Response From Camp Bow Wow Oak Park
August 03, 2022
I am sorry that you were unhappy with your experience on your dogs' first day. Based on your comments, it doesn't sound like you want to bring your dogs back to camp but before you make that final decision, let me provide some insight into what you observed.
1. We train Camp Counselors how to move dogs safely and effectively in the camp. We do not use force or aggression when moving dogs. The video camera feed is sometimes choppy because it is being uploaded by us and downloaded by you in real time, so not every single frame is in the stream. This may make our movements look faster or more forceful than they really are.
2. We allow everyone to look at what we are doing at camp, so our handling techniques are visible. Not all daycares are as transparent but I know we can stand by the appropriateness of our handling.
3. The picture we take of your dog is uploaded to our system so that we can learn who is who. We use a treat to get their attention because there are multiple distractions at camp and it doesnt do us any good to have a picture of the side or back of the dog. It takes us time to get to know all the dogs by name, so I am sorry the person who was leashing hadn't met your dogs. To say that they didnt care to learn is insulting.
4. I take exception to your comment that we lied to you about your dogs. They passed the interview day without incident. They were friendly and non-aggressive. They used appropriate dog behavior when they got attention from other dogs that they didn't want. That is what we are looking for. Maybe we should change our grading system to a pass/fail so you won’t feel lied to.
5. You claim that it was clear your dogs didn't like camp. That may or may not be true. There are many dogs that come to camp regularly but never "play". They socialize with other dogs in different ways; following, sniffing, and just watching. They enjoy camp and can't wait to come, but you wouldn't call them big players. When your dogs get comfortable in the environment, they may play, they may not, but it is a stimulating and entertaining environment for them as opposed to sitting along at home. It is 100% your choice what you want to choose for your dog, we are just one option.
6. I agree with your comment about giving feedback about your dogs' behavior on the first day. The person who did your checkout should have acknowledged that they were still anxious or whether or not they were less nervous by the end of the day. I will follow up with that person to see that they do that going forward.
Our camp is set up for dogs who enjoy interactions with other dogs. Because your dogs have each other, interacting with another dog may not feel like a big treat to them. That being said, we have many two dog families that love that their dogs can board together in a shared cabin and have the option of play time in a group of dogs of similar size. If that is something that you are looking for, I would encourage you to give us another chance.