1 Year Anniversary

1 Year Anniversary

News

Tail Wags had its official Grand Opening 12 months ago. Today…

  • we’re 510 members strong
  • we proudly collaborate with 8 local small businesses to keep our lounge vibrant with quality products
  • we repeatedly welcome donations from over a dozen friendly neighbors
  • we pay forward with donations of our own to over half a dozen animal rescues (+ other charities)
  • we hosted our 1st of several adoption events supporting 4 rescue groups
  • we hosted our 1st event with nearly 40 dogs in our park and zero doggie scuffles
  • we employed 15 dog lovers (6 currently on staff), most of whom seek a career working with animals
  • we made Ohio Magazine’s Best of Ohio list, sharing editors picks in Columbus with only two others (the CMA and Hotel Leveque – honored and humbled to be in that company!) 
  • we witness each day countless reminders of how special that bond is between dog and their human
  • and more, and more

What a year of “firsts” it has been. A little about our journey and Jake & I, your creators of Columbus’ 1st indoor dog park and lounge…

The journey is not easy. With every turn, there’s both hope and challenge. Opening a unique concept takes time to take in. Some members immediately see a value and others take a bit more time to learn how to use our space. Some see a fit and some do not. The truth is, many people walk in thinking our use is good for a quick play date with their pup when it’s too cold or rainy out and it’s our job to show them how it can be so much more.

OUR START. OUR HEART.
My story began with Jake, a scruffy little 4-month old sweetheart who was up for adoption. I gave him a home. He took my heart. I rescued him. He gave my life new meaning. Being a dog owner is so much more than just giving and receiving affection or company. It’s the every day choices that you make to raise them healthy, safe, happy and loved. I give that my all. Today, that is what Tail Wags is really about. A furry-fun place where bonds are made richer through moments of practicing a command, throwing a frisbee, or playing fetch; through learning how your dog communicates with new pups they meet; through seeing their preferred play style with their familiar buddies; through showing interest in helping them be more comfortable in social environments in a healthy way; through bringing them along to enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend or get some work done only to be steps away from a playground for them; through short moments of wet kisses, furry affection or even just a look at their human that screams “I love you so much mommy/daddy!”. Dog owners know what “look” I mean.

OUR DOG LOVER MEMBERS.
What is fascinating to me in our first year is seeing who our concept has appealed to the most. At our peak, we averaged over 30 dogs/day on weekends and over 20 dogs/day on weekdays (a goal milestone – yay!). Our most frequent and loyal members love Tail Wags for every moment listed above, and so much more. They’re owners who are especially careful with what their pups are exposed to; who take a proactive approach to teaching them healthy habits; and most of all – who genuinely love to bond with their furry best friend. Not just for 30 minutes. Not just to tire them out. But because something sparks in their hearts knowing that their pup is healthy, safe, happy and absolutely loved. Yes, we are in love with our members (especially the ones that speak woof!).

OUR DOG LOVER TEAM.
Just as fascinating, has also been the team we have formed. After all, Tail Wags would not be possible without a team who is fully aligned with our values, beliefs, and promises. A team that knows very well the value of their contributions and are fully engaged in every part of running Tail Wags (not just what’s in their job description). A team made up of the best cheerleaders (yes, they can be male too). A team that shows enthusiasm, excitement, initiative, talent, ideas, freedom. A team that not only has embraced changes, but pushed for more to make us better.

For example, our park opened up opportunities for improvement as it relates to safety (having dogs in a closed social environment comes with its risks). So as a team, we improved protocols, training and processes – all with consultation of trusted certified dog behavioral specialist and veterinarian. Our bar was already high; we just wanted it higher. One year later, we can proudly say that we have had ZERO outbreaks of spreadable dog diseases and ZERO dog fights involving penetration and/or injury (another success – double yay!). This is mostly attributable to our cleaning/sanitation standards and dog play supervision, separation, deescalation procedures. I’m beyond grateful for my team, your Park Leaders who make Tail Wags what it is today.

OUR PUPPY YEAR BEHIND US.
So what’s next? As I said at the start, with every turn there is hope and challenge. Hope in the great triumphs we have had. Challenge in weathering the upcoming slow season. To be blunt, we have to keep the lights on. So we’re diving deep in what we try to do well – listening to our members to make Tail Wags a better place for them and “the best” place for their pups. The goal is for more people to see the immediate value that many do already.

