We help pet care professionals Launch, Grow, and Profit!!
Owning a pet business is a rewarding dream come true for many entrepreneurs. Like all good things there are also challenges and a lot of work involved starting and operating your pet business. If you ever feel alone, frustrated, confused or afraid know that we understand.
Our experts have been there! We’ve owned our own pet care facilities and we will make your journey easier!
Read Our Story
How The Dog Gurus™ Came to Be
It was 1997. Gas was $1.22 a gallon, the iPhone was only in the imagination of Steve Jobs and dogs were kept at home, bored and lonely, while their human friends were off at work. You see, humans believed that dogs should only interact with other dogs of the human’s choosing and certainly not without them being present. What they didn’t realize was that the dogs would be much happier with playmates. That’s when two entrepreneurs, living in separate parts of the country, discovered the need for dogs to socialize even without their humans. They believed if it’s good for kids, it would also be good for dogs. They took a leap of faith and trusted their instincts to pioneer the first dog daycare centers.
A former accountant living in Texas and a former Marine living in Virginia had mirrored lives and passions. Both were entrepreneurs, both were proud owners of insanely popular pet care facilities and both were bucking the industry trend at the time by putting dogs from different families together to play. Yes, dog daycare as we know it today was completely frowned upon 20 years ago, yet that didn’t stop these two pioneers from figuring out how to do it safely and profitably.
In Virginia, Robin was turning her hobby and love of dogs into a full-time business by expanding her dog training business to include dog daycare. Like most entrepreneurs she worked long hours running all aspects of her company initially, but she soon realized that she needed to work smarter, not harder. So after a year, she faced the reality of an ever growing customer base and finally hired her first employee. It didn’t go exactly as planned.
A few days after hiring Jessi, she felt confident enough in her skills that she decided to treat herself to a lunch break. It had been over a year since Robin had had a lunch hour and she was ecstatic to carve out a little time away from the office. She left Jessi in charge of about seven dogs knowing that group size had always been quite manageable for herself. She ducked out for a sandwich at Subway and returned twenty minutes later to find pandemonium. The floor was covered in blood, Jessi was covered in tears and an unfortunate small dog was shivering in her arms. Turned out one of the larger dogs was pestering the small dog and when Jessie picked up the smaller dog to put him safely inside a crate, the larger dog bit him on the tail. Luckily, the damage looked much worse then it actually was and the dog was fine, but the shock of the ordeal got Robin to thinking. Her natural ability to keep dogs safe wasn’t natural for everyone and she needed to figure out how to pass along her knowledge to others.
Meanwhile in Texas, Susan was working to figure out how to train her own staff. Her facility had a really good safety record with very few dog injuries. Her client base was growing and dogs liked coming to daycare, but she still faced an ever-revolving door of staff turnover. She figured there must be a better way to train the staff and keep them with the company for longer.
It was then that fate intervened. Robin and Susan met at a dog daycare and boarding conference. Robin was speaking and shared the importance of reading body language of dogs at play to keep dogs physically safe. That made a lot of sense to Susan, but when Robin asked the audience whether or not the dogs in their care were as well off emotionally when they left as when the arrived in the morning, that question really made Susan stop and think.
After leaving the seminar, Susan knew her staff had to learn canine body language to keep dogs safe, physically and emotionally, so she started searching for tools to teach her staff. Books on the subject were limited, very scientific and not something easy to understand. The videos she found were boring with slow, monotone descriptions of dog calming signals. Determined, she did the only thing that came to mind which was to create her own cut and paste book on body language to train her staff.
Then Susan had a brainstorm. What if two people who loved the industry and shared a common desire to keep the dogs safe worked together to create the tools needed? Both knew that people could be motivated to work in careers with dogs. Both knew that canine body language was observable and could be taught to others. Both knew their own dog daycare facilities would benefit from better tools and resources which were few and far between back when Robin and Susan started!
Nervously, Susan sent an email to Robin asking if she would consider writing a book together, a difficult task considering they were states apart and technology wasn’t exactly fast and friendly. AOL and EarthLink were the big internet providers, Yahoo Mail was just making its debut and the only Dropbox was the mailbox on the corner. Robin agreed and the rest, as they say, is history.
Their book, “Off Leash Dog Play,” went from being a concept to being a reality. Everyone who met Susan and Robin loved their techniques and begged them to create a formal staff training program. They developed a program called “Knowing Dogs” to teach canine body language to anyone who wanted to learn it, with the goal of keeping dogs emotionally happy and not just physically exhausted.
