Pet Age’s Alexandra Wepner spoke with Larry Cobb, CEO of The Company of Animals, U.S. Subsidiary, about the company’s history and expansion.
Alexandra Wepner: What is the history of The Company of Animals?
Larry Cobb: In 1979, Dr. Roger Mugford founded The Company of Animals, a brand which he invented and developed a range of products that have revolutionized the way people train their pets. The HALTI Head Collar and Pet Corrector auditory training tool are among his exemplary products frequently copied by competitors but unmatched in quality or effectiveness.
Alexandra: How has your catalog evolved since it all began with the HALTI Headcollar?
Larry: Our catalog has expanded greatly, as we have not only developed and expanded our line of products, but have also acquired a number of brands and evolved them as well. As we look to our core mission, we understand that there is a larger world outside of training, so we have developed products that suite every dog, age, lifestyle and training level.
For example, we have observed that consumers are becoming more educated about leashes and collars that best suit their dogs’ needs, they are also starting to demand unique styles for their dog accessories. Consumers want functional, comfortable products that come in a variety of colors and styles to embrace their dogs’ personalities and lifestyles.
The Company of Animals is filling this demand by offering a number of new products in our HALTI Training (available now) and HALTI Walking lines (debuted May of this year). The lines include collars, leads and harnesses that have unique colors and styles while providing exceptional functionality and comfort for both dogs and their owners.
In addition, the company has taken steps toward keeping pets and owners safe, with the inclusion of patented 3M Scotchlite™ reflective weaves into its new HALTI Walking collars, leads and harnesses so owners and pets are visible in dimly-lit areas or during nighttime walks.
Alexandra: You’re located near and sometimes work with The Animal Behavior Center. Why is that partnership valuable to The Company of Animals?
Larry: The Animal Behavior Center not only benefits canines, but gives The Company of Animals the unique advantage of being able to constantly research and develop new products to help resolve pet-related behavior and training problems, as well as having a great base in which to test new designs and principles of animal training.
Alexandra: What’s it like managing international business in over 30 countries?
Larry: We have found that our international customers’ needs are different in many ways. As such, we have an international sales team that understands and builds programs that meet these consumer needs. We are currently selling to over 50 countries and the team is traveling the globe weekly to work in each of our markets.
Alexandra: How do you go about introducing consumers to products that are different from products already on the market? Any tips for retailers?
Larry: It’s all about education and drawing a clear line of product differentiation at retailers. For example, utilizing life-size dog models can accurately showcase color-coordinated lead and collar sets, and allow customers to handle a product in order to better assess functionality and materials.
It’s also a good idea to allow dogs to try on sample merchandise so that pet parents can decide if a product is the right size and fit for their pet and lifestyle. A fitting session also allows staff members the opportunity to detail the advantages of a particular product that otherwise may be overlooked.
Alexandra: Are there any COA products currently in the works?
Larry: We are always looking to the future and staying ahead of the curve when it comes to product development and innovation. However, we are very excited to be launching the Baskerville Ultra Muzzle this fall. The Baskerville Ultra Muzzle is a solution to cover all dog muzzle wearing scenarios, while optimizing a dog’s well-being by enabling panting, drinking and eating. It is also unique in providing optimal fit for all dogs.