Circling back to that dream that came true. Naturally, my dream of owning a place where dogs happily and safely played together included Jake in it. As it turns out, he struggled adjusting to sharing his mommy with so many new pups. He’s officially “senior” now so you’ll mostly find him relaxed very comfortably in his office – when he feels like coming to work that is (oh the life of a Chief Furry Officer, the struggle is real!). Occasionally, you’ll find him happily bounce his way into the park with only one focus in mind – to play with mommy. He still loves his playdates, but tends to prefer familiar paws more than new ones now. He also became my little pirate after an eye-removal surgery last year (you may have noticed in pictures). My little pirate is still a sweetheart, patient, loving, playful, heart-melter. He continues to be the inspiration for Tail Wags except now, he has a much larger pack of wagging tails following his lead.

A very heartfelt thank you to everyone who was part of our puppy stage and here’s to MANY MORE years of keeping tails wagging at Tail Wags Playground!

Dog Park Safety & Etiquette

Informational

If you missed our Wag ‘n Learn with Health & Harmony Animal Hospital’s Dr. Bowden who covered Dog Park Safety & Etiquette, no worries! We’ve laid out a brief summary and some of the tips we learned. Her handout of the best 10 tips is also very helpful. Take a peek and have fun at the park.

Health Safety:
  • DO appropriately vaccinate your dog(s) before you head to the park. Health risks of parks are significantly decreased if vaccinations are current!
    • Distemper, Parvovirus, and Rabies are all viral  conditions that often require 3 year immunizations.
    • Bordatella, and Leptospirosis are bacterial conditions that often require 1 year immunizations (and are especially needed if frequenting dog parks).
    • Bordatella every 6 months or 1 year depends on the type/maker of vaccine used and your vet’s preferred protocol.
  • DON’T stay at the park if you see other dogs who are visibly sick.
    • Things to look for: repeated coughing; overly watery nose; crusty eyes.
  • DO keep an eye for fleas and ticks in the environment and leave if necessary.
    • If there are fleas and ticks, it is likely that they’ll appear on your dog even if flea/tick prevention is used. With flea and tick prevention however, they won’t survive (humans are also not good hosts for them so it’s low risk for you).
Behavior Etiquette:
  • DO observe what your dog(s) behavior is communicating.
    • Dog parks are not always the best places for dog play.
  • DON’T force socialization if they appear too scared or stressed.
    • Likewise, if it’s your dog(s) who is scaring or stressing others, that is not healthy dog play to allow to continue.
  • DO communicate with other dog owners if their dog(s)’ behavior is bothering yours (e.g. “please don’t let your dog hump my dog”)
    • It is is okay to have a friendly exchange. If your dog is communicating dislike, that is good – it tells the other dog to stop.
    • If other dog(s)’ behavior persists however, leave the park. Your dog being forced to react is what you want to avoid.
  • DON’T take your own treats or toys to the park. Some dogs will resource guard quickly and that is not healthy behavior.
    • If treats or toys are already at the park (or brought by others), just be mindful of dog behavior around them and leave if necessary.
Introducing Playcare & Date Night

Introducing Playcare & Date Night

News

It’s hard to imagine that it’s been only five months since our grand opening. Time flies when you’re having a blast with man’s best friends (yes – the furry ones). When I opened Tail Wags, I knew there was a plethora of ‘ideas’ that would continue to make Tail Wags the best destination for dogs and dog lovers. But I also wanted our members to steer us in the right direction. In just five months we absorbed a lot of feedback and now, we’re ready to put a couple ideas into action… introducing Playcare and Date Night!

Playcare

One of the most common questions we get asked is “can I leave my dog playing in the dog park while I’m in the lounge?”. The answer was always “no”, but for valid reasons. Ones that have to do with the health, safety & happiness of dogs – what is at the heart of everything we do. You see, the behavior of dogs with and without their owners are very different. Add in the element of a unique environment and it can get downright confusing (“No Fido, this is not boarding, the vet clinic or daycare. Your mom/dad are NOT leaving you here!”).

We knew we couldn’t allow every new dog – still getting familiar with our space – to be separated from their loved humans while sensing they’re nearby without expecting some level of stress or anxiety. That changes the dynamic of a space that dog lovers want to enjoy with their dogs. So we stood by and observed, and learned, and observed again… It was important for us to see how dogs got familiar with our space; how they used it; and what makes some more or less comfortable in it.

