We moved to Los Angeles from New York City in 2009 with our Jack Russell terrier, Brecken. As a 7-month-old puppy, Brecken was true to his breed: high-energy, smart and devious (chewed coffee table legs, unraveled rugs, and shredded doggy toys). Of course this meant that our first order of business was to find a dog daycare to keep him happy, safe and busy while we were working. We toured a number of facilities, but left disappointed, unable to find the right one. So, we decided to create a daycare that Brecken and his dog pals would love.
We had four main criteria for our daycare. The first was to design a daily schedule that not only allowed dogs to exercise and play, but to get the rest they needed. Secondly, we wanted to ensure our dogs had their own private space for sleeping and eating. Thirdly, we were concerned that some cage-free overnight facilities were prone to overcrowding, so we wanted more space with fewer dogs. Lastly, we wanted to offer sports and activities to keep dogs (and us!) mentally and physically fit.
In the end, we accomplished all of those things and more. Pet owners come into Fitdog all of the time and say, “You must think I’m crazy because I love my dog so much.” We respond: “Not hardly. We love our dog so much, we built a daycare for him.”
Brecken, at 7 months old, was our inspiration for the Fitdog logo and brand.
What is “Dog” Philosophy?
Every dog daycare has a philosophy. It’s a mixture of the company culture and its dog handling techniques. Those two components are the main factors that determine how your dog will be treated during his or her stay.
Dogs Come First
We have built our dog daycare on a culture of love. This word is used liberally in the industry, but for us, it is an important determinant of whether or not someone is qualified to work for us. We want people who truly, 100% care for and love dogs (and how can you not, right?).
Dog Handling Techniques
It’s really simple. We train our employees to form relationships with our dogs and to use basic obedience commands to correct unwanted behavior such as rough play. This greatly reduces the need for physical tools such as water bottles, noisemakers, yelling, stomping, and clapping.
Our Club Manager, Terrance Walker, has been working with dogs for over seven years. Through experience, study, and as he puts it, “a burning passion for dogs,” Terrance gained an in-depth knowledge of dog behavior, social interactions and pack mentality. He is able to deftly create dog playgroups, manage dog-to-dog relationships and customize schedules based on dog personalities and breed requirements.
As you might suspect, Terrance has a deep love for dogs and animals that is recognized by our Members (both dogs and owners). He volunteers at the South LA Animal Shelter, and for humane reasons, is a strict vegetarian.
In his free time, he is an avid runner. Terrance trains with an elite athletic team and competes in 10k running events. He also volunteers at the 52nd Street Elementary School as a teacher’s aid.