training Has Evolved Throughout the Pandemic

Franchising Magazine USA addresses the importance of dog training in the wake of the boom of “pandemic puppies” with Zoom Room’s CEO, Mark Van Wye.

Evolution of Dog Training

The global pet market is valued at $179.4 billion and projected to reach $240 billion by 2026, (Global Industry Analysts), and pet care services account for one of the fastest-growing segments within the pet industry. More pet owners are pampering and spoiling their pets to ensure they receive the best care. Out of all the pet care services offered throughout the pandemic, the demand for dog training services has remained at an all-time high and continues to thrive in the pet industry with more than 45.5% of dog owners training their dogs themselves (Pet Keen).

Why is dog training so relevant? According to Mark Van Wye, CEO of Zoom Room and author of America’s best-selling puppy training book, a well-trained dog is a happier, healthier dog. Dogs thrive on structure. Without purposeful activity, they will find their own way to occupy themselves and their active brains—which could result in a variety of unwanted behaviors.

As Van Wye’s team knows, dog training has changed quite a bit in the wake of COVID. At the start of the pandemic, many shelters were emptied when families, young couples, roommates, and singles sought to adopt dogs. At the same time and with most people quarantining at home, many new pet owners did not immediately recognize the importance of training their pandemic puppies. Many pet owners missed the early opportunity to socialize their new addition to the family and, as a result of this lack of adequate socialization, they are seeing many more fearful and reactive dogs, and more new dog owners who don’t understand what their dogs are going through. There is a dramatic increase in behavioral issues, including separation anxiety, that first-time dog owners simply weren’t prepared for. 

Where does this put Zoom Room some two years later? With many pet owners returning to the workplace, the demand for dog training services is higher than pre-pandemic. Puppy and obedience training classes especially are often booked solid for weeks in advance.  In the past fiscal year, Zoom Room experienced a 59% year-over-year growth in same-store sales, as compared to a 6% increase for the pet industry writ large.  As the business is run so efficiently, mature Zoom Room locations reported a median net profit margin of 40%, and even the brand new locations enjoyed a 27% net profit margin.

Developed around positive reinforcement techniques, Zoom Room emerged with an emphasis on socialization for both dogs and their owners through its offering of puppy, obedience, agility, and enrichment classes. The business model and their key distinguishing feature can be well summarized by their motto: “We don’t train dogs. We train the people who love them.”

Zoom Room, the leading expert in the field, has redefined the experience and the business of dog training. They have fostered passionate loyalty among their clients. They have transformed dog training into a limitlessly repeatable activity enjoyable by every family. In short, they are well on their way to making Zoom Room synonymous with dog training.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Zoom Room has already quadrupled its footprint across the nation, with locations in or coming soon to seventeen states on both coasts and in the Midwest. This growth continues to accelerate as this franchise plans to sign more than 100 units by the end of the year.

The pandemic may have accelerated the trend of retail flight in some sectors, but for dogs who require both their sense of smell and socialization with other dogs, the brick-and-mortar model is a necessity and is thriving.

The country is witnessing a record number of entrepreneurs looking to start a new venture; the pet sector has always fared well even during the most economically-challenged times; and the boom in dog ownership continues. These factors all play to Zoom Room’s strengths. Zoom Room credits its extreme growth curve to astute investors responding to Zoom Room’s ability to serve the needs of dog owners with a demonstrably profitable business model, thus meriting brick-and-mortar locations in communities across the country.