Zara’s Interview

Zara's InterviewWhy Zara’s Doggy Day Care?

If you’re going to entrust us with the canine love of your life, we think it’s only fair that you get a chance to get to know us a bit better. Here’s some information that we think will help you – an interview with Zara, the driving force behind Zara’s Doggy Day Care (and the girl who runs the show!):

How did you decide to start Zara’s Doggy Day Care?

After years of working in the outdoor industry, I realised that dogs were closer to my heart than almost anything else in the world. This made sense because I grew up with and around many dogs. Starting this business allows me to get “back to my roots”. I have always loved being around dogs and I can’t think of any happier life than to be helping dogs get out to play and to help improve their behaviour with good exercise and socialisation.

Can you describe a typical day at Zara’s?

We serve dog owners from the Surrey to London, with many spots in between (see the areas we cover), and we realise that many dog owners aren’t able to transport their dogs to us as often as they’d like. That’s why our safe, secure van runs every weekday from 7am to pick up your dog and get him right to us so that he won’t miss out on any of the fun!

On the first day, your dog will be introduced to Bentley, our own ‘Cavapoo’ who seems to get along wonderfully with everyone! This introduction allows your dog to calm somewhat, and helps me to understand how he will act around our other regularly-booked visitors. We introduce the new dog to the most sociable of the pack, slowly and gradually if needed to keep him and the others safe and happy. Some dogs take a little longer than others, but I have found that it’s almost always a matter of confidence. On the first day, some dogs think that they’re going to get a vaccination and are very nervous. Once we can let him know that no one will hurt him and nothing bad will happen at Zara’s doggy day care, it’s usually a pretty quick process to get him playing merrily with the others. Of course, we have many dogs who need almost no introduction at all – they are a very happy, playful lot!

How do you make sure they get along all day?

Dogs enjoy playing with other dogs. It’s almost impossible for house dogs to experience life in a natural “pack”, but here at Zara’s that’s what they get to do all day! Dogs can’t wait to get here because they know they’ll be running and romping and wrestling the way they are hereditarily programmed to do. And of course we are continually with them, watching carefully for any nuances in body language or tone of voice (yes, really!) and to defuse any possible problem. We keep them busy in our huge fenced field with a variety of agility equipment – we have jumps, a see saw, tunnels, pools and lots of ways for them to find fun. Dogs can pretty much keep themselves occupied just by playing together, but we may toss a ball or Frisbee if it looks like they might need even more entertainment.

The most amazing part of playing with dogs all day is experiencing the amount of energy they have to expend. We don’t realise it so much when a dog is in our home, because after they reach adulthood they usually are very good and stay calm. But when they come here, many of them run and play for 4, 5, or 6 hours before they stop to take a rest! It’s then when it becomes clear how good this is for dogs. They have so much energy. It’s only natural that they sometimes go a bit batty when they’re cooped up all day in a house.

Then they’re tired when they get home?

Yes! Very tired! And, as we all know, a tired dog is a well-behaved dog!

Actually there are so many rewards from doggy day care. First of all, your dog learns how to behave appropriately around other dogs. Socialisation is now well-known as the most important component of a dog’s overall behaviour development, and it’s evident with our regular booking dogs who are old hands. They’re calm, cool, and pay better attention during obedience because they’re not nearly as distracted by their environment as an under socialised dog.

Exercise is equally crucial to any dog’s behavioural development. As I said earlier, when I see the dogs run for hours and hours it’s very clear that they need that energy outlet; that they’re built for that kind of activity. These dogs come home tired and the last thing they want to do is destroy the house!

And there’s yet another benefit – for the owner. Our clients continually tell us how wonderful it is to have their dog tired after they’ve been at work all day. It used to be that these people would come home from work and of course have to walk the bored, energetic dog who’d been waiting patiently all day for them. Or worse, they would come home to a house chewed up or otherwise damaged by a dog who simply had to find some way to exert his energy. The living room chair was the closest thing near him!

Even better, my clients tell me that their dog is better on walks, doesn’t pull the lead, doesn’t jump up as much, doesn’t bark as much, and simply pays better attention overall – even on the days when he isn’t at day care. I would say that if a dog comes one to three times weekly, you will see an enormous difference in his behaviour at home EVERY day.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this short introduction to Zara and a typical day at doggy day care.

Please do call Zara on 01293 690988 with any questions. She would love to hear all about you and your special dog!

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