Since launching in 2006, the School for Dog Trainers has welcomed hundreds of prospective dog trainers through its doors. Our range of programs for dog trainers has seen several of our graduates go on to experience success in this highly competitive industry. From our comprehensive 24-week Master Dog Trainer program which encompasses all aspects of dog training, to specialized programs focusing on specific aspects of dog training (for example, service dog training, protection dog training or obedience & behavior modification), we are proud to be able to offer a variety of courses to suit every need.
It was over a decade ago when Patrice Goldston attended the Master Dog Trainer program at our Main Campus in Harmony, NC. After graduating at the top of her class, Patrice has gone from strength to strength, building a successful business – Dynamic Dogs of NC, based in Raleigh, NC.
In this latest instalment of our Graduate Showcase series, we spoke with Patrice to learn more about her journey from the School for Dog Trainers to where she is today. Patrice also provided some useful insights into the process of starting her own business and the personal qualities which can define its success, in addition to offering advice for anyone considering a career in the dog training industry.
Please tell us a little bit about your business, Dynamic Dogs of NC, and the services it offers.
I started Dynamic Dogs of NC approximately 11 years ago. At its inception, I made a promise to myself to work harder on this than I did for anything else. This was a dream scenario for me to be able to put to use the exceptional training I received at Highland, and offer a service of value to the public.
Dynamic Dogs of NC is not a ‘one size fits all’ company. We believe this is paramount as to what sets us apart from other trainers in our area. Our training programs consist of both steps and corresponding milestones that allows the owner to successfully achieve their training goals.
We offer a wide variety of services that go beyond your typical puppy training. This spans from private in-home training programs like: Puppy head start, Basic Obedience, and Behavior modification. Our group classes include Puppy school, AKC Canine Good Citizenship (CGC), Agility and Advanced Obedience.
Our slogan is – when it comes to your pet, all you need is us and your vet!
What was your background with dogs before you worked with them professionally?
I’ve always had a deep love and affection for all animals – especially dogs. I got my first dog at the age of 9, and began to realize then there was a gap in the way humans and dogs communicated with each other. I knew that had to be addressed. As I look back on it now, the tricks I taught my puppy then at my young age was actually shaping his behavior.
After college, I started pet-sitting on the side for several business owners in the area. By doing that, I realized I could take my passion and make it a career to help families with dogs. Every pet that I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with, I took the time to make sure I put my all into my time with them. I didn’t realize until I became a certified dog trainer that having this attitude is the first step to help build a solid foundation and make them a well-balanced dog.
How did you first hear about the School for Dog Trainers?
I first heard about Highland from my mentor in this business, Natalie. I started off pet-sitting for her family. Unbeknownst to me, they were telling people all over town about how impressed they were with how I was going above and beyond for their dogs. Natalie saw that I had a special connection with dogs, and more importantly, how I communicated with their owners as to what was the best way to ensure their dogs thrived.
Which program did you study at the School for Dog Trainers, and when did you attend?
I attended the Master Dog Trainer program in 2010. I poured my heart and soul into that program, and was able to graduate at the top of my class. I received my certification in On-leash, Off-leash, and behavior modification.
Can you provide some insight into how your education at School for Dog Trainers helped you to start your own business? How do you use what you learned in your day-to-day business activities?
My time at Highland gave me more education and insights into dog training than I could have ever imagined. I especially enjoyed the learning about dog psychology and seeing the scientific reasons why dogs do the things they do, and how they take in the world around them. I carry those lessons and case studies with me today and utilize them on a daily basis.
Having this training from Highland really helped me with developing my own lessons plans for training and opening the lines of communication between dogs and humans.
How easy (or difficult) did you find it to transition to running your own business?
Starting a business can be a very frightening journey. There are so many other aspects you have to consider beyond just simply performing the service. It takes drive, initiative, and most importantly, belief in yourself.
Personally, I felt once I was able to get my first few trainings down and under my belt I knew this was something I was going to be successful with and excel at. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to have trained over 500 dogs and watch my business and team grow. Being able to hire a project manager, web designer, and pet sitters have really helped to take Dynamic Dogs of NC to the next level. During the period of 2019 to 2020 alone, my client base has more than doubled – which afforded me the opportunity to hire a new trainer who is also a graduate of the School for Dog Trainers!
What is your favorite aspect of running your own business?
I really enjoy having the flexibility to take on new clients and projects as I deem would be best for the company. Working with different families and being able to give them the skills and tools to overcome past challenges and achieve their goals. I especially enjoy having the opportunity to work with local rescue groups and animal shelters. There is nothing more rewarding than working with and rehabilitating a dog – by being able to show that, with a different perspective on training, almost any dog can become well-balanced and a loving part of the right family.
Do you have any advice for graduates from the School for Dog Trainers who are thinking of starting their own business in this industry?
My advice for new graduates is to stay true to your goals, and never forget the world-class training you received. If your goal is to start your own business, write out a business plan and make sure you’ve researched everything! Network and collaborate with other graduates who have been successful in the industry.
And finally, never give up on your dream!
What are your future aspirations for Dynamic Dogs of NC?
We are taking on more and more clients each month. We’ve started to look at expanding beyond the Raleigh-Durham area into other cities across North Carolina – Charlotte, Asheville, Wilmington, and Greensboro are areas I’d like to increase the footprint of Dynamic Dogs of NC.
I’m also always looking for new and high-achieving trainers who are passionate and ready to put their Highland training into action, and joining the Dynamic Dogs team. We are looking at expanding Dynamic Dogs of NC beyond traditional training and offering a day care/non-traditional boarding service for dogs.
I’m excited to see what the future holds for the company!
Read more in this series:
Graduate Showcase: Anna Shreeves & Walk SLO Pet Care
Graduate Showcase: Carmen Nixon, David Berlak & Paw by Paw Dog Training
Graduate Showcase: Steve Rigden & Taipei Dog Training
Graduate Showcase: Rebekah Collins & LittleRose Canine Services
Graduate Showcase: James Leung & Hong Kong Canine
Graduate Showcase: Katie Weibel & Appalachian Dog Training
Graduate Showcase: Jessica Geas & Petrichor K9