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Lean Six Sigma

Bringing Six Sigma Methodologies into Dog Training

Six Sigma methodologies can apply in so many different industries. Believe it or not, its philosophies fit very well into the world of pets. How, you ask? Before we dive into specifics, let’s take a look at the big business of pets.

six sigma methodologies

It’s not a big secret that just about everyone has a dog, cat or multiples of both. The American Pet Products Association (APPA) gives the statistics of their latest market research for 2018/2019 as to what percentage of the U.S. population has pets:

  • 68% of U.S. households have at least one pet
  • U.S. pets include 90 million dogs and 94 million cats
  • 81 to 85 percent of pet owners regard their pets as a reliable source for unconditional love, stress relief, and overall zen for their health.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has statistics of their own:

  • 6.5 million unwanted pets are surrendered to rescues annually
  • Of these, 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats
  • 1.5 million pets are euthanized annually


The main reason people surrender their pets are behavior issues. Yes, there are other issues, but behavior is usually number one. Let’s talk dogs: they need consistency in their training, there’s no room for variation. Variation creates errors, mishaps, and confusion and in the case of dogs being euthanized it creates waste of a perfectly wonderful life of a once happy pet.

The Six Sigma tool that dog trainers would benefit from would be PDCA, or Plan-Do-Check-Act. If the dog trainer is consistent, clear and knowledgeable in the process used to train the canine, perhaps euthanizing an animal for behavioral reasons would be eliminated completely. 

If a dog isn’t trained properly, it has to do with the trainer, not the dog. If both dog trainers and owners used the DMAIC template to improve their current dog training process (or DMADV to create one), once again Six Sigma would have come to the rescue…literally.

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