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!


Skippy the goldendoodle has been using our doggy daycare and hotel service for over 3 years.  When he gets dropped off, he always turns his head and smiles in excitement... Then he gets even more excited when we take him into the play area where he gets to hang out with all of his doggy friends.  Skippy auditioned for the Sandy in the musical Annie and we gave him a pre-audition bath so he would look his best.  He did not get the part, but if we were the judges, we would have picked him!  Skippy's parents love to send him postcards when they are out of town (we think it is pretty cute as well).  Our facebook fans will remember this video of the postcard Skippy received last spring.

Waffles goes to the Groomer

waffles after getting groomedYesterday, Waffles the doodle was so excited to come to our building, but it is not because of all the dogs at doggy daycare..... It is because she LOVES to get groomed and she really enjoys all the attention she gets!  I have never seen a dog so happy to stand on the grooming table.  Tami our groomer keeps saying that "Waffles is a model grooming dog, and she loves it".  Waffles parents sent us a picture of her snuggled under the covers when she got home last night.   Waffles mom is also the personal trainer we go to, and Waffles was featured in a Bubbly Paws video. Have a great day!



All the way from St Paul

When dogs check in I really enjoy talking to the owners and getting to know everyone that comes to Pampered Pooch Playground. I really do believe that our customers are an extended part of our family. The other day I was talking with Murray, the mini doodle's parents and they said they drove all the way from St Paul because we had webcams and an iPhone app. I honestly don't understand why every doggy daycare does not have webcams. I know people that log on at 3am to the luxury suites because they want to check in on their pooch! Anyway, look for some cool new changes to our mobile apps in the next few months. Have a good weekend!



barley the springer spaniel in st louis park,mnBarley is a springer spaniel who has been coming to us since he was a puppy!  Once the front door opens, Barley comes running in and get so excited to see all of his doggy friends that he runs right past the staff in the lobby!  We like to think of Barley as a miniature version of Roxy since they have the same markings.  Barley hangs out in Waggers Way and his best friends are Flynn, the golden doodle, and Finn, the gordon setter.  One thing that sets Barley apart from the other dogs is his "signature poof" of curly locks on top of his head and his parents swear they will never cut them off!


waffles the doodle at doggy daycare I love to blog about what our customers do and try to help them out! Waffles is one of the doodles that comes for our spa and grooming services and after she is done being groomed, she relaxes in doggy daycare.  Waffles mom is a professional fitness model and also a personal trainer (disclaimer, she trains Trycia and myself).  Anyway, she just launched a new website called Busy Girl, Healthy Life and it is cooking tips for busy people that want to eat healthy.  I suggest checking out the videos as they are educational and super funny!  Trycia looks forward to to the latest videos and we have eaten some of the recipes and they are really good.

Have a good night.


Great Customer Service

This weekend some of Trycia's family came to visit and I took all the kids to meet the dogs.  They loved all the dogs that we intorduced them to, but really loved Coco the Chihuahua and Skippy the  Doodle. After we left the PPP, we went to the Mall of America (I guess when you are from out of town and under 12 years old, it is a cool place to go).  They even had their picture taken with the Minnesota Viking Cheerleaders! We stopped at Tucci Benucch for lunch and they went over the top with accomodating us.  2 of the kids have allergies to foods, so they printed up a special menu just for them and made them feel just as special as any other guest.  A the PPP we try to do it the same way, as I feel outstanding service is a lost art.

Have a good Sunday.


Skippy goes home

Today was a very exciting day for Skippy the doodle who has been spending the night in our dog hotel for the past week.  Skippy is a regular face in our doggy daycare and he is always excited to come and play, and he gets just as excited to go home.  I was up front when Skippy's dad came to pick him up and his tail was wagging so fast I thought it might fall off!  Skippy enjoys playing in all the rooms and he has lots of fun with all the dogs! Have a good night!


Oh what a day in the Zen Den

Today our doggy daycare Zen Den was packed with some larger dogs that just wanted to lay around.  In the Zen Den were Skippy (doodle), Mia (leonberger), Otis (great dane), and Starbuck (st. Bernard).  Most of these guys have been spending the night boarding in our Hotel.  One big part of our hotel service is to make sure each dog gets plenty of rest, as attending doggy daycare takes lots of energy.  So all of them were in the Zen Den and I am sure that it looked really funny on the webcam.  Before Starbuck went home, Jamie gave this big puppy a bath. Hope you have a great night.