Hillary’s Hound House
“All the SBDC advisors were my cheerleaders. They were responsive, empathic, encouraging, and very positive in helping me get my puppy training center opened.”
Hillary Hound’s House provides puppy training programs and ongoing support for welcoming a family’s newest member into their home. She started out as a dog walker and began training the dogs on her walks to help the owners communicate better with their pets, ultimately leading to the idea of starting a puppy training center. Hillary came to the SBDC to help receive loans, create marketing plans, and improve its online presence.
Hillary Hound’s House provides puppy training programs and ongoing support for welcoming a family’s
newest member into their home. They treat the puppies like children helping them learn to play,
socialize, take naps and have manners and they assist the owners in being confident and effectively
communicating with their puppies. They also specialize in training children to work with their new puppies
and include all family members in the coaching and activities. Hillary’s Hound House provides a space
where owners don’t have to feel alone in raising their puppy children.
Hillary Alexander, the owner of the company has 35 years of experience working with animals and is an
impressive dog whisperer. Every puppy she works with is treated as an extended family member as she
provides such loving support to encourage the puppies in their development, honor their intuitive
abilities. She is a licensed therapist and uses state-of-the-art, research-based, non-aversive training
techniques that are combined with affection and gentle regard for each dog’s unique temperament and needs for exercise, interaction, and mental stimulation.
In Hillary’s words, “It was a season of miracles that started this business and have made this dream a
reality.” She started out as a dog walker and began training the dogs on her walks to help the owners
communicate better with their pets. This is where the idea was born to start a puppy training center.
Being a natural at dog training, Hillary didn’t realize how many benefits she was providing to her clients
until a few of them invested in her business idea which allowed her to get her location and begin the
build-out, but she still lacked funds to complete the task. This is when she came to the SBDC.
Hillary first worked with SBDC Advisor Robert Toering in reviewing her business plan and numbers so
that she could get a loan. The Marin SBDC helped get her connected to potential loan partners and
bankers to help fund her project as well as help her spread the word online for a competition to get a
Chase grant. After hard work on Hillary’s part, she was finally able to get loans from Chase Bank as well
as Working Solutions.
In addition to the funding support, Hillary worked with SBDC Advisor Ann Gusiff in helping her with a
marketing plan and practical steps to bring clients in when she opened her doors.
After having her doors open a couple of years, Hillary came back to the SBDC where she worked with SBDC advisor, Laurie Zerga on creating new strategies to build her clients and promotional materials. Hillary
has developed new training programs, videos, and classes and the Marin SBDC is helping her get
publicized in the local paper – the Marin IJ.
With the help of the Marin SBDC, Hillary has:
- Received $100,000 in loaans from Chase and Working Solutions and has been able to pay it all back
- Received $170,000 in investment gifts
- Hired three employees (two part-time, one full-time)
- Built her business on word of mouth referrels with excellent reviews from clients
- Created an internship program for youth under 15 years of age
- Gotten to do what she loves and make it her. livelihood!