Opinion #other
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18 October 2022
Meet ZigZag, the puppy training movement offering years of research, simple lessons and expert advice

Meet Zigzag, the puppy training movement with years of research, simple lessons and expert advice

As part of our quick fire questions series – or QFQs – we spoke to Patrick Luke, cofounder of puppyhood coaching app Zigzag about the perfect bond between dog and dog-owner and launching a movement not a product.

What was the catalyst for launching Zigzag?

The perfect bond: the dream of all dog and would-be dog owners. Sadly, over 75% of dog owners report that they see undesirable behaviours in their dogs. Preventing behavioural issues is easily done with the right training and motivation, but unfortunately 60% of dogs go without any form of formal or organised training. Whilst cost and convenience is a key blocker, the big one is actually ignorance. Raising a puppy is in many ways as stressful, anxiety-inducing and life changing as raising a child. But for many, expectations don’t match up to reality leaving many new puppy owners in a whirlwind of trouble. Zigzag exists to address this with a fun, engaging, personalised and trusted solution which is easy to use. It is for these reasons we often refer to Zigzag in the team as less of a product, but more of a movement – for it’s the shift in owners’ behaviour towards training their pets which we look to enact.

Tell me about the business

Zigzag is the #1 app dedicated to puppyhood coaching. Designed by a team of experts and backed by leading dog training and behaviour organisations, we use data and technology to tailor each programme to the breed, age and environment of each puppy. Our ultimate goal is to bring peace of mind to puppyhood, the world over and we hope to do this helping families have better relationships with their pups, build strong bonds, reduce abandonment and ultimately reduce unnecessary destruction.

We have top training and behaviour experts to support customers throughout their Zigzag puppyhood journey, including my cofounder Lorna who has been a qualified dog behaviourist for the last 13 years and heads up the UK’s largest dog behaviourist organisation CAPBT.

How has the business evolved since its launch? 

We actually launched a small MVP app back in 2020 as a test which went by the name of Puppito. It was super simple and took 6 weeks to build and launch before we ran it in market for a couple of months. The results blew us away, having uncovered a strong latent need of new dog owners, and a clear gap in the market to address. Since then we’ve rebuilt the app with a new brand and scalable technology architecture and relaunched in 2021. We’re now a passionate team of 15 people eager to make a difference, and help address the 60% of puppy owners who do nothing by providing training in a fun, engaging and accessible manner.

Meet ZigZag, the puppy training movement with years of research, simple lessons and expert advice

What has been your biggest challenge so far and how have you overcome this?

I will call it ‘uncommoditising’ the puppyhood training content space. There is a plethora of free guides and tips out there, offered by brands as means to recruit new puppies into their businesses. These free blogs and videos, whilst in the most part are ‘ok’ in terms of content, fail to address the critical issue we are trying to solve, and that is of ensuring critical life skills are taught (to both owners and puppies!) at the right time to prevent any sort of behavioural issues, and worse break down in relationship further down the line. At Zigzag Puppy Coach we aim to put a value on puppy training and coaching, ensuring we raise awareness of the critical need of training in the early days of a pup’s life.

What unmet need do you think Zigzag resolves for customers and how does it do it? 

The internet has an abundance of ways we can receive information on dog training. We have online forums, websites, messaging services and social media; it can be a confusing place for new puppy owners who may feel lost and unsupported in their pup training. Whilst the internet is great for connecting with online communities; the information shared can be inaccurate, outdated or based on personal experience. Zigzag offers years of research in easy, simple lessons for people who want expert training advice at the tip of their fingers. Alongside a professional trainer, Zigzag is the perfect support to ensure your puppy is safe and happy during these developmental months.

Patrick Luke is cofounder of Zigzag.