At Lifeblood, we are constantly inspired by our clients and their passion for their companies! This month, we’re featuring an interview we did with Elisabeth Weiss, owner of Dog Relations NYC, a New York dog training company that specializes in teaching through positive, no-force reinforcement for dogs and puppies. With a myriad of service offerings, Elisabeth is passionate about encouraging clear, loving communication between dog and owner.
We wanted to talk to Elisabeth of Dog Relations about her response to the COVID_19 crisis, and how it has transformed her business and her future goals. Read below to get to know Elisabeth, her experience in dealing with the COVID_19 crisis as a business owner, and her unfailing love and commitment to her clients and their dogs.
Fast Facts about Dog Relations NYC:
- Elisabeth Weiss started Dog Relations NYC in 2009 and has helped over 1500 dogs and owners form a stronger, more successful bond.
- Elisabeth began her career as a talented classical violinist, studying and touring all over the world! Her love of dogs was present even as a busy musician, as she fondly remembers dogs she met all around the world with her violin teachers, friends and passing strangers on the street.
- Elisabeth has had nine wonderful dogs of her own that she loved training, and currently has two very photogenic Briards, Zeldi and Snorri.
- Dog Relations NYC is open for business, online! Elisabeth is offering personalized, online video sessions to tackle behavioral issues, house training, nutrition, injury management and anything else you and your dog may need!
What was your initial reaction to the COVID_19 crisis?
“My first thought was ‘this can’t be happening’ when I ended up making the difficult decision to leave New York City for the country. Before that, I was still doing visits for my clients who wanted me to work with their dogs and doing my absolute best to maintain a safe distance. I remember feeling very uptight about handwashing practices, and how to take care of the dogs and keep their owners and myself safe. Eventually, after honestly asking my clients if they were comfortable with me coming over, all of them but one said no. However, I felt so obligated to stay for that one client who still wanted me to continue working with their dog.
When my partner finally said it was time for us to leave the city, I felt tremendously guilty leaving my last client. It was so difficult to leave the city I loved, personally, but professionally, I felt incredibly fearful that this could lose me significant business. I felt like my successful, flourishing company that gave me such fulfillment, was suddenly being guillotined.
What shifted for Dog Relations to help you move past the initial shock of moving and business change?
“After getting out into the country, I had time to think and take stock. Truthfully, this was the first time I had to really think about my business, as I had been so busy with clients and sessions, that I was simply ‘cruising’ rather than looking into future plans for my business. However, with the brakes suddenly put on my in-person sessions, planning for something different was inevitable!
Personally, I felt concerned, frustrated and unsure on behalf of my clients and business, but I knew I needed to move past that. I knew I urgently wanted to change my business into a successful online model not just for financial reasons, but to maintain the deep, meaningful contact I have with my clients and their dogs… I missed them. This realization motivated me to get more involved online, create and implement online training sessions for owners and their dogs and reach out to transform my website and online presence. I was eager to have a job to do with Dog Relations NYC as free time was not something I was used to!”
How did you change your business into an online model?
“I always knew I could speak to owners and teach them how to train their dogs, but most of my business was working with their puppy or dog while the owner was away at work. Now, I coach the owner and the dog in a personal video chat training session. I’ve coached owners through a variety of situations with wonderful results! So far, I’ve helped a new puppy owner with instruction on how to ready her home for her incoming puppy, I’ve helped with housetraining, some light body conditioning exercises and information, and addressed several behavior issues, all with wonderful results for both dog and owner! I’m also investing serious time and focus in redoing my website with Lifeblood Marketing, and upping the usage of my social media accounts. It’s been a steep learning curve but I’m enjoying it.”
What have you learned during the COVID_19 crisis that has helped?
“I’ve learned that I really can help my clients, online. All of my big life changes have come at pivotal points, and this is another one of those moments. I am very happy to teach my clients to engage with their dog in a new way, and I love seeing how happy they are to succeed after one of our online sessions. It is very gratifying to see owners enjoy training their dogs, as this is my joy, too. I am very pleased with the variety of resources I can send to my clients, online, through training videos, detailed emails and guides, and being available to them through text and follow up calls to really ensure they and their dogs are comfortable.”
How are you feeling, now?
“I go back and forth between feeling empowered and overwhelmed! I do have a sliver of pride in seeing how successful the online sessions are for my clients, but I’ve been challenging myself to learn a lot about online systems in a short amount of time. I will be going back to New York City, soon, but the online sessions are absolutely staying as a staple offering to my clients. I feel like getting home to regular things like getting a haircut will be a treat. I won’t miss living out of a tiny suitcase, that is for sure!
Mainly, I am excited to get back to my clients and their dogs in the beautiful city that I love. This time has challenged me and my business to grow and change, and I am looking forward to the future and ‘new normal’.”
Follow Elisabeth Weiss and Dog Relations NYC to get your daily dog photo/video fix, as well as helpful, engaging tips and suggestions for you and the dog in your life:
- Dog Relations NYC Website: https://www.dogrelationsnewyorkcity.com/
- Dog Relations NYC On Facebook – @DogRelations
- Dog Relations NYC on Instagram – @dogrelations_nyc
We know a ‘new normal’ for businesses means they need to be more adaptable than ever to reach current and new clients. As in Elisabeth’s case, we see just how important it can be to have an online presence and a shiftable business model that can work in a variety of ways.
We don’t want you to be overwhelmed by the necessity of change, we want you to be empowered! Lifeblood is here to grab a virtual coffee with you at any time to discuss your ideas and options and get your business flourishing in a new way. Reach out at any time, www.lifebloodmarketing.ca.
Have a community story or a company you’re loving that you want to share with us? Email Carmen at Carmen@lifebloodmarketing.ca or message us on Facebook or Instagram at Lifeblood Marketing. We love hearing from you!