The Arch City Dog Boarding difference
Updated: May 16
Hey friends! I am so glad you chose to visit this blog. Some of my clients have been with me for years and have seen the growth and changes along the way but some of you are new! I realize that Arch City Dog Boarding is *different* and you might be expecting the same thing that you've seen at other facilities. I wanted to go a bit more in depth and highlight exactly what we're doing and why we're different than some other daycare and boarding facilities!
We only accept 12-15 dogs per active team member
This means that we have one person assigned per group of dogs, with no group exceeding 15 dogs. This means the pups get the supervision and attention that they deserve!
All team members go through an extensive, approximately two month long training before being allowed to work 1:1 with the pups
This is my passion. These pups are my #1 priority. I will not allow someone without experience to be in charge of the safety of your furry family member. All team members go through training that includes knowing how to read dog body language, dog communication, dog socialization and play, how to supervise play groups, how to identify and interrupt inappropriate or stressed behaviors, how to help a dog who is starting to become stressed, how to identify and interrupt resource guarding, how to identify and interrupt aggressive behaviors, pet CPR and first aid, appropriate cleaning methods to reduce the risk of virus transmission, and ongoing education on dog behaviors and play. Since we accept fewer dogs and have highly trained team members, we are also able to accept dogs who may not do as well in traditional settings with dozens (or hundreds) of dogs.
We don't pay a receptionist to wait in a lobby for 8-12 hours per day, which translates into us scheduling appointments for the pups coming and going
Every team member who is here is actively working with the dogs and managing the business. Our schedules are set up to allow our team members to play with the dogs, provide mentally enriching activities, provide scheduled breaks, and also clean the space. Additionally, we wprk with a lot of dogs who may need a slower introduction to new friends, and we want to keep everyone safe. This means means we have to schedule when dogs are coming or going. This allows us to plan out our day and it also allows us to ensure that we wont have Fido*, who is a 60 pound leash reactive pup, run into Fluffy*, who is a 15 pound nervous pup, at the front door. This does require a little more work on the part of our clients as it relates to scheduling when you'll arrive and communicating with us if you're running late, and we appreciate your role in helping us create a safe space for our pups.
We are networked with trainers who can assist if we have a pup showing some difficult behaviors
When Rufus* has an attitude or an altercation with another dog or when Sweetie* shows a behavioral issue, instead of kicking them out, we can work on identifying and managing the issues. We can call trainers in to assist with initial assessments or to give feedback on pups who have shown a behavioral change. We can refer clients to different trainers for on-going management if the clients are interested.
Small groups means your pup is engaged in activities that enrich him physically, mentally, and emotionally
It's important for a dog to be well rounded. Physical play is awesome and provides a great outlet, but our pups are more complex than just a fun playmate. We also offer enrichment to stimulate their brains and make them think and we offer human chill time so they get plenty of lovins. All day play isn't healthy for dogs and they need their down time! We offer multiple rest periods throughout the day so that you're taking home a tired, satisfied, healthy pup at the end of their stay.
All dogs are evaluated so we can provide the best services to all of our furry friends
All of the pups go through an evaluation to determine how appropriate they are for play groups. We have some dogs who are great with ANY pup who shows up, some dogs who need a bit more supervision while playing, some pups who can only play with certain dogs, and some pups who can't play with any other dogs. Just as with humans, a pups attitude or temperament can change based on life circumstances, so we are continually supervising and assessing how the pups are doing with each other. As we see changes in their play, their appropriateness for group play is updated. We want to create a safe, stress free environment for the pups and our team members! If we have a pup who has a behavioral issue that impacts the safety of the other dogs, we have a special classification and can offer boarding accommodations for those pups. Any dog who is not able to board on the first floor with the other dogs is classified as a Zodiac dog (or Zodiac+) and they board in the basement. They have about 800 sq ft inside to call their own and about 450 sq ft of outside yard space. This gives these pups and their families boarding options while also keeping everyone safe.
All pups are covered by insurance
You might think that this is a given. Of course the boarding or daycare provider is responsible for any injury that occurs and of course they have a plan in place to cover any unexpected medical costs.... I thought so too. We were both wrong. I have discovered that, not only is insurance not a requirement, but some facilities have it in the fine print they are not responsible for any injury that occurs while the pup is in their care. At Arch City Dog Boarding we believe that we are 100% responsible for your pup when you leave us... um... in charge of your pup. As we have learned and grown, we have revised and updated our acceptance policy and classification system so altercations are rare, but when a dog is injured in our care we have insurance and an emergency plan to get your pup the care they need without burdening you with the costs. You don't pay extra for this and you don't have to opt in. We just believe that being responsible is..... responsible. We're pet owners too.
The owner lives on site
Ok. Let's get personal. My name is Shelly. I have two dogs who I refer to as my kids.
Arch City Dog Boarding is my passion and I care deeply for the pups who come here. I am fiercely protective of each of them, of my team members, and of my space. This is my dream and I am thrilled to share it with you all. What does that mean? It means the pups aren't left alone over night because I live here and sleep here. It means I am involved in every aspect of what goes on here. It means I'm never too far away.
But what does it mean?
It means when I get the "My mom is in the hospital and I need to bring the dogs tomorrow and I don't know when I'm coming back for them," phone call, I make space.
It means when I get the "My dad passed while I was visiting family and I can't come back home yet. I'll try to get someone to bring more food," phone call, I handle the food and make space for the pup to stay longer.
It means when I get the "My mom is in the hospital and I need somewhere for my dog to go and he's sick and I haven't had time to take him to the vet" phone call, I set up the appointment with the vet, get the dog the care he needs, create an isolation space for him, and handle the pup so my human client can handle life.
It means that when there is a behavioral change or an altercation, I call in trainers to identify what's going on and provide solutions for the owner instead of kicking the dog out.
It means I create safe spaces for pups who wont be accepted at other facilities because I believe that every family has the right to a safe place for their dog and every dog has the right to receive care without being kept in a cage for the duration of their stay.
It means that I go above and beyond and work long days, every day, to be the very best that I can be and that I expect the same from my team members (to be the best, not to work super long days).
I realize that we're not like the other facilities. It's not an accident. I realize that it may be an adjustment for some of our newer clients who were expecting more of the same. We're not. And I understand that for some people, they're not going to be OK with that. At the end of it all, where your pup goes for daycare or boarding is 100% your choice and you should be comfortable with whatever decision you make. If our set up doesn't fit what you're looking for, I wish you success with whatever option you pick. But please believe, everything that we do here, we do with the pups in mind. :) Thanks for reading and I hope to see you all soon!!
*Names changed to protect the identity of the puppers!