Northern Utah

May 8, 2014

Ogden Company Working to Decrease Obesity in Man’s Best Friend

By Rachel Madison

Ogden – A love for animals and a background in fitness are what prompted Krista Wickens and Don Standing to take a stand against the growing obesity rate in one of the nation’s most beloved pets: the family dog.

Wickens and Standing, co-founders of Ogden-based PETZEN PRODUCTS and DOGTREAD, saw an opportunity to provide exercise products for the canine world and launched their first canine exercise product, a dog treadmill, in 2007. The treadmill, which can be used for companion dogs, performance dogs and dogs that need rehabilitation therapy after surgery, saw immediate success.

Today the company focuses specifically on canine fitness products, which are all under the DogTread brand. “Just like in the human world where we have different products to work different parts of our body, we have combined that philosophy in our line for dogs,” Wickens says. “We’ve worked with experts in canine anatomy, like veterinarians and canine rehabilitation practitioners, to test products.”

Not only does the company manufacture dog treadmills,  it also has a canine vest dogs can wear to increase strength, a “fit bone” dogs can stand on to improve balance, and a flexible stretching mat that can help dogs increase their flexibility.

“We don’t do the same things with our dogs that we used to years ago. They don’t have the same room to roam and most dog parks have leash laws. All of these things contribute to bad behavior and fat pets,” Wickens says.

The company’s treadmill has received several accolades for its design and impact on canines, including the award for Top Pet Fitness and Weight Loss Products in 2009 from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, and third place in the New Product Showcase in 2008 at the annual Global Pet Expo in California.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 52.5 percent of U.S. dogs have been determined to be overweight or obese by their veterinarian. That’s approximately 36.7 million.

“That’s a huge statistic,” Wickens says. “Plus, over 50 percent of dogs are left home alone every day for six to 10 hours, so they aren’t getting any exercise. What is alarming more than anything is the obesity trend in animals continues to go up. We have the opportunity to make our own fitness and health decisions, but our dogs don’t. We make them for our dogs.”

The biggest challenge for the company is changing perceptions of how people see their animals. “A lot of people think a few extra pounds on their dog is cute, but a few pounds can be life threatening,” says Wickens. “People say they walk their dog, but they’re typically not doing it to a point where it’s changing anything. And they think because they have a big backyard, especially in Utah, that the dog is getting plenty of exercise, but it’s not focused exercise.”

Pluralsight Acquires Digital-Tutors

Farmington – PLURALSIGHT acquired Oklahoma City-based Digital-Tutors, an online training resource for creative professionals. The $45 million acquisition—Pluralsight’s fourth in eight months—marks the company’s debut in the creative space. Digital-Tutors had more than 1,500 creative skills courses, which will double Pluralsight’s catalog of more than 1,400 developer- and IT-oriented courses.

Pluralsight experienced triple-digit growth in 2013 and is on trajectory to do the same in 2014. In the last eight months, the company acquired three other online learning platforms: PeepCode, a provider of open-source developer courses; Tekpub, a screencast publisher for developers; and TrainSignal, an IT training company that came to Pluralsight in a $23.6 million deal. The Digital-Tutors purchase is Pluralsight’s largest to date.

“Bringing Digital-Tutors on board has positioned Pluralsight as a complete solution for professional technology and creative skills training,” says Pluralsight CEO and co-founder Aaron Skonnard. “In the competitive e-learning space, where sites like have brought skills training to beginning and mid-level enthusiasts, we are cementing our status as a career catalyst and go-to resource for the serious professional.”

Digital-Tutors is an e-learning platform that provides training for individuals, universities and businesses, including Pixar, DreamWorks, Rockstar Games and Electronic Arts. With creative courses ranging from motion graphics to 3D animation to visualization to digital painting, the company provides training for professionals in the movie, game, AEC and product design, and digital art spaces.

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