How to choose the right pet care service for your dog

Rhiannon Taylor (Owner of Complete Canine Care Ltd)

Doggie day care, adventure walks, home visits and solo walks are just a few examples of the services we can enlist to care for our dogs while we are busy at work. With such a fast growing industry, that has new services popping up almost every other week, how does a dog owner choose which service is best suited to their pooch?

It is important to note that the New Zealand pet care industry is unregulated. Any Tom Dick or Harry can pick up a dog lead, give out some flyers and call themselves a dog walker the same goes for dog day care centres. If you have the funds, anyone can lease or purchase a building and start offering a day care service.

How do you sort through all of the businesses to find not only which type of service is best suited to your dog but also which service is run by trained and qualified professionals who follow local bylaws and the dog control act along with having appropriate policies, procedures and insurance in place?

Let’s start with dog day care. A dog day care is a facility where a dog is dropped off for the day. Dogs are placed in play groups with other dogs. It is much like a child’s day care but for dogs. This can be in an industrial unit, someone’s back yard or at a more rural farm like location.

Dog day care centres are best suited to dogs who:

• Enjoying being around a large number of other dogs

• Who already have good social skills or who are puppies and are learning important social skills

• Have good general manners

• Are non-aggressive to both people and other dogs

Dog day care centres are not suited to dogs who:

• Are aggressive to people or other dogs • Are overly anxious or fearful

• Who have little training and manners

• Who are overly vocal

• Who are quite reactive

Questions to ask when enrolling at a dog day care centre:

• What is your staff to dog ratio and is there always a team member in with the dogs? Ideally centres should have a maximum ratio of 1 staff member per 15 dogs, even better is 1:10 and play groups should be continuously monitored. Monitoring should take place by having a person in the each play group, having a person monitoring cameras which watch the dogs is not sufficient.

• What qualifications and training does the staff have? Staff should hold qualifications in an animal related field. While “loving dogs” is important, simply loving dogs doesn’t qualify a person to understand and effectively read canine body language. Staff should be trained in pet first aid.

• Does the centre separate the dogs into small and large? While seeing a Chihuahua next to a Great Dane can make a cute photo, it is far from safe. Small dogs should have a separate play area away from the big dogs to avoid any risk of predatory drift. Predatory drift is when something during normal play triggers the larger dog to “drift” into predation. This is dangerous as it can cause a larger dog to see a smaller dog as prey which can lead to fatal consequences.

Other good questions to ask are: What is their enrolment process? Are they insured? What is their bite policy? Do they suspend/expel dogs who are not suitable? Is any onsite training provided?

Adventure Group Walks

Known by a number of names (adventure walks, discovery walks, group socialization walks). These walks involve a dog walker picking your dog up from home taking it out with a number of other dogs to a dog park, beach or forest usually for 1-2 hours and then dropping the dog home. As the walker is picking up and dropping home a number of dogs you pet often is away from home for 3-4 hours when transport time is included. Adventure walks are best suited to dogs who:

• Enjoy the great outdoors

• Have some social skills and are comfortable around other dogs

• Have good off leash manners • Are non-aggressive to both people and other dogs

• Good for dogs with a bit of anxiety get over their fears. Small sized walking groups 4-7 is best for working on such behavioural concerns

Adventure walks are not suited to dogs who:

• Are aggressive to people or other dogs

• Have major health issues such as extreme arthritis or dysplasia. The walks often take place on difficult terrain and can be quite lengthy so an on lead or shorter walk is better suited to these dogs

• Have no recall

• Have poor off leash manners e.g. jump on passers-by, poor dog-dog greeting style

Questions to ask when enrolling for adventure walks:

• How large are your walking groups? The DogTec Dog Walking Academy recommend 6 dogs per group as an ideal number. Large groups 8+ are a health and safety risk

• What qualifications and training does the walker have? Many people will pick up a leash and call themselves a dog walker. When choosing a professional to walk your pet make sure they have a background and training in the pet industry

• Does the walker have staff? Best to opt for a business that has more than one walker. This provides insurance that when the walker is sick or away there is still someone available to walk you dog

• What is the walkers screening policy? Do they just take any dog into their groups or do they select which dogs fit together well to ensure there is good group dynamics

• What equipment and training do they use? Choke chains, slip lead, prong collars and e-collars are out dated and should not be used by dog care professionals. Opt for walkers who choose positive training and management methods. Head haltis and front attachment harnesses are much more humane tools for managing dogs who pull on lead.

