Blog

Getting Off-leash with Your Dog

2 dogs walking in the snow
Dogs enjoying some off-leash adventures at Groovytown Dog Lodge.

Living through a pandemic can feel a bit like you are tethered to a leash.  So many restrictions.  Held back from doing the things you love.  Just imagine an entire life of that.  Now imagine a dog that never gets freedom from their leash. Is it time to get your dog off-leash?

Just like the current pandemic measure are meant to keep everyone safe, the leash is meant to protect your dog.  We love our dogs.   We want them to have their best lives but we also want them to have long and healthy lives.  For that reason, we use tools like leashes to keep them safe.

But just like we want to get off of our leashes, so too, our dogs crave a chance to run free, express themselves, and burn off some pent-up energy.  While leashes are a great way to manage the unexpected, our dogs need more than that.

Safety First when Unleashing the Hounds

When determining the right balance between safety and freedom for a dog, I like to compare dogs to toddlers or preschoolers.  Young children may be very well behaved – mostly following your guidance – but we still plan around those inevitable missteps. So too, we can teach our dogs manners and commands but we always want to ensure that there is a buffer zone to make room for mistakes. 

Depending on where you live, your options may be few or many.  You may live out in the country with lots of safe space to walk a dog that likes to stay close-by or has great recall.  Or perhaps you have a large dog park where you can meet up with friends for doggy play-dates. 

Training your dog for off-leash play, outside of a fenced area, will require training in a safe environment and / or the use of training aids such as a long lead. Your style of training will depend on your dog’s personality and how much prey drive they display. Please consult with a reputable trainer before unleashing your dog in an unfenced area.

Let’s Get Together to Untether!

If you are having trouble finding a safe place to give your dog this freedom then we have the answer.

At Groovytown Dog Lodge we have two private dog parks with state-of-the-art fencing, creating a safe space to get your dog off-leash.  Our parks feature acres of forests and fields, giving your dog lots of room to run, explore and socialize. 

We offer day-hikes including pick-up and drop-off in the Kingston area, daycare with early morning drop offs and early evening pick-up, as well as overnight boarding.  No matter what you sign up for, your dog will get to enjoy the trails while socializing with other dogs. 

Our highly trained staff guide the dogs on these hikes, ensuring everyone is having a good time – think of us the playground monitors you had back in grade school. 

Before you sign up for any of our services, we ask that you join us for an introductory hike.  This will give you a chance to see exactly where your pup will be spending their time.  This introduction also gives your dog a chance to get familiar with the trails. 

While on this hike, or at any other time, we would be happy to discuss off-leash training so feel free to ask.

We always look forward to seeing you so book your introductory hike today!

Dog Walker Near Me?

Dog Walker Near Me?

Looking for a dog walker ‘Near Me’?

Dog parents often search for a “dog walker near me”. But, will your dog get the most out of a walk that is near you? Will they be stuck on a leash, walking at the same pace as their human friends? If you want more for your dog then we have a better answer.

Whatever your reason for wanting ‘a dog walker near me’, we can meet your needs while also meeting the needs of your dog. We offer exciting off-leash hikes in our fully fenced private dog parks, on our country estate, just outside of Kingston, Ontario. If you live within the Kingston area, we offer free door-to-door service.  We pick up your pup with our custom designed ‘party-vans’ to ensure fun from start to finish. So, wherever you are in Kingston, Ontario, we are near you!

Let’s get off-leash!

Our off-leash hikes take place within our private dog parks.  These parks provide a safe space for dogs to be dogs – to run, play, socialize and explore.  Our parks are big enough for dogs to stay stimulated for hours but manageable enough that we can always be within voice range of a dog that has wandered off on a solo adventure. 

And our highly trained dog walkers are always with your pup while they are out on the trails. We are there to guide the dogs and act as the ‘playground monitor’ as they socialize and explore with a consistent group of pack mates.

From pick up to drop off, your dog will have:

  • Fun
  • Adventure
  • Exercise
  • Socialization with a consistent group of pack mates
  • Mental stimulation

Our fencing is state of the art!

For dogs with less than perfect recall, we have that covered – from jumpers to climbers to diggers – our dog parks are fenced with every challenge in mind.

4 Dogs walking off-leash on a wide trail next to 6 foot high fencing.
  • For the small dog we use no-climb fencing features small wire spacing to keep even the smallest of dogs safe and secure
  • Have a the digger? Our fencing is buried 6 inches underground
  • Jumper? Our fencing rises 6 feet above ground
  • And for the super jumpers – we have finished off with an electric line at the top.

Live outside of the Kingston area?

No worries!  You are welcome to drop your dog off for daycare.  It is worth the drive for your dog to get out to Groovytown Dog Lodge.  Your pup will get the same great adventures and, during their down time, they will enjoy our spacious private dog runs.

