Welcome to the 2020 Fall Newsletter from Rex’s Place!
A message from Kathy, Seaquel and Picasso
Fall, the season of red and gold leaves, football, and wool sweaters, is almost upon us, and yet it doesn’t quite feel like summer ever arrived. Yes, we’ve had our sunny 90 degree days, but in the absence of so many summer traditions — all the graduation and beach parties, vacation getaways, baseball games, street music, and art festivals that never happened — it’s as if the summer season was cancelled. It has been and continues to be a challenging time indeed.
As we all continue navigating this strange new world, we want to reiterate how very grateful we are for the support you’ve shown Rex’s Place and our dedicated team. Quite literally, we couldn’t have made it without you. And while we still miss some of our longtime friends who haven’t yet made it back, our other “regular” attendees have been enjoying themselves with the many newcomer pup pals who have joined our furever family over the last few months.
But lest you think we’ve been lollygagging, rest assured that new furry faces aren’t the only changes you’ll be finding at Rex’s Place. We’ve been working on some great new offerings and will be implementing a few of them soon, so stay tuned! We’ll be sending out a formal announcement when our new programs are ready to launch. In the meantime, here’s some introductory information.
New Offerings at Rex’s Place
Because of COVID and the risks we all still face and must navigate, we will continue contactless drop-off and pick-up service out front. Please note: the correct phone number to call or text when you arrive is (847) 420-6298. There has been some confusion, so please put this number into your phone. This is the number that reaches us during pickup and dropoff times. We appreciate your cooperation. We’re excited to invite everyone back in — read on to see why — but the health and safety of all our staff and customers must come first. All things in time.
We’re very excited about our new Spa Days offering. Spa Days will operate every Tuesday and Thursday to pamper your pups with special services. Attendees will have their teeth brushed, ears cleaned and nails trimmed. Spa Day reservations are required and can be made through the Gingr App. Simply add the spa services you want while making your day care reservation.
We’ve also been forced to redo our floors again. You might remember our plumbing issue earlier this year — that really did a number on our floor, and in accordance with Murphy’s Law, the leak occurred right after our floors had just been refinished. Now, floor maintenance time is right around the corner, but we’ve decided instead of just refreshing the
floors, we’re going to go for an entire interior makeover! We have already painted with colors that make everything even friendlier. We’re adding more sound dampening and proofing, and we are about to completely replace the floors for comfort and safety.
Getting everything done in the most efficient manner will require us to close Rex’s Place for a week. So here’s your advance alert: REX’S PLACE WILL BE CLOSED FOR THE WEEK OF OCTOBER 5 THROUGH OCTOBER 9. Please be sure to mark your calendars!
We’ve also added new equipment and activities that will be available when we roll out our most exciting addition to Rex’s Place, the new Day Care Plus canine enrichment program. Many of you are probably wondering, “What exactly is Canine Enrichment?” So, we’ll start with the basics:
As dog owners and “dog people,” we love our pets. To most of us, they are family who just happen to have tails and fur. And just as with any family member or loved one, we do what we can to help them live their best possible lives. Nutrition and exercise, along with ample doses of love and attention, are foremost, but there is more. As pet parents, one of the most important things we can do to enrich our dogs’ lives is to permit them to exercise their innate behaviors, such as running, playing, chewing, chasing, smelling, and scavenging. This can be challenging in homes where there are space limitations and/or fancy furnishings , or for those with time constraints. It’s really hard when you’re away from home for the majority of the day. It’s why so many of you bring your fur babies to Rex’s Place Day Care.
When we talk with new clients, we explain that one of the greatest benefits and best things about Rex’s Place is that we let dogs be dogs. For us, that means promoting their health and happiness by allowing them to engage their primal instincts. Using their senses and natural energy levels provides the physical, emotional and mental stimulation that many dogs not only crave, but genuinely need. And while no one would encourage their pet to chew up heirloom furniture or race back and forth across a Persian rug, reining in too many of your pup’s innate behaviors can lead to boredom and behavioral problems.
Dogs’ brains are wired to actively look for a task or job to perform. When we squelch these innate behaviors and eliminate outlets like service roles and high energy activities, it should come as no surprise when our stressed-out pups exhibit undesirable behaviors like aggression, excessive licking, chewing, barking, or eliminating indoors. That’s where Day Care Plus comes in, providing enrichment activities that tap into your dog’s natural canine instincts and behaviors.
How does this translate in a day care environment?
During day care, dogs have free play time to engage and socialize with their friends. To be sure, a certain level of enrichment occurs — such as when a team member leads or coaches dogs to learn new tricks and activities, or takes a group of dogs outside — where new smells, water play and other stimulating features are available.
