9 things dog trainers need to know about working with journalists


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Are you fed up of seeing the same old dog trainers spouting advice in the media and want a slice of the action?

It can be frustrating seeing the same names crop up over and over, particularly if you feel they use methods which are out of date.

Or aversive, or that leave pet owners feeling stressed and upset as it’s not the way they want to train their dog.

There IS something you can do about it – pitch to the press yourself.

I’ve worked with HUNDREDS of dog trainers and helped them to put their advice in the media, reaching millions of owners.

If you’d like to chat about working together and you’re a dog trainer who’d love to learn about getting in the press, you can book a chat here.

You can do the same and in this podcast I’m sharing nine things you need to know to make it happen. Listen in on the link below or read the key points as a blog.


1. Journalists want to hear from you

In the UK, one in three homes has a dog. We love talking about them, hanging out with them, reading about them, learning about them.

So you are at an advantage as the journalist will want to hear from you if you have an interesting viewpoint or story to share as a dog trainer.

Ideas include client transformations, expert comment, responses to stories in the news, your own take on an awareness day, your own journey as a dog trainer and opinion pieces.

2. You need to have a story

You can’t just approach the journalist and say, ‘Write about me.’ There needs to be an angle.

But it’s easy to come up with one. 

3. You need to be charming

There’s a reason why Graeme Hall is in the paper, on the TV and radio, and not just because he has a PR team behind him.

However you feel about his methods, and that’s not what I’m here to discuss in this post, it’s because he’s charming. 

He comes across well, he explains things in simple terms, he’s warm and friendly, he’s positive on social media and doesn’t become embroiled in spats and dramas.

4. You’re speaking to dog owners, not other trainers

Imagine the most clueless dog owner you’ve ever encountered and that is who you’re speaking to.

You will feel like you’re dumbing down, like the weeks, months, years of studying aren’t in the least bit obvious when you listen or read the story.

This is GOOD. You have to speak in the language of the owners, not your fellow pet professionals. If you don’t grasp this, your pitches will be ignored.

And anything you do submit is unlikely to be published if it can’t be easily understood by the man, woman or person on the street.

5. Other pet professionals will have a pop at you

Be prepared for this. Other people, often those who don’t have the gumption to put their head above the parapet and step away from social media will have a go.

They will nitpick over the tiniest word or headline. They will say you don’t know what you’re talking about and why have you been chosen.

Expect this and let it wash over you..

As Brene Brown says: “If you are not in the arena getting your ass kicked on occasion, I am not interested in or open to your feedback. 

“There are a million cheap seats in the world today filled with people who will never be brave with their own lives, but will spend every ounce of energy they have hurling advice and judgement at those of us trying to dare greatly. 

“Their only contributions are criticism, cynicism, and fear-mongering. If you’re criticisng from a place where you’re not also putting yourself on the line, I’m not interested in your feedback.”

6. PLEASE don’t cut off ‘those’ newspapers

The newspapers that people love to hate, so the Sun, Mail, Mirror, are read by dog owner who need your support.

If you don’t pitch to them, other trainers will. Often who don’t share your methods and whose methods you would not use.

By cutting off ‘those newspapers’ you’re saying to millions of well meaning dog owners who are looking for answers that you don’t care about them. 

You care more about you the snobby opinions of others.

7. You CAN clarify important or complicated points

You’ve sent off an idea, the journalist wants the story. Brilliant. First, prepare the key points you want to get across before you send off your pitch.

They may ring as soon as they get the email, you have a conversation on the phone and they go off and write the story so you need to have the important things very clear in your mind.

If you’ve discussed something complex or controversial it’s absolutely ok to send an email clarifying your exact take on it.

If they have the information in front of them in black and white following your interview, they will use it, and the journalist will want to get it right.

8. You can’t dictate what the headline will be

Unless you’re able to pay thousands or even tens of thousands of pounds to take out an advert, you can’t tell the journalist what to put in the headline.

They write the story, it’s often passed on to sub-editors who write the headline and lay out the page. What they write is out of your control.

The heading may look ‘clickbaity’ and this is because they want people to click on it.

Unless it is hugely inaccurate or defamatory, suck it up. Do you want people to read what you’ve got to say? If so, then welcome a clever headline that gets people talking.

9. Being in the press is a good thing for you

Unless it’s a court report, there’s been a training disaster, or an animal has been lost or injured, if you’re in the press it’s going to be good for you.

You get thousands, hundreds of thousands and even millions of eyes on you and your work.

You raise your profile, stand out as an expert, boost your visibility, improve the SEO of your website and so many opportunities can come from being in the press.

Be a flamingo in a flock of pigeons.

If you’d like to work on getting your name and business in the press, I’ve a range of options from one off 90 minute sessions to long term one to one coaching.

Links mentioned in the episode:

Book a call if you’d like to chat about working together: https://calendly.com/rachelspenceruk/discovery-calls

Find out what happens on the one to one sessions:


Book your session here:


Five steps to get your pet business in the press:


How to write a press release for your pet business:


Keep in touch

Find me in my Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/publicitytipsforpetbusinesses

On Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/rachelspenceruk

On Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/rachelspenceruk

On LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachelspenceruk/


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