Built from the ground up with his wife Caite, Chris Williams is proud to call “Run Your Pack” their family business -- specializing in every facet of pet training and working canines.
“If it involves a dog doing something cool, we try and get our fingers in it somehow,” said Williams.
Headquartered in Clinton, Run Your Pack offers obedience training, behavior modification, protection, competition sports, tracking, and trailing.
But in March of 2020, confusion and uncertainty were spreading faster than even the virus could travel.
Williams didn’t know if or how Run Your Pack could keep running, he just knew he needed to be prepared.
“The pandemic first hit big time, and we were starting to get the lockdown orders, and I kind of panicked a little bit and I went into that yurt, and I set up my camera, and I filmed myself teaching, I filmed myself teaching all the components that the dog might be going through in our board and train program,” said Williams.
If nothing else, he wanted to be ready with online training options in case he couldn’t meet with his clients anymore.
But as animal shelters began clearing out -- old dogs finding new homes, puppies becoming the hottest commodity -- Williams realized the threat was no longer a shutdown, it was whether he could keep up with the new demand for dog training.
“A lot of folks went out and got a dog, and understandably so, I mean, this was a chaotic time and it can be a very isolating time and what better partner to ride it out with than a dog?”
His service was needed, so he adapted, hiring a new trainer, reconfiguring their services, and answering the call for all of the people and pups needing help.
“We still do in person training, taking necessary precautions, but we’re also shifting a lot of our content online, and the new site that we launched recently, called “Work Your Pack,” is an ever growing project,” said Williams.
The new site has evolved with the pandemic. It offers virtual courses in disciplines like behavioral psychology, foundational obedience, and shed hunting.
There’s no doubt his industry is one of the lucky ones, but Williams credits his clients - their flexibility and loyalty - for seeing his family-owned business through the pandemic.
“It's just been so awesome how adaptable and flexible our clients have been,” said Williams. “Dogs are fine, but the humans you know, took a lot of patience and flexibility and for that, I know that as a business we are forever grateful.”
Williams told MTN News that his biggest concern moving forward into the pandemic, will be the potential of separation anxiety once life returns to normal. He advises those who have adopted pets to remember the needs of the pets.
“When this pandemic finally clears up, I don't want to see the dog that helped folks get through the pandemic become, you know, a nuisance or a pain. They're not just accessories to be around when you need it, they’re a commitment.”