Quickly, we learned that many of our members are ready for what we are calling Playcare: supervision of fur-kid play while their human is in our lounge (NOT daycare; dogs are not dropped off for the day). In fact, it’s your pups who will “show” us if they want and are ready for Playcare.

  • Dogs who are comfortable in park with Park Leaders can stay in park while owners are in lounge
  • Includes a max limit to encourage humans to join their pup for play (it’s that bond we love!)
  • Best environment for dogs is priority (unhappy dogs will be reunited with their humans)
  • Terms apply to optimize dog comfort/behavior fit (must read terms: please click here)

Playcare is perfect for work-from-home professionals or graduate students who no longer have to sacrifice play with their dogs while staying productive! It’s just one way we’re responding to your needs and keeping true to our values.

Date Night

Yet another way we’re going where you tell us. Last month we tested Date Night with a few participating members and collected feedback to refine what became an idea dog lovers get really excited about.

We believe dogs make the best company (especially yours!). But dog lovers need human time too. Every 2nd Friday of the month, we’d like to take your pup for an evening of play and furry fun while you enjoy a night out with good food, drinks and company. Here’s how it works:

  • $12/dog ($4/additional dog; 3 max.)
  • Drop-off @ 5-6pm & Pick-up @ 8-9pm
  • Reservations required (limited spots available)
  • Members only (to ensure dog comfort/behavior fit in our space)

Note: Our park & lounge will close at 5pm on Date Nights to devote all our attention to your pups.

You told us it’s nice to have a night off doggie duty from time to time and we couldn’t agree more. So have fun while we spoil your pup in a familiar and safe environment! When you get home, your pup should be ready to relax too.

Find these (and a “Tailgate Date” version for select OSU football games) on our calendar of events.

“We hope you’re as excited as we are. A big thank you to all members who have given us feedback & ideas. We listen closely. Hugs to the pups & see you soon!”

Remembering Good Day Columbus

Remembering Good Day Columbus

News

A couple days after we opened, 5 months ago today, a reporter from Fox28/WSYX contacted us interested in featuring Tail Wags on Good Day Columbus. They came in to shoot a few segments and instantly helped a very small business gain some awareness and buzz. Given the time of the show, we were shooting outside our business hours. We wanted to see pups play so we invited members to visit us for a little spotlight, mind you VERY new members, and they were over the moon! Bentley, Ruby, Hunter (@hunters_adventures), and Macintosh (an adoptable rescue) joined Jake for some fun AND fame – they had a blast with Cameron, a local celebrity who very much is dog-lover material. If you missed it on TV, here are the links to the segments – enjoy.

Good Day Columbus – Part 1

Good Day Columbus – Part 2

Good Day Columbus – Part 3

Good Day Columbus – Part 4

5 Months and Grateful

News

Five months ago, on March 19th, we had our official Grand Opening. We’re still “puppy” and much like them, we’ve already had lots of lessons to learn! We’re eternally grateful for how receptive the Columbus community has been to their very first indoor dog park and dog-friendly lounge. The local partnerships and support has been amazing… from Columbus Underground, to Fox28/Good Day Columbus, to Metropreneur and more – it’s local support like this that makes Columbus so pawesome. So it was just fitting to record a personal thank you from Steffanie, Jake & the entire Tail Wags team – enjoy!

It’s HOT out!

It’s HOT out!

Uncategorized

Let’s remember our long cold winters before we start complaining 😉 If you’re like me, this is heaven. Fido, on the other hand, might not agree.

Recently, we had Dr. Kim West from Health & Harmony Animal Hospital come to Tail Wags for a Wag ‘n Learn about Dog Heat Exhaustion. As usual, they were full of very helpful insight! For example, it’s easy to forget that dogs don’t have a cooling system like humans do. They don’t sweat nor do they require activity to be susceptible to heat stroke. Given the particular relevance as hotter days loom, we thought we’d share some tips we learned with you (per boss Jake who just wants to ‘keep it cool’ 😉 ).