Other questions to ask: are they insured? Are they trained in pet first aid? Do they following council bylaws in regards to access to off leash areas?

Solo dog walks

These walks involve a dog walker coming to your home and picking up your dog. Your dog is then walked either by itself or with one other dog. These walks are on or off leash depending on what has been agreed upon with the owner.

Solo walks are good for dogs who:

• Have dog-dog issues

• Have additional needs and training requirements as this service allows optimum one on one attention

Solo walks are fine for almost any dog provided the walker is aware of the dog’s individual requirements and needs. Solo walks are generally less exercise intensive as group walks or day care so can be a good options for dogs with exercise restrictions.

Whichever service you choose to use for your dog, the carer/s should be trained and experienced in reading canine body language and should follow a code of ethics fitting with the current, scientifically proven, positive approach to canine training and management. Most importantly they should be transparent, open and honest and care more about the welfare of your dog than the money in their pocket.

New Staff

Hi All,

gosh it has been a while since my last post…SORRY!

We now have some lovely new team members.


Our interns Kirsten, Gemma and Sydney are now our casual part timers. All three are studying Animal Management and we found them to be a real asset to our team while completing their work expereince hours. We couldn’t bare to lose them so we hired them to join our team.

Bree will be starting with us this week as our new full time trainee. She will be taking over Nichole in the new year. She holds a diploma in vet nursing and we can’t wait for her to start with us 🙂

Dog Day Care Internship

Complete Canine Care Internship

Become part of the Complete Canine Care team and gain knowledge and experience in the dog day care industry. The internship includes basic cleaning, canine handling, customer interactions, taking bookings, sales, phone manner, using our computer system, pet first aid training and more.

If you are currently studying any of the animal management courses at Unitec or equivalent an internship at Complete Canine Care is a great way to complete your required work hours while gaining insight into the animal care industry.

We have limited vacancies throughout the year. There is a six months and nine month option varying from five to eight hours per week.

If you are interested in becoming an intern please email reference: Internship.




Prize Giving

On December 1st we have prize giving for our dog day care clients. There are a range of categories and we will have a winner and runner up for each. Our four legged clients will have the chance to win lots of cool prizes and our head boy and girl will have there photo taken and put up and framed in reception for all of 2013.


We hope to see everyone there:


Date: Dec 1st

Location: Complete Canine Care Dog Day Care and Kennels

Time: 2-4pm

Dogs to be kept on lead


-Rhiannon Taylor

Christmas at Complete Canine Care

Chirstmas Specials





December 3rd. Dog 1

Fight Fleas & Worms! To celebrate the beginning of summer and the onset of flea and worm season, bring your beloved pooch into CCC today and get 5% off flea and worm treatments. The best bit, we’ll do it for you!!!


December 4th. Dog 2

Nose-to-Tail Tuesday. Book your dog into day care today and get a FREE nose-to-tail assessment (clinical exam) by a qualified veterinary nurse.


December 6th. Dog 3

Presents all around! Why not buy your pet a present too? Get on top of your Christmas shopping early! For today only, receive 10% off toys, dog collars and leads when you book your pet into day care at CCC.


December 7th. Dog 4

Service Day. In honour of our new services (home boarding, house sitting etc) bring your dog to CCC day care today and go in the draw to win a $50 Home Boarding voucher. Two vouchers up for grabs!


December 10th. Dog 5

Field Trip Monday! Book your dog into day care for Field Trip Monday and not only will your pooch get a trip to one of the local off-lead dog parks for a brisk walk and few games of fetch, but you will receive 50% field trip discount ($7.50). Bookings essential! Get in quick, BOOK NOW!


