The Rex’s Place Spring 2021 Newsletter

The Spring 2021 Newsletter is here!

Welcome to Rex’s Newsletter for Spring 2021!

Finally! The days are getting a little longer, the sun’s rays are getting a little stronger, Evanston’s COVID numbers are getting much smaller, and hope is peeking out from under the snow! Spring may not be in the air yet, but it will be soon!

We thought we’d do things a little differently this month so we’re going to answer some questions we get a lot and tell you about some upcoming changes.

Half Day Is No More

There used to be a little town called Half Day, located in Lake County. It’s not there anymore. It couldn’t sustain itself and it was incorporated into the next town (which happened to be Lincolnshire).

It’s not the only Half Day that went away.

We are discontinuing our half day packages as of April 1, 2021. There are a number of reasons which we will discuss a little further down, but the bottom line is that we will no longer sell the packages after March. Your dog can still stay for a half day and play, but there will no longer be a separate price for shorter play days.

To soften the blow, you can still purchase up to 2 half day packages until March 31, and those packages will be good for 6 months from the date of purchase. And… they are on sale! They will still be subject to the terms of purchase (you can’t use a half day package for a full day) but you will have the half day option for a while if you buy the package before the end of this month.

New Year, New Prices

We have held the line as long as we can, but our costs are going up and we have to raise our rates, beginning March 15. You can find the new pricing here.

Just like ending the half day packages, we know this change is hard, too. To make it a little easier, we are offering a sale on full day packages from March 1 to March 31. You can buy two day care packages maximum at Cyber Monday sale prices! Click here  to take advantage of this great deal and make the change more easily!

We Need Your Card…Really

a credit card on a keyboardAnother change that we must make is that, effective March 1, we must have a valid credit card number on file for you or we cannot accept your day care or boarding reservations.

There is no easy way to put this, and it’s hard to be delicate, but again: we are running such a tight ship to stay afloat during this pandemic, we can’t afford to have dogs come for free, over and over again. There are just too many people who don’t pay their balances, and we are taking too many losses. Back when we had just opened, we only had a few dozen clients and we could handle these matters privately, but we now have way too many customers (for which we thank you) and do not have staff assigned to follow the money. Most of customers pay without fail, but unfortunately, there are some who don’t. Please help us by making sure we have a credit card on file, either in gingr or in Kathy’s safe. We promise we will not use it for anything but keeping your account in balance.

Day Care Plus is Coming! No Fooling!

Our new service tier, Day Care Plus, will be starting on April 1! This is no joke!

For our furry friends who need additional structure in their day, more targeted activity and more direct positive reinforcement for improved behavior, Day Care Plus will roll out on April 1st.

We covered the purpose of Day Care Plus in our last newsletter but it never hurts to do it again. Day Care Plus groups will be smaller and dogs will participate in a number of exciting tasks, including:

  • learning new tricks and commands
  • lots of puzzles, toys, and snuffle mats
  • treadmill, agility, nose work, and K9 climbing

Beginning later in March, when you make reservations for day care, you’ll need to choose whether your dog is coming for Classic Day Care or Day Care Plus so that we can staff and prepare accordingly. Space will be limited, so if you want your dog to participate in Day Care Plus be sure and make a reservation to secure your spot.

All About Boarding: How to Choose?

As we slowly begin to return to travel, as work and vacation begin to beckon, it’s time to make arrangements for your pup’s care while you’re away. At Rex’s, we’re ready and eager to help! As with everything we do, safety is paramount, so we would like to remind everyone of our boarding options and why one would be better than another — you might be surprised by what and why!

Golden retriever sleeping with chin on sofaAt Rex’s, we have both boarding kennels and the no-kennel boarding house. In either setting, your dog gets lots of personal attention, plenty of rest as well as play, walks, their own food and more.

Dogs who attend day care may board in the kennel; so can non-day care dogs. It’s a safe and comfortable environment where each dog has its own space, and we even have double kennels so that multiple dogs from the same household can be together.

The no-kennel boarding house is a much more limited option. Because there are no kennels, we have to be absolutely certain that dogs staying in the boarding house are confident enough to be with other dogs around the clock, and we need to know that every dog there must also be comfortable with the staff members on duty.

Boarding in the House is higher priced; there is much closer supervision throughout the night, meaning more staffing. As a result, we have to have enough approved reservations to cover the costs and schedule the staff to operate the House. If we only have one or two dogs, we cannot justify the expense. (And there you have yet another reason why reservations are so important!)

Which option?

To determine whether a dog can safely stay in the boarding house, we evaluate the dog during day care. We will not even consider booking a reservation for the house unless the dog in question has been coming to day care at least twice a month, giving all staff a chance to learn the dog’s personality, and to evaluate the dog’s confidence around other dogs and staff members. The staff are not just looking at the dog’s play habits; they need to watch for subtle clues in the dog’s interaction with others, the dog’s tolerance for noise, how the dog approaches others (not just aggression, but even overly eager friendliness won’t work for anyone!) and, whenever we can, the level of food guarding. The only way to keep everyone safe is to make sure that everyone in the room is confident in the room. And for a boarding situation, that threshold is not the same for all dogs as it is in the day care environment.

