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How a Former Paramedic Continued to Help People as a Dog Training Elite Franchisee

Whitley Cheatham always loved dogs and was able to find a way to put her passion to use while giving back to her community as a franchise owner with the growing brand.

By Morgan Wood1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSORED 9:09AM 04/26/23

Whitley Cheatham had an unusual start to her Dog Training Elite journey. Cheatham was a client of Dog Training Elite in 2015, and when the owner had to step away, she was able to step in. Though she didn’t have any business experience, Cheatham rose to the occasion and now successfully runs two Dog Training Elite territories in San Antonio and New Braunfels, Texas.

“I worked as a paramedic in Bexar County, Texas for 10 years. I always loved dogs and wanted to work with them, but I didn’t see a career path that led me there,” remarked Cheatham. She had previously looked into opening a dog training business a few years prior but did not have the capital to start. 

When the timing was right and Cheatham was ready to move forward, Dog Training Elite was especially supportive of Cheatham during her uncommon start to her time with the company. This support is a large part of why Cheatham is so successful today and will be able to grow in the years to come. 

“I’m honored that when I signed on, Dog Training Elite stopped taking on new franchisees to make sure the other franchisees and I got the support we needed. They’re like a family. I still text the leadership team every week. I don’t know of many franchises where you can talk to the CEO on a conversational level,” said Cheatham.  “When I started, I had no idea how to run a business, but the corporate team has helped me every step of the way. I’ve been able to build something bigger than myself, and that has been extremely rewarding.” 

Dog Training Elite recently rolled out a regional pack system and broke franchisees into sub-packs. Franchisees can have monthly pack meetings to support each other, talk through marketing strategies and ask any questions that they may have. Franchisees can also reach out to the corporate office at any time. The pack model gives franchisees access to people all across the country, and that support system helps keep owners going. 

Another reason that Cheatham enjoys being a franchisee with the brand is that community outreach is a pillar of the brand and franchisee's success. Dog Training Elite donates dogs to veterans; first responders; women survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and rape; and children with fragile medical needs, all at no cost through its 501c3, The Malinois Foundation. 

“I want to continue to routinely give back. We donated seven dogs to Uvalde school shooting victims,” Cheatham commented. “We’re also training diabetic alert dogs and allergen detection dogs.” Training service animals and working with those in the community who need them is a big reason why Cheatham likes being a part of the brand. 

Dog Training Elite also has service dog training programs for autism support, mobility support and medical response. The world is in the middle of a mental health crisis and service animals can play a big role in alleviating stress, anxiety and depression. Dog Training Elite wants everyone to know about the service dog options that are available and make it easier to obtain training with the Dog Training Elite service dog training program. 

“It’s a great opportunity to get into a franchising business. There are systems in place to make sure you don’t fail, and it also allows me to feel good about what I do,” said Cheatham. “Working here is the best choice I ever made. We’ve been able to grow and expand, and franchisees can build off each other. It's been a great experience.”

Of all Dog Training Elite Franchisees, 90% of owners are multi-territory owners, including Cheatham. Growing within the brand is incredibly easy and only requires another franchise fee, a new trainer and marketing materials. 

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