Culture of Denver Dog Works: Development

Culture of Denver Dog Works: Development

By Robert Forto, PhD

This is the third installment in a series on the Culture of Denver Dog Works. I am only only doing this to give our readers an idea of what we are about at Denver Dog Works but also as an exercise for us here at the training center to make sure we are all on the same page and delivering exceptional customer service and training a client’s dog to be one of the best trained dogs in the world.

The 10 Elements of Culture as defined by Denver Dog Works are:




Service Availability and Belief


Self Development

A Event Culture

Structured Activity



Development at Denver Dog Works and our Culture:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.” – Mark Twain

We are on the cutting edge of the dog training world at Denver Dog Works. Everything that we do, whether it be new technology, development of individualized training plans, our customer service team, and our attention to detail, all says our tag-line loud and clear: We Have the Best and Train the Rest.

Sure many companies proport to be the best in their industry. I am sure many of them have won awards from their peers and comrades in their respective businesses, but do you really know what it means to be the best? In my humble opinion it means that you take a moment each day to look at what you are doing right and more importantly what you are doing wrong and you tweak your system to address your challenges.

Sure, this media-biased economic downturn has hurt us all small business owners but we have held steadfast to our belief that we are the best and we continue to evolve every day. We took advantage of the downturn in the economy and the abundance of extra hours in our work weeks and got as much training as we possibly could. We attended a great program that changed the way we do business forever by working on our Brand I attended training to become a neuro-linguistics practitioner and what a difference that has made in being able to work with my clients and help them be the best they can be and reach their full potential. We hold weekly sales meetings and innovative presentations on how we can work together as a team and work together to be the best.

As I said, the opportunity to really pin down our brand has changed the face of Denver Dog Works. We hired a professional facilitator and allowed him to make the tough decisions that built upon my perceived strengths and weaknesses of our leadership team. This team, mainly me, had trouble seeing the forest for the trees and the work of this branding expert allowed me to take a look at it from a different perspective. After doing that, he then helped contain a message that we transmitted and transferred down the rank and file of all that are involved in our business. This has taken us from a mediocre canine training school to one that is sought out all over the world based on the way that we conduct our daily business affairs.

In our course development we truly are cutting edge. I will admit that I have always been a bit of a technology geek and I had a cell-phone when it cost three dollars a minute and I was the first on my block on the Internet in the early 1980’s studying the Dow Jones wires and amassing a $700.00 phone bill that got me in hot water with my parents. In the coming months we are re-working our canine career training course and implementing the new iPad technology to support it. We will be including an iPad in every new student’s package and our course will be fully interactive with video, lecture, webinars, video chat, exams and business development tools. Sure you can do this the old way by writing it all down on paper, but who has time for that? A person told me a long time ago, in order to be a good dog trainer you need to train a lot of dogs. True, but if you don’t have something innovative to offer then you will just be another dog trainer and they are a dime a dozen. It is funny because the person who told me that proports he is an “old school” style trainer and the same three clients and their dogs are still on the trainers homepage as “success stories.”

Some other key areas that we strive to continue to develop and stay abreast of are:

Financial literacy. At Denver Dog Works we must understand budgets, cash flow, bookkeeping and working with other business partners and vendors is a must for any entrepreneur.

We continue to work on our leadership. We recognize that we are the only one in charge of our business. We are not looking for a “bail out” or a promise of a loan. We also recognize that pressures abound since a single decision can grow a business or cripple it.

We at Denver Dog Works strive to stay focussed and committed to the financial success of our company and that spells the difference between success and failure.  Yes, we love to train dogs. It is our passion but we also recognize that we are in this to make a living. While we will not ever drive luxury cars or fly on private jets, we love what we do and are proud we chose this as a career.

As we stated in a previous article, integrity is a hallmark of our business. we handle, care for and train other peoples dogs and they are looked upon as a member of their family. We also handle a client’s money and they have contracted us for our services.

We continue to develop our sales techniques, our marketing plans and how to brand ourselves in a very competitive industry. We continue to exercise sound business judgment and allocating our resources with great care. We also know that we must re-charge our own batteries so we can maintain an edge by offering company training and retreats such as white-water rafting as a team building exercises and attending sporting events as a group to build camaraderie.

As I say all the time, all you need to be a dog trainer is a business card, a leash and a smile. But it takes a savoy businessperson to live through the highs and learn from the lows to be one of the greatest dog trainers in the world. We at Denver Dog Works, truly believe we are and that is what sets us apart.

I encourage any feedback you may have and of course share the culture of your business as well. I can be reached anytime by email at


Dr. Robert Forto is the training director of Dog Works Training Centers and the host of a weekly radio program, The Dog Doctor Radio Show which can be heard every Saturday at 9:30 am in the Rocky Mountain West or download it anytime. Dr. Forto can be reached through his website at


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