Top Dog Country Club provides doggie daycare along with boarding, grooming and training. We spoke with Top Dog’s “pack leader” Jean Stelten-Beuning for some tips for first-timers.
Lake Minnetonka Magazine: What should first-time boarders expect to pack for their pet? Are there items people commonly forget to bring?
Stelten-Beuning: We invite clients to pack anything that makes their dog feel comfortable away from home; favorite toys, blankets, treats and their food.
We ask clients to bring their dog’s food so that we can maintain their own diet while with us. We welcome all diets, including raw or a prepared homemade diet.
Clients should bring the appropriate amount based upon the length of stay, along with a little extra in case their trip is extended (that is the thing they often forget).
LMM: What are some good ideas for anxiety relievers either when boarding a pet or bringing a pet to doggie daycare for those first few times?
SB: Sometimes well-intentioned dog parents create separation anxiety in their dogs. When they get emotional and overreact when dropping their dogs off, the dog reads their energy, senses their pheromones and their anxiety, and that makes the dog upset. Best advice is to keep it short, sweet and upbeat. Tell the dog, “have fun, Bailey, and I will see you soon!” and walk away. The dogs reads this as, “OK . . . mom is cool and I’m at camp.”
LMM: It sounds like as a dogcare and boarding facility you also do a lot on your end to keep dogs relaxed. Would you say these measures make an impact on the dog’s behavior both during their stay and after going home?
SB: Yes. We accept dogs of all social skill levels and some that owners think are not all that social. At Top Dog Country Club, we have more than 100,000 hours of pack behavior experience over a 20-year period so there is not much in terms of behavior that we have not experienced and are not ready for. My team includes vet techs, groomers, trainers and other adults that are very passionate about dogs and we spend those five to six hours in play working with dogs and teaching them good social skills.