Manners & More

Stories from other business owners like you, to share their inspirations, challenges and triumphs!

We’re looking at the puppies this week, and hearing from Colleen O’Dea from Manners & More Companion Dog Training.  Here’s her story, and how she ended up somewhere she didn’t really expect- with a business she loves:Where did the idea for your business come from, and when did it start being a business rather than a hobby for you?

Let it first be known, I never set out to be a dog trainer!

I purchased a young rottweiler puppy named ‘Chica’ from a reputable Perth breeder (and now great friend), she was beautiful, but seriously what puppy isn’t. Chica was a high energy pup with some behaviours that I didn’t know how to handle. Never did it occur to me to employ the services of a qualified dog trainer. It occurred to me to learn how to train my dog.

I happily went along, enrolled in my course, met the lecturer who promptly advised me that I would end up a dog trainer. No, no no I said. Well the cosmos had other ideas as some 3 years after that conversation Manners ‘n’ More Companion Dog Training was born.
What was your biggest challenge while still in start up mode?

Strangely, my hardest decisions where in fact little things! I opted to survey my friends and members of the public, people likely to use services that I offered for their thoughts. I collated and analysed the feedback and developed from there.
What is your biggest challenge right now, and heading in the future for your business?

I spent 2014 battling cancer and the often inevitable chemo, now my biggest challenge is finding a balance between work and life. A life changing illness will effect you in ways you may never have considered, a good thing in hind sight. You get to reassess, learn and make necessary changes. I’ve had to learn to hold myself back!
What is the one thing that you wish you had done differently in the early stages of your business?

May sound weird, but nothing! I’m a capricorn, we plan to the death! But seriously thinking back, right at this minute, nothing. Everything I have done I believe I’ve done with clarity, forethought, industry and foremost the betterment of the lives of our canines and their caregivers in mind!
Where do you see your particular segment of the pet or equine industry heading in the future? (innovations, changes in philosophy, regulations, perceptions etc)

A regulated industry

Recognition for the amazing trainers we have in this country

Perceptions of the general public to alter on a mass scale for the betterment of canines. (and by default other animals)


What does “Success” look like for you?

The ability to educate on a mass scale – only through education and time will perceptions change.

Success is over hearing someone say ‘yeah, I went to them’

If I can make a change to just 1 puppies life, that is indeed success.


What is your biggest tip for other small business owners in the first few years of their own businesses?

Finally, an easy question!

Support! No doubt anyone can do it alone, but my success is a direct consequence of all of those people who have mentored and supported me. From my lecturer, my mentors, my ever reliable ‘sounding boards’ to my trainers.



Manners ‘n’ More Companion Dog Training is working hard to develop a premier range of services to cover all stages of a canines life.

We have begun by developing and now implementing our ‘Primo Puppy School’ Offering practical in application and easy to understand classes for puppies form 7 weeks of age, supporting right through adolescence and beyond.

We want to encourage caregivers to develop a bond with Manners ‘n’ More that will see us present at any point in their dogs life.

Visit them on Facebook

Did you enjoy this article?
Yes! Give Me More!
Want to hear more from Anita? Subscribe today and you will get tips, articles and "how tos" straight to your inbox.
Subscribe for Email Updates

Stay in touch with the latest.

Marketing by
Written by Anita Marchesani
I've come to small business the long way round- but enjoyed and learned from every single step. I learned about the power of Media during a BA and while working in Film&TV. I learned about the hard graft while groom for an international eventer in the UK. I learned organisation and staff management from running hundreds of weddings both here and in the UK. I learned from the mistakes of my first business that failed, to create an e-commerce success story, and now I'm here to help you have even greater success in your business. Oh, and I dance to really loud music like a crazy bastard.