Visiting Knoxville And The PetSafe Paw Print Blogger Summit

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It was a whirlwind of a weekend and I needed a few days to recover, but today I’m finally back at ye olde keyboard prepping another blog post.  Where was I you might be thinking???

Well, a few weeks back I was contacted by PetSafe to take part in their Paw Print Blogger Summit.  What the heck is the Paw Print Blogger Summit?  I’m glad you asked:

PetSafe® is hosting our first Paw Print Blogger Summit. As a premier pet blogger, you’re invited to spend two days at our headquarters at the foot of the Smoky Mountains in Knoxville, Tennessee. You’ll learn who we are, why we’re passionate about pets, and how our products not only save pets’ lives but enhance their relationship with their owners…[Read More]

Who Are PetSafe?

PetSafe® leads the industry in the development of innovative pet behavior, containment, and lifestyle product solutions. We provide containment systems, bark control solutions, remote trainers, pet doors, treats, toys, and a variety of food, water and waste management systems. We’re headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee but our company spans across the U.S. and 52 international countries – six continents total!

I already knew a little bit about PetSafe when they first contacted me.  I recently purchased one of their Patio Door Panels for Stetson and Linus and everyday I walk through my parents house I see the PetSafe logo on the top of their two cat feeders.  What I didn’t know was they also owned the Premier brand as well as many other popular pet brands.

PetSafe Dog Park
One of the 7 PetSafe Dog Parks donated to the city of Knoxville

Also under the PetSafe umbrella:

  • Premier Pet Products
  • Drinkwell Pet Fountains
  • Innotek Training Products
  • SportDog Brand
  • Invisible Fence

Out here where I live in Irvine, California you’re lucky if you have a yard bigger than the size of a patio.  So, I’m not too sure how relevant an Invisible Fence actually is for us, but I have heard the naysayers and know it’s a controversial product along with the Static Shock Collars.

I don’t know too much about Invisible Fences or Static Shock Collars, but when it comes to dog training it’s my goal to learn all I can about all products and training methods and even though PetSafe does make these controversial products I knew that this was a great opportunity to become better educated on dog training techniques using static shock collars and invisible fences.

Needless to say I was super excited to visit Knoxville, Tennessee, the PetSafe Headquarters, and some of the premier pet bloggers from across the country.

PetSafe Paw Print Blogger Summit

I arrived in Knoxville and ran into a few of our BlogPaws friends who were also participating in the weekends festivities.  We took a short ride to the hotel then we were whisked away to one of the 7 dog parks PetSafe has donated to the city.

PetSafe Dog Park
PetSafe Dog Park – I wish we had a dog park this nice!

The dog park was super cool and everything was setup for an awesome dock diving show.  I wish we had a dog park like this one complete with a dock built for dogs.  I should have brought a better camera because my little Nikkon just wasn’t up to the task.  At least you can see the beautiful background…

PetSafe Dock Diving Dogs
Yep…that little blurry speck is one of the dock diving dogs…the trees in the back look nice 🙂

We got to relax most of the evening taking in the dog park, dock diving, and sitting down for a nice meal as we got to know some of the PetSafe employees and meet with our fellow pet bloggers.

Our second day started off early (super early for me since my brain was still on Pacific Time).  We were picked up at our hotels and started our day at the PetSafe headquarters!

A Little Bit More About PetSafe

We had a lot to get through on Day 2.  These are some of the hightlights.

Innovation

I used to love gadgets as a kid.  After all who doesn’t want to be an inventor growing up.  PetSafe fosters innovation and it was very interesting to hear about how so few ideas actually become products.  I didn’t hear the numbers, but I’m sure even less become successful products.

Dog Toys And Gadgets

We got to see tons of dog toys and gadgets.  From Drinkwell Fountains to Busy Buddy Toys to Static Shock Collars to almost any dog gadget under the sun.  We also got to see some awesome gadgets that aren’t yet on the market!  PetSafe has some pretty cool things coming soon to a pet store near you.

CEO Randy Boyd

One of our favorite presentation was hearing Randy Boyd talk about how the company was  started.  I loved how Mr. Boyd was extremely humble attributing his success to taking a product and basically doing what he already knew how to do which ended up differentiating him from his competitors and ultimately led to his success.  Check out this story on Mr Boyd and how he founded PetSafe.

PetSafe Doggy Nap Time
PetSafe Doggy Nap Time

Paw It Forward

Paw It Forward is another awesome way PetSafe gives back to their community.  Every week PetSafe has pallets full of returned product.  One employee, Joy started the Paw It Forward campaign distributing these products to shelters and rescues in the Knoxville area.  Pretty awesome!

Bark For Your Park

Who wouldn’t want an awesome new dog park like the one pictured above?  Bark For Your Park is another way PetSafe gives back.   To become a finalist for the Bark for Your Park contest, PetSafe encourages communities of pet professionals, owners, shelters, welfare groups, and local civic officials to partner together to help their town win $100,000 to build a PetSafe dog park.  Any city can win just get your fellow dog lovers to visit the PetSafe website and vote for your city!  Here’s a little more information on last years contest: Bark For Your Park.