Use gingr for your scheduling needs; just know that if we get a reservation for no-kennel and we don’t have enough pups to do that during your requested time, we will reach out to work out our options.

New to the FAQ

We have been getting a number of questions at the day care, and they are often the same, so we are going to take this dog and butterflyopportunity to address them for you here (and we’ll add them to our website for easy reference, too!)

Common Question No. 1: Why do I need to make reservations?

There are lots of reasons why we really, really need you to make a reservation for your dog.

Reason #1: First and foremost is staffing: If we don’t know how many dogs are coming, we can’t have enough staff on hand to properly take care of your dog. As so many of you have experienced in your own lives and businesses, we have been running very lean throughout the pandemic.
Reason #2: When you drop off your dog, we need to know in advance whether they will be coming just to play, or if your dog needs any special services. Between spa services, our upcoming Day Care Plus service, Play and Train, or other activities, we have to be ready with staff and space to provide that care.

Want more? When we have a snow day, as we did recently, and have to suddenly close, we can notify those people who have a reservation not to come in. If we don’t know, you might wind up standing outside and calling to see if we are open.

Please help us be making reservations. If you are coming the same day every week or every other week, let us help you by making a standing reservation so you always have a confirmed spot. All we ask is that you call us to let us know when you are NOT coming.

Common Question No. 2: I hate Facebook. How can I get announcements and see all the photos and videos?

We know a lot of people don’t like social media, especially Facebook, but social media is a fact of life in business now. We have to have a presence there, and it is a great way to share photos and information.

First things first: if you are not on Facebook, please make sure we have your correct email address in gingr so that you will receive our emails — we post announcements on Facebook AND we email them from gingr.

As for the photos and videos, we also have an Instagram page where we post lots of photos, but it’s not that easy to make an announcement. Want a work around? Create a Facebook profile for your dog, then like Rex’s Place from your dog’s account. Then you are only accessing the platform to share in the fun, no data sharing!

Common Question No. 3: When are you going to offer training classes again?

We have been attending professional conferences where training has been a central topic. So many dogs found new homes in the pandemic, when training classes could not be offered. So trainers have been engaged in much more one-on-one training and the results have been clear: it is much more effective.

The primary areas that owners need and want to improve on with their dogs are:

  • leash pulling
  • mouthing/chewing
  • basic commands (sit, stay, down)
  • recall
  • barking
  • socialization (to other dogs, environments, and humans)

And class environments just don’t show much success on any of these.

We may offer agility classes in the future, but since we now know (and research really backs this up) that group obedience classes are just not effective for the dogs. So we will be offering new training options: Board/Train and Play and Train. Both options will include communication with clients so that they can follow the same protocols at home — increasing the effectiveness of the training. We are really excited to be able to offer these options, and we will be passing on more information very soon.

Our Puppy Skillz Camp has been a big success and we are continuing with that in the future. It provides puppy training for those too young for day care. This is a great way for puppies to learn the basics and get a little bit of socialization before they are old enough for daycare and the parks.

Common Question No. 4: Are you going to continue with curbside drop off and pickup?

Yes! We find that this method of check in and out is much more efficient and a lot safer for staff, dogs, and their humans. We are able to better manage traffic and disruptions in the facility. Dogs don’t get overly excited from seeing their humans, or seeing strange humans, every time the door opens. We have fewer errors on our record keeping. And last but not least, we have not had a single COVID infection among our staff. Curbside service has turned out to be an unexpected benefit of  deal with the pandemic changes, and we plan to keep it going even afterward.

Having said all that, we’ve refreshed the facility a lot and can’t wait to invite you all in to take a look and see what we’ve done. Moving forward, especially going into the summer, we are looking to have more “events” for owners to get together with other owners and their dog friends.

So remember: call or text to 847-920-8739 when you pull up, and we will be right out to get your dog or bring your dog out! Please have all leashes, collars and harnesses off your dog when you arrive, and please — for your dog’s safety and ours! — do not let your dog out of the car to run loose! Thank you!

Common Question No. 5: Why are you getting rid of half days?

There are many reasons why half day packages are going away:

  • We cannot sustain the discount. Our margins are simply too thin.
  • Too many pickups come after the half-day time window has closed. The system generates the billing, and customers get angry when they are billed for the full day, even though they were late to pick up their dog. The staff time to change those bills in the system is simply too expensive and too hard to manage, especially when we are so short staffed.
  • The midday pickups can be a real disruption for dogs and staff. Dogs get upset when we have to interrupt play or naps to pull a dog out. Curbside has made that transition easier.
  • When we eliminate half days, we eliminate customer issues checking in for full days when they really wanted half. The system generates invoices based on check ins, meaning we have to go back to fix invoices, accounts and package info because dogs were checked in for the wrong type of reservation. These problems will be gone.

Moving forward, when you make a reservation it will be for either Day Care Plus or Classic Day Care. Again: half day packages purchased by March 31 will still be honored for 6 months from date of purchase. This should help ease the transition.

Do you have any other questions? Email them to us at [email protected]

That’s it for another newsletter! Thanks so much for reading, and as always,

Thank You For Your Continued Support of Rex’s Place! We are privileged to serve you!