Small Business Success Story: Dog Retreat Center

d’Andra Cahill and Teri Aslett bring a unique approach of patience over pressure to their dog training, boarding and day care services.

Nicola McIntosh Jul 22, 2020

Pet adoption has been a great antidote to loneliness during quarantine but working from home has also created challenges for dog owners (hello, barking dogs during video conferences!). That’s where Dog Retreat Center comes in.

Owners d’Andra Cahill and Teri Aslett discuss their “patience over pressure” approach to training, their tips for other business owners and the importance of a relationship banker during difficult economic times.

Teri Aslett and d’Andra Cahill
Teri Aslett and d’Andra Cahill

What do you want people to know about your business?

We are a new dog training facility in the Treasure Valley, but we’re not new to dog training — Teri has been training dogs for over 10 years. 

We’re excited to have a facility with three outdoor yards as well as several indoor areas that simulate the home environment. While our customers typically seek us out for training, we also offer daycare, boarding and ongoing classes for dogs that have been through one of our training programs.

What separates you from your competitors?

Our method is designed to teach dogs to adopt a calmer and more follower state of mind in areas of challenge. It is quiet, intuitive based, and promotes patience over pressure. 

We limit the number of overnight dogs to 20 and the dogs stay in different rooms according to size and temperament. We use essential oils, flower essences, and reiki to bring more support to the training process.

We are often confused with a daycare because we have a lot of dogs that come to us daily, but there are key differences. The biggest one is that we don’t turn dogs away that don’t do well in their social evaluation day. And we provide a structured activity schedule that includes both playtime and training sessions. 

How can people help support your small business?

We are so thankful for referrals and online reviews and that is one of the best ways to support us. Leave us a review on Yelp, or like our Facebook page and leave a review there. 

For all the people out there who used their time during the stay-at-home order to get a dog — congratulations! Give us a call. We’re here to help you and your new family member get adjusted and be ready for community events when we can gather again.

What advice do you have for other small businesses facing hardship/challenges?

Trust in your product or service. Remind yourself why you’re in business. Allow for lessons in resilience and let this show you what you and your business are made of. Ask for help.

We’ve worked with Zions Bank to take advantage of the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program funding, worked with our landlord on short-term rent, and have had clients who have proactively reached out to pre-purchase programs to help with cash flow.

How have you pivoted/adjusted your business or business model in light of coronavirus?

As a business that was 100% service based, and provided services in person, we have had to think about ways to offer more online training programs as well as add products to our lineup.

During this time, we’ve done phone consultations, Zoom trainings, FaceTime and even coached over the phone while driving alongside a client.

What was your experience working with your banker and Zions Bank on your Paycheck Protection Program loan and how did it help your business?

I have attended many small business seminars and they typically recommend that you have a banker. I honestly thought that was an antiquated idea since banking has become more automated. I now fully understand the importance of having a personal relationship with a banker.   

When the program was first announced, there was confusion, and our relationship manager Lindsay Hendrix proactively emailed us to let us know what we needed, what to expect, and how to apply.  

The funds have allowed us to keep our current staff and conduct staff training during the slowdown in activity so that we’re ready to go when demand returns.

As the top 7(a) SBA lender[cite::8031::cite] for 26 years in Utah and for 18 years in Idaho, Zions Bank’s team of relationship managers can help you find the right SBA loan[cite::8030::cite] for your business. Apply for a business loan online anytime or visit a local Zions Bank branch to learn more.

Nicola McIntosh is Social Media manager for Zions Bank.

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