Welcome to The Barker Lounge!
Deciding who is going to care for your dog is a decision not to be taken lightly. We get it!
Choosing a pet care provider should be taken as seriously as choosing a child care provider. So below are some important questions to consider during the selection process. While we hope that these questions lead you to The Barker Lounge, ultimately we hope that they simply provide you with enough insight so that wherever you choose to leave your dog, it’s a good fit and you’re comfortable knowing that your dog is in good hands!
What will my dog be doing all day?
At The Barker Lounge, both our boarding and daycare guests spend their days romping around and playing in our indoor and outdoor play yards, all day long. The only time that our boarding dogs spend in their kennels is to eat their meals and sleep at night. And the only time that our daycare dogs spend in their kennels is to nap in the middle of the day. Aside from that, all of our guests (both daycare and boarding) spend the entirety of their time in very carefully organized groups of dogs of similar size and temperament, participating in supervised group play, all day long!
Is group play safe?
Too many pet care facilities take a large number of dogs, throw them into a room together, and call it daycare. There is very little depth or actual substance to it and unfortunately, it’s dangerous! Here at The Barker Lounge, we’ve gone to great lengths to develop an Animal Management Program that is unparalleled in the doggy world! It is a program designed to properly manage canine stress and enrich our doggy guests (daycare and boarding), not just occupy them. Designed with the assistance of a well known behaviorist and industry veteran of well over 25 years, the program is the reason that “The Barker Lounge” has been, and continues to be equated with nothing less than the highest quality of doggy care in the pet industry. We encourage you to come see for yourself. Your first day of daycare is on us!
Who will my dog play with?
This is one of the most important processes in creating a safe daycare environment...proper grouping! Grouping is both an art and a science and when done well, your dog will be part of an environment that is safe, enriching, and with minimal stress. At The Barker Lounge, our understanding of canine behavior and group dynamics plays a large role in our ability to successfully group our guests!
First and foremost, little dogs should never, ever be grouped with big dogs. It’s simply not safe. Even among the gentlest bigger doggies, accidents can happen. Regardless of the facility that you choose to use, this should be among the highest of your priorities in evaluating the ability of a pet care facility to provide a safe environment for your dog.
Whether at The Barker Lounge for daycare or boarding, we are very careful in choosing which dogs go in which groups. Some dogs speak “dog” very well and enjoy being with others who do the same. Some dogs are like rowdy little teenagers who, when not at home, have a set of rules quite different than Mom and Dad’s rules...and they too enjoy being with other similar dogs. Some dogs are older and quieter and don’t like the antics of the young’uns. We get to know our guests very well and group them based on their size, age, temperament, play styles, doggy-friend-preferences, socialization histories, and much more. By being extremely selective in our grouping, we are able to create healthy group dynamics to help our guests thrive in this type of environment. This is a major component of good, responsible pet care!
How large are the groups in which my dog will be playing?
Beware of pet care facilities that group dogs together in large groups! It’s a very dangerous practice that can lead to conflict and injuries. Groups should remain fairly small (10 to 15 at the most) and monitored at all times. They should NEVER be left unattended. Dogs are unpredictable, by nature, and the absence of supervision in any group of dogs is asking for trouble!
What is the evaluation process used to screen new dogs?
Rest assured that at The Barker Lounge your dog will only be in the company of other healthy and dog-friendly guests. As should be the case with any pet care facility, all of our guests are very thoroughly screened to ensure the safety of everyone. Only dogs in good health, friendly towards dogs and people, and current on all required vaccinations are permitted to use our services. There are no exceptions to these rules.
Health. Prior to any dog using our services, we speak with the veterinarian of every single one of our new guests to ensure that they have had no communicable diseases within the last 30 days, and that they are current on all vaccines!
Behavior. Only once we get the “all-clear” from the vet, all of our guests must successfully completely what we call a “Meet & Greet.” This is a very carefully designed process to ensure that our guests are compatible with this type of environment. It allows us to identify dogs with aggression, or dogs who struggle to manage the ordinary stresses associated with a group-play environment. During the M/G, your doggy will be very slowly and carefully introduced to a variety of selected doggies at a pace that he/she is comfortable with. Your dog will remain with that small group of dogs over the course of the entire day. That’s right…this evaluation lasts the entire day! Remember that this day is absolutely FREE. It costs nothing to have your dog play with us all day long to determine if this type of environment is right for him/her!
Are the employees who will handle my dog qualified to do so?
It is important to make sure that your dog is being cared for by qualified dog lovers. The level of doggie care provided at your pet care facility will be only as good as the employees who provide that care. At The Barker Lounge, all employees across all Barker Lounge locations must complete a two-month comprehensive, proprietary training program (both online and hands-on) and pass an exam in order to remain employed at The Barker Lounge. They learn about canine behavior, group dynamics, health and safety, and canine stress, to name a few. Our continuing education and continued employee testing ensure that throughout the entirety of their tenure with us, our employees remain capable of providing a quality of pet care second to none.
How do I know if my dog likes it?
Trust your dog. Does your dog get super excited at the mention of “The Barker Lounge?” Does he bolt into the lobby when arriving at The Barker Lounge each morning? Does he seem happy after a long day of daycare? Does he sometimes refuse to leave The Barker Lounge at the end of a long day of daycare?
