The Pack Dog Daycare & Training in Highland Park opens: ‘A dog is like a child’

Julian Pelino pets some dogs
Julian Pelino pets some of the dogs at The Pack in Los Angeles, CA. Feb. 2, 2023. Max Eve/The Occidental

The Pack Dog Daycare & Training in Highland Park opened their daycare and training facility space Feb. 1. The Pack’s co-founder Julian Pelino, said that anything in life that is worthwhile is going to be hard — nothing worthwhile comes easily.

Pelino said he has a history of going on solo walks, pack-hikes and day-long excursions across Griffith Park, Arroyo Seco and Elysian Park with more than 10 dogs. He was known by the local community as “Dog Man Walks.”

“The greatest thing about the dog walking is that every time I see these dogs, I know that that’s the best part of their day,” Pelino said.

The dogs build friendships too, he said.

“The dog is always a reflection of the person, right, so it’s so funny to see that and engage in that,” Pelino said.

Pelino said he focuses on the relationships between the client, himself and the dog.

He said that he is available during all hours of the day to his clients.

“That’s the really fun thing about doing [this] and getting really close with all of your clients,” Pelino said. “Because a dog is like a child. So when you really care for someone’s dog, you really want to get to know them as well. At least, that’s my philosophy.”

Pelino said that his friendliness and genuine care for animals appealed to local community members, generating him an array of clientele. One of his clients, Lisa Diaz, went on to co-found The Pack with him.

“I answered one of his ads to walk my dog, and he was doing these pack hikes which was really awesome,” Diaz said. “I was looking for somebody to start walking [my dog], and I came across Julian.”

Founders Julian Pelino and Lisa Diaz
Founders Julian Pelino (right) and Lisa Diaz (left) speak to Flip and his owner in the reception area at The Pack in Los Angeles, CA. Feb. 2, 2023. Max Eve/The Occidental

Pelino said that they first ended up on the conversation about a dog daycare because he has a torn labrum in his shoulder, and he discussed with her that he could not walk dogs forever, but he wanted to continue to work with dogs by opening a daycare. It turns out that Diaz also was interested in opening a daycare.

“I know everything about the dogs, and she knows everything about the business,” Pelino said.

Diaz, who has over a decade of real estate experience, said she knows nothing about dogs. Although, she knew how to handle acquiring their property and contract work, according to Pelino.

According to Pelino, The Pack prioritizes the emotional and behavioral needs of the dogs. Pelino said he enrolled in an animal behavior college to study dog training.

“What’s really crucial is analyzing all the behavior and really understanding how each dog is interacting with the other dogs,” Pelino said. “With all the booking I take notes on every dog’s behavior.”

Pelino said he monitors how different dogs handle different situations, and what their preferred play styles are.

“It really helps you bond with [dogs] and understand them better and build relationships,” Pelino said. “It’s also really crucial for safety.”

Barbara Thompson, one of the first customers of Pelino’s dog walking service said that they are ecstatic about the opening of The Pack.

“Julian is one of the only people who actually rings our doorbell. My dog runs to the door and he doesn’t bark,” Thompson said. “But he just runs, and he’s so excited.”

The Pack also has a parent lounge, Diaz said.

“[The lounge is] where people can be comfortable,” Diaz said. “They can come in and grab a coffee when we are doing training sessions and things like that.”

A dog and its owner
A dog and its owner leave the daycare together at the end of the day, at The Pack in Los Angeles, CA. Feb. 2, 2023. Max Eve/The Occidental

Pelino said he hopes to further his business by supporting other local dog-oriented businesses in the Highland Park community.

“I see us partnering with rescues down the line,” Pelino said. “We’d love to foster dogs and have them come here for daycare, that kind of thing.”

The Pack has their grand opening party Feb. 19 with music, a raffle — and of course, dogs.


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