Chicago weekend

20120521-153449.jpg This weekend Trycia and I went to Chicago to check out the Cubs/White Sox Game. We went to the game with my good friends Judd and Cindy who own a doggy daycare just outside Chciago. We spent about 1/2 the game talking about the businesses. We also decided that it would be a great idea to trade daycares for a few days. Seriously, how much fun would that be? I really do enjoy checking out other daycares. We had a few moments to kill before flying back and we checked out one of the nicer daycares in the Chicago area (you might recall a blog post close to this from the fall). We walked in and everyone was super nice, and the place was well run. The one thing I did not like is the non-stop barking that was taking place. Seriously, I would have gone home with a headache after working for 30 minutes there. It did not stop and the staff did nothing to control it. Crazy!! Maybe you just get accustomed to the loud noise, but I know Roxy would be hiding and shaking in the corner. We did pick up some really good ideas from this place and will be updating a few things in the next month or so.

Hope everyone had a good weekend!


Winter Workouts

Winter is officially here, and although there isn’t the usual snow on the ground, it’s cold outside. Last week, the Climate Prediction Center released an updated winter outlook for December, January, and February, predicting below average temperatures and a good chance of a wetter than average snow season for Minnesota. So, that means the days are short, the cold is here for a while, and the snow is coming—-perhaps with a vengeance. The hibernation that comes with winter can make us feel cooped up with cabin fever. For our canine friends, we must make the extra effort to help them expend their energy so they can be well-behaved. Below are a few ideas that may help.

  • Make the most out of each walk.In order to help Leo burn more energy while

    on our shorter winter walks, he wears a vest with two side pockets—a weight vest of sorts. In each pocket, I add bean-bag weights in half-pound increments, up to ten percent of his body weight. For Leo, that’s a total of three pounds. This helps him burn extra energy, even though our walks are shorter. (Leo’s vet confirmed that this was safe. The key is to make sure the vest fits properly so there is no rubbing or slipping.)

  • Let ’em play! A day of play each week at doggy day care, like Pampered Pooch Playground, can leave your dog tired and well-behaved for an extra day. This also helps take some of the pressure off of you to be the only source of physical and mental exercise.
  • Mental workouts are just as important as physical workouts. Training classes, such as agility training at The Canine Coach, are a great way to socialize, exercise, and challenge your dog.
  • Socialize with your dog at Dog Days at the Dome. The Metrodome is open for doggy fun and socializing from 5 p.m.–9 p.m. on Thursday, January 12, Tuesday, January 31, Thursday, February 9, and Tuesday, February 28. It’s just $5 per dog (with up to two people), and free parking is available.
  • Go to a dog park—indoors! Have you heard about Ruff House, the Canine Social Club in Edina? There are five membership options to fit your schedule. The most flexible options include access 24/7.

What do you do to help manage your dog’s energy during winter? We’d love to hear from you.

*** Blog post by Birgitta who is a Pampered Pooch Playground customer.  Read more about her by clicking here. ***

Winter Boots and Building Community

Hello, everyone. I’m excited to be a new part of the Pampered Pooch Playground team. Several times a month, I will be here, talking about one of my favorite topics—my first baby (I mean dog), Leo. Granted, my Goldendoodle may not be your favorite pet, but I’ll bet that all of us can agree that we love and want the best for our dogs. With that in mind, my ultimate goal is to help build community among the parents of the pooches of the PPP and to help make this a place where we can share information and advice about caring for our canine friends. Who am I? I am an enthusiastic fan and loyal customer of Pampered Pooch Playground and Bubbly Paws. My name is Birgitta Hughes, and as I mentioned, I am the proud “mom” of my dog, Leo. He is sweet, fun, and will be two in February. My husband, Allen, who has a passion for brushing our doodle every night, and I have been married over five years, and we have a nine-month-old son, Rhys (pronounced Reese). We moved to the Twin Cities from Boston over two years ago for my husband’s job at Best Buy headquarters. Before Boston, I was born and raised in California. In case you were wondering, I really like it here—even the winters! I love how active people are, regardless of the season. And truly, this is a beautiful place to live.

As the temperature drops and the snow comes, it’s time to start thinking about winter gear for Leo. I bought my first winter coat just four years ago, so all things winter remain new to me. Last year Leo loved the snow! Running through the snow and sticking his nose into it were two of his favorite activities. Because he enjoyed being outside so much, we bought booties to protect his paws from the elements. It took him a little while to get used to walking with them, but ultimately he adapted and was able to walk in a normal manner.

Booties worked for Leo last year, but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing anything as we prepare for the winter months ahead. After checking with Leo’s vet at Glen Lake Animal Hospital and Roxy’s (Keith and Trycia’s dog) vet at Lake Harriet Veterinary, I learned that we must be extra diligent about checking the state of our dog’s paws after each walk. Salt, melting solvents, and snow accumulation between doggy toes can cause cracking of the skin. Each time you come in from a walk, clean out the snow that is stuck between your dog’s toes to limit any irritation. If you enjoy walking your dog during the winter and your dog can handle them, booties are an excellent solution. In fact, Bubbly Paws offers some great booties in a variety of styles and range of sizes.

Before I leave you today, I’d like to share a little video of the first time Leo wore his booties. After a couple times, he got the hang of it, and we enjoyed many walks with him in his “pawtectors.” Hopefully, he’ll get the hang of it again this year, too.

How do you protect your dog from the winter elements? We’d love to hear your ideas and advice!


This past Trycia and I went to see cavalia with our good friends Chris and Lori.  What an amazing show.  The entire time we were watching the horses perform, I kept thinking to myself, "is there a way to get the dogs to do this"?  It really is an amazing story and lots and lots of training and practice goes into the entire show.  The show is here until the end of October, and if you have a chance, I highly suggest going to see it!  Our good friends at Sidewalk Dog just did a blog post on the show!   On a side note, Lori (from Lori Harder Fitness) is also one of the judges at our halloween party.  During the intermission, we talked about how to judge dog halloween costumes :)


bean the dog n minneapolis,mnBean is an ex-puppy mill breeding dog and is sometimes shy around our doggy daycare staff.  Bean is really comfortable in the play rooms and enjoys the company of the other dogs!  This past week, Bean spent a few nights boarding in our dog hotel and did great with it!  I am always excited when we see dogs that have been rescued from such poor conditions like a puppy mill, and then the succeed in doggy daycare!  It really is a cinderella story! Have a great afternoon!



What a great weekend at the Dog Hotel!!

Elsie at doggy daycare in minneapolis, mn This past weekend was a packed weekend at the Pampered Pooch Playground - Dog Hotel!  All of our overnight guests had so much fun staying over and enjoying our large outside area, and then running back in to the great air conditioning.  All the dogs were so behaved and it was kinda sad to see so many of them go home today!  This morning I was helping to do baths, which is my new favorite past-time.  I really enjoy doing baths!  We do a free bath after 5 nights in our dog hotel, but you can request a bath anytime your pooch is at daycare or spending the night.

I hope everyone had a great 4th of july weekend!



20110612-083605.jpgBlu is a cattle dog mix that has been coming to doggy daycare for over 2 years. She is ready to play the minute she walks throughout the front door, especially when she sees Roxy and Neddie! Blu's signature move is her "butt wiggle", but can also be seen playing with the water outside or running around Waggers Way with her other buddies. We love having Blu come visit us each week!