Bexleyheath business barking up the right tree
PUBLISHED: 11:51 11 October 2012
Recognising how many different things contribute to responsible pet care, one Bexleyheath business is providing obedience and agility training, grooming and boarding all under one roof.
Situated in Avenue Road, Progress Dog Training is owned by husband and wife team Jim and Angela Fitch.
The couple had been giving dog training sessions at St John’s Church Hall in Sidcup on a temporary basis for 15 years, building up a loyal client base and a solid reputation in the area.
Jim, 48, said: “We’ve been operating in the borough for quite a while but felt there was a gap in the market.
“We had too many dogs coming to us so we felt it was important to broaden our horizons. We’ve seen places which have the facilities for people to leave their dogs when they go on holiday and places which train dogs, so we tried to combine the two and it just snowballed from there.”
Dogs of all ages are welcome at Progress where the reward-based method of ‘clicker’ training is offered alongside rally obedience, which combines agility for fun and stimulation.
Pets can be dropped off for a pampering session or owners can join a grooming workshop for £25. It teaches bathing and drying advice, basic health check training including eyes, ears and teeth cleaning as well as nail-clipping and brushing.
Angela, 42, who is accredited by the British Institution of Professional Dog Trainers, said: “Working with animals is always something I wanted to do. I started off grooming but got into training because I thought it would be challenging and I wanted to push myself.
“Teaching was a big plus too because I love working with people and a great deal of training is working with the owners.”
Progress currently has five staff but Angela says the firm hopes to expand.
“There are not many centres like us in the country, let alone in Kent. It’s rare to get all these facilities under one roof. It would be great to be a chain one day.”
The couple live in Bexleyheath and have been together in the borough for 20 years.
Jim said: “We have a lot of regular customers and it’s getting better month on month. We’re almost at capacity with the doggy day care, training is through the roof and the shop is going well.
“We’ve got the community in our hearts and I think it shows through in our work. It helps that we started with a regular customer base. We want the business to have a real family feel.”
The business is open from 9am to 6pm, Mondays to Fridays, and 9am to 5pm on Saturdays. Visit www.progressdogtraining.co.uk.