Vocation Vacations helped a laid-off music exec land a dream job, well if you are more inclined to care for pets then test drive The DogSmith through Vocation Vacations. Spend a few days in Florida and experience running a pet care business.

If you are interested in a career change or our looking for another job. Why not use this opportunity to turn around a new life. Become your own boss. The DogSmith is scalable, either be self employed and operate a small business caring for other people's pets or build a substantial Dog Training, Dog Walking & Pet Care business.

Check out The DogSmith Vocation Vacation, there are several locations in Florida to choose from.

Do you want to take your love for dogs and concern for their well being to a new level? Would you like to spend your days helping people meet their dog’s needs and enhance the quality of their relationship?  Do you have the skills to communicate effectively with both dogs and their owners?   If your answers were “yes”, then “unleash” yourself to explore a career training and caring for dogs.  Join Niki Tudge and her staff at The DogSmith and learn how to become a dog trainer, walker and sitter at their training facility in Bonifay, Florida, located between Pensacola and Panama City, and at The DogSmith Emerald Coast franchise nearby.

Niki Tudge grew up in England and went on to pursue a career in the hospitality industry.   For 15 years, she  managed hotels in exotic and exciting locations.   But while she was building her career, Niki was looking for opportunities to follow her passion for animals.  “Since I traveled so much in my job, I couldn’t have my own pet, so I looked for other opportunities to get involved with animals,” says Niki.

Wherever Niki worked, she always became active rehabilitating abandoned and abused animals. Then, while in Africa, she began developing her skills as a family pet dog trainer working with the local police K9 unit.  When her job took her to Hawaii, Niki decided to earn her certification as a dog behaviorist, pet dog trainer, veterinarian assistant and pet groomer.  Although her position as manager of a five-star hotel was demanding, Niki found the time to follow her passion and, with a partner, opened Hawaii Dog Training Academy which thrived for two years until another move took her to Florida.

This move caused Niki to really evaluate what it was she wanted to do.  “I was tired of working in the corporate life,” she explains.  She had spent her career managing hotel staff and had gained valuable experience in business and training. Now it was time to take that experience and apply it to a new career – time to follow her passion to establish a dog training and pet care company that would completely redefine people’s relationship with their dogs.

Niki and her husband Rick Ingram bought a farm in Bonifay, Florida, and founded The DogSmith in 2004.  Initially, they provided dog training with a mantra of “do no harm” based on scientific learning principles and positive reinforcement.  “We began working with the local Humane Society and became part of the community helping to alleviate the pressure on the rescue organization,” shares Niki.

Their innovative training program was well received, and soon clients started asking about other services for their dogs.  Niki and Rick decided to go beyond training and provide a holistic approach to helping clients care for their dogs by adding dog walking and sitting services.” We have become a one-stop shop for taking care of your dog,” Niki says.

Their business model has been successful, and they now offer franchises.  “We have a very strict screening process for potential franchisees.  Their philosophies have to align with our efforts on behalf of dogs and their owners,” Niki explains.  Franchise owners also have to commit to being involved in canine rescue efforts by contributing eight hours a month providing workshops and educational seminars. Today, with three franchises in Florida, one in Illinois and one in Pennsylvania, The DogSmith stands alone as the only national franchise that offers both positive, learning-theory based dog training services coupled with professional pet-sitting and dog-walking services.

Niki’s initial advice for someone wanting to get into the business of dog training/walking, sitting? “Do your research on training philosophies; recognize that this is a business like any business and requires attention to marketing, business operations and finances; understand that good personal service and building good customer relationships is the key to success.” And, of course, you have to love dogs.

Niki and her staff are committed to providing quality, competent, affordable services that benefit the dog and its owner.  Seven million pets a year are euthanized because their owners don’t know how to take care of them and respond to their needs.  The DogSmith is doing everything it can to reduce that number, and they welcome the opportunity to provide a “vocationer” the chance to experience how they hope to make an impact while running a very successful business.

While on your Dog Trainer/ Walker/Sitter VocationVacations® career mentorship with Niki Tudge and staff at The DogSmith training facility in Bonifay, Florida, and the nearby Emerald Coast franchise, activities will include some or all of the following:

Dog Training

  • Participate in assessing rescue and shelter dogs for adoption
  • Participate in and assist with presentations and program planning for a shelter or humane society
  • Participate and assist in dog agility training
  • Assist with group pet dog training courses at various levels
  • Assist with private pet dog training courses at various levels
  • Assist with private behavioral consultation
  • Assist with developing and executing marketing campaigns to include participating as a member of The DogSmith sponsorship team in a dog event
  • Assisting in the presentation of a variety of seminars to include 1) puppy socialization training for shelter personnel, 2) dog handling skills for shelter and kennel personnel and 3) The DogSmith Canine Resources for shelter and kennel  personnel

Pet Sitting and Dog Walking

  • Walking dogs with a DogSmith dog walker
  • Assisting The DogSmith escorting dogs to local Dog Parks and Beaches
  • Providing play outings, feeding and caring for dogs, cats and other clients which currently include, geese, ducks, donkeys, sheep etc.
  • Participating in strategic and tactical marketing exercises
  • Visiting vets, groomers and other pet related businesses
  • Participating and assisting The DogSmith with pet sitting in a customer’s home to include house sitting services
  • Assist in training and implementing pet care programs at local shelters and humane societies

The Dog Trainer/Walker, Sitter VocationVacations® career mentorship with Niki Tudge and staff at The DogSmith training facility in Bonifay, Florida, and the nearby Emerald Beach franchise, includes:

  • Two days of one-on-one mentorship in your dream job as a dog trainer/walker, sitter
  • The opportunity to participate in a total of one hour of pre- and post- VocationVacations career coaching from an accredited, affiliated VocationVacations career coach
  • A pocket-size VocationVacations journal so you can document your dream job coming to reality
  • Light lunches with your mentor

Available: All year, based on mentor's availability

Price: $949 Per Person