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Meet Karen Taylor of My Best Friend Obedience in The San Fernando Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karen Taylor.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
How did My Best Friend Obedience end up #3 on La’s Hotlist, and have 5 star reviews on Yelp, Google, and Facebook? I never really thought about it, I just keep going! Years ago I was a dog training hobbyist, did some obedience competition, and bred a few litters of Pomeranians! Even as a kid I did obedience training with our dogs; and then with every dog that followed me home! My parents said I couldn’t keep them but, luckily, they all found lovely homes thanks to their training! Fast forward to 1992, I had a motorcycle accident (which came with a skin graft), was going through a divorce, and had a “job” I wasn’t in love with; I decided I wasn’t going to wait any longer to do something with my life … but what?! Write a country song? At work one day, a few co-workers with new “holiday” pups asked me to help them. I had always been the “go to” person for dog questions and agreed to do an inexpensive class for them at the local park with their new pups! It went so well, that people who casually attended the park saw us, and asked if they could join! The rest is history! I have a saying I use all the time, “You don’t know what you don’t know, until you know it!” So I set out to learn as much as possible about training and dog behavior, I learned I already knew a lot (which was reassuring since I was already teaching)! There was so much still to learn, and still is! I learned you never stop learning, marketing your business, and striving to be better! I learned that when there is stuff you aren’t good at, you find someone who is, and refer to them! Then I thought, “Why not have those who are awesome trainers, who are not as well marketed as I am, come teach for us?” I had always trained others looking to be dog trainers. After all, someone back in 1992 helped me find resources and become a trainer. This was my way of giving back! Most taught classes for me at first, then became amazing trainers on their own. In some cases, I just helped people along the way to their success. In other cases, they helped me. I have learned it is only through sharing your success with others, and others sharing theirs with you, that you are fulfilled. Training people and dogs should be about love and caring, as well as results! I consider myself, and My Best Friend Obedience, very successful. None of us are rich, but mostly we are happy and busy training dogs…and that is what I set out to be!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Not making enough money
Being too big (too busy, but finally making money)
Being too small (not busy enough and not making money)
New technology (keeping up with new marketing and computers)
Legal Training Space (finding places to hold classes)
Competition (everyone wants to be a dog trainer and envisions we make great money doing it)
Trainees who believe they know more than they know and fighting over paying them.
Keeping difficult clients happy, while still keeping the great clients happy!
Keeping great trainers happy and paid well enough to stay on and not go on their own!

Please tell us about My Best Friend Obedience.
We are known as “the difficult dog specialists”. We help problem dogs be less of a problem, and, often, no problem at all! Lots of dog to dog aggression cases! We have lots of classes at lots of times, and lots of levels! We don’t just do obedience, we often do specialty classes, or at least intro classes for dog sports, so students can see if it is something they want to pursue! We help dogs and pups socialize. We have the best trainers, who aren’t only knowledgeable but we are people friendly (that can be hard to find in the dog training world)! My trainers often make policy and curriculum changes as they see fit! We are a working group. We listen to our students and even help place dogs when they can’t keep them and need help! We realize the most important thing is that dogs be part of the family, not irritate the neighbors, and be mentally and physically stimulated. We help our students achieve that on a daily basis with positive reinforcement and we don’t give up on anyone or let anyone “flunk-out” of class!

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Have a business plan, otherwise just know more about running a business before i jumped in with both feet to learn as i go…but i had to just go for it!

Pricing:

  • Groups between $99 and $159
  • Private training between $60 and $120 a session (packages available, your place or ours)
  • Socialization training during daycare or board a train at a few facilities for $65-100 per session depending on location

Contact Info:

1 Comment

  1. Heather

    March 10, 2017 at 02:19

    I have known Karen for most of my life and I don’t know anyone with the knowledge or love she has.

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