It was quite a long time ago when I introduced dog daycare to Shelby Township, Michigan. I was so young, so brave, so determined. At that time there were only four daycare centers in MacombCounty. Nothing was gonna stand in my way of launching something so beneficial to our dogs! People thought I was crazy. Daycare for…DOGS? Training classes were common, but no one ever heard of bringing a dog to a center to receive daily care.

When the phone would finally ring at Wag N Tails back then I was so excited! “Thank You for calling Wag N Tails, how may I help you?” I would answer anxiously. I was hoping for another potential success story where I could learn more about a person and their dog who needed my help. The training was always an option, but since forever, a tired dog is a good dog. “How about we start Brandy on a daycare plan once a week since it’s difficult to give her all the exercise she seems to need?”, I would suggest excitedly! I can’t tell you how many times I was turned down, laughed at, snickered at and teased. It was strange to me. At that time I was researching what professionals all over the country were doing.  I just didn’t understand. Everyone else around the nation was benefiting from daycare for their dogs. Why couldn’t the folk’s home in Michigan see the same benefits in their life plan for their pet? Was it budget? Their time? What could it be?

And then finally. Finally, the day came where I remember calling my mom to bring me lunch because I was by myself that day with eleven dogs in the nap room conked out from a hard morning at play! I couldn’t believe it! The phones were ringing away! The dogs were having a ball (literally!) and their parents were thrilled with the outcome! I was doing my part to reduce obesity in dogs, along with helping towards the problem of high energy and anxiety in dogs. My clients were sending their friends and neighbors and, “wa-lah”! Daycare for dogs in Shelby Township was born!

People were happier with their pets, which in turn was reducing the number of dogs given away due to frustration or disappointment. There are now 47 dog daycare centers in Macomb Township, Michigan when years ago there were only a few to choose from. Combining exercise with training is key. It’s the answer that everyone needs, yet it’s difficult for us to always find the time, energy, and patience that’s needed.

Well, here I am again only its 20 years and 10,000 dogs later. I’m launching something new again. Something that most people will laugh it. Once again, I’m brave and determined, not so young anymore, but certainly still brave and determined! Exercising with your dog just sounds ridiculous to so many. I’m sure coming to a Bark ‘N Burn class is gonna make for some great conversation on your lunch break at work.

People might be afraid of what others have to say. Sometimes trying something new can make people nervous. Maybe exercising with your dog seems silly. Whatever the case may be, one thing I can say with absolute certainty. Dogs need to be healthy. Humans need to be healthy. Finding a way to conquer both at the same time? What could be better than that? Having fun with our dogs is just as important as petting them. Bonding with exercise is just as strong of a bond, if not stronger than all the babbling and baby talk we do with them! Why can’t exercising with our dogs be just as normal as putting healthy food in a bowl for them every day?

Bringing something new to our State isn’t always easy, but it certainly is fun! I’m excited. I’m so anxious for that buzz! The buzz that starts when people start talking for their dogs. Telling all their friends how much fun they are having and at the same time burning calories. The same person who laughed at you in the lunchroom at work? She and her Beagle will probably be the first to sign up for the next session!

Wag ‘N’ Tails will be first to launch this program along with so many other great “firsts”!

I predict that we won’t be the last! To all of you dog lovers who are brave, determined, excited and ready to try something new and fun, see you Thursday at the first Bark N Burn Exercise Class! Pumped.

About the Author Christine Fox, APDT, CTDI and a Pet Sitters International member, is the founder of Wag ‘N’ Tails Dog Activity Center with two locations in Michigan. She has been involved with many pet dog trainer certification initiatives, all based on learning techniques that involve humane practices and the latest in scientific research. Christine also raised a service dog for Paws With a Cause and plans to train her newest pup in therapy work. Through her work with dogs and their parents, Christine has developed many happy and healthy relationships with both humans and dogs in the community.

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