What vaccinations need to be current for my dog to board or attend day camp at Kamp K9?
Dogs need to be current on rabies, DHLPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza), and Bordetella (kennel cough). (Note: a vaccination does not guarantee that an animal won't contract an infection. It's like a human getting a flu shot: New strains of viruses and bacteria are appearing all the time, so there is still a risk that infection will occur, but if it does happen, the vaccination might help lessen its severity.)
Regarding Titer testing: Antibody Titer Testing is the process of examining the ability of an animal's immune system to resist infections from various conditions. Some pet parents prefer to use this method rather than have their pets subjected to a lot of vaccinations (especially if they have bad reactions to vaccines). This can mean, however, that an animal might not be “legal” in the eyes of the state. Kamp K9 will consider accepting such animals, on a case-by-case basis, provided that results are available for review.
My dog hasn't been spayed/neutered yet. Can they still come to Kamp K9?
That depends. If they're still very young and the alteration is planned, but just hasn't happened yet, an exception can be made. However, any male dog that is older than 1 year who hasn't been altered, or any female who hasn't been altered and has had heat, or a dog whose owner does not plan on altering them due to a wish to breed them cannot attend Kamp K9.
My dog has never boarded or attended day camp at Kamp K9 before. Can I send him/her over any time?
The main advantage of Kamp K9 is that no one is ever caged or put into a separate pen of any kind…and that means that it's extremely important that every animal gets evaluated prior to being able to attend day camp or board at Kamp K9. An unevaluated animal coming in out of the blue could introduce a potential loose cannon into a mix of otherwise happy, safe pets. Therefore, we cannot accept boarders or day campers at the last minute who have never been evaluated by Kamp K9 staff. Everyone should understand that the safety, comfort and happiness of Kamp K9's clientele are paramount, so try not to be upset with us if we can't accommodate you last-minute. It means we care.
What does the evaluation process consist of?
It's very simple. The dog is brought in and allowed to meet the owners and Kennel Manager in the front office, and get a few sniffs around the office, feeding, and grooming areas. The other dogs who are already here have been removed from the Common Room ahead of time, and are kept outside while the visitor is allowed to explore the common room undisturbed. Then the others are allowed, one or two at a time, into the Common Room to meet the "new kid." They sniff, and get sniffed. This gradual introduction in stages prevents a new dog from being completely overwhelmed by an entire pack descending upon him or her all at once. Everyone is then taken outside, and the newcomer is allowed to check out the outside surroundings. All of these procedures happen under direct human supervision.
What is being watched is the new comer's sense of canine manners, how they handle being set upon by a lot of curious dogs in an already-established pack, and their curiosity of their surroundings and their new playmates. Their level of anxiety is also watched.
If the prospective pup looks like they'll do well here, it's recommended for boarders that they attend a day or half day of day camp prior to their first overnight. While not a requirement, it has been proven to help make a newcomer's first overnight stay easier. If that's not possible, another recommendation is to drop them off early in the day. This gives them more time to acclimate to the facility and the routine here, and it gets them in the ground floor, so to speak, of the day's new pack.
Most dogs do just fine; most owners have a clue as to how their dogs are with others, and people with aggressive dogs don't tend to try this place. The most common reason for a dog not being accepted here is due to a high level of anxiety. An overly-anxious dog is, at best, very unhappy and scared, and at worst, destructive in their attempts to get out and/or violent in their self-defense.
Do all the dogs REALLY get along with each other? Don't fights break out sometimes?
Yes, they really DO get along with each other. This is because of three reasons. Firstly, dogs are social animals by nature, and as such, they will seek out each other's company. They LIKE to be with other dogs, even though for some dogs it's not something that they are often exposed to. Secondly, when they're here, they have humans in charge who use a calm-assertive bearing and general strong mindset. The humans also control the play and the food. It is NOT done through intimidation, yelling, etc. When dogs have strong leadership, they can relax and enjoy life, because they don't have to shoulder the responsibility of leadership themselves. Most dogs don't want to be the leader, but if they sense a power vacuum, they will feel compelled by instinct to try to step into the role of leader, and that's when you start to have problems. That doesn't happen here. The third reason: we don't use toys on a regular basis with the dogs, and so a major cause of competition and possessiveness is gone (dogs who are overly possessive of everything are dangerous to others, and are not allowed to stay here).
