The Puppy School 'Concept'
The Puppy School aims to select and teach tutors to run socialisation/training classes for young puppies to a very high standard. Tutors are selected from around the country to build a network of well-trained professional puppy class tutors. These tutors work on a freelance and franchise basis. The tutors will be trained in animal behaviour and the latest training techniques, and the classes monitored to ensure the highest standards.
Publicity will be both national and local, with particular efforts made to reach vets, breeders and new owners. This will attract owners with very young puppies that can be brought into the classes while socialisation is more effective and while owners are still enthusiastic.
The majority of the income for tutors will come from fees from people attending the classes. This can be enhanced by sales of goods at the classes.
Puppy School franchises are designed to be part time, with tutors running classes in their spare time during evenings or at weekends. However, there is no limit on the number of classes a tutor can run.
Benefits for tutors
- Full training is given (via two 2.5-day courses, together with a distance learning course focussing on practical exercises) with subsequent supportive follow-up visits. A free advice line is available to help with problems and full support is provided to help the tutor get their classes off the ground.
- A co-ordinated and structured system with lessons that work are provided. Branding with specific logos/design for the advertisements and products give a professional edge to the classes. Registration forms, operational tools, and a record system are provided.
- National publicity will be conducted at the expense of the Puppy School (e.g. a paid advert in the Kennel Club Puppy Handbook, given free to all puppy owners registering their puppy with the KC). All tutors will benefit from this which will particularly target owners, vets, drug companies, pet insurers and breeders. Tutors will also benefit from publicity generated by other members.
- A system for local publicity for the classes is set up ready for tutors to implement.
- Goods for sale are readily available.
- Tutors are supported by being part of a national network with access to other tutors and backup from experienced personnel. A specialised, active email forum for tutors is available.
- Tutors can progress with the company as it grows.
- Established tutors are offered two free 3-day animal behaviour courses a year for the first 3 years. These courses will be taught by Gwen Bailey (see www.dogbehaviour.com for further details) and other experienced Puppy School tutors, and will cover all subjects necessary to provide tutors with a comprehensive knowledge for solving behaviour problems in puppies.
- Established tutors are also offered regular conferences to learn about latest techniques and exchange information and ideas.
- The Puppy School will give you a Starter Pack of goods worth over £100 (retail) when you begin classes.
Expectations of tutors
- After the initial training, tutors will be expected to run a minimum of 2 classes per week. Each will last one hour and it is likely that these will need to be run at weekends/evenings to accommodate puppy owners. There is no pressure to run 2 classes if puppy numbers are limited, particularly when classes are first set up, but tutors usually make more profit if classes are run in pairs rather than singly.
- Tutors will need to find a suitable venue for the class and do their own publicity. Full training and assistance will be given.
- Tutors will be expected to cover their personal and travel expenses when attending the training courses. Assistance with finding local low cost accommodation will be given. It is likely that the training will be held in Gloucestershire, but it may be given elsewhere if there are sufficient tutors in another area.
- Tutors will be expected to conduct their business in a professional and competent manner since the good name of the Puppy School will rest on their actions. Tutors will be expected to keep accounts and stock records and to run their business efficiently. Full training will be given and support and advice will be available.
Key personality traits
A Puppy School tutor must:
- have empathy, respect and concern for people and animals
- be self-disciplined
- prepared to work outside regular hours
- have high standards
- be financially responsible
- be able to take charge of a situation
- be comfortable speaking to and teaching small groups of people (with puppies and children)
- have patience and understanding
Practical experience with dogs
Full training will be given and it is not necessary to have any previous dog training experience or qualifications. However, it is essential that prospective Puppy School tutors have plenty of hands-on practical experience with a variety of different breeds and types of dog. This can be gained by working, either in a professional capacity (e.g. more than 6 months as veterinary nurse, kennel assistant in boarding kennels, dog walker or groomer) or as a volunteer (e.g. more than 1 year weekends at rescue shelter). It is also essential that prospective tutors have a keen interest in animal behaviour. It is desirable, though not essential, that they have some experience of teaching small groups of people.
Puppy School tutors will hold the Puppy School Tutors Certificate which enables them to run a franchise of the Puppy School in their area.
They will run their own business (instructions for this will be given during the courses) and will agree to give 20% of their course fees to the Puppy School. A Starter Pack of goods to sell (worth over £100 retail) will be given to you when you first start classes, consisting of DVDs, CDs, house lines, long lines and Puppy School books. Branded goods and books to sell in classes are available as trade prices for tutors. A franchise agreement will be drawn up and an exclusive territory given to each tutor. The cost of the training will be £550 + £100 deposit refunded when you begin classes. There is no further fee for the Puppy School franchise.