Our Story - What a Great Dog! Training Center

In 2007, Maureen Patin founded What a Good Dog! Training in a horse barn in Prosper. With the support of her husband, Harold, she left a long career as an executive with PepsiCo to follow her dream. Already a life-long dog enthusiast, she had experience in competitive obedience, and teaching basic obedience classes for a local parks and rec department. Maureen’s vision was to build a dog training facility that would ignite a passion for training in pet owners. 

Maureen completed the education and testing to earn the title of Certified Professional Dog Trainer that same year. She spent the next three years doing in-home private lessons, group classes in the horse barn, and board & train, both in the barn and at Rover Resort in McKinney.

In 2010, Maureen and her husband, Harold, purchased a 3,700 sq.ft. commercial building in old downtown Prosper. Major renovations were required to convert the building to a suitable new home for the training business. Along with this big expansion the business name was upgraded from What a Good Dog! to What a Great Dog! Training Center. Harold and Maureen renovated the building with the “barn theme” in mind. Harold became proficient at building barn doors and rustic retail displays. With a check-in desk, tiny retail shop, one indoor training ring and a small outdoor agility course, the location opened April 2010. Maureen’s sister, Kenna Sloan, moved back to the Dallas area from North Carolina to jump on board as the Business Manager in 2011. Several fabulous trainers joined WAGD during the Prosper days. In chronological order, they were Ryan Shaw, Victoria Hynes, Judy Cerney, Jody Lolich and Meaghan Cassell. WAGD had the good fortune to quickly be bursting at the seams with clients ready to take classes from the talented staff. It became obvious that more space was needed!

After a great deal of searching, the new space was found in early 2012. At 16,164 sq.ft, the empty warehouse space in Frisco was more than four times larger than the previous facility. At that time, there were very few examples around the United States of large-scale dog training centers. Most facilities that offered training classes did it as an afterthought, with boarding and daycare being the primary business. Maureen, Harold and Kenna wanted WAGD to stay laser focused on training. It was a huge leap of faith to make such a big expansion, while maintaining the singular focus on training. After much discussion and a more than a few sleepless nights, the decision was made to go for it!

The build-out on that big empty space transformed it into a state of the art three ring training center. The Patin’s son, Mitch, developed a new business website, and word spread quickly. Classes filled with clients eager to train and have fun with their pups and other dog lovers. The vision to create a training center that caters to both experienced training enthusiasts and typical pet owners was a reality!

In early 2016, it became clear there was demand for even more WAGD in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. Harold retired from his corporate job that year and was available to lead the facility expansion. The fun doubled when Kenna Sloan and Sharon Lacaze also joined the WAGD ownership team. These changes enabled the opening of the second WAGD facility, in Richardson, Texas in January 2017. The Richardson location quickly became busy with activity as more people discovered the joy of learning about dog behavior and training.

In late 2019, WAGD’s event center (known as R2) opened up. This facility is co-located with WAGD-Richardson and brings the total square footage in Richardson to over 22,000 square foot. With a permanent Barn Hunt set up and an extra large event / training ring, it has nicely rounded out the What a Great Dog! family of facilities. 

In 2020, the global pandemic caused WAGD to make changes, as it did so many other businesses. A new online learning capability was created. This program is called Great Dog Online. It allows people around the world to experience WAGD’s training methodology and vision. Organizational leadership changes were made which landed Sharon Lacaze in the position of Head of Operations for What a Great Dog! In that role she provides leadership for all WAGD operations and facilities. Kenna Sloan is head of Business Services driving the essential backend services. Maureen has stepped into an advisory role, with her main focus being on training curriculum and online delivery. Two big, new management roles were created, with each location now having a General Manager. Ashton Gray and Rachel Vogt, stepped up to those roles in Richardson and Frisco respectively. 

Maureen’s passion for igniting a fire in typical pet owners to train their dogs with positive training methods set the tone for the WAGD company. The company continues to be fueled by the central theme that when people get hooked on training and participating in dog sports and activities, their lives are enhanced and their dog’s lives are too!