New Successes, Creative Ideas and our Culture

By Robert Forto

This article was originally posted on our old blog ( I will continue the series here.

This is a new day of a new week of a new month of a new decade in a new century. It is special isn’t it? Last year was a tough year for all of us in this recessed economy where everybody was worried about the future of the world as we knew it. At Alaska Dog Works, it was tough on us too. We are thankful for all of our clients, new and old, that helped make our business special. We also took advantage of the down time to receive training for our business, our leaders, our trainers and our staff. This training was expensive, but worth every penny. We learned so many new things about our business, our goals, our values, and our desires. We learned what we need to do to set us apart from the crowd. We learned that we are not just a small fish in a big pond, but a fish that has a considerable influence over the pond that we swim.

In January 2009, we started our Internet radio program, Dog Works Radio,  that has gotten great reviews and has had on some tremendous guests. We spoke about everything dogs and everything that we love about our furry friends and what makes that relationship special to so many people. We spoke about the Michael Vick controversy, many authors including the most heart-warming story I have every heart about Baxter, the therapy dog that touched so many lives until he last days, and so much more.

We trained several students to become exceptional canine obedience trainers in 2009 and have done so against the wishes of our most vocal competition in our industry. I can not count how many times I have heard from my peers that own dog training schools here in Denver say, “Why are you teaching people how to become dog trainers? Don’t you think the business is saturated?” My response is, “It do it because I can, and no, I don’t think it is saturated.” We change people’s lives at Denver Dog Works. Whether it be by training people for a new career or providing a service dog for a young child in need. That’s what we do.

In March 2009, I announced my intentions on running the Iditarod in 2013. This is a promise I must keep. My family and I thought about this for a long while and realized that the time is now to begin training for the last great race, as they call it. I am taking this year to get into shape and next year I will run my first qualifying races in Minnesota and Oregon. The monumental feat of running the race is not the race itself but the raising of ten’s of thousands of dollars to train and run the race. We are starting our quest to find corporate sponsors during the second quarter of 2010.

We met many new friends in 2009 that taught us so much. We attended a seminar on social media and it has changed how we do business forever and what an impact it has had! As many of you know I routinely update twitter and Facebook with news, notes, nuggets of information, and stories that have absolutely nothing to do about dogs, but do you know what? Social media works! I have received so many business leads, new contacts and friends, often while I update driving down the highway at 70 miles per hour going from class to class.

In May 2009, I attended a training program in Neuro-Linguistics from my good friend and “personal trainer for the mind”, Traci Brown. This revolutionary training taught me to think outside the box and harness the potential of my unconscious mind. While many may think this is some New-Age quackery I will be the first to tell you that you are furthest from the truth. This innate communication will change your life!

In July, we moved to our new location and we regret that we haven’t had the time to have a grand opening celebration yet. Our new place is only about 70% remodeled due to the fact that through blood, sweat and tears we are doing the re-model ourselves and it is typically only on our days off.

In 2010 we are stepping outside the box completely and offering Dog Works Training Company training centers  in select cities throughout the country. While there are many dog training franchises out there, ours is different. We teach new business owners how not only to be great dog trainers but effective and successful business owners as well. Our Dog Works Training Centers business opportunity will change the dog training industry forever.

The 10 Elements of Culture as defined by Alaska Dog Works

Much can be said about what makes us the best dog training school in the country. A lot of that lies on our core values and principles of doing business. A lot lies in the education and training we received over the years, moreover this year with the work of some of the bet business branding experts in the country. Not only did this work allow use to identify our vision but, more importantly it allowed us to develop a culture for Denver Dog Works and soon to be a nationwide business network under the Dog Works Training Center brand. Each Thursday I will post an article about our culture and what sets us apart in a very competitive industry.

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

  1. Integrity
  2. Professionalism
  3. Development
  4. Service Availability and Belief
  5. Character
  6. Self Development
  7. A Event Culture
  8. Structured Activity
  9. Leadership
  10. Fun

I ask that you follow us along in the coming year. As one fast food restaurant chain’s tagline says: We’re going to be big. At Denver Dog Works, we don’t just train dogs, we changes lives and I can bet you that we do have the best and train the rest!

I encourage any comments or questions you have about anything at all.

Next Week: Element of Our Culture: Integrity


Robert Forto is the host of The Dog Works Radio Show and is the training director of Alaska Dog Works. Robert Forto can be reached through his website at