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We are almost at the end of 2020. this year has been quite a challenge. We are lucky we get to spend our time with all these beautiful dogs, it certainly helped us get through this year! We want to thank everyone for their continued support. We are confident that next year will be better for everyone.

As was to be expected, business was down this year, but we used this time to take a good look at our facility and our processes. We did some extensive remodeling of our facility. All the floors were refinished, new equipment was bought, all with the goal of simplifying the maintenance process, getting everything cleaned and sanitized effectively and efficiently.

We are looking at all the processes and trying to make them more efficient, so we can spend more time working with the dogs. Therefore we will institute some policy changes, all intended to benefit the safety and wellbeing of the dogs in our care.

From the Dog’s Point of View

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For dogs to do well in off leash play and enjoy their time here, they need to be confident, be able to relax and be able to self regulate activity and rest. They need to have the ability to understand what the other dogs are communicating, which they learn from a young age as they interact with other dogs.

Stress makes it hard for dogs to cope. Now there is good stress and bad stress. Good stress is when you anticipate something exciting. But both types of stress create hormones that can stay in the dog’s bloodstream for quite some time. And stress is cumulative. If a dog was upset because someone was setting off fireworks all night, the stress hormones will still be present the next day when the dog comes to daycare. so it is important for us to know if something happened that upset the dog the last couple of days before he comes to daycare.

Another factor that can cause stress has to do with the fact that dogs have very little control over what happens in their lives. When you decide to bring your dog to daycare, he or she has no idea and no say in that decision. Now it is normal for dogs to be more relaxed in familiar environments and be on guard in unfamiliar environments. If something is unfamiliar, it could be dangerous so you better be on alert, which means your stress hormone level goes up. If a dog has not been to our facility in a while, it is an unfamiliar environment.

Why do we worry about stress? A dog (and a human!) that is under stress, uses a different part of their brain. Instead of using the front part, which is involved in problem solving and decision making, they use the back part of their brain, which is reactive, impulsive and defensive. Dogs under stress are less tolerant and make poor decisions, which can lead to fights and injury.

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Updated Lodging Requirements

So one way we can reduce stress is by keeping your dog familiar with the ranch. Even if your dog only lodges every now and then, keeping him familiar with the environment by giving him regular play dates will help with that. We evaluate every dog that wants to take part in our off leash program. We will require dogs that have not been to the ranch in six months or longer, to be reevaluated. It gives us a chance to get to know the dog again (dogs change as they get older) and gives the dog a chance to get familiar with the ranch again.

We want to thank everyone for their cooperation with our reservation requirements. Having all reservations in by 8PM the evening before you would like to bring your dog, helps us create the right playgroups for the dogs. Getting the right playmates in a group is important because different dogs have different playstyles. Dogs of different ages like different things too.

Lodging presents additional challenges, since dogs that are staying longer will get tired and less tolerant of all the activity around them. If we know a particular dog gets less tolerant after a few days on the ranch, we may require them to sign up for a training and enrichment program while they are here, and give them breaks and time to rest. Just like kids at summer camp, the daily excitement and arousal increases stress hormone levels and affects their behavior. We will discuss enrichment activities in upcoming newsletters. It would be great if everyone could fit some of these activities in their daily routines, since it helps dogs become calmer, happier and reduces ‘problem behaviors’.

For lodging reservations, we require that they are also made by 8PM the day before you would like to bring your dog. If you plan to bring your dog on Friday, for example, have your reservation in by Thursday, 8PM.This helps us plan better and give all the lodging dogs a better experience. Of course situations can come up where your dog might have to stay with us last minute because of an emergency or other reasons that didn’t allow for timely reservations to be made. In that case we ask that you call us at 419-475-4101 to check for availability. Extra charges of $10 per dog per reservation will be added.

When dogs come to lodge with us, they spend the night together with other dogs in our doggie bedrooms. dogs that arrive on the ranch are excited to meet their friends and want to play with them. Therefore, they need time to do so. Our cutoff time for dropping off your dog for lodging is 4PM. If you arrive after 4PM, we reserve the right to cancel your reservation. If we do accept your reservation, there will be a $50 late check in fee per dog. Since charges are for overnight, you can bring your dog in the morning instead of the afternoon at no extra charge. Checkout time is 11AM the day dogs go home.