That was the start of their work together which has now led to their joint venture as “The Dog Gurus™.” As they began to teach others how to manage off-leash play, they saw the difference in the attitude of the dogs and the enjoyment of the staff members. The improvement in the emotional state of the dogs when people really understood canine body language was amazing. Now they want to give that joy and knowledge to all pet care facility owners.
The motivation for Robin and Susan continues to be the health and emotional well-being of dogs. They know that by working with pet care businesses, they can impact the lives of dogs!
As The Dog Gurus™, Robin and Susan help pet care professionals launch, grow and profit by showing them how to create a sustainable business with teams that truly know dogs. If you are ready to have more money, and more time to enjoy your own pets, family and friends we invite you to join us for the ride of your life!
MEET OUR TEAM OF GURUS
Avoid Costly Mistakes
Be a Leading Brand
Find Personal Freedom
The Dog Gurus™
Robin Bennett, CPDT-KA
Robin Bennett is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, author, speaker, and expert on dogs. She founded one of the largest dog training companies in Virginia and has been using her expertise in “reading dogs” to teach families how to train their pets as well as helping others in the pet care industry keep dogs safe for over 20 years. Robin’s first book, All About Dog Daycare is the number one reference on opening a dog daycare. She is also Co-author of Off-Leash Dog Play… A Complete Guide to Safety and Fun, and an extensive staff training program called, Knowing Dogs, which are the leading staff training resources for dog daycare and boarding facilities. Robin is currently co-founder of The Dog Gurus, the nation’s premier resource for dog care professionals. Through The Dog Gurus she is now helping pet care professionals get their lives back by showing them how to create sustainable businesses with teams that truly know dogs.
Susan Briggs, CPACO
Susan Briggs is a Certified Professional Animal Care Manager, author, speaker, and pet business expert. As co-founder of The Dog Gurus she brings over 18 years of experience in the pet industry with 12 years as co-owner and operator of a successful dog daycare, lodging, grooming and training business in Houston, Texas. In addition to being a co-author with Robin in publishing Off-Leash Dog Play and Knowing Dogs, Susan used her educational background in accounting and published Counting Noses: Accounting and Financial Management Guidelines for the Pet Services Industry. Susan enjoys making it easy for owners to understand the numbers side of their business so they can focus on care quality. In 2015 Susan co-founded the Professional Animal Care Certification Council whose mission is to provide independent testing and certification for pet care professionals. The program embraces Susan’s passion for providing quality care for animals.
Charlotte Biggs, CPACO
Business Growth and Development Guru
Charlotte Biggs is co-founder of the Professional Animal Care Certification Council (PACCC), the pet care services industry’s only independent certifying body. She also served as COO for four years for the International Boarding & Pet Services Association (IBPSA). Charlotte’s leadership in the pet care services industry, combined with her real-world expertise as the original owner and operator of Stay N Play Pet Ranch, Inc., which she and her partner founded in 1998 and grew to one of the most successful, full service, all natural and holistic pet care facilities in the country before successfully selling it in 2013, makes her a sought-after industry speaker and consultant. Charlotte is the current president and a ten-year member of the board of directors for PAWS Shelter and Humane Society which serves the Central Texas community. To expand the non-profit’s life-saving capacity and community outreach, she is currently overseeing the construction of a second shelter facility. Before entering the pet care services industry, Charlotte enjoyed a successful 20-year history in sales and marketing management in the pharmaceutical industry.
Dave Zellmer founded and operated two successful pet care businesses in the beautiful state of Virginia: Paws in Motion Dog Daycare & Boarding and A Dog’s Dream Pet Sitting Service. Dave and his wife Jess were charter members of The Dog Gurus and utilized the materials in their own pet care center for many years. Dave has real world experience on how to maximize each tool to produce a thriving, positive and safe working environment. He enjoys sharing his successes and lessons learned with the clients that he consults with. His dedication to elevating the level of care in the pet care industry drove him to work with The Dog Gurus and volunteer for PACCC, the Professional Animal Care Certification Council.
Jess Zellmer, CPACO
Jess Zellmer, a Certified Professional Animal Care Manager, found her passion for pet safety as co-owner of Paws in Motion with her husband, Dave. Their pet care center specialized in offering small playgroups with ample human interaction and highly individualized care for canine and feline guests. In addition to pet care, she has also worked in the medical field for ten years as a business development manager for the largest global provider of hearing solutions. In this role, she has a particular interest in helping business owners grow and evolve with the changes in the industry which she has found to be very applicable in the world of pet care. She is proud to serve on the Board of the Professional Animal Care Certification Council (PACCC), the organization that has brought independent testing and certification to the pet care services industry.