Corporate philanthropy was definitely one of my favorite things about PetSafe and their dedicated employees.  These were two of my favorite community initiatives out of many going on with the PetSafe team.

Static Shock Collar Training Demonstration

I know very little about static shock collars and was interested in actually seeing the device.  I went ahead and tested one on myself.  The collar I used was adjustable from level 1-15 and here are my thoughts:

  • Level 1-3 – I didn’t feel anything
  • Level 4-6 – I barely felt a little pulse
  • Level 6-9 – It kind of felt like someone was poking me with their finger
  • Level 10-11 – A little bit uncomfortable
  • Level 12 – It made my fingers involuntarily twitch and was not comfortable at all
  • Level 13-15 – I didn’t even try going this high, but I imagine it would not feel good

The static shock collar demonstration involved a Boxer showing how the  collars are used in basic obedience.  The collar was set to level 1 which as I mentioned earlier I could not even feel.  The dog didn’t show any discomfort and did very well with his obedience during the demonstration.

One thing that was stressed and I myself would stress to people is to make sure you are properly trained on how to use a device such as the static shock collar.  They can definitely cause more harm then good if used incorrectly.

What do I think about the static shock collar?  I definitely lean towards positive reinforcement dog training.  Am I against the static shock collar and invisible fences? No.  I think both can be effective training tools if used properly.  I plan on talking in more detail about this topic and my own dog training philosophy in another blog post.

University of Tennessee Vet School, Mabel, and Water Treadmill

We also got to have a tour of the University of Tennessee Vet School and met the famous Beagle, Mabel. Mabel was left at the shelter because she got too large for her owners.  At the time she was turned in to the shelter she weighed 67 lbs!  When we visited Mabel had already lost 34 lbs thanks to some of the PetSafe products including the water treadmill.  Check out some of her early pictures on her facebook page.

PetSafe Mabel the Beagle
PetSafe Mabel the Beagle walks the water treadmill

PetSafe is a pretty cool company.  It’s a pet bloggers dream!  As we walked through the office dogs were sleeping under desks or sitting nearby their owners.  Emma and Buckley had wrestling matches during our presentations.  Drinkwell water fountains on every cubicle corner.  And can you believe that there are no private offices?  Randy Boyd the CEO sits in a cubicle just like everyone else!

Of course there’s also the corporate philanthropy!  I can’t believe all the awesome things PetSafe does for the community.  I might have to start working on my resume so I can send it off to PetSafe 🙂  You guys looking for a Web Manger, Social Media Marketer, Pet Blogger???

Do you use any PetSafe products?  If so, what do you think?  Tell us about it in the comment section below.

Disclosure: Our trip to the PetSafe Headquarters was sponsored by PetSafe.  The opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced in any way.

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28 Comments

  1. Wow, sounds like a great trip. I use many PetSafe products. My favorite is the Citronella Remote Trainer. It’s a safe, effective, humane training tool. It has a 3 button remote with a “good” tone for praise/positive reinforcement, a “warning” tone to get my pups attention and if that fails a “spray” button (adjustable 4 level spray) that gives a spray of citronella. It seems to be as much the “surprise” of the spray as the spray itself, that gets the dogs attention. Dogs seem to really dislike the scent of citronella. They also make the automatic bark control spray collar that is “magic” for anxious barkers. Both great products.

    1. Hi Angie,

      Thanks for letting us know about your experiences with the Citronella Remote Trainer. We didn’t get to see those collars in action on our trip. However, we did get to see lots of great product including a few things that we are interested in seeing in the marketplace (hopefully sooner rather than later).

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Colby

  2. That looks so great and it sounds like you made the best out of it and took away a ton of information! Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Hi Jen,

      It was a very great time and also very informative. I have some more things to write about the experience, but I’ve been busy preparing for BarkWorld.

      Colby

  3. Colby, This post is awesome. We are so glad you enjoyed your trip and were willing to review it here on your blog. Have fun at Bark World this week, and I’m sure we’ll be in touch soon!

    1. Hi Natalie,

      Thank you and thank you so much for hosting us in Knoxville. It was a great experience! I’m hopping on a flight to Atlanta for BarkWorld tomorrow. I’m very excited to meet fellow pet bloggers, brands, and learn a little more about how to become a better blogger.

      Take care,
      Colby

  4. Wow! It sounds like you had a wonderful trip and got to learn alot about PetSafe products. Coming from a doggy household, I am sure we have used many of these products. I look forward to reading your upcoming post about the shock collars and your opinion on them. They sound like they could be useful for a larger dog who does not respond to conventional training methods.

    1. Thanks Rissa! It was a great trip and we learned a lot about PetSafe’s products, their people, and their philosophy. I really enjoyed the experience!

  5. That was a great write up Colby, thanks so much for sharing. What a great opportunity for you!!

    I’m definitely not into the static shock collars, but (don’t take this wrong) I’m pretty impressed that you tried it on yourself. I always told my husband he could put it on our dog if he put it on himself first and let me ‘zap’ him. So far he hasn’t. 🙂 I have considered a collar with a beep though, I think it might be good for Delilah as she tends to get focused on something. I think a little beep might be a gentle reminder.

