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It's a Dog's Life

Posted by Staff / Posted on November 7, 2009

It's a Dog's LifeIt's A Dogs Life is an unpretentious and laid-back doggy day care facility near High Park. It's emphasis is on the care and training of your furry friend, and they offer one of the few "Kinderpuppy" daycare programs in the city to help pups aged 8-16 weeks become better socialized. They also offer professional and DIY grooming services, plus four levels of obedience training.

Discussion

17 Comments

vince / November 29, 2009 at 10:29 am
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The self-serve wash station is not really equiped for large furry dogs. I brought mine there and could not dry her properly. Good thing it was sunny and warm so I took her for a long walk.
Jennifer / November 29, 2009 at 11:39 am
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It is weird you had a bad experience with a large, furry dog as their space seems perfect for them (even featured a Newf being bathed on CP24's Breakfast show one morning).

They have those big, professional bath tubs with the ramps for getting large dogs into the tub AND high power professional fur dryers (same as the groomers use). Not sure what more they could offer.
Phill / November 29, 2009 at 12:52 pm
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Amazing staff and facilities. Our pooch has been going there since she was 8 weeks old and is a well socialized and better dog because of it. We continue to take her as it's an amazing way to keep your dog active and social in a safe environment. Being able to check in on the dogs during the day with the free web cams is pretty cool too, you have to see nap time to believe it!
Milhaus / November 29, 2009 at 01:01 pm
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Unpretentious? The place requires you to attend an pre-screening "interview" before putting your dog in for dog care. When I went, they introduced my dog to one of their regular puppies they were training, who decide to lunge and growl at her, run around the room, pee, and crap in the room, all in the span of a minute. Needless to say, I was glad that I went to the interview that day, even though I didn't think I'd be using it to screen them.
Jennifer / November 29, 2009 at 09:32 pm
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Milhaus -- The screening visit is a requirement for ALL legitimate dog daycares. They do that to ensure all dogs who are going to be there are well socialized and don't pose a threat to any of the other dogs or staff.
The puppy situation I can't comment on since I wasn't there. That said, having worked with a number of puppies (mine and ones I've fostered), we have to remember they are 'babies' and not guaranteed to be potty trained when in the Kinderpuppy program. They are also, to the amusement of most, notoriously high energy (like toddlers), and will run around and act silly. I don't know ANY puppy who is not a goof at heart. As for the growling/lunging, again, consider the puppy is a baby and still trying to figure out how to behave. It's one of the reasons puppyhood is the MOST critical socialization period and exactly why people bring their young pups to It's a Dog's Life (or other) kinderpuppy programs...to help them learn from the staff and other puppies about what's acceptable behaviour and what is not.

I would not judge the excellent staff and facilities of It's a Dog's Life by the behaviour of ONE PUPPY. That's like judging a nursery school as unqualified if they have infants who poop in their diapers and cry when they're hungry.

Once you've seen enough of the unprofessional so-called daycares out there (untrained staff, inadequate facilities, lack of proper hygiene standards) you'll realize how truly incredible IADL is.
Milhaus / November 30, 2009 at 10:46 pm
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Jennifer,
Thanks for the response, and the attempts to defend ITDL. But if you really want to know what turned me off the place (I was going to leave it at that point until your response) it was the totally condescending nature of the person conducting the pre-screening interview, the sad state of the puppy pen up front, the unwillingness to show me the back portion of the site where the large dogs play, and the fact that ITDL claims to train and socialize puppies, and then introduced me to a puppy "regular" that was clearly neither. Also, if we're taking about "reputable": most "reputable" daycares don't even take puppies before they have their last shots, as ITDL was willing to do. Given their rates, they really should take excellent care, and I saw nothing of the sort on that visit. Again, I am glad I got the chance to screen them first.
Jennifer / November 30, 2009 at 11:07 pm
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Hey Milhaus,
I hear you about your concerns. I don't mean to drag this out any longer but a couple of thoughts occurred to me (and please know I don't work there, but have been a client for a number of years).
- the puppies are allowed to be there before their shots are done because they are confined to a puppies-only space and are not allowed to socialize with older dogs (who are the ones who could infect the puppies)
- even if a puppy is a 'regular', it is still a baby and may only go there one or more days a week....no-one expects a baby to be perfectly behaved OR potty trained before they get to a certain stage
- I know the paint looks a little worn in that area and can only imagine how hard it must be to keep up with the wear and tear so many puppies would have on a dedicated area. I've also seen the occasional 'oops' spot when I've been there to pick up my dog and noticed the staff clean it up very quickly (but I obviously can't comment on the experience you had during your visit)
- I'm surprised about your comment about the condescending nature of the staff but again, can't comment on that as I've known the team there for a while and have nothing but the highest regard for them, especially after seeing what staff are like at some of the other facilities in the surrounding area. It's a shame you had a bad experience