Or does your dog resist going inside when you arrive at your pet care facility? Seem scared or anxious?
What does the staff say about your dog? Is s/he stressed at daycare? Or is your dog playful and/or comfortable at daycare?
Group play is not for all dogs. Some dogs simply can't handle it, or don't enjoy it. And that's okay. Your pet care facility should be honest with you about how your dog does in group play and that should match the behavior that you see from your dog. Sometimes we don't always listen to our pets as well as we should. But your dog knows. Listen!
Pricing...What’s included in the costs? Are there hidden fees?
Make sure that you get a very clear explanation of what is included in the pricing. At The Barker Lounge, what you see is what you get. Our pricing is very straightforward without any added or hidden costs. Everything is included!
ALL-DAY-PLAY in our indoor and outdoor play yards is included in all overnight stays, at no extra charge. We have no extra fees for different sized suites, for administering medication, or for any other special requests. Be careful of places that have low boarding costs but add on extra fees for playtime/daycare and other a' la carte services. If you don't know what you're paying for, don't be afraid to ask.
Is there outdoor space?
Is there sufficient outdoor space for the dogs to play? Is there ANY outdoor space for the dogs to play? Large outdoor play yards are very important for doggies in this type of environment. It’s a lot easier for the dogs to play outdoors than it is indoors. They manage their stresses better when outside. In addition, some dogs only know how to 'take care of their business' outside on grass. Not allowing a dog that opportunity can be very stressful for dogs who know nothing else.
Our Barker Lounge facilities all have carefully designed, large outdoor play yards with artificial K-9 Grass, special drainage, and antimicrobial agents to keep your pets comfortable and safe. While our average outdoor play space is 3,000 to 4,000 square feet, some of our facilities boast over 25,000sf of outdoor play space!
What does it sound like in the facility?
Noise is the single largest stressor for dogs. At The Barker Lounge, we work hard to minimize it. Whether there are 5 dogs or 50 dogs at the facility, they should be quiet and happy. If they’re not...if there is a lot of barking, the dogs are part of a noisy, stressful environment where the emotional temperature is an unhealthy one for them! Our facilities are very carefully engineered to handle the acoustical challenges of our daily routines. And our staff training and understanding of canine behavior helps our employees recognize and address doggy needs before they become noisy and problematic…ensuring good, quiet daycare.
Don’t believe us? We encourage you to come see (and hear) for yourself. Again, your first day of daycare FREE!
Am I permitted to tour the facility?
Transparency is key. Always ask to see the facility at which you’ll be leaving your dog. You have that right. Would you leave your child at a daycare center without first seeing it?
At all Barker Lounge facilities, we welcome tours. Walk the facility. Where will your dog be playing? Where will your dog be sleeping? How are the dogs being handled? Does it look and smell clean? Do you like what you see?
What type of facility security exists?
Any facility at which you choose to leave your pet should be safe. This includes a monitored alarm system, 24-hour surveillance, and a fire detection system, at the very least. At The Barker Lounge, we have an alarm system monitored 24/7, motion detection, glass break sensors, a sprinkler and fire monitoring system, and 24 hour recorded surveillance in all parts of our facility (in and out). Your doggies are as safe as it gets!
Air movement... can you feel it?
Proper airflow management plays a major role in keeping a facility healthy. Many contagious illnesses travel through the air. Humidity, poor circulation, and improper HVAC practices all contribute to doggies getting sick. At The Barker Lounge, our state-of-the-art HVAC and air purification systems are very carefully designed by our engineers and managed daily. Temperatures remain consistent. Fresh air is moved through the facility at rates equal to those in hospitals. All air is cleaned and purified around the clock. We take your doggy’s health very seriously!
Quality control... does it exist?
Are there processes in place to ensure organization, proper flow of information, communication between customers and staff, and accuracy in the details of your doggy’s stay?
At The Barker Lounge, we’ve developed proprietary kenneling software that manages all of this, and more: customer information, doggy information, vaccines, reservations and payments, medication tracking, details of your dog’s stay, behavioral incidents, medical issues, special needs, and much, much more!
We also have proprietary doggy tracking software designed to keep track of every single doggy in our facility, their arrival and departure details, group details, and a ton more to help us ensure smooth operations!
What kind of feeling do you get from the staff? Do they know your dog's name and personality?
Do you feel comfortable leaving your dog with the employees at the facility? Are they excited to see your dog or are they busy texting their friends on their phones while you wait to be acknowledged?
We pride ourselves on knowing you and your dogs. Most of our doggies are regulars. We know their names, their personalities, their quirks, and what normal play is for them.
Are you permitted to bring your dog’s food/belongings for his/her boarding stay?
It is important that your dog is as comfortable as possible while staying overnight at any pet care facility. For this reason, we encourage you to bring your dog’s food, a favorite toy or blanket, an unlaundered shirt, or anything else that makes your dog feel most comfortable staying away from home.
Abruptly changing your dog’s diet can upset his/her belly and cause diarrhea and other issues, in turn creating more stress for your doggy. It’s not a healthy practice…there’s no two ways about it.
Be sure to check our Do’s and Dont's in the “Services/Boarding” section of our website to ensure that your doggy is as comfortable as possible while staying with us!