It’s been 17 years since a local dog training business opened on a dirt road in High Springs, Fla. Now, they are expanding to four new states.
Jose “Pepe” Peruyero, the owner and CEO of Pepedogs, plans to open locations in California, Colorado and Ohio by September. Within the last year he as expanded to Connecticut, West Palm Beach and Gainesville. Two weeks ago he opened a branch in Vermont.
Peruyero also owns J&K Canine Academy and Scentworx.
“We’ve seen consistent and continuous growth in an industry that usually loses its zest after a few years,” Peruyero said. “I think it’s interesting that we’re training second and third generations of families, and now we’re expanding.”
He said he picked the new locations because they are similar to Gainesville’s community in population and dog owners, and are already familiar with Scentworx, a brach of Pepedogs that trains dogs to detect bugs and is used in more than 100 pest control companies
Since 1998, Scentworx has worked with the University of Florida to test their mission, perform research and collect data on the company’s dogs, Peruyero said.
Helen Cariotis, president of the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors, said businesses like Pepedogs are growing rapidly.
“It’s great that Pepe has been able to expand,” she said. “I think most folks don’t last more than five years in this business, so I always say, ‘Don’t quit your day job.’”
The NADOI is the first national association of its kind, and Cariotis noted that it holds some of the strictest standards to become a member.
Cariotis said the downside to this business is that it’s easy for someone to open a shop and claim they are qualified enough to run it. However, unless the business includes a specialization, the business is unlikely to be successful.
“It’s like the Wild West,” she said. “Anyone can run this business, but what it takes is trust and really wanting to treat dogs like family to be successful.”