3 Things I Learned about Pet Care Businesses by Working with Camp K9

Recently I had the pleasure of working with the staff at Camp K9 Petcare Center in Madison, WI. This was a short notice consulting trip. Lori Campbell (who owns Camp K9 with her husband, Duncan) called me because she knew I would be in the area and asked if I would stay an extra day to come to her place. Lori is a charter member of The Dog Gurus and her facility uses Knowing Dogs, so I was excited for the chance to work with them. I am so glad I did! Camp K9 was amazing! Not only was the facility gorgeous, but the staff was friendly and energetic, and the dogs were emotionally healthy and having fun! It was the ideal combination of things. The trip was a great reminder to me about some key principles of running a great business.

  1. The staff is a reflection of the values and commitment of the owners. It’s clear that the staff at Camp K9 values education, best practices, teamwork, and an extreme commitment to learning new things. This trickles down from Lori’s own values. She is an avid learner, she seeks out advice, she encourages her staff to learn, and she trusts others to make her business work. The staff emulated these values as well. They were eager to find ways to improve and more than willing to try new things. They worked together as a team and there was repeated acknowledgement about the fact that everyone works together to keep the dogs safe. I don’t think this type of work culture is an accident. I think a key principle of business is that the staff reflects the owners. If you are having trouble with your staff or the culture at your business, look at ways to improve yourself first. That’s what great leaders do.
  1. The best way to have great staff is to hire great people and then let them do their job! These two ideas go hand in hand. Micromanagement usually results in low quality staff members who don’t care to think outside the box or take on any responsibility. Those are the same staff members who drive most pet care facility owners crazy. On the other hand, high capacity staff members usually have a strong desire to take on some responsibility and be allowed to take control of their workspace. And that is a challenge because most entrepreneurs like to be in control and don’t enjoy delegating to others. So pick your battle! I would rather have the high capacity employees and learn to give up control! When you get great people AND let them do their job, magic happens. At Camp K9 the staff was engaged, they asked clarifying questions, and they wanted to know how to improve. Despite the great job they were already doing, all their questions boiled down to “What should be doing to be even better?” The staff asked these questions with Lori in the room and with Lori encouraging them to participate! It’s a great team!
  1. Humility is an overlooked and often underappreciated leadership trait. Lori’s place is clearly one of the best I have seen, and yet her team seemed genuinely humbled by praise. They have great pride in what they are doing (and they should!), but that was coupled with a large degree of humility. It seems to me that professional excellence and humility should go hand in hand. The best leaders and teams seem to have an equal measure of both. This was certainly true of Lori and her team at Camp K9. The ability to have pride without arrogance was also something Jim Collins recognized in what he called Level 5 leaders in his book, Good to Great.

I had an amazing visit in Madison, WI and I hope the staff learned as much from me as I learned from them. If I ever move to Wisconsin, I’ll be taking my dogs to Camp K9. If you are already there, check them out!

Download-FREE-REPORT-ButtonFREE DOWNLOAD Do you have a pet care business and want some ideas on how to generate more revenue by adding dog training services? Be sure to check out this three page list of ideas for training revenue streams that can add more revenue to any business…some of which you can probably do with the staff you already have!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

4 thoughts on “3 Things I Learned about Pet Care Businesses by Working with Camp K9

  1. Congrats, Lori, for your success! I know these things don’t just happen, it takes a conscious effort to let others take the rein. You are giving them all the chance to reach their personal excellence, which is the mark of a great servant-leader. Thanks for sharing, Robin, it’s very inspirational!

  2. We were honored to have you visit us Robin! Thank you for sharing your amazing knowledge of dogs with all of us, we learned so much. And Thank You for your kind words about Camp K9 and our staff. You’re visit was priceless.
    (and Thank you for your nice comments Suzanne.)

  3. Your point #2 is such an important and overlooked part of running a business. In order to get good employees, you need to allow them to be good employees! Camp K9’s staff all seem like they are part owners.

    Presumably, Rumor was one of the happy dogs you met!

  4. We have boarded our dogs at Camp K( for over 30 years. The facilities are clean, safe,and excellent. The staff is always friendly and helpful. There was one time when I overpaid by travelers checks a $100. I was unaware I had given Camp K-9 an extra traveler’s check. They called me up and returned it. I appreciate their honesty and commitment to serving our dog children with the utmost care. I would recommend their business to any dog owner. They are the best in Dane County. We have used a few other kennels in the past, and I was not pleased with the condition of our dogs when they came back from these other kennels. When we pick up our dogs, they are clean, safe, and healthy.They o a great job in cleaning up the dog beds. They take special care to walk the dogs and see for their welfare. Our dogs love the nature walks. Our youngest dog loves going to day camp for extra fun with the other furbuddies. The staff responds promptly to emails when we are overseas. Their reputation is well deserved. They are an A+++ business .

Comments are closed.