I have gotten nothing but incredible customer service from the team there and my dog always comes home happy and tuckered and she can't wait to get out of the car and into the front door when she realizes that's where we're going. In fact, she now starts to (happily) whimper and wag her tail like mad when we're getting close. I hate it when we just happen to be driving by and aren't stopping to drop her off....talk about one bummed out dog.

I can only offer you my experience based on research I've done, but I can honestly say that I would NEVER take my dog to The Dog Lounge or My Dog's Daycare due to so many reasons I can't go into them here (not least of which is lack of professional qualifications of owners/staff and facilities being completely inadequate for proper dog care). I hope you find a great place to care for your dog.

victor / December 1, 2009 at 04:33 am
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Hey Milhaus:
Have a look at UrbanDog at the foot of Parliament Street.
Been taking my guy there for 3 years and recommended them to about 1/2 dozen other dog lovers.
I know that it is often harder to find one place to suit both the owner and their pet/friend because not one visit does an opinion make.Jennifer obviously has been going there for some time.
If you like, take a look at UrbanDog and you may (or may not) agree with me.Keep looking though. Dont be too critical of it's a Dog's Life as attested by jennifer's loyalty and trust in them.

Bear / December 20, 2009 at 05:56 pm
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We checked out IADL a while back when we got our puppy thinking it was a local and reputable spot to use if we needed daycare. We went through the screening thinking that it was a good thing that they qualify their clients. We were concerned that initially the whole place smelled of Urine. I know dogs are messy, but this seemed to be the only doggie daycare that had such a fowl scent. I was not super impressed by the screening as it was unclean and did not look terribly well kept and I did not like the "we only use our harness for walking so you have to buy one" policy, but a short while after, I needed a last minute place for the day to I tried it out.

The large open room with dirty floors, no toys or anything to amuse the dogs was disconcerting, but I had no choice. I left our puppy for the day.

When I returned, Our dog was filthy!! She was covered in dirt from head to toe. Under her mouth was crusted drool and dirt as she was probably nervous being in a strange place, but you would think that a place that offers grooming could at least give her a wipe. I had to give her a good bath when I got home.
I was also unhappy with the attitude of the employees at the time, uninterested in my concern and more interested in whatever was on the computer screen, No apologies for her condition either. Needless to say .... I never returned, nor will I ever.

I use the Dog Lounge on Dundas west when I need dog care. They are very friendly and take very good care of our dog. The Owner really Love animals and it shows.
Jennifer / December 20, 2009 at 07:56 pm
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I was not at all surprised to see the notation about 'Dog Lounge' at the bottom of the previous comment and have no doubt it was submitted by its owner or someone associated with her. This suspicion is mainly because of the completely ridiculous claims in the comment:
- I have asked IADL staff about their cleaning products (because of bringing my dog to the office...wanted to know what I should have on-hand in case we ever had an accident). They showed me the buckets they have throughout the building with a special product in it for cleaning dog accidents and even talked about the formal process they have for cleaning throughout the day, at the end of each day, and doing major in-depth cleans on a regular basis (including stripping the floors!).
- the harnesses they use are for the ease of walking with the dogs and to ensure the safety of the dogs and staff....something I'm happy to spend a bit of money to protect (I think the Martingale collar for my Lab was under $25, but it has been several years since I bought it, so I can't recall)
- I have seen the staff spend long periods of time with other clients and have experienced this first-hand as well...time spent discussing our dogs' behaviour, challenges we've had, how the dogs behaved during the day at IADL, and many other dog-related subjects. I find it incredibly hard to believe any of their staff would react as noted in the comment. Certainly it could have been a one-off but I'd be truly shocked if this was a response other clients encountered on a regular basis.

