When Art Ortiz was mistaken for a dog walker during a stroll with his three dogs in downtown Dallas, he could have never anticipated it would plant a seed that would grow into his future business, DogFit Dallas. As Owner and Head Trainer, Art wanted to create a business that extended beyond traditional obedience training and give an opportunity for people to connect with their dogs on a deeper level.
This pawtastic business combines training, pack walks, boarding, and more for an all-inclusive experience that impacts the socialization of dogs with each other and humans. Bluehost had the opportunity to chat with Art about his life as an entrepreneur, why DogFit Dallas is family run, and the future of his business.
Breakthrough Turned Business
“DogFit helped me emotionally and financially heal from my divorce and the prior jobs I had lost. When you lose everything, you have nowhere to go but up. The dogs saved my life and led to a new marriage, child, and business I’ve grown to love,” Art states with a smile. Art’s love for his business is exemplified meticulously and carefully through each client, dog, and employee that he engages with. Building healthy client relationships and mentorship with his employees remained at the forefront of Art’s leadership as DogFit continued to gain traction online and in the Dallas community.
As Art continued to grow the business he wanted to establish concepts that put value in his employees by supporting who they were as individuals. He cites the late Herb Kelleher (Co-founder of Southwest Airlines) as an influence on the types of principles he wanted to impart as a leader. “We’re a small business and family-run, but family-run by our employees,” Art says as he describes how having employees who authentically love the business helps to establish trust with clients. His friendly staff includes his wife and co-owner Anne Ortiz, trainers, operations managers, and pack walkers who have helped develop DogFit into a business that evokes a deep understanding and love for every animal they interact with.
Follow, Play, Explore
DogFit Dallas breaks the mold of traditional “dog training,” by encouraging clients to have a deeper connection with their dogs by uplifting and helping them. When Art first started his business, he wanted to focus on his “Pack Walks,” which creates a social structure where the dogs walk in one movement together. “The pack walk reinforces what “follow,” which takes the dog into the same calm state where other dogs are following the human, taking guidance, and accomplishing movement together as a unit,” Art shares as he describes how this structured training assists to impact the socialization of dogs.
“I have a belief that dogs should be doing one of three things:
1. Following: We have to learn as human beings to guide and lead them into situations, we must learn to connect with them and have them trust us enough to be led.
2. Exploring: Doing what a dog naturally does by using its nose to smell the grass and its environment.
3. Playing: It’s important for dogs to play with us or other dogs.”
These three concepts remain at the foundation of each DogFit Dallas service. Pack walks are offered in several residential and commercial Dallas neighborhoods where the pack leader will guide up to 20 dogs through adventures throughout the city. “As the trainer, guiding a pack walk reinforces me to be calm and my intention is to lead with confidence. For dogs, this movement helps them to accept each other as they walk together as one pack.”
Lead With Love
Art and his dedicated staff of trainers, managers, and pack walkers are committed to providing a safe environment that fulfills a dog’s mental and physical needs. Each service DogFit offers combines education and wellness for dogs and their owners through specialized lessons. “Once we train your dog, he or she is part of our pack,” Art states as he describes how he has expanded the services of DogFit to create a familial environment of trust between his clients, dogs, and the staff that trains them.
“All of our staff is trained under Art to implement training techniques and proper socialization while they board,” Anne says as she elaborates on how the nurturing experience fulfills a dog’s mental and physical needs. The staff and their dedication to Art’s vision remain at the foundation of DogFit and their expanding business.
“What I love most about DogFit is helping people and seeing the change in my employees. Dogs are life changing. My job is to humans and their dogs…to teach them how to understand and be confident in leading them. To lead them is truly to love them.”
DogFit has continued to conquer the world of training through a unique and authentic approach that keeps their clients wagging their tails with joy. Art cites their website and Instagram account as a strategic marketing tool they use to connect with new clients. “I always encourage anyone I interact with to use our contact form so we have an email to respond immediately and establish a relationship. I meet with every single person interested in training,” Art says noting that he may have an “old school,” approach to business, but he values face-to-face interaction with prospective clients. DogFit truly exemplifies heart and passion for all furry friends that will put any dog owner at ease. Art’s passion for business and dedication to animals reminds us all why a dog is a man’s best friend.