For ew daycare and lodging clients this is our evaluation schedule: if you want to sign up your dog for daycare, we want them to come for two 4 hour periods for an evaluation and introduction to our facility. For lodging, we want to see your dog for an additional two days. Before your dog can lodge for an extended stay (more than 3 nights) we want them to stay for one night to get them comfortable lodging with us.

Some Miscellaneous Items

We will continue our curbside drop offs and pick ups for the foreseeable future. When you drive into the parking lot, please stay to the left, turn in the back, then pull up in front of the door, while facing the street. Then call us so we can get your dog. We ask everyone not to call sooner. We are watching the dogs, we can’t keep looking at the clock to see how soon you will be here, nor can we stand outside waiting, because our focus is on all the dogs that are here. Also, if you call ahead, we might bring out the wrong dog, because someone else could have pulled up and now everything is out of order. Please remove all harnesses, leashes and collars; we will walk the dogs in on our leads.

All our payments are touchless, please have updated payment information in your Gingr account. We do not accept cash or checks at the moment.

We ask that everyone bag meals in disposable baggies. This way we can quickly prepare meals for the dogs and not have any confusion about how much each dog should get. Baggies should be disposable so they can be thrown away. If meals have not been portioned out, we will do so but we will charge $5 per meal.

Medication should come in the original packaging. We want to know what the medication is and what it is prescribed for.

As always, we ask that everyone respect our 14 day rule: if your dog has been to another daycare, lodging or training facility, groomer or dog park, please wait 14 days before you bring your dog here. These are settings where dogs can easily pick up something contagious. If they go to another setting where dogs play together, they can spread it to all the other dogs there. We are all familiar with asymptomatic carriers. This is often what happens when canine cough goes around: some dogs will carry it and spread it, but show no symptoms. No one wants their dog to get sick, so if everyone follows this protocol, we can reduce the risk to all the dogs that come to the ranch. We thank you for your cooperation.

Once again, we appreciate everyone’s support and are honored to be able to take care of all these beautiful dogs. To show our appreciation, we offer a $10 coupon to all our existing clients. Please email the code ‘happy ranch friends’ to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by December 31st, 2020 and we will put that credit on your Gingr account. Not valid for current employees of a Walk in the Park.

There will be some price adjustments starting January 8th.

Our daycare charge for a full day will be $32. There are packages available for 3 days ($93, which is $31 per day). for 5 days ($150, which is $30 per day), for 10 days ($280, which will be $28 per day)and a package for 20 days ($500, which will be $25 per day).

A half day of daycare, up to 4 hours, will be $22. there are packages available for 3 half days ($63, which is $21 per half day), for 5 half days ($100, which will be $20 per half day), for 10 half days ($180, which will be $18 per half day) and 20 half days ( $300, which will be $15 per half day). These new packages do have an expiration date on them.

Lodging will be $50 per overnight. The 7th night of each consecutive stay is still free. There is an 11AM checkout time on the last day. Since each dog gets excellent care, we will no longer offer discounts for additional dogs that are lodging.

For daycare reservations that you would like to make after the 8PM deadline, you will have to call us at 419-475-4101, so we can check availability. In that case the charge for a full day of daycare will be $37 and a half day is $27. Packages cannot be used for these reservations.

There will be some changes in our grooming charges as well. We want to adopt a more precise pricing structure for the different breeds and coat types. We will discuss that in the next newsletter. All pricing will be updated on our website.

Both for daycare and lodging we ask everyone to give us times for pick up and drop off that are as accurately as possible. This helps us to be ready, have dogs cleaned up and brushed out when they go home, it lets us know if we need to prepare meals and in general it helps us know who is here when. When you book in Gingr, please fill out the times for drop off and pick up. If for whatever reason those times change, please give us a call, so we can adjust them.

We are looking forward to the new year. We are excited about some of the new programs we are starting, like our Puppy Playcare, a special program with in house training and daycare to get puppies off to a great start! We will continue working on improving the experience for every dog in our care. Our mission is to help dogs navigate a world they share with humans and other dogs. We want all dogs to be comfortable, happy and fulfilled. We hope to see everyone in the new Year!

Dirk Broersma, CPACO and all the staff of A Walk in the Park

Dirk Broersma