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Franchise Deep Dive: Dog Training Elite

Inside the fast-growing franchise, which offers a unique approach to dog obedience training and other specialized services like therapy, protection and service dog training.

By Jonathan RoseDirector of Content
Updated 5:17PM 03/11/24

LAST UPDATED: March 2024



REPORTED COST TO GET IN: $159,050 - $187,750

REPORTED ROI (Item 19): $356,333

Dog Training Elite* is one of the country’s leading obedience and specialized pet-training franchises. The company distinguishes itself by offering a comprehensive suite of dog-training services. “Classical conditioning” training is provided in the comfort of the pet owner’s home, catering specifically to the needs of the family and their dog. While initially focusing on basic puppy and adult dog training, the company has expanded its services to include obedience training, therapy dog and service dog training along with lifestyle programs for people who want to include their dogs in their weddings or on adventures. 

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In 1976, John Mestas opened his first business, Arrow Kennels. In 1980, he took on the mantle as a professional training director at his business, offering private dog training services. By 1995, John started offering his dog training services to the public under the Dog Training Elite name.

Mestas observed a recurring issue, having spent years in the dog boarding and training industry: Dogs' training often unraveled once they returned home. This problem stemmed from the lack of owner involvement during the training process, as owners were not learning alongside their pets. 

Dog Training Elite developed a unique in-home training approach that involves all family members who interact with the dog. This innovative method has led to more sustainable training outcomes while kindling the bond between people and their pets, helping them rediscover the joy of their canine companions.

Since the brand started franchising in 2015, Dog Training Elite has expanded to include more than 300 territories across 34 states.

Kelley Rosequist, Mestas’ step-daughter, stepped down in 2023 after serving as CEO for nearly 10 years. Now, Betsy Feaster, a long-time Dog Training Elite franchisee, has taken on the role. Feaster brings extensive leadership experience from her time in the military and her past executive roles at ExxonMobil. She is also intimately familiar with the day-to-day lifestyle of franchise owners, having owned and operated 16 Dog Training Elite locations herself throughout Louisiana and the Greater Philadelphia area.

The brand has ranked in the Entrepreneur Franchise 500, Fastest-Growing Franchises and Top Home-Based and Mobile Franchises lists. It was named the No. 1 dog-training franchise by Entrepreneur in 2024.

What Is Dog Training Elite’s Business Model?

Dog Training Elite offers franchisees a low-cost, home-based and scalable business model in the booming pet industry. Its diverse portfolio of services — which includes everything from obedience training, puppy services and service dog training to personal protection and therapy animal training — allows franchisees to cater to a wide range of client needs, tapping into multiple revenue streams within the booming pet industry. 

The brand accommodates various ownership styles, including both hands-on owner-operators and semi-absentee owners. This flexibility allows franchisees to choose a model that best fits their lifestyle and business goals, whether they wish to be deeply involved in daily operations or manage their franchise alongside other commitments. 

Franchisees with Dog Training Elite must invest in a minimum of three units, as the brand has found that people tend to be most successful with this model. 

There is no previous dog training experience needed, and prospective owners should be coachable and work well with groups. Teachers and other people with strong communication skills and optimistic attitudes are also primed for success. Those who are willing to work hard, ask questions and collaborate with others can do well with Dog Training Elite. 

Franchisees attend over 100 hours of intensive classroom and on-the-job training at a dedicated training facility in Utah. 

How Much Can Dog Training Elite Franchise Owners Make?

The Dog Training Elite 2023 FDD outlines the average and median gross revenue by maturity during the full year of 2022.

Open 12-23 Months (12 Franchised Locations):

  • 2022 Average Unit Volume (AUV): $297,280
  • Number and Percentage at or Above AUV: 5 locations (42%)
  • Median Gross Revenues: $268,374
  • Number and Percentage at or Above Median: 6 locations (50%)
  • Highest Gross Revenue: $912,931
  • Lowest Gross Revenue: $75,672

How Much Does It Cost To Open Dog Training Elite?

The total investment necessary to begin operation of a 3-territory Dog Training Elite franchise is $159,050 to $185,750. This includes $124,150 to $125,000 for a 3-territory franchise that must be paid to the franchisor or affiliate.

  • Initial Franchise Fee: $110,000
  • Travel, Lodging, Food, and Other Expenses While Training: $1,500 - $10,000
  • Real Estate and Improvements: $0
  • Start-Up Packet: $4,150 - $5,000
  • Launch Support: $10,500 - $11,100
  • Additional Equipment and Mobile Device: $500 - $3,000
  • Vehicle Wrap: $3,500 - $5,000
  • Banners and Signs: $750 - $3,000
  • Demo Dog and Demo Dog Equipment: $1,500 - $6,500
  • Misc. Opening Costs: $1,500 - $4,500
  • Marketing – 3 Months: $3,000 - $4,000
  • Additional Funds – 3 Months: $22,150 - $23,650
  • TOTAL: $159,050 - $185,750

What Is the Franchise Fee for Dog Training Elite?

The initial franchise fee required to open a Dog Training Elite franchise is $110,000. Each additional territory costs $59,000.

Who’s On Dog Training Elite’s Leadership Team?

What Helpful Articles Can I Read to Learn More About Dog Training Elite?

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*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.