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Animal Behavior College Inc.
Steven started Animal Behavior College Inc. in 2001. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Animal Behavior College Inc. ?
I was a professional dog trainer for 15 years. I realized during the mid-’80s that the pet industry was going to undergo a change. Specifically, small independent stores would lose market share to larger corporate players. In the pet business the only way larger stores would be able to compete with entrenched “Mom and Pop” local ones would be to offer some sort of “one-stop” shopping concept. A pet supermarket which aside from an insane number of products might also include services like dog training, grooming, etc. So, I made contact with a growing pet chain.
As a result of this, my small Los Angeles based company started offering obedience training classes in their stores. This was revolutionary at the time and we quickly grew to offer classes first throughout CA and within 5 years throughout the nation. At its peak my training company had over 550 dog trainers teaching in hundreds of stores in 40+ states. But I had a challenge. We couldn’t find enough dog trainers. What’s more, we found that absent any certification or required educational prerequisites to work as dog trainers, a shocking number of people who answered our ads for trainers couldn’t pass our basic skill and knowledge exam. We realized that there was a real need for a school to train dog trainers.
At the time I visualized interested people going to my school, graduating, and then working for my training company. However, I discovered that over 75% of the graduates wanted to go into business for themselves. I started Animal Behavior College in 1998 and within a year came to understand that the school was a better business than my national dog trainer company. We incorporated in 2001 and by the time the pet chain bought me out of my contract in 2004, ABC was a stand-alone entity generating 2x what my dog trainer company was doing.
We launched our veterinary assistant program in 2008, our groomer program in 2010, cat training in 2016, and our latest course, aquatics management in 2019. In 2020 we set up a subsidiary school called Apex Career School. This school offers medical coding and medical billing programs. If Apex does even half as well as ABC has, I will be very happy as once again we will be helping people reach their dreams.
Don’t define your life entirely by your business. That’s a trap! Sure, it takes dedication and a willingness to forget or forgot other things in your life at the start, but avoid making this your only source of happiness.
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story
- Wiki Updater