The Franchise: Sandy, Utah-based Dog Training Elite offers in-home obedience training and behavioral modification services. The company was founded by John Mestas in 1976 and began franchising nationally in 2019. Today, it covers 35 territories across eight states. Local owner-operator Mary Stallmann recently launched Wisconsin’s first Dog Training Elite in the Milwaukee area.
“Dog Training Elite loves to have educators (as franchisees) because their whole format is ‘we train the dogs, but we teach the families,’” Mary Stallmann said.
Nearing 30 years in her education career, Mary Stallmann was looking to make a shift. Her husband, Dirk Stallmann, who is president of Verlo Mattress’s area franchise, was introduced to Dog Training Elite at a franchise convention and thought it would be a perfect fit for Mary. She loves animals, especially her two dogs, so she decided to investigate the opportunity.
Stallmann signs a franchise agreement with Dog Training Elite. The process had been on hold for months while she focused on navigating the COVID-19 pandemic during her final year as an elementary school principal.
The company invited Stallmann to its convention, where she meets other franchise owners and learned about the business. She later traveled to the corporate headquarters in Utah for nearly three weeks of training.
“It was amazing to be with a company that everybody is helping each other out. We all have our own areas, so we’re not competitors. There’s a very collegial atmosphere, and (it’s) very welcoming. … It cemented the fact that I felt good about where I was going to go,” Stallmann said.
Stallmann launches Dog Training Elite Milwaukee, which covers the four counties of Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha. These days, she’s booking one to two in-home sessions per day, including obedience training as well as service and therapy dog training. Demand for those services has remained strong throughout the pandemic with no signs of slowing.