Before taking a dog to the Dog Lounge I would go visit the facility and check it out compared to that of It's a Dog's Life. Compare Dog Lounge's worn wooden floor compared to the rubber floor at IADL (no chance of getting splinters and better traction to reduce injuries from running/playing). I'd ask about the training staff are required to complete -- not only in pet first aid but also in dog behaviour. I'd look and see if the dogs are kept in a dedicated space that is completely separate from where clients go...something that helps to ensure the dogs stay calm and are safe (so they can't escape when dogs come/go).

If anyone considers the Dog Lounge to be remotely in the same category as It's a Dog's Life then I really wonder what kind of a pet owner they are.
Bear / December 20, 2009 at 08:38 pm
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I am in no way affiliated with any company that offers pet care. I use a dog care facility about 4-5 times a year at best as I work night and my wife works days and our dog typically gets spoiled with having someone in the house with her for the majority of the day.


My before mentioned incident with IADL happened this last winter. Our puppy was young and I was very disappointed with the was she was taken care of and how dirty she was. I actually now remember that when we dropped her off, I provided her original harness that she was used to and the one I purchased from IADL. For some reason when I picked her up, she had both harnesses on and she was quite restricted. I found this very unusual.

Anyways, It seems Jennifer is affiliated with IADL or if not, has an unhealthy attachment to them. I do not wish to turn this into an irrational debate and I apologize for mentioning Dog Lounge as I did not think it would discredit my personal experiences with them.


I hope that future readers do not let Jennifer's comments take away from my experience and concern for how your dog may be treated


Thanks
Michelle / May 5, 2010 at 10:20 pm
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Does anyone know what is going on with this place? I paid for a class 2 weeks ago that is supposed to start at a new location this Monday but suddenly the website is gone and the phone # is out of service :(
Mimi / September 2, 2011 at 01:56 pm
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Just wanted to drop a quick note for anyone reading these comments and thinking about using IADL now.

This company has changed ownership and location.

In the previous location the 1" rubber floors could not be lifted up to clean underneath. As a result pee would seep in at the seems and go under the rubber where it was trapped. It didnt matter how many times the floor was actually cleaned because the smell came up from under the floor. In the new location the rubber floor is in squares that fit together like a puzzle. A section of the floor is lifted every night so any pee that seeps underneath can be properly cleaned up. Certain times of day when sections of the floor are being lifted the smell can be quite strong but it is only for a short time.
Mimi / September 2, 2011 at 02:17 pm
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Some policies do remain the same

Dogs must have an interview prior to coming for daycare so we can be sure that the dog is social with other dogs

Toys are not used in the adult area as some dogs do have resource aggression issues and having toys available can cause fights

If the dog is going to be walked in a group walk he or she must be wearing either a front attach harness OR a martingale collar. This is to prevent dogs from slipping their collars. A regular flat collar can often be slipped out of and we don’t want to risk losing a dog. Also dogs being walked must have a valid city licence because without one, the city can fine the company.
Kristina / April 3, 2012 at 06:12 pm
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FYI: i believe this place has a new location on Dundas West.
Anne / October 28, 2012 at 01:37 pm
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We have been using IADL since we got our dog in 2008. He went through basic obedience classes there with us and we have used the day care in the old and current location. The staff from both have always been helpful and respectful, and I think having a pre-interview to get to know the dog was a good idea.our dog always comes home happy and exhausted from the activity, and I am glad there are no toys there because our guy is one of those ball boys who needs redirection. Anytime we've had a problem there (minor, normal dog tuff) it has been quickly dealt with and fixed. I like the laid back vibe, and we like dropping him off once a wee just to keep him socialized.
Parker / October 29, 2012 at 09:06 pm
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We took our dog here once and were absolutely appalled. The smell was awful. They walk them in a dark alley to go to the washroom. The staff were very standoffish. I much prefer Tail Waggers in the junction. So clean and so friendly!

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