Just in time for the first day of summer, we’ve got news, tips, and so much more! Let’s jump right in!
In this summer newsletter, we will cover:
- updates on our renovations
- a new team member you’ll want to meet
- adding Rally to our offerings!
- tips for helping your dog with heat and fireworks
- Day Care Plus subscriptions: survey says…
- More questions that Kathy hears regularly
- upcoming classes in Obedience, Enrichment, and Arena
Pardon Our Dust — and A Few Obstacles
As hard as the pandemic was on all of us (and some of us are still slogging through it), Rex’s Place was remarkably fortunate, thanks in no small measure to our customers. All of you, whether you have been with us since the beginning or your pandemic pups started visiting us recently, contributed not just to our survival, but to making Rex’s Place thrive!
We would also like to thank the Small Business Administration, who provided us with a disaster loan and two PPP loans which kept us going when we had no boarding for almost 9 months.
Because of our good fortune (and please know that we feel terrible for all the people and business that didn’t do as well during this time), we are making big physical adjustments so that our building can handle everything we have going on in comfort and safety. Truth be told, my staff looked at the Arena (and specifically the restrooms) and wondered why the day care looked so worn out in comparison. So, while we always planned to renovate, we are moving forward a little faster than we had anticipated.
Phase One is already complete
Our week-long day care shutdown allowed us to perform work in those areas of the building that are currently used for day care. We recreated our ball room, which the staff AND the dogs sorely missed. We adjusted play and enrichment room areas and … our new kennels have arrived.
“What?” You say? “New kennels? They were only four years old!”
If we had dismantled and re-assembled the kennels we had for the renovations, it would have not only delayed the whole renovation process, but we also could not have boarded any dogs for a full month. We were planning on moving the boarding area anyway, so we ordered new ones, and we increased the number. So now, during peak holiday periods, we will be able to help more of you. We do still ask that you get reservations in early if you want to stay with us. The new kennels are made by the same manufacturer. They look very different but we already love them.
As for the area that used to be the boarding kennel space, that room is now much more “people friendly” and it will be our new Plus Room. Our tenant has now moved out of the building and we are starting work on our new entrance and “dog walk”. The “dog walk” will be a pathway so that we can get to every single room in the day care. It will facilitate the tours that we will be bringing back as soon as the renovation is complete.
The outdoor play yard is also going to get an upgrade! We have new turf going in shortly to provide a cleaner play experience for everyone. The pea gravel will be gone and turf will be the name of the game.
When It’s All Done…
The entire facility renovation is expected to be complete in about two more months, though as we all know, that could change. Whenever it happens, though, we will have:
- Expanded kennel boarding
- A new Training Center
- A single, central dropoff-pickup door for both Day Care and Boarding
- The Ball Room as well as gentle and strenuous play areas
- A Tiny Dog Room!
- A Dog Spa for baths, nail trims, and brush-outs. Also: if you would be interested in therapeutic massage for your dog, let us know!
- A dedicated laundry room
- A manager’s room and a new staff area
We also have some other fun surprises that we can’t wait to show you.
Our Team Is Growing, Too!
We have an addition to our staff and we are excited to have you meet her!
Meet Hope, Our Trainer!
We couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome Hope Saidel to our facility!
Hope is a highly respected obedience, rally, S.T.A.R. Puppy, and Tricks trainer. She has been training for over 30 years and has seen it all, from
prong collars to positive reinforcement. And she has won numerous titles in Obedience with dogs that are not from “those breeds”… you know, the “smart” dogs, the “genius” dogs like Border Collies and Belgian Malinois that are “very trainable”. Hope loves working with bulldogs (English and French), and “hellhounds” (ask her about her sister Fran’s Griffon!), dogs that supposedly aren’t easy to train. The most gratifying part of her training career has been seeing dogs no one would have expected to do well excel both at home and even in Obedience competition.
As Hope says, “I don’t train dogs. I teach humans how to play with their dogs to teach them.” She will also tell you that you’re not so much training your dog to do or not do something as you are teaching your dog to make good choices. This orientation to working with dogs takes more time on the front end, but yields much bigger payoffs in the long run.