December 12th. Dog 6

Nail Trim Tuesday! Just in time for Christmas, get your doggie’s nails trimmed while they attend day care at CCC. 100% FREE!


December 13th. Dog 7

Concession Card Thursday! Purchase a concession card on December 13th and receive ONE FREE day of day care OR $25 off any concession card at CCC. Card must be purchased on the 13th.


December 14th. Dog 8

Food Friday! Bring your fur baby into CCC today and you will be entitled to $5 off any bag in our Go! or Now! Fresh dog food range. For more information on our food products and the benefits for your dog, ask one of the lovely day care assistants at CCC or check our website.


December 17th. Dog 9

Kennel Special! For today only, bring your dog into day care and receive a voucher for 15% off the overall cost of your pets stay in our boutique kenneling service. Vouchers valid for six months.


December 18th. Dog 10

Do you use our pick-up and/or Drop-off service? Today could be your lucky day! Bring your dog into CCC today and go in the draw to win one of three vouchers entitling the winner to one FREE pet pick-up or drop-off (suburb dependent).


December 20th and December 21st. Dog 11 and Dog 12

GROOM GROOM GROOM! Pamper your pooch for Christmas! Book your dog into CCC on either Thursday or Friday and receive a whopping 20% off our grooming service (Wash & Dry or The Works- Wash, Dry, Nail Clip and Ear Clean). Bookings essential!


*Dogs must be in day care on the day that the offer is valid to receive that offer.

**Dogs may attend day care regardless of whether or not you want to use the 12 Days of Christmas offer available that day (including field trip Monday).


Christmas Event For Owners & Dogs

On Saturday December 1st we will be holding a Christmas celebration for our clients. During this celebration we will be announcing the winners of numerous awards including:

  • Most Improved Dog
  • Most Visits
  • Biggest In Show
  • Smallest In Show
  • Most Talkative
  • Sports Award
  • Head Girl
  • Head Boy
  • and much more

Winners and runners up for these awards will receive a certificate and prize. All nominees will be informed prior to the event. Regardless of whether or not your pooch is nominated for any of the categories we hope to see you there. It is a great opportunity to get to know our clients and for like-minded dog owners to mix and mingle.

New Services at CCC Dog Day Care Facility

Hello all,

We have just added some exciting new services to our website including:

  • Pooch Parties!
  • Home Boarding
  • House Sitting
  • and soon to come Cat Boarding

If you would like to know more about any of our new services just give us a call on 09 215 8092 or email

Dog Day Care Updates

Hello all,

We have been a bit slack with our posts lately.

An update on Complete Canine Care Auckland’s Premium Dog Day Care service.


It is with sadness that we say goodbye to Casey who has been working for us since opening in May this year. There is always a silver lining and in this case it is that Lacey our lovely vet nurse has stepped up and taken on a full time position with us so you will be seeing a lot more of her.

We are currently looking at hiring 2 part timers to help out on Wednesdays which are our craziest day of the week with over 25 dogs!


More updates to come….


Regards The Team @ CCC

New “Shop” tab

Hi All!

We are very excited to announce that our online store is now up and running.

We are selling quality pet care products at reasonable prices. No high retail store mark ups. Check out the “Shop” tab at the top of the page to see what we have to offer.

All items can also be purchased in store at our dog day care facility

Dog Day Care- Pet Animal Expo

Complete Canine Care, Dog Day Care and Boutique Boarding Facility will be exhibiting at the Auckland Pet Animal Expo at the end of this month. We will have goodie bags to give away as well as a competition to win a cool doggie hamper and some vouchers.

We hope to see you all there!




Pet First Aid

At Complete Canine Care we run Pet Tech First Aid classes.


We had another great class on Saturday with 9 loving, caring and responsible pet owners and pet care professionals.

If you would like to know more about our classes visit, or

You can also find us on facebook! Just search Pet Tech NZ


We want our dog day care to provide excellent care for all of our four legged clients which is why all of our staff are pet first aid trained