Sponsored content by K9 Activity Club
When animal-loving sisters Alicia Collins and Natalie Grail set their sights on creating a one-stop shop for pooches and their parents, they came up with the idea of K9 Activity Club.
They opened their Santa Rosa pup paradise in 2014 for day care and boarding services and then expanded in 2019 to include training. Today, Alicia, a Sebastopol mother to five kids and lots of animals, keeps the family business running steady. She can boast this year that K9 Activity Club won Best Doggie Day Care honors in the Best of the North Bay 2023 contest for Sonoma County. K9 Activity Club is a perennial winner, and it’s easy to see why because K9 Activity Club does a lot to set itself apart from other doggie day care, boarding and training facilities.
“Alicia is a pretty incredible woman,” said Kassi Walls, sales and marketing director of K9 Activity Club, about her boss.
K9 Activity Club has a lot going for it, and Kassi enumerated a few key points. First, there’s its convenient location on Occidental Road just east of Highway 12 and Fulton Road. Kassi said this ensures drop-offs and pick-ups are a cinch for busy pet parents on their way to work or play.
And then there’s the mission: to provide world-class, loving, 24-hour, professional, on-site care for K9 Activity Club guests via a well-trained staff, which translates into safe, secure fun for your furry family members.
“Our number one priority is the dog’s safety,” Kassi said. “We want this to be a comfortable, happy, safe place. Managers are walking around five times per day, checking in, making sure energy levels match. Our day care groups are monitored by our trained supervisors at all times and offer a ‘social particular’ group for dogs who like to play in smaller groups with a calmer setting and who maybe like extra breaks during the day.”
Kassi pointed out that K9 Activity Club accommodates all dog breeds, accepts intact and altered males and females (with some caveats) and welcomes social butterflies as well as wallflowers.
“I had the good fortune of meeting the owner of K9 Activity Club before adopting my young pit bull and learned they are pit bull fans!” wrote Sherri Cardo in a Google review of K9 Activity Club. “Imagine my relief as so many other places either have a bias or aren’t savvy about the breed. So my beloved and magnificent Meeka has been enjoying day care here for three years and I don’t know what I’d do without the K9 Activity Club. She comes home tired and happy every time and that makes me happy.”
While K9 Activity Club can handle 200 dogs at once and has about 50 employees–15 to 30 on the clock usually. K9 Activity Club keeps the number of dogs in a group relatively small, at 15 or 17 dogs, Kassi said, and the dogs are supervised 24/7 through regular staff monitoring.
Grouped by size mainly but also by temperament, needs and energy levels, the dogs have access to three indoor/outdoor play spaces, an activity yard and private dog park. They rotate through outdoor yards during the day–one that’s filled with enrichment activities like exercise and training cues.
Each day at K9 Activity Club is tailored to your dog. They can go out to day care, work on obedience with trainers, have some extra cuddle time or even play fetch.
What you probably really want to know is what’s K9 Activity Club like? Expansive, clean and tidy from the inside and out, with no hints of pee, poop or cleansers at the welcome area, the lodge, the daycare & spa, the gym (complete with doggie treadmills and agility and training equipment) or the grounds.
The overall setting is pastoral, with gentle hills, shade trees, flowering bushes and views of grapevines from the 1.5-acre grounds. There are fields for running and bark-filled yards aplenty for social activities, and thanks to the cross-country course and an agility field, dogs can walk planks, hop up on benches, climb A-frames, lounge on elevated tables or giant tree stumps and snooze under a shade umbrella.
“Sometimes, they do get muddy,” Kassi cautioned, adding, “but we also have a grooming team. Some clients say if their dogs come back muddy and dirty, they know they really had a good time.”
Day care fees are $50 per day or $12 per hour, with the club operating from 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekends.
What else makes K9 Activity Club special? For Daycare Club Members K9 Activity Club makes discounts available on grooming services, fetch, treadmill sessions and cuddle time. There is also a free puppy social hour at 9 a.m. on Saturdays for puppies 6 months and younger with proper vaccinations.
“We want to start socializing pups in a really safe environment,” Kassi said. “It’s a lot of fun.” Alicia and the K9 Activity Club crew members are determined to set up people and their pets for success, Kassi said, and that’s why K9 Activity Club offers a free assessment of pups and customizes training programs for the humans and dogs based on the results.
For people whose dogs would benefit from training, the K9 Activity Club offers comprehensive training programs that require a time commitment between two and four weeks. The price ranges from $1,350 to $4,495 depending on the extent of training required, Kassi said, and K9 Activity Club offers in-house payment plans as well as Scratchpay for monthly payments.
Kassi and her own two pups found the program beneficial, which covers everything from puppy kindergarten and basic obedience to major behavior modification.
“It made a night and day difference,” Kassi said about her dogs’ manners. “Now they are perfect little angels–most of the time.”
“Amazing trainers,” wrote Michelle Weiner in a Google review of K9 Activity Club. “The time I spent in the training program with my pup gave me so much knowledge about dog body language and behavior. Training is so much more than commands and rewards. As a dog owner, you need to be able to attune to the language your dog speaks, not just having your dog understand yours. I am so grateful for the high quality education I received myself, in addition to the positive reinforcement my dog got throughout the process. I’ll definitely be bringing him back for other boarding services and training.”
Boarding services are another plus for K9 Activity Club users. Overnight guests can stay on a cozy mat in the lodge, sleep on a raised cot in a separate suite or enjoy a personal crate in the cottage with an overnight attending sitter. Dogs from the same family, needless to say, can stay together in each setting.
Kassi said K9 Activity Club does what it can to support animal welfare, citing ongoing partnerships with Dogma Animal Rescue and Sonoma County Animal Services to provide day care services, fostering and training for some of their dogs in need of homes.
Want to know more? You can drop by for a tour 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
K9 Activity Club, 4340 Occidental Road, Santa Rosa, 707-569-1394, open 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, K9ActivityClub.com.