Hope’s philosophy is on full display on the training blog 2-minute-trainer.com which she operates with Fran. They have both published numerous titles on training, and each week they adds to the site with insights and helpful tips for games with your dog that don’t just teach your dog how to behave, but that make your home really FUN! And isn’t this why we all got dogs in the first place?
What should you know when you’re working with Hope? Class sessions are not a one-off; Hope is teaching you games that you can play every day at home with your best friend. The learning just begins at class — be prepared to take the fun home with you! Hope likes to say “it’s not an hour at a time — it’s all the time.”
Ready for Rally?
Hope and Fran Seidel will be offering a one-of-a-kind opportunity to learn all about Rally and to take part in this terrific activity beginning on June 28.
Rally is a competitive k9 sport that turns obedience into a low-impact form of agility. Human-dog teams follow a course of up to 15 obedience tasks (such as sit, stay, down, specific heels and turns, gentle jumps, and more) in varying sequences. Teams are judged on their execution of the tasks as well as how quickly they compete the course. Unlike agility, the human is allowed to prompt the dog in multiple ways along the course, which takes up half the area of an agility course, and there is far less running and equipment.
Fran and Hope are team leading this program. Fran will work teams one-by-one on the actual course while Hope works with the remaining teams on learning individual tasks within the course. This gives both humans and dogs more attention and less time in crates and chairs.
Is Rally right for you? Fran and Hope are offering “Rally Taster —Try-It-Out!” sessions for only $20 where you and your dog can come see Rally in action and try it out a little bit. Try-It-Out Rally sessions will be offered on select Wednesdays at 8 PM. You can sign up on gingr now!
We’ll Meet You Out Front: About Dropping Off and Picking Up
One of the changes you will see as our building renovation progresses will be the relocation of our front entrance to one central point, rather than the two doors for Day Care and Boarding. Our curb cut out front will align with the center entrance point, and that should make it easier for cars to queue up on the street, and to pull up right by the door.
Safety is critical during drop offs and pickups. The safest possible way is to have as little space as possible between the car and the door and as much space as possible between dogs and others. In our last newsletter, we asked you to watch a short video talking about the importance of keeping a safe distance at the entrance and that still applies. You can find the video here.
Mindful of pedestrians
There is one other point we would like to address here: not all of our clients drive their dogs to the facility. And for those who walk their dogs, we want to ensure their safety as well. It is for that reason that we often bring in dogs coming on foot before we bring in dogs that arrive by car. Once dogs walking to Rex’s are near the building, it’s safer for everyone if we get them off the sidewalk and away from dogs in cars, so that we can minimize distractions, surprises, and unpredictable interactions. It may seem like the pedestrian dogs are cutting in line, but that is not the intention. We just want to keep everyone as safe as we can.
While we’re on the topic, a couple of quick reminders:
- please pull forward to the front of the lane to make room for a vehicle behind you
- We will not bring dogs across the street so you must pull up on our side of the street
- Please be careful! Our neighborhood traffic is increasing every day. We know time is precious, but accidents and car repairs take up even more time.
It’s Getting Hot Out There
We want to take just a moment to remind everyone that summer is upon us, and even though we have had a lot of very cool days, the heat will be here and we dog folks need to take precautions. We are fully air conditioned throughout the facility, but we do limit play time in the outdoor yard for day care and boarding guests to prevent overheating, and when the sun is out, we often transport the dogs to the yard in the Rexmobile so that we don’t risk burning their paws. For all of you, here are a few points to keep in mind:
Did you know… we will not take dogs outside to walk or play if the temperature is over 80º?
- Short-snouted dogs like Frenchies, Pugs, and Shih Tzus overheat much faster than other dogs. They don’t tolerate heat or humidity well at all.
If the pavement is too hot for you to press your hand to it for 7 seconds, then it’s too hot for your pup’s paws.
- Dogs don’t have sweat glands. They don’t cool off through their skin — they pant and their paw pads release heat. Thick coats protect dogs from bug bites and skin cancer. Shaving them will not keep them any cooler and it puts them at risk. No matter how much they like being in the sun, bring them into the shade or indoors!
From Kathy: Last year, Seaquel wanted me to throw the ball for her but it was hot outside, so I told her I would do it three times and then we had to go in. And the second time I threw it, she caught it, ran off to the side and started having spasms. I came to find out that she was going into heat stroke. It happened that fast. So be cautious out there.
