Dog Training Elite set to open 20 new franchise territories in 2021

Sandy — Not many businesses can say that 2020 was a banner year for growth, but for Dog Training Elite, the 34-unit dog training franchise, last year’s pandemic-inspired surge in pet adoptions created major growth opportunities that the brand proved well-equipped to take full advantage of, opening 11 new units in markets across the country. 

Now, as many pet owners prepare to return to offices for the first time in a year, demand for high-quality dog training continues to increase, and Dog Training Elite is positioned to capture an outsized share of that booming market.

Already, Dog Training Elite has 20 new territories prepared to open in 2021, and the brand is actively seeking new franchise partners to open additional territories across the US.

A people-focused approach to dog training

Dog Training Elite was founded three decades ago by nationally ranked hunting-dog trainer John Mestas. Then called Arrow Kennels, the business was originally focused on kenneling and high-level training for hunting dogs, but when Mestas noticed a gap in the market for everyday pet training, he reengineered the brand as a mobile dog training business. 

Mestas differentiated his business from other dog training brands by focusing on training his clients just as much as their dogs. 

“We always work with the dog first to make sure they are responding to the training, but then we work closely with the owner to make sure they are equipped to effectively and consistently make progress with the dog,” says Kelley Rosequist, CEO of Dog Training Elite and Mestas’s daughter.

Rosequist notes that most dog trainers only provide owners with a rigid training model, but “we create a customized program that is going to work for the dog and the human,” she says. “And we don’t just work with the owner; we’ll work closely with every member of the household, including children, nannies, housekeepers and grandparents, to make sure that everyone in contact with the dog knows how to support its training.”

Unlike most dog trainers, who focus primarily on obedience, Dog Training Elite also offers specialized training options, including therapy dog training, advanced service dog training and personal protection training. 

A finely tuned franchise operation

That model proved a hit among dog owners in Sandy, where the business was founded, and before long, Mestas turned to franchising to bring Dog Training Elite to clients in new markets, starting with Phoenix, Arizona, where Mestas’ son Neal opened the brand’s second territory.

“We wanted to make sure that our model was perfected before we started bringing in franchise partners, so we spent a few years testing the operations and making improvements before we moved towards national expansion,” Rosequist says.

When Dog Training Elite rolled out its national franchise program in earnest a few years ago, the brand caught on quickly, attracting passionate entrepreneurs who were eager to work with animals, including their own — “our owners are actually all co-owners, along with their dogs,” Rosequist said — and grow a business that was designed to scale.

A business built for multi-territory growth

Nearly every one of Dog Training Elite’s franchise owners has taken advantage of the brand’s growth-oriented business model. The brand’s 34 existing territories are owned and operated by just 11 franchisees, many of whom started with just a single territory before expanding.

“The business was crafted to encourage growth,” Rosequist says. “Once you establish a territory, all you really need to do is turn on the marketing and hire a couple of trainers, and the growth opportunity comes very quickly.” 

Moreover, the brand’s finely-tuned unit economics make growth a particularly lucrative prospect for any ambitious business owner.

“Overhead is very low, and since we are a mobile service, franchise owners don’t need to open up a new storefront in order to expand and reach new customers. A small staff can work with a high volume of customers, so all that’s really needed to grow is awareness,” Rosequist explained. “Once an owner starts to expand their territory, that’s when the business really becomes far more profitable than traditional brick-and-mortar models.”

A Mission-Driven Brand

More than just a lucrative business opportunity, Dog Training Elite is an explicitly mission-driven brand, offering franchisees ample opportunity to give back to their communities while growing their businesses.

Dog Training Elite’s non-profit charitable organization, the Malinois Foundation, provides and trains service dogs for veterans. Through the Malinois Foundation, Dog Training Elite franchise owners can work with veterans and other people with physical or mental impairments to train service animals to provide critical assistance for a range of needs. 

An Ideal Opportunity For First-Time Business Owners

As evidence of Dog Training Elite’s appeal among savvy entrepreneurs, Rosequist noted that every single franchise candidate who has attended the brand’s discovery day — an intensive research opportunity that allows candidates to meet the brand’s leadership and learn the finer points of its operational model — have signed on to become owners, suggesting that the more a prospective franchisee learns about the brand, the more likely they are to join.

Because Dog Training Elite requires no prior training expertise from owners and offers competitive startup costs, including multi-unit incentives and discounts for veterans, the brand is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after franchise opportunities among first-time franchisees.

“Our franchise owners come from all different backgrounds,” Rosequist says. “They don’t need to have a background in dog training — we provide everything you need to know. What’s essential is that they are strong communicators and passionate about dogs and growing a business.”

Dog Training Elite is actively seeking new franchise owners in markets across the US, including Dallas/Fort Worth, Las Vegas and Portland, Oregon.

For more information about franchising with Dog Training Elite, visit