    1. Hi Jodi,

      We haven’t used a static shock collar on any the dogs (just me), but as I mentioned in the article I couldn’t feel anything from level 1-3 and the dog they used in the demonstration had his collar set to 1.

      If you do try a collar even with a beep I’d make sure to read the directions thoroughly and if you’re having any trouble make sure and consult a professional trainer trained in these devices.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Colby

  6. What an honor that PetSafe invited you to attend their PetSafe Paw Print Blogger Summit. It sounds like it was a fun and informative trip. I don’t know if we have any of their products, but I will check. It’s great that PetSafe does so much for their community and it sounds like a great company to work for.

    1. I did feel very honored that they contacted me to go to the Paw Print Blogger Summit. I bet there’s a good chance that you have at least one of their products somewhere in your home.

  7. Hey Colby,

    It sounds like you had an awesome trip and discovered lots!! I’m not sure if I’ve got any of their products, I’ll have to check!!

    I sure wouldn’t mind giving that Dog Diving a try!! 🙂

    Hope you’re having a fun weekend,

    Wags to the gang,

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

    1. Hi Snoopy!

      I’d love to see you try the dock diving. Unfortunately for us, Stetson and Linus aren’t water dogs. In fact none of my Retrievers have been water dogs!? Anyways, we don’t have many dogs or cool dog parks to practice dock diving, but their is an organization called Splash Dogs that travel around with a portable dock and pool. We see them every year at the America’s Family Pet Expo. I also hear they are sometimes at the Bass Pro Shop and other places and events. If you’re interested I would check out Splash Dogs.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Colby

  8. Sounds like you had a lot of fun!! The PetSafe company sounds incredible. My parents’ dog had surgery and the surgeons said the development and training for her surgery was done at the University of Tennessee at their Vet program…PetSafe’s donation must have made that happen! They sound like a really cool company. My favorite was your description of the office with the employees bringing their dogs to work and how the CEO has a cubicle. It says a lot about his business philosophy and will definitely makes me wants to support their company. I will keep an eye out for PetSafe products the next time I go to the pet store!

    1. We really liked the environment in the office…what pet lover wouldn’t? Dog’s at every cubicle and Drinkwell water fountains at every corner. It was a great experience learning more about PetSafe and their products.

  9. Hey Dublin, Hey Derby, Hey Linus, Hey Stetson, Jet here. Hi Mr. Colby.

    Wowee wow wow! We’re so excited you were invited to attend Pet Safe’s Summit. Thank you for sharing your pics, we think they’re just great. That park rocks!

    Mom purchased a Drinkwell the first year it was out for the boys. (Puffy and Fluffy) They enjoyed it for maybe a week and then it was old news. The fountain got yucky quickly and Mom was always trying to keep it safe and clean. She finally gave it away. Maybe they’ve made improvements by now.

    We really appreciate the philanthropic arm of the company. We’re really big on giving back, too. We also admire Mr. Randy’s humble manner. Mom would do many a thing to bring us to work, that’s special. 🙂

    We look forward to learning more.

    1. Hi Jet!

      We had an excellent time visiting Knoxville and PetSafe. I’m sorry to hear about your Drinkwell fountain. We used just a regular old bowl, but maybe we’ll try one of the Drinkwell fountains to see if they’ve improved since you purchased yours.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Colby

  10. I had a great time right along with you, and I swear I’ll never walk past you in an airport again! 😛

    And yes, I’ve used a lot of PetSafe products, and I will be using more in the near future! I was nearly mobbed by the mild mannered dogs at our therapy group last night over the Lickety Stick I had!

    1. It was a busy day, but a lot of fun. It was great meeting everyone and I’m glad I had the chance to chat with you.

      Yeah, my boys love the Lickety Stick. I gave the cat Lickety Stick to my mom. Hopefully we’ll see you at BlogPaws next year if not sooner.

      1. Weelll imagine my surprise, when scrolling through my tootle reader and see not only my town feature, but the dog park that David and I visited just this afternoon. Next time you guys are in town be sure to give us a holler! :-))

        1. How come I didn’t know you were in Knoxville!? That’s cool that you and David go to that dog park. Does David dock dive?

          It was a whirlwind trip, but I would have loved to have met up with you and David. We’ll be in Atlanta this Thursday to Sunday for BarkWorld. You and David should come down!

          1. Well to be honest I don’t think I’ve ever specifically said that’s where I live on my blogs anywhere.. 🙂 David hates water, but he did fall off the dock, while running around. He was fine, just a little wet, and a lot miffed. Haha!

            Sounds like fun, unfortunately we have a wedding this weekend, which is keeping us tied up! Have fun, can’t wait to read about the fun you guys have!

          2. Awww…poor David. That’s cool that you visit that dog park. Hopefully I’ll be back in Knoxville sometime in the near future.

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