Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in pet care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Shelby Hoggard, Owner of Prairie Dog Collar Co., located in Lockport, MB, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Prairie Dog Collar Co. is a home-based business in Lockport, Manitoba, where we handcraft custom BioThane® collars, leashes, and other accessories for your pups. BioThane® is waterproof, stink-proof, and super durable webbing. Our customers are other like-minded dog owners across the continent who love to get outside with their adventure dogs!

Tell us about yourself

In the fall of 2019, my partner and I brought home our first puppies, Moose and Chevy. They coincidentally had the same birthday, so I knew it was meant to be. Growing up, I wasn't able to have a dog of my own, so it very quickly became a dream of mine to own a dog someday. I made an Instagram account for Moose and Chevy and didn't really intend for it to be anything other than a place to look back at photos. But it very quickly came to my attention that there was an entire community of wonderful people and their dogs to connect with! I owe it to Instagram for introducing me to BioThane® collars. I remember seeing a picture of a white collar that had been dropped in a field in the wintertime and buried for months. It looked almost black from all of the mud and dirt that it had collected over the many months outside. The picture underneath was an "after" shot, and it looked brand new again after some soap and water. After that, I ordered some sample rolls and some hardware and made my first collar! With having big dogs, a durable gear option is a huge must, and I love that I'm able to create durable gear so people can go out with their dogs and let them just be a dog!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

The biggest accomplishment as a business owner for me is the little community that I've been able to build over the last two years. The PDC community is a safe space to share random thoughts, get training advice, and learn about dog sports, photography, and everything in between.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The hardest thing for me as a business owner is having a work/life balance. Since my business is primarily on Instagram and I get every single notification right to my phone, I find myself answering questions in my e-mails or messages when I'm out with my friends or sometimes at 11:30 at night when I'm lying in bed. My goal is to answer my messages within "business hours" so it doesn't interfere with my personal life when I'm having a night out or just trying to relax, but sometimes it can be difficult to turn it all off and leave it until the next day.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Set goals for yourself to help keep yourself on track, even if they're small.
  2. Building a brand is so important and will help you stand out in the crowd.
  3. It is never too late to start working on your taxes! The sooner you start working on your taxes and getting all your totals together, the less stressful it will be when it's time to file.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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