We are the dog walkers near you. See what we are talking about – book your free introductory hike today!

Email reserve@groovytown.ca to book your dog’s next adventure!

Cross Country Skiing with your Dog

Out skiing with Django and his Groovytown Dog Lodge pack. January 2021

Looking for a way to get outside with your dog during lock-down? Cross country skiing is a great way to give your dog a good run while getting some fresh air into your lungs. 

I use Madshus backcountry xc skis. Metal edges and wax-less mean my skis are ready for any snow conditions, no grooming required. I just click and go. 

It might take a few corrections to get your dog to stay off of your skis but, no matter what, you will be out of the house spending some quality time with your bestie! 

If needed, a dog harness, leash, and waist strap will give you hands-free control of your pup as the two of you explore to your hearts content.

Please keep your dog’s fitness needs in mind. Cross country skiing can be demanding so be sure to give your dog some breaks and don’t overdo it. If you aren’t sure of your dog’s limits then give your dog’s vet a call before breaking trail.

In Kingston, you will find Madshus backcountry xc skis at Sepp’s Ski and Snowboards.

Can’t get out there with your pup? No worries! We can take care of that. See our list of services.

We would love to see what kind of outdoor fun you are getting up to with your dog this winter. Share your pics to our Groovytown Dog Lodge Instagram and Facebook pages!

Welcome Back!

Great news! We are back to full-service starting Friday, June 24, 2020. That means you are welcome to book day hikes, daycare, and overnight boarding.

If you are already a member, click here to make a booking.

If you are not yet a member then click here to set up an intro hike.

To remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent the catching and spreading of Covid19, we are limiting the number of guests in intro hikes and will also have additional protocols that we will inform you of prior to your arrival.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Sincerely,

Kristen Kadis
Mayor of Groovytown

UPDATE: Groovytown Re-Opening with Reduced Services

1. Re-opening Friday March 27, 2020

Starting Friday March 27, 2020, Groovytown Dog Lodge will be re-opening with reduced services.  We will continue offering our daily Adventure Hikes, with door-to-door pickup.  At this time, due to the present circumstances, we do not have the financial means to staff our boarding facility; therefore, our overnight boarding and daycare services will remain closed until further notice.  For those in need of such services, please reach out to us and we will try to find alternative options.  

Our Adventure Hikes are offered Monday through Friday, on a recurring, set schedule.  To learn more about our door-to-door Adventure Hikes please visit https://groovytowndoglodge.com/day-hikes/.  To book recurring Adventure Hikes please email reserve@groovytown.ca.   

As many of you are aware, we ceased operations for two days (March 25 and 26, 2020) in response to the provincial shut-down of non-essential services.  We took that time to diligently assess the information pertaining to the provincial directive.  Based on our research, we are confident that, upon re-opening, we will be operating within the spirit of the current provincial directive.  Therefore, we are re-commencing services on Friday March 27, 2020.  For more information on how we came to this conclusion please refer to the second section of this notice.

Moving forward, we will continue to use the protocols we initiated on March 16, 2020.  We believe that these measures, along with our ability to walk dogs on private land, thereby ensuring social distancing, provide a good option for dogs and their parents during these challenging times. While we cannot completely eliminate all risks, our protocols are intended to mitigate that risk.  If you do choose to send your dog on hikes please remember that you play an essential role in the success of our protocols. Please ensure you read and understand our protocols.  If you are unsure of something then please ask us for help or clarification.  Please see section 3 for our Protocols.

2. What We Learned Through our Research

Doug Ford recently announced that ‘dog boarding kennels’ and ‘other service providers’ are considered essential services. This directive clearly indicates that our dog boarding service is an essential service. However, we were unsure if our daycare and door-to-door dog walking services were considered other services ‘other service providers’ (See #71, https://www.ontario.ca/page/list-essential-workplaces#section-17). 

Before continuing with our day-hike services we wanted to ensure that we were complying with the ‘spirit’ of the provincial directive.  We have since consulted with both the provincial and federal governments through our local representatives.   We also spoke with a representative with Ontario’s new business questions hotline.  Through these consultations we have determined that we do indeed meet the standard of ‘other services’ within section 17-71 of the list of essential workplaces.

We also reached out to Dr. Scott Weese, co-author of the blog, Worms and Germs, published by the University of Guelph Centre for Public Health & Zoonoses(https://www.wormsandgermsblog.com).  We wanted his feedback regarding our current protocols as well as the risk of transference by dogs if one dog with a contaminated coat rubs against another dog.  Dr. Weese let us know that our protocols ‘make sense’.  Further, he states: 

We can’t completely eliminate the risk and have to balance practicality and prudence. The risk of haircoat contamination should be very limited if we are doing a good job screening owners. It’s no guarantee but if we check to make sure owners are healthy, and not known to be infected or self-isolating, odds of them shedding the virus and contaminating the pets haircoat are very low. 

