How Did This Raintree Brand Sign 6 Franchise Agreements in 6 Weeks?

Is it really possible to sign six new franchise deals after only six weeks of partnership with your new franchise development team? John Mestas and Kelley Rosequist of Dog Training Elite can answer that question with an emphatic “YES!” The home-based dog training franchise was recently featured along with Raintree in an 1851 article that details the importance of a solid franchise development strategy for emerging brands wishing to expand their footprint. 


Founded in Salt Lake City four decades ago, Dog Training Elite drew upon Founder John Mestas’ experience in the field to create a positive training model. After experiencing enough organic growth to succeed in this initial mission, the brand’s leadership team is now eager to scale the business and has called upon Raintree to help partner them with the right Franchise Owners. 

Today, Dog Training Elite consists of five Franchise Owners covering 23 territories, including Mestas’ daughter, CEO Kelley Rosequist, along with a few other friends and family members. The first Dog Training Elite Franchise Owner was Mestas’ son Neal, who opened his Arizona franchise in 2013. Rosequist followed his lead and opened her own franchise in 2015. 

“Dog Training Elite has enjoyed a family-and-friends growth model, and everyone is wildly successful and doing well, but we wanted to scale the franchise opportunity and struggled with finding the right people,” says Rosequist in the 1851 article. “We are a very people-focused company, and most people who want to train dogs don’t want to work with people, so that has been a huge challenge for us.”

VIDEO: Dog Training Elite Founder John Mestas and CEO Kelley Rosequist tell their franchise development story in this video produced by Raintree. 

At the suggestion of their website developer, Dog Training Elite reached out to us for help with expanding their brand’s footprint through franchising. After beginning talks in June 2019 and doing preliminary information gathering, Raintree officially added Dog Training elite to our roster of partner brands in September 2019.

What interested us in partnering with Dog Training Elite?

Raintree’s desire to partner with Dog Training Elite stems from three key factors: demand for franchise opportunities in the pet space, a low investment starting at $75,650, and strong existing unit economics. 

“Raintree is seeing an increasing demand for pet brands in the franchising space,” our CEO, Brent Dowling, told 1851. “The average pet owner is investing more money in their pet. They want to make sure their pets have great lives and are treated like real family members. Dog training is becoming more and more a part of that. There are not a ton of pet franchises available under $100,000 in this industry, so Dog Training Elite opens up the franchise opportunity for a pool of candidates who cannot afford a doggy daycare or a pet retail model.”

Additionally, existing Franchise Owners at Dog Training Elite exhibited strong economic performance- a significant sign of growth potential for an emerging franchise brand. 

Dowling explains, “That strong unit performance is something we always carefully evaluate for a new partner. We do forensic accounting to make sure there is proof and replication and real evidence of the success of existing Franchise Owners and that they have a strong return on investment.” 

What made Dog Training Elite want to partner with our franchise development team?

Dog Training Elite was drawn to our selective approach to partnering with new brands and lists it as one of the most appealing factors of working with Raintree.

“We had to sell ourselves as well,” says Rosequist. “I appreciate the fact that Raintree doesn’t take on just any brand. It was really important to Dog Training Elite to work with a company that would really be invested in our success.” 

We’re pleased to say that all of this careful consideration has paid off! Within the first six weeks of our partnership, Dog Training Elite sold five territories to a Denver-based Franchise Owner and one territory to an Owner in Atlanta who now wants to open three more locations. Rosequist also mentioned she recently had phone calls with four candidates who are far along in the discovery process, not to mention an upcoming virtual Discovery Day in the works. 

In the 1851 interview, Brent shared his admiration for Dog Training Elite’s CEO as well as the rest of the corporate team. “The longer I work in franchise sales the more I realize that it’s not so much the horse but the jockey that determines the winning brands. Kelley and her team are fantastic. Raintree really enjoys a strong connection with them.”

Rosequist has been similarly impressed with the quality of franchise candidates we have presented, as well as the frequent communication she knows she can expect from Raintree. Through conversations with our Director of Franchise Development Kyle Christie and Brand Manager Charlotte Wagner, Kelley is kept in the loop with constant progress updates, including celebrating new deal agreements together. She especially appreciates how Raintree handles the heavy lifting when it comes to screening prospective Franchise Owners and provides her with information on promising new franchise candidates. 

“We talk at least once a week and do regular deep-dive calls once a month and discuss everything from how and where money is being spent to how leads are coming through,” Rosequist said in her 1851 interview. “Raintree is just aggressively going after those leads for us. We haven’t had a single month where we haven’t had fresh leads come in.” 

Dog Training Elite plans to continue working with Raintree to achieve its goals, which include selling at least 12 territories in 2020. Rosequist notes that, even amid the COVID-19 crisis,  the brand is already halfway there. 

“When we first started the relationship, it was a stepping stone between needing that kind of support and doing it on our own, but the relationship has been so beneficial we plan to keep it going for longer,” she says. “The Raintree team is very invested in our brand, and it’s been really fun to work with them.”

Top 5 Reasons to Own a DTE

Struggling to hit your franchise growth goals? Don’t rely solely on outdated, outbound marketing channels or franchise brokers as your primary way of selling franchises.

Raintree has built a comprehensive franchise development program that ensures all our brands generate leads from a wide variety of channels and platforms, resulting in more qualified candidates and lower recruitment costs. Learn more at

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