Scuffles very rarely occur, and when they do, it's usually because someone just isn't getting the hint that his/her play or dominance advances aren't welcome. Such scuffles are extremely short, are usually just a lot of noise, and don't result in any kind of injury. (These are basically one dog giving another a “correction” regarding their behavior, and are normal when first getting to know the others.) Anything beyond that is not tolerated here, and if any dog makes a habit of such behavior, they are immediately separated from the others, and ultimately not allowed to stay here. But again, with the knowledge that there is strong leadership, life is happy and calm.
If there are no individual runs, where do they sleep at night?
The "Common Room" (which functions as both the indoor play room and nighttime sleeping area) has 7 human toddler beds (two bunk beds are also built on top of a couple of those beds, making a total of 9 crib/toddler sized sleeping spaces) and 2 doggie camping cots with pillowy duvets. There are also a few travel crates with their doors left open and lined with blankets, so no matter if your dog prefers a human bed, an open floor bed, or a crate, they can have it. At the end of the day, everyone is so tired that they simply pick their favorite spot and crash for the night. It's just about the cutest thing you've ever seen.
What is the capacity of dogs at Kamp K9?
Given the size of our facility and the number of staff we have, we're comfortable with a daily limit of 40 dogs (total of both daycare and boarding dogs).
Does anyone ever escape?
The layouts of the office area and the dog common room are such that there are multiple doors and safeguards in place, and the fencing surrounding the outdoor play yards is solid, so even with the freedom of movement that everyone enjoys here, escape is not an occurrence here.
Now, a dog will only try to escape in cases of extreme boredom or separation anxiety. Both are alleviated here by the near-constant activity going on and the amount of human interaction and attention they all get. In other words, they're having too much fun to even think about trying to get out.
Why do you recommend that dogs spend some day care time ahead of their first boarding stay?
That's because, in our years of experience, we've consistently seen that a dog does better and adjusts much faster, especially for their first night, if they're familiar with the sights, the sounds, the smells, and the rhythm of the day here. Now, this is honestly not an effort to maximize our dollars out of our clients, and we understand that for some people, this is a potential expense that they weren't planning for on top of their dog's boarding, but we have found this to be the best method to ensure the success of their stay.
Why do you recommend that dogs get dropped off for boarding early in the day?
We strongly suggest it for a few reasons. The first is that they can have the large part of the day to run and play, and therefore get themselves tired out. This makes for a dog who's much less wound-up their first night. The second is that it's very tough to have a fresh, energetic, excited dog coming in here at a point in the day when all the others, who have been here all day long, are tired from having played for several hours (and are also anticipating their being picked up by their parents). Such a dog can often be frustrated by the lack of play response from the other dogs, increasing anxiety. Lastly, late in the day is a busy time for day care pick-up, and thus we get called out of the yard and into the office many times. After, or sometimes during that period, it's feeding time for the overnighters. It's therefore difficult to be outside with a newcomer and devote time to getting them acclimated and play with them to try and burn off at least some of their energy. How are boarding fees calculated?
Boarding is billed per 24 hours starting from the time of drop-off. (For example, if you drop a dog off at 8am on a Monday, $35 will carry you to Tuesday at 8am; another $35 takes you to 8am Wednesday, and so on, until the day of pick-up.) On the day of pick-up, any time that your pet stays here beyond the original drop-off time is billed on a per-hour basis. Once you reach 10 hours past the original drop-off time, billing for that day caps at the full day rate. For example, if your pet was dropped off at 7am, but you pick up at 10am, you will be billed for an additional 3 hours ($3.50/hr). If you were to pick them up at or after 5pm, which is 10 hours past the original 7am drop-off time, charges for that last day would stop at the full day rate. One point to note is that if an overnight stay is involved, billing is done at boarding rates.