We had the good fortune of connecting with Abby Fields, KPA-CTP and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Abby, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Growing up, I always had an entrepreneurial mind. I started different businesses such as a lemonade stand, baking bread and going door-to-door in my neighborhood selling it, pet sitting/dog walking, and babysitting. I think my home environment fostered this mentality. When I was around 9, my Dad started his own engineering firm so I had the privilege of watching him build a successful company and the highs and lows of owning your own company. When I started pursuing dog training as a career, it was never a question of if I would start my own business one day, it was just a question of when.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.

My goal for Sweetwater Bark is for us to create an environment and to have a coaching style that helps our clients enjoy working with their dogs. Training shouldn’t be stressful, for the owner or the dog, it is about building a better relationship with your dog so that you enjoy your dog even more than you already do. All of the trainers on our team are certified through Karen Pryor Academy, CATCH Canine Trainers Academy or CCPDT, or are being mentored by me as they work towards their certifications. That is one aspect that makes us stand out from a lot of other dog training options. The dog training industry is not regulated, which means that anyone can call themselves a dog trainer regardless of their skills or knowledge of the science behind how dogs learn and how to properly apply that. We use force-free methods, which means we don’t use pain or punishment to train dogs. We teach the dog how to learn through positive reinforcement and developing a relationship of trust with their owners. One of my favorite parts of the job is showing owners how easy and fun it can be to open up communication between them and their dog and to see the look on their faces when they realize just how smart their dog is!

The road to this point has not been easy, it has been a lot of hard work, long hours and time. Building a great business just takes time and it takes having the right people on the team. I wanted the company to grow organically through word of mouth. I don’t want someone to sign up for training with us only because of good marketing, I want someone to sign up for training with us because they were referred to us from a friend or a vet who knows that they will receive excellent service with us.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Jupiters Pizza and Waffles Co. in Sugar Land Town Square would definitely be on the itinerary! We would also go to the Houston Zoo and the Houston Aquarium, lots of animal things need to be involved for a truly wonderful time. I also really enjoy all of the parks and walking paths in the area, such as Oyster Creek Park.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
A huge shout out to my parents! Surprisingly, my family members were not huge animal lovers when I was growing up. I was the animal lover in the family and though we did have a family dog when I was younger, I was the one who was asking for more pets. When I was 13, my parents adopted an Australian Shepherd for me who I named, Angel, and that is when my dog training career really began. My shout out to my parents is the support that they have given me over the years. They paid for me to take dog training classes with Angel and when I was in high school, my Mom would drive me to agility classes every week and would sit and watch me work with my dog in the class. They never questioned my decision to be a dog trainer, they financially and emotionally supported me in pursuing my dreams from the start. And, when I started my own business, they both helped me in multiple ways. My Dad helped me create my first round of brochures and marketing materials and my Mom helped me get set up with book keeping and the financial side of the business. I would definitely not be where I am today without their love and support. Also, for my dog training career in general, I have learned from all of the other dog trainers that I have worked with over the years and I have had the privilege of working with some excellent trainers.

Website: www.sweetwaterbark.com

Instagram: @sweetwaterbark

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/swbark/

Image Credits
Ashworth Imagery

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