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Meet Eric and Rashi Wiese of Happy Puppy L.A. in Sherman Oaks

Today we’d like to introduce you to Eric and Rashi Wiese.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Eric and Rashi. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
In 2009, I started Happy Puppy Dog Training – providing behavior consulting for veterinary practices as well as training for the general public in Los Angeles. Fast forward to 2014, I met Rashi.  Rashi had recently completed graduate school and was working in marketing. We both shared a love for psychology, business, and animals. Together, we had two adopted dogs – Archy, a German Shepherd, and Rupert, a poodle/terrier mix. Both dogs had endured trauma during puppyhood. Archy was rescued from unfortunate circumstances and Rupert had some health complications.  Ever since Archy and Rupert joined our family, we’ve wanted to provide them with the best life possible.

As a behavior consultant, clients often asked “What care facility do you send your dogs to?” While we knew of plenty of boarding facilities around the area, Rashi and I preferred more personalized care to minimize stress on the dogs. We usually had someone knowledgeable in dog behavior come into our home and look after them.

As we continued to offer training for dogs, our clients increasingly requested if our company would ever offer personalized pet care. We realized from the quantity of requests that there potentially was an opportunity for us to offer this service to our clients. We began to personally care for some of our client’s dogs, taking the dogs into our home and sending our clients customized videos of the daily fun activity.

I started to conduct my own case studies, observing dogs walking into standard boarding facilities as opposed to more home-like environments, such as ours. I noted the dog’s body language in both circumstances and after months of studies, came to the conclusion that dogs displayed more comfortable body language walking into a more home-like environment. Eventually our client list had grown to the point where we could no longer handle the volume in our own home. Given the circumstance, we made a bold move, literally and figuratively.

2016 was a monumental year for us both personally and professionally. With the looming opportunity, Rashi and I decided to get married and take our family business to the next level. Given the demand for personalized care, we asked ourselves “What if we purchased a home just for the dogs?” This would be the largest dog house ever!

At that time, we lived on the westside of Los Angeles and started scouring the streets for a giant dog house. Low and behold we came across a 900 square foot beach bungalow on the city limits of Mar Vista and Venice. It was a contemporary aesthetic with a backyard nestled into the community right on Venice Blvd. “THIS IS IT!”, we said. “This is the place.” We scraped together every penny we had and sought out help from family and friends in hopes that our new idea would become a reality.  We utilized savings and gifts received from our wedding to come up with a down payment on this home. After a painstaking process with the banks, we were able to gain financing. Rashi left her 9 to 5 job and Happy Puppy L.A. was born.

Reality immediately started to set in – Rashi had quit her job, we just put all of our money into this new property, and we had no staff. The good news was that we had an abundance of supportive clients ready to utilize our new space. We quickly had to find staff, create policies and procedures, find computer software that was geared towards our business model, and handle the volume of calls and emails we knew we’d be receiving once we opened. There was a lot of trial and error but we were able to settle on an adequate software and hire experienced staff members within a few months.

Within two years, we were able to gain enough new clients to outgrow our Westside location.  At that point, we needed to expand into a larger home for the dogs. Change is always bittersweet but with our focus of raising the standard of care for dogs in Los Angeles, we were on the hunt again for a new property.

After a long search, we are excited to announce that we are opening a new location! The property will sit on 10 acres of land in Santa Clarita Valley. This is a big jump from our 900 square foot beach bungalow but we feel we are ready for the challenge. Our new space for dogs will be like none other – our focus is to enrich a dog’s environment and provide a safe space where they receive personalized care while minimizing stress.

Our new location is slated to be open winter of 2019. Stay tuned for more details!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
In all honesty, the road so far has been bumpy and accident-ridden, filled with potholes, DUI-checkpoints and stalled cars. That being said, we’ve become proficient in filling potholes, scraping bumps away and utilizing mentors as a GPS system to help navigate us through the slower pathways.

When we started our business, we knew we were creating a unique business model and going against the industry standard. This meant we had to create a brand new road all by ourselves. Between the two of us, we tried to handle it all – from training, temperament evaluations, facility tours, cleaning and maintenance to website development, marketing, HR, accounting, social media, customer service….the list goes on and on. This meant any structure and routine we once had went out the window. Schedules constantly changed on a daily basis and with our business being our number one priority, everything else was unfortunately pushed to the side. We’ve missed important family events, social gatherings, and put vacationing and holiday celebrations on hold for 3+ years. Through this time, we’ve recognized the value of hiring help for many aspects of the business in order for us to focus on growing the company.

We are excited for the road that lies ahead and are so grateful for our amazing clients and the unconditional support our family and friends have provided throughout this journey.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Happy Puppy L.A. story. Tell us more about the business.
Certified by the IAABC (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants), Happy Puppy L.A. provides canine behavior consulting across Los Angeles. We specialize in positive reinforcement training and can help with puppy development, potty-training, socialization, basic obedience, creating structure in the home, rehabilitation, and reactive behavior.

Happy Puppy L.A. also provides personalized dog care. Our overnight boarding service is set up in a home-like environment to help minimize stress on dogs when they are away from their owners. With staff that is trained in behavior, dogs that stay with us will have healthy mental and physical stimulation via customized playgroups and other enriching activities such as walks and agility. Our goal is to provide as safe of an environment as possible. Dogs will also enjoy mountain-top views and individual suites with TVs, music, and temperature control. For our clients’ convenience, we offer a pick up/drop off service within a certain radius in Los Angeles.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
We don’t like to put too much emphasis on the concept of luck. While some may attribute success to good luck, we attribute our successes to mindful decisions and hard work. When presented with challenges, we are firm believers in looking at the challenges as significant opportunities for growth and change.

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