Getting started can sometimes be overwhelming, but it’s okay, we’re here to help! Everything you need to get started can be located on this page. If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

General Requirements

Completed registration and vaccination records on file. Required vaccinations are Distemper, Parvo, Bordetella, & Rabies.

What is a balanced trainer?

Balanced training is a modern training method that borrows from all previously established training methods. It involves the four quadrants of learning to clearly communicate to your dog about desired behaviors and undesired behaviors. It is a highly individualized approach to training. There is no “cookie-cutter” way to help your dog learn, trainers must get to know your unique dog to help you both achieve your training goals. Balanced training utilizes tools such as clickers, e-collars, toys, prong collars, and food to teach your dog. After all, training is really about becoming your dog’s teacher.

Is my dog crated?

Yes, we use standard wire crates and Ruff Land Kennels during feeding time, nap time, overnight, or when your pup needs a break. We require all guests to be properly crate trained.

What is the daily schedule for daycare & boarding?

7:00am - 9:00am – Check-in & Breakfast
9:00am - 12:00pm – Playgroup
All of our boarding, and daycare guests play in our dog-friendly playgroup.
12:00pm - 2:00pm – Naptime & Lunch
Dog Den is closed to the public during this time.
2:00pm - 6:30pm – Playgroup & Dinner
Dinner is fed around 5:00pm
After hours
Once our daycare dogs have gone home, the party isn’t over! All of our dog guests will go outside for one more potty break then they are off to their cozy beds for bedtime. Our overnight dogs enjoy soothing music. Dogs are monitored overnight through our camera and security system.

What to expect after a daycare or boarding stay?

  1. Your dog may come home unusually tired. It is not abnormal for them to be tired the entire next day too.
  2. Sometimes releasing energy, creates energy. Though dogs get the opportunity to rest, they may still be amped up when they get home. They may miss you and want you to play with them for a few minutes. This is not abnormal either. It should be short lived.
  3. Dogs may be unusually hungry or thirsty on daycare days. They have ample water both inside and outside. We cannot force dogs to drink, but we do make sure there is plenty of clean, fresh water. Running and playing creates a big appetite too! Your dog may need an extra snack on daycare days.
  4. Dogs play with their paws, which includes their nails. If you notice when your dog jumps up on you, they may leave scratches. That is the same concepts of what happens when dogs wrestle and play with each other during daycare. These are not deep cuts, but can be if you allow your dog’s nails to get too long. This is a risk of allowing dogs to interact. There is really no way to avoid this; all dogs have nails. If you are concerned about this, dog daycare may not be the right fit for your dog.
  5. Please note that daycare is indoor and outdoor. That means on rainy days your dog is likely to get dirty or muddy. We do not offer complimentary bathing services. Please be prepared to bring towels for your vehicle for the ride home, and bathe your dog when you get him/her home. If you are worried about your dog getting dirty, you should opt not to bring him/her on rainy days.
  6. We strive to provide a safe, fun environment for your dog to play in. If at any point in time your dog is deemed unsuitable for free play, cohabitant environment, you will be notified at pick up. Should your dog cause injuries to another dog, you are responsible for all vet bills incurred. We do our best to diligently warn you of issues as we become concerned about them, before anything arises, as it is your duty as a responsible pet parent to proactively work with a trainer and modify behavior. We see your dog much less frequently than you do and can only do so much during daycare. Although our staff is majority trainers, your dog will not be trained during daycare.
  7. Accidents can happen, and injuries can occur; that is the risk of dogs playing together. As it states in our intake paperwork, Dog Den Chicago and its staff are not responsible for any incidents that may occur during dog daycare. The risk is quite low, but it's the same concept as children going to daycare and playing on a playground or otherwise interacting.
  8. Sometimes anxiousness or more exercise than your dog is used to can cause diarrhea. It is not abnormal for your dog to have diarrhea after daycare or boarding, especially after their first day. Sometimes this shows up after they have left the facility.

Is playtime included in the cost of boarding?

Yes, we believe everyone deserves to play. After all, tired dogs are happy dogs! To participate in the group, your dog must first pass their trial day.

Does my dog need an evaluation for daycare?

Yes! We require all of our daycare dogs to go through a one-day trial day. This acts as their first day of daycare and after their visit we will let you know if they are welcome to continue daycare. Dogs who do not pass their trial day are not allowed to participate in daycare. This ensures everyone's safety and allows us to make sure that daycare is the right fit for your pup!

Are dogs trained during daycare and boarding?

No. Training is not offered as an “add-on” service for daycare or boarding. Training is offered with our Private Lessons, Dayschool or puppy school programs only.

Why does my dog have to go through a trial day?

Trial days are your dog’s introduction to the fun and excitement at Dog Den. Our excellent staff is observing your dog, learning their personality, and determining if your dog is comfortable at our facility. Our absolute number one priority is safety. We want all dogs to be comfortable, happy, and safe at our facility. Dogs are expected to be accepting of a crate, respectful playmates, and polite with our staff members. We do not tolerate bullying staff or dog playmates at all.

Why does my dog have to go through another trial day?

Dogs are creatures of habit. If we aren’t a regular part of their lives, they may not remember us and our routines. They may no longer feel comfortable boarding or playing as they once were. For this reason, we have the policy to require a trial day if we have not seen your dog within 6 months. Many things can happen in a dog’s life in 6 months so we want to make sure that Dog Den is still a good fit.