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From Greenhouse to Dog House: A Cannabis Cultivator’s Leap into Franchising with Dog Training Elite

Chris Bergman trades cannabis cultivation for canine training, finding fulfillment in franchising with the dog training franchisor.

In what may appear to be an unexpected career pivot, Chris Bergman — a former cannabis industry veteran — has turned his green thumb toward canine care, launching his own Dog Training Elite* franchise in Reno, Nevada.

Bergman was seeking a more meaningful connection to his work amid the growing corporatization of cannabis, and found it through the transformative power of dog training. His journey from cultivating cannabis to coaching canines showcases a unique blend of passion, entrepreneurship and a deep-seated desire to make a positive impact on both pets and their owners.

“I found myself seeking a more fulfilling path that aligned with my values and love for animals,” Bergman said. “This search led me to Dog Training Elite, combining my entrepreneurial aspirations with my passion for making a difference in the lives of dogs and their owners.”

Bergman’s background in the meticulous science of cannabis cultivation has informed his approach to dog training, emphasizing observation, adaptation and a nurturing touch. With plans to expand his services and open a comprehensive training facility, Bergman is on a mission to enhance dog welfare in the Reno community.

This new chapter underscores a lifelong commitment to nurturing growth and fostering connections, whether in the garden or with man’s best friend.


1851 Franchise: Frame your personal story for us. What did you do before franchising, and how did you decide franchising made sense for you?

Bergman: I originally got into cannabis to help people.  I also enjoyed the scientific side — I’ve always been fascinated by the science behind cultivation. Meanwhile, I volunteered at animal shelters and a wildlife conservation center — I cleaned up after coyotes. And I found myself seeking a more fulfilling path that aligned with my values and love for animals. This search led me to Dog Training Elite, combining my entrepreneurial spirit with my passion for making a difference in the lives of dogs and their owners.

I grew up with mutts, pugs and dobermans.  As an adult I have been all about the bullies.  Leroy is my current pit mix and all-over wunderhund.

1851: What was your perception of franchising prior to becoming a franchisee, and what do you want people to know about franchising now that you are in it?

Bergman: I kind of understood it as a marketing mafia, to be completely honest with you; basically you run a business for some suits and pay them for the privilege.  It seemed like a cheat code, compared to starting something from scratch, but it wasn’t really yours. As I learned more about Dog Training Elite, I recognized the value of the support structure, community and the growth opportunities franchising provided. It shifted my perception, showing me that franchising could offer a meaningful and rewarding career.  I also have a level of independence I did not associate with franchising.

1851: What made you pick this brand? What excites you most about this company?

Bergman: Dog Training Elite stood out because of its commitment to quality dog training and the support it offers its franchisees. The brand's values resonated with my own, especially the emphasis on community and making a positive impact. I was drawn to the idea of being part of a network that's as passionate about dogs as I am, with the added benefit of a strong support system to guide me through the process.  I also really appreciate the work they do through the Malinois Foundation, providing access to service dogs.

1851: What do you hope to achieve with your business? What are your plans for growth? 

Bergman: My primary goal is to expand the services offered in the Reno area, starting from home services to eventually opening a facility for advanced training and day camps. I aim to contribute positively to dog welfare and owner satisfaction in my community, leveraging my background to enhance understanding and appreciation of effective dog training.  Building a team of people just as passionate as me would be an awesome achievement; that's definitely on the horizon.

1851: What is the one thing about your story you want us to know?

Bergman: I’m in it for the dogs.  Making their lives better and helping foster a bond as old as time is a great reward and responsibility.  

My journey from cannabis to canine training underscores my passion for working with living beings and my desire to nurture and improve lives. Whether it's plants or pets, my goal has always been to make a meaningful difference. This transition has been about finding a career that not only fulfills me but also allows me to contribute positively to the community around me.

1851: What advice do you have for other people thinking about becoming a franchise owner?

Bergman: Hit the ground running and grind harder than your old career. There are more challenges and less excuses. You need to hold yourself accountable for the things under your control. Do your research and find the franchise that speaks to you. Embrace the support and structure that franchising offers. It's an opportunity for growth, both personally and professionally, and when you fully commit to the journey, the rewards will come.


With more than four decades of experience in dog training, Dog Training Elite is one of the country’s leading obedience and specialized training franchises. Offering a comprehensive suite of customizable training programs, Dog Training Elite works with dogs and owners to meet any and all training needs, including therapy dog training and advanced service dog training for PTSD support, psychiatric support, mobility support, autism support, diabetic alert training and an array of other services. In addition to the wide breadth of services offered, Dog Training Elite differentiates itself from competitors through a uniquely human-focused approach to dog training, which focuses on helping owners and their families learn to effectively and consistently support their dog’s training needs. To learn more about franchising with the Franchise 500 Dog Training Elite, visit

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