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Dog training business expands to Queens

By Kelsey Durham

Dog owners in western Queens now have access to professional training for their furry friends right in their own homes.

Marc Elias, owner of Pooch Pals, recently expanded his business into Astoria and Long Island City, the company’s first venture in the borough since it was founded in 1999. The Manhattan-based pet training and therapy company slowly started offering services in western Queens about six months ago after previously expanding to serve the Bronx and all of Manhattan, Elias said.

Several years ago, Elias began working with Pooch Pals as a dog walker after leaving his corporate business job in search of doing something he hoped would be more fulfilling.

He soon found that working with animals was his true calling, and after moving his way up the ladder with the company, he purchased Pooch Pals in 2011 and started expanding the business from Chelsea to other areas of the city.

“I love it because I get to help people and truly be a contribution,” he said. “I get to work with animals and that brings out a lot of love and positivity in not only me, but the trainer and the family, as well. This type of work is meaningful to me and I feel like I derive meaning by helping people.”

Today, Pooch Pals provides personalized in-home dog training and pet care to all breeds at any age.

“The business has been growing steadily due to the partnerships we’ve created,” Elias said.

He said networking with other businesses, including T.F. Cornerstone in Long Island City, has helped him expand into Queens and become a trusted partner of many pet daycares, veterinarian facilities and dog walkers in the area.

Since coming to Queens, Elias said he has built a strong foundation of trainers to serve the borough and is still working on bringing pet care to Astoria and LIC as well.

“What’s unique about our services is that we’re managed by professional trainers and all our services are one-on-one,” he said, noting that he is a professional trainer himself. “Unlike a lot of other companies, we have knowledge that most dog walkers don’t have.”

Elias said most of the training Pooch Pals provides is for housebreaking, obedience or separation anxiety for pets who have a hard time coping with their owners leaving the house. His $200 training sessions are about two hours long and he offers 75-minute-long follow-ups for $135.

Pooch Pals also provides pro bono rates to anyone who adopts a dog, and Elias said he currently has partnerships with four shelters across the tri-state area: Rock and Rawhide, Zani’s Furry Friends and Animal Lighthouse in Manhattan and NOLA Furry Friends in New Jersey.

Elias said he eventually plans to expand further into Queens and other parts of the city, but for now he is focused on bringing the best services possible to Astoria and LIC.

“We probably could have grown more quickly than we currently are, but I’m a fanatic when it comes to quality,” he said. “We’re not trying to be the biggest, we’re just trying to ensure that every single day we provide an extraordinary service to every single one of our clients.”

Elias said anyone interested in Pooch Pal’s training services should visit pooch‌palsp‌etcar‌e.com or call 646-322-8844.

Reach reporter Kelsey Durham at 718-260-4573 or by e-mail at kdurh‌[email protected]‌gloca‌l.com.

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