Since Fitdog’s conception, it has been the company’s goal to offer easily accessible sports activities for all dogs. In October 2018, we launch an online platform that allows owners to conveniently book sports-based training, classes, and excursions for their dog. We sat down with Fitdog’s co-founder, Andrea Servadio, to talk about the platform and how she hopes to revolutionize dog care.
FD: What inspired you to create this new format of booking dog sports classes?
AS: Our Jack Russell is super active and smart. We noticed early on that he required a lot of mental engagement in order to be entertained (and to keep him from digging up and eating our furniture). At the time, we looked into earth dog courses for him, but the classes were so far away. Plus in order to participate, you had to become a member of the American Kennel Club and compete in the sport. We just wanted him to be able to dig holes and have fun.
Since then, I’ve always wanted to create sports classes that were easily accessible to dog owners. Just like how gym classes work for people, you don’t have to compete in boxing in order to participate in the sport; you attend a recreational exercise boxing class instead. Now we can offer that same service for dogs.
FD: Why do dogs need fitness classes?
AS: Dogs were bred to work. Up until the 1950s, it was common for them to work on farms or spend most of their time outside. But now, dogs are mostly companion animals that spend long periods of time home alone while their owners work. While dog walking and daycare help to an extent, it’s still not offering dogs the interaction and exercise they need.
Our classes give dogs the opportunity to learn new skills, exercise in new ways, and experience new things. It opens a whole world of possibilities for them. They come home tired and fulfilled because they just spent the day working with their mind and body.
FD: How do owners benefit from Fitdog Sports?
AS: We created the idea for dogs, but owners benefit just as much. Fitdog sports gives owners the tools to improve the overall mental health of their dog. Classes ease anxiety, reduce depression, and stop destructive behaviors caused by boredom. This, in turn, means owners have a better behaved and happier dog at home. Owners should not have to put their dog on Prozac or spend thousands of dollars on training when all their dog needs is a more stimulating and varied lifestyle.
FD: How does the app work?
AS: The app platform allows owners to easily book their dogs in sports classes online and choose pick-up and drop-off locations. We can pick dogs up and drop them off anywhere – home, work, daycare, boarding, pet sitter, etc. The best part is that owners do not attend the classes. So dogs can attend classes regardless of what the owner is doing. It’s a huge upgrade from dog walking.
FD: What kinds of dogs can sign up for sports classes?
AS: All dogs can sign up for sports classes. Generally speaking, treat-driven dogs will enjoy all classes and learn new skills. For sports classes that are designed based on a breed-specific sport, like mushing, dogs with those innate abilities will adapt and pick up those skills quicker than other breeds.
FD: How do you decide which classes to create?
AS: We get inspiration from existing dog sports and work with certified dog trainers to transform them into recreational classes.
FD: How do you find sports leaders and trainers?
AS: We don’t allow self-enrollment. Instead, we actively recruit our instructors. We require they have experience working with dogs or have proper training certifications to lead a class. After we determine that they are qualified, they go through an interview process, reference checks, and background checks.
FD: In an ideal world, what kind of life does each dog lead?
AS: My hope is that dog owners see the importance of giving their dog a varied schedule and work with companies like Fitdog to create the perfect mix of activities and exercise for their dog. Each week is something different and exciting, and solutions like Prozac and calming products become a thing of the past.
To get started, owners create an account for themselves and their dog and then sign up for a hike or class assessment. Every dog is assessed for temperament and sociability at home and for recall out on the trail. The assessment is scheduled between 7 am and 9 am before the Canyon Hike. After the assessment, dogs get an access level based on their recall skills and owners can book classes from there!
Want to learn more? Discover group classes here!
Last updated on 1/26/2020