• Ted, mesmerised by bubbles at The Dog Den.
  • Tia, exploring tunnels at The Dog Den.

Best location on the Shore

The Dog Den provides a safe and stimulating environment for your best friend.

The Dog Den is a doggy day care located opposite Countdown on Barry’s Point Road in Takapuna. This makes dropping off your dog for the day just a slight detour from your regular commute. But The Dog Den is more than just a doggy day care.

The Dog Den is a family owned business that opened its doors in November, after two years of research and planning. It’s a specifically designed centre that [provide comprehensive care for your dog, providing day care, grooming, boarding, dog taxi and specialist food and accessories. Dog lovers and owners Helen Miller and Steve Richardson set up the centre, and together with Mariah Rich as group supervisor they have a mature and experienced team. 

Socialisation of your dog can be important for their mental well-being. Just as it is important for you to have friends, it is important for your dogs to have friends too. Socialising your furry friends should be just as important as feeding them. In a way, you’re feeding their mental and spiritual hunger. Socialising dogs doesn’t include just human interaction. It also involves positive experiences with unknown dogs, surfaces, places, environments and stimuli. 

The experiences when socialising your dog should be positive (play, treats, nothing scary) being sure to include a wide variety of snuggles, toys, treats, and positive body language. This will all benefit the dog further on in life. It will encourage positive behaviours when going to new environments. When your dog experiences new stimuli such as cats, traffic, lawn mowers, vets, doggy day care and games you will get a positive reaction, rather than negative. Yes, there is an important period where the dogs are young enough for sociability to outweigh fear, and yes, the socialisation window is wide open during this stage. But this doesn’t mean you can’t socialise dogs later on in life. The window is never closed. All dogs can be socialised with the correct help, tools, and advice.

The team at The Dog Den stimulates the dogs in different ways, and this does depend on the dog. They use training tools like tunnel chutes, weaving poles, but also allow dogs to play with cardboard, jump in pools of balls, and play with bubbles, as well as the normal favourites like chasing each other and fetch. 

The Dog Den also recognises that some dogs need different types of stimulation. So from February 2020 thewy are offering adventure walks as an additional service. "We will offer combination passes that cover day care and adventure walks," says Helen. "Watch this space, and we will tell you more next time."

"We are also realistic and honest," adds Steve. "We give candid feedback on your dog, and how he or she are responding to the dog day care environment. If there are any problems, we will let you know, and potentially recommend you speak with your vet or recommend a specialist trainer. Dog day care is not for every dog. But we have made great strides in terms of socialisation of a few dogs now in a short period of time (often two to three weeks). Most of this is helping the owners and the dogs handle separation anxiety, which may be present whether the dog is alone at home, attending a dog day care centre or a dog walking service. This can cause issues for owners, and result in some negative behaviours from dogs. We have been very successful in helping owners get past this."

Drop by, meet the family-orientated local team who love dogs to have a chat about how they might be able to help with your dog’s socialisation and stimulation needs. 

The Dog Den Day Care, 23 Barrys Point Rd, Takapuna.

Phone 486 0575.

Opening hours – Monday to Friday 6.30am to 6.30pm

 www.thedogden.co.nz (Enrolments: www.thedogden.co.nz/enrol-now/)

Issue 106 February 2020