A Special Note on the 4th of July
The Fourth is always a very busy holiday for us, and honestly, nighttime is troublesome. With a kennel and a boarding house full of dogs, we don’t just have our hands full with the usual feeding and exercise, but also fireworks.
On her blog, Hope has some excellent tips for helping dogs through this very loud and disturbing time. We hope you’ll read her article now so that if your dog suffers through fireworks, you’ll have time to prepare.
You can read Hope’s article here.
Subscriptions: Survey Says…
Let’s just begin by saying that when we make a mistake, we’ll own it.
We introduced subscriptions for Day Care Plus this past spring for a number of reasons. They could be priced more attractively, they were designed to help Day Care Plus families budget their time and treasure better, and the convenience of auto-renewal was meant to make life easier. We even anticipated that subscriptions might be good for Classic Day Care customers.
After hearing some grumbling and outright frustration from some clients, Kathy decided to poll everyone, and we sent a short survey to Day Care Plus clients. The survey had a really high return rate, and we’re super grateful that so many people took the time to reply.
The results were clear: very few people like the subscriptions, and most people feel that they have not helped in the ways we wanted them to do. So subscriptions are going away.
So, hasta la vista, baby!
Effective July 1, we are switching Day Care Plus back to packages. We have asked gingr if packages can automatically renew when the last day is used. We haven’t heard back yet and will continue to work on that. So right now they won’t auto-renew and you will need to keep an eye on how many days you have.
Kathy gets questions — while she’s bringing dogs in, when she sends out surveys, when she’s at the grocery store — and in this portion of the Newsletter, she answers them!
We don’t do report cards for Classic Day Care. When Rex’s Place first opened, we had the cutest report cards, and my staff and I loved filling
them out. It cost a lot to do it but we thought it was worth it. And then we noticed that customers didn’t take them, or they read them and just
left them, or they didn’t even read them or take them. Not all customers were disinterested in the report cards but it was enough that we decided our time was better spent with the dogs instead of writing out the report cards that customers didn’t want. So instead of report cards in Classic, we take as many pictures and video as we can and post them on social media. We also try to take photos by request.
We have a lot of day care rooms and great staff to watch over a lot of dogs, but we also have a lot of extra dogs during peak periods in the Boarding area. Especially now that we are expanding our boarding capacity, we have to put a limit on the number of dogs in day care so that we can properly care for the boarding dogs as well (and many of them are in day care while they are boarding). Going forward, we will be setting limits on the number of dogs in day care during peak boarding periods.
One of the things I was told when I first opened Rex’s Place was “never get cameras”. Owners of other dog day care facilities told me that they wished they had never put them in because the phone calls never stopped. Owners were calling constantly: “My dog doesn’t look happy.” “My dog just pooped.” “I think there is dog poop sticking to my dog.” “My dog looks tired.” We only have so many hours in a day and we can either spend them answering phones or taking good care of dogs. So we choose to take care of the dogs. As I said about report cards, we take a lot of pictures and put them on social media, and we try to accommodate requests for photos and videos. But we will not be installing live feed cameras.
Classes — Have We Got Classes!
The best way to stay cool and still be active with your dog in the summer? Join us for a class at Rex’s Place! Whether you’re into sports, or you want to give your dog a special fun summer treat, or even if you’re just hoping to brush up on some skills and safety points, we have classes for all interests and skill levels!
Agility: check our summer class schedule here.
Enrichment: have you thought about Ratting? It’s fun for you, your dog, and — believe it or not — the rats! You can get all the info here.
Obedience: for puppies on up, improve your bond with your dog, understand your dog better, get a certificate, or just learn some fun, productive games! See the classes here.
Rally: If you haven’t heard about it yet, check it out! Classes start later this month, and you can Try It Out, too! Click here to learn more.
Stay up to date with our offerings!
Rex’s customers are always the first to know about what we are offering and what’s coming soon, but if you’re not yet a customer, you can get our alerts as well! Sign up for news and information below. We never sell your information and you can opt out at any time!
That’s it for the Summer Newsletter — think we included enough! Be sure to let us know what you think and if there is anything we missed!