But just like humans, personalities vary and so it’s no surprise that some dogs are completely satisfied with free play while others need a more stimulating environment. For those dogs, our Day Care Plus enrichment program offers these types of structured, purposeful activities and routines that “working” dogs thrive on.
The Six Categories of Enrichment:
- Environmental – These are opportunities that change or add complexity to the environment. For example, we’ll guide your dog through tunnels or take them on nature walks through an environment they’ll have to learn about.
- Feeding – Providing food in different and challenging ways such as hiding, scattering or burying. By employing the power of your dog’s nose and brain, we encourage your dog to use its natural hunting and foraging skills.
- Manipulation – Giving items such as toys and puzzles that can be explored using paws, head and mouth to encourage investigation, problem solving and play. This will involve puzzles, play, balls, and wrestling, but we’ll also challenge your dog’s ability to handle distraction and improve recall.
- Training – Building listening skills, trust and bonds that enable mastery of new tasks.
- Sensory – We’ll work with your dog’s five senses — incorporating objects that stimulate sight, smell, sound, touch and taste. Touch command is a fun approach to sensory exercises and of course a great opportunity to demonstrate affection.
- Social – Here we promote interaction with other animals and/or people in challenging ways that build self-confidence and trust. We might work on patience or challenge your dog to follow in a social group.
Our specially trained enrichment handlers will provide individualized attention and guidance in a combination of these play, exercise, and mental stimulation activities within smaller groups of day care participants. The simple puzzle activities, complex training and agility exercises mentioned above are just a few of the task-like activities we’ll be implementing to challenge your dogs’ minds and give them that sense of purpose and fulfillment they’ve been seeking.
So while the activity and socialization of Classic Day Care is adequate for most, some dogs simply need that higher level of stimulation and challenge, which we’re proud to announce is now available with Day Care Plus.
What are the benefits of enrichment?
As we noted earlier, enrichment alleviates the boredom that often leads to undesirable behaviors. But, it also improves quality of life, gives a feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction and has both psychological and physiological benefits.
All of the enrichment activities we initiate meet Rex’s Place standards, ensuring they are:
- Safe and appropriate for participating pups;
- Designed to stimulate natural behavior and provide sensory stimulation;
- Focused on providing both the appropriate level of physical movement and cognitive challenge.
Long-Term Health Benefits Associated with Canine Enrichment
The American Veterinary Association, Academy for Dog Trainers, Association for Animal Welfare Advancement, along with countless other professional pet-focused groups, agree that canine enrichment provides numerous benefits to the health, well-being and safety of dogs.
Enrichment improves quality of life, gives a feeling of fulfilment and satisfaction and has both psychological and physiological benefits. Enrichment should have a satisfying goal, be safe and appropriate for the dog, stimulate natural behaviour, provide sensory stimulation, involve physical movement and offer cognitive challenge. Longer term benefits of enrichment may include increased confidence, weight loss, a reduction of behavior problems, heightened focus and concentration, as well as a stronger bond between owner and dog.
In support of these benefits, a 2017 article published in The Sunday Times reported that canine “brain cells are dying from boredom,” going as far as to assert that boredom is among the “subtlest forms of cruelty.” The article goes on to state that “lack of stimulation actually damages the brain through neuron atrophy which in turn, eventually causes cognitive deficits.” These findings indicate that enrichment leads not only to a better behaved, happier dog, but also that it helps stave off canine cognitive dysfunction (also known as “doggy dementia”).
Other sources report that enrichment also advances canine well-being by helping keep dogs in good physical and psychological condition. For example, foraging activities that engage the olfactory sense are found to be particularly beneficial to aging pets as well as those suffering from arthritis, or, that due to other ailments or injuries have exercise limitations or restrictions. Hence, the act of engaging smell, the most powerful canine sense, can deliver countless health benefits to unwell or aging pets.
It’s hard to argue that enrichment is anything other than a win-win situation for all concerned. We invite you to learn more about it by observing or enrolling in our upcoming 3-day/week session. Call us with any questions you may have, or to schedule an observation session with some of our newest participants.
That’s a wrap!
That brings us full circle to what’s happened and what’s on the horizon at Rex’s Place Day Care and Boarding House. We wish we could ring a bell to mark the end of the pandemic, but we haven’t got a bell and more importantly, there’s no indication that COVID-19 is gone or even on its way out. And so, with that in mind, we urge you to stay safe and stay healthy. Remember the phone number for front door service: (847) 420-6298. Next up, the focus is on November and voting! And we want to remind you that this year, Rex’s Place will be closed on Election Day! And we urge you to vote!