Finally, we have listened, to you, our valued clients.  Many of you are still working, or you have dogs that would be better suited to an off-leash hike in an environment where you do not have to worry about social distancing from others using shared the sidewalks and parks.  

Based on our research we are confident in our choice to resume services. 

3. Our Protocols

·       If you are under quarantine, please cancel all home pick-ups (the 24-hour cancellation fee will be waived).  If you still need dog walks, an alternative may be to have your dog stay with a friend and have us pick up from that location.

·       If you feel any symptoms related to the Corona Virus (fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties) please cancel all home pick-ups (the 24-hour cancellation fee will be waived).  If you still need dog walks, an alternative may be to have your dog stay with a friend and have us pick up from that location.

·       Please keep dogs close to doors for pick up (e.g. if your dog is crated in an upstairs bedroom please move the crate closer to the front door) as we want to avoid moving throughout people’s homes during this time.  This measure is to prevent inadvertently contracting and/or spreading the virus.

·       When interacting with our staff (at the Lodge or in your home) we ask that you keep a larger than normal distance from one another (minimum 6 feet).  We still want to say “hi” and let you know how things are going.  We just want to do our best to keep a safe barrier between everyone.  

·       As a preventative measure we will be using hand sanitizer between homes during our day hike pick-ups.  Each day, before we start pickups, we will also be taking our own temperature reading to as a safeguard to ensure we are not showing early signs of illness.

Temporary Closure due to COVID measures

Doug Ford has announced that all non-essential services are to cease operations effective midnight, Tuesday March 24, 2020. Within that directive dog boarding has been listed as an essential service. However, as non-essential travel has come to a halt we have primarily been operating our daycare and door-to-door day-hikes. As such, we feel that it is appropriate to cease operations until the current order has been lifted or until we have a more directive from the premier.

Some consideration is being put into offering services for those in the essential services sector and for those who otherwise feel unable to care for their dog in a safe manner. If you believe you fit this criteria then please feel free to reach out to us.

We truly appreciate your business look forward to seeing you soon!

Wishing you good health, 

Kristen Kadis

So your dog got skunked!?

Image of a skunk.

It’s the middle of the night and you let your dog out for a pee break. Next thing you know, the smell of skunk has filled the backyard. Your dog comes running back to you with eau-de-skunk all over him. You will wish you were prepared before hand because all of the stores are closed. Check out the tool kit below and be sure to have these items in ready supply. Even better, keep them stored in a bucket so you can grab and go!

Following is a miracle skunk remedy to get that skunk spray out of your dog’s fur.

Skunk Spray Remedy Tool Kit

  • 1 liter of hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 tsp liquid dish soap
  • rubber gloves
  • dog shampoo
  • towel
  • leash

DO NOT PRE-MIX the ingredients

I highly recommend having these items on hand in a bucket. That’s a much better plan than driving around town at 3am looking for these magical ingredients.

Lather and Rinse

  • Mix the hydrogen, baking soda and dish soap into a paste
  • Wearing gloves, lather this onto your dog (DO NOT GET SOLUTION INTO THEIR EYES), paying attention to where you dog has been sprayed.
  • Rinse
  • Wash with dog shampoo
  • Towel dry

I have used this solution and it is magical. I have scooped the details for this page from the Human Society. For more details visit: https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/de-skunking-your-dog

Looking for a way to get your dog out of the house while the scent still lingers? We offer day-hikes, daycare, dog boarding.

Contact us today for your introductory hike!

Dog Muzzles Get a Bad Rap.

7 dogs walking peacefully in a forest.  The dog at the front of the pack is wearing a dog muzzle.

Muzzles get a bad rap.  I have walked hundreds of playful, social dogs in my career as a group off-leash dog walker.  I used to cancelled dogs that were somewhat unpredictable – the kind that played well most of the time, but would occasional get over-excited and nip the other dogs.  Then one day I put a muzzle on my own dog.  I felt bad at first, but he was getting a bit cranky as he matured, and the only other option was to leave him at home.

I am so glad I made that choice.  It led to the realization that using a muzzle is the key to freedom for so many dogs.  With the use of a muzzle, otherwise shunned dogs can play and socialize – no more being left out of the fun.  Since then I have used this method with many other dogs, enabling them to have fulfilling social lives while removing that one negative behaviour from the mix.

The best muzzle to use is a cage muzzle (Italian basket muzzle, basket muzzle).  These muzzles give your dog room to move their mouth, allowing them to pant and drink. Cloth muzzles may do in a pinch – perhaps for a moment at the vet’s office, but they are not well suited to regular activity.