Starting A Kennel In Today’s Market: Part 1

If you are considering getting your dog professionally trained or simply want to board your dog over a weekend, as a consumer you are in luck! Compared to 15 years ago there are plenty of kennels — you now have more options than ever. It is as easy as looking in the yellow pages or asking your local vet.

However, if you are a dog enthusiast and are thinking about opening your own facility, there are a couple of options that you can pursue. Another reason someone may consider starting up a kennel business is that with the downturn in the economy here in late 2008, more people than ever are being displaced from their career choice, and are forced by the market to do something else.

To get started, you can rent or lease a facility that already exists or you can purchase some land and start from scratch.

Advantages Of Renting, Leasing Many
The first option may be easier because with either a building or land already established, you have eliminated one of your main obstacles. Both may already be existing and all that is needed is for the right person to come along. A lot of trainers get their start from hunting preserves or farmers that may already have a building in place. The building may need some remodeling to fit the trainers needs, but with everything already in place, you don’t have to deal with any legalities. The downside to this is you are paying rent and are at the mercy of the landowner that can make decisions about you and the business at the end of every lease agreement.

The author says a person needs about a 30-run kennel building to start a dog training business.

As a new kennel owner, I can tell you about the second option, which is purchasing land and starting from scratch. My business partner and my experience seemed to be difficult right from the beginning. We realized that starting our own business was going to be a challenge. Not only is the price of land going through the roof, if you do find some property to build a facility, you have to make sure it fits all your training needs.

In order to have a decent gundog kennel you have to have a minimum of 30- to 40 acres of land and the kennel must be close enough to a major market to attract business. This can be a problem because the start up cost for 40 acres, a 30- to 40-run kennel building along with the costs of a home on the property, can be quite substantial. This can get quite involved if you are going to try to make a living training and/or boarding dogs.

Starting From Scratch Not Easy
There is also another consideration and that is dealing with the local government. They are not always easy to deal with for a few reasons. Some county or township officials can be unwelcome to someone new coming into the area and trying something different. People know that dogs bark, and township boards will raise a lot of questions when submitting any plan. Gunfire when training dogs is always a legitimate concern amongst neighbors and has to be dealt with delicately. We found out quickly that our attorney was and still is one of the most important employees on our payroll!

If you are lucky enough to get the blessing of the local government with out any difficulties, the next hurdle may be the financing for the kennel building. Since kennels are a fairly uncommon business, most lenders do not have much experience with them. Convincing one to loan you some money can be very difficult. Even the best of business plans may not be convincing enough to a pessimistic banker.

Please read more in Part 2.

For a fine selection of Dog Supplies, click here.

Jason Dommeyer has a lifetime of hunting experience and 15 years experience as a dog trainer. He has turned many pets into expert hunting dogs at Cannon River Kennels ( In addition to training hundreds of hunting companions, he has trained dogs for premier pheasant hunting lodges in South Dakota along with duck hunting lodges in Mississippi and Mexico. His experience also includes both hunting and guiding for upland and waterfowl game from Canada to South America. If you have any questions, Jason can be reached at 507-663-6143 or visit ( He provides dog training tips twice a month.

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