If you are a pet owner, you may understand that the bond between a dog and owner is impeccable. You might have come across several videos on social media where a dog is happy, carrying out his shenanigans, spreading smiles on millions of faces. However, many efforts go into training these dogs, considered as an essential part of canine companionship. Elissa Weimer takes dog training to her heart to deepen the bond between the owner and the dog to widen their smile.
Elissa is the Owner of Paw & Order Dog Training and is a Professional Trainer, with numerous certifications to her name. Through Paw & Order, she offers professional, balanced, dog training and behavioral problem solving throughout the Pittsburgh area. Paw & Order recently expanded its reach to Southwest Florida, Houston, TX, and Central Ohio through franchising.
Insights Success caught up with Elissa in our endeavor to find “The 10 Most Successful Businesswomen to Watch 2022” and talked about how she is instilling pride in dog owners, as well as making dogs safer in the community as a whole!
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at Paw & Order Dog Training. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today?
I joined the military right out of High School. Being a Military Policewoman led me to the path I am on now. During college, I acquired a paid internship with the Attorney General’s office and later with the Federal Bureau of Investigations on their Violent Drug and Gang squad in Philadelphia, PA. After two years of interning there, I applied for a Special Agent position, but quickly realized that just was not what I genuinely wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to help people and wanted people to be excited when they saw me arrive at their homes—a different feeling than seeing an agent or police officer at your door.
I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I did not know where to start. I spent a long time figuring out what I was good at and realized I am good at teaching people. I just had to decide what I would be excited to teach! I realized that I love animals and that they had the power of making people feel good in so many ways. I realized that so many people have dogs, so I decided to shadow many other dog trainers and attended a ton of schools to learn as many techniques as possible to help people ENJOY their dogs. To this day, I continue to learn and better myself and my team of trainers to help as many people as possible. We not only continue our education with behavioral problems, but also with other areas of dog training such as trick training, Therapy Dog Training, Canine Good Citizen, agility training, large field socialization classes, and K9 Detection training (my Belgian Malinois and I won 1st Place Narcotics at last year’s Police K9 Competition in Kentucky). We realized how much we have to offer and how unique our company is that we decided it was time to franchise in 2019!
Tell us something more about your company and its mission and vision.
Paw & Order’s mission is to improve the lives of as many families as we can by providing quality and effective individualized dog training. Our vision is to continue spreading Paw & Order nationwide and have an amazing training program to ensure that the quality of our local Pittsburgh market is mirrored in every major city in the United States. We train our trainers to the highest standards and treat our employees like family. All our trainers are extremely valuable to us, and we make sure that they are well taken care of. It builds their loyalty to our brand, making them want to work even harder to ensure that our clients are happy and excited to refer us to their family and friends.
Enlighten us on how you have impacted the training niche through your expertise in the market.
Our training is unique to each dog and family. We have also made training simple and effective for families and dogs. So often, we hear that “my dog will only listen if I am holding treats or the leash/some other piece of training equipment.” Or a client will say that their dog knows all basic commands (sit, down, come, stay) but will not do it when there are other distractions around or the environment does not look the same every time for the dog.
Dogs do not generalize things well and need hundreds of repetitions in as many situations as possible to reliably understand what you are asking them to do. We have mastered our communication with dogs and their owners to train SIMPLE. We have found that overloading our clients with a bunch of training jargon that means nothing to them is not helpful. Dog owners want their dog to be a good family dog they can trust and be proud of! They are not competing in shows with their dog where they need to learn fancy tricks and unrealistic positions to their family situation (there is nothing wrong with competitions, but most pet owners do not care about that). Most people do not have perfect timing when it comes to communicating with their dog, so we use methods that allow a delay between rewards and consequences once their behavior, like/dislike, has been identified. This helps tremendously so that their dog will listen even if their owner does not have food or a leash in their hand.
We pride ourselves on solving behavior problems and teaching good behaviors for the long term, not just for the moment. Our clients have lifetime access to our trainers and they have access to a free private adventure group after their training is complete to make sure that they continue to be successful. It introduces them to an amazing community of other dogs and owners to experience fun things with. At least once a week, we meet up at trails, parks, stores, lakes, bars, etc., and go hiking, camping, kayaking, or just enjoy a nice day outside with our dogs and a drink! We want people to experience how life-changing our dog training programs are. Once your dog is well trained, your world becomes more fulfilling and exciting!
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future Paw & Order Dog Training goals?
We recently started opening new locations nationwide and want to continue doing so. We strive for the QUALITY of our trainers instead of quantity. Paw & Order is my “baby,” and we will only expand with individuals that match our integrity and motivation to work hard, be proud of what they are doing, and continue to improve the quality of the business.