SIGNS TO LOOK FOR

  • Exercise intolerance
  • Dog sits; stops; looks for shade
  • Dog acts disoriented; their gums look red
  • Dog shows a “panicked look”
  • Dog seizures

BEST PRACTICES

  • Touch-test blacktop before walk (if too ot for touch, it’s too hot for your dog)
  • Avoid extreme heat exposure (restrict walks to only before and after sun is out/dusk/dawn)
  • Always have water with you on walks
  • Especially for breeds predisposed to less heat tolerance (e.g. bulldogs; frenchies; pugs), use a cooling device like backpacks with ice packs, wet bandanas, or gel/ice collars

WORSE-CASE SCENARIO

  • If heat stroke, immediately go to closest animal emergency clinic
  • Placing cold rag on body may help
  • Alcohol on paw pads for cooling effect may help also
  • Always consult with your pet’s veterinarian

We hope this is useful! If you have any questions, please contact your preferred veterinarian or Health & Harmony. Enjoy the Summer! Give your dogs the freedom they love and be safe – they’ll love you for it.

New Event Calendar!

New Event Calendar!

Events

EVENT CALENDAR

Some of you know that we host a variety of different events. It was always part of the dream for Tail Wags to also play part in building a community of dog lovers through either social or educational events; even gatherings for fundraising or awareness to support local animal shelters. We’ve been grateful for all the partnerships we started building almost immediately (dog lovers are a dream to work with!), but we also quickly found ourselves with events posted in different places making it hard for our members to get one clear view of all that is going on.

Enter our new Events Calendar. Sounds so basic, but nope – we didn’t have one! (Jake says “no judging please”). We still might use different platforms for RSVPs. For example, we use Eventbrite when tickets need to be sold in advance. But alas! You now have a monthly or list view of any events that we have on our calendar. The goal is to parallel this to our internal one, which is always up to date. That way, if you have a private reservation to make you can also see what days are open.

So there you have it! Bookmark this baby on your phone, tablet, PC, or all. As always, we’re open to your feedback… especially when accompanied by a picture of your pup doing a silly trick. (Just kidding about the latter. Kind of.)

Wag ‘n Learn Training Tips

Wag ‘n Learn Training Tips

Events

WAG ‘N LEARN: /wag, (ə)n, lərn/ 1. A series of events featuring local pet pros who share their expertise with pup lovers. 2. A barktastic made up name.

Almost as soon as we opened, we started to get asked if we’d offer training some day. I’ve used training for Jake before and remember how important it was to find trainers who practice positive reinforcement only and were a good fit for him. As of recently, I’ve also learned that training can be very healthy not just at puppy stage, but also as adults. It can instill confidence in them; stimulate their minds; and most importantly – grow the love they have for you even deeper.

That said, we found an opportunity to support pet pros who specialize in dog behavior/training and bring value to our members! To start, we’re co-hosting Wag ‘n Learns with trainers who will share some basic training tips. They’re 30 minutes, free, dog friendly, and in our lounge. (You might need to plan for some play time before so pup can relax a bit while the humans learn; member levels apply for park use).

*To keep tails wagging, we have to limit the size of these Wag ‘n Learns so please be sure to RSVP.

You will see classes being offered at Tail Wags in the future too. We’re thrilled to have both Elsa and Nicola, who are very good at what they do. If you ever consider training, these Wag ‘n Learns are also a good way to ‘meet the trainer’ and see how they fit with your pup. We hope you can join us!

Breed Meetups

Breed Meetups

Events

Whenever I went dog parks with Jake, something I loved almost as much as watching him play and have fun was also meeting other dog lovers like me – ESPECIALLY parents of terrier breeds. Why? We could instantly relate. Whether it was sharing similar stories about their personalities, or exchanging tips about what ‘worked’ for them; it was always nice to talk to folks who appreciate and love what makes terriers “terriers”.

With that in mind, we decided to start putting regular Breed Meetups on our calendar. So regular in fact, there’s one happening almost weekly. Celebrated breeds get 50% OFF Daily Membership (during event hours only; mostly weekday evenings) and entered into a drawing to win pupprizes! As always, we can’t wait to see both doggies and humans socialize. And who knows, maybe new friendships will be made 🙂

Check out our Facebook Events calendar for these recurring events. These are just some tentative dates we’ve got in plans:

  • May 10th – Goldens
  • May 19th – Shepherds
  • May 25th – Labs
  • June 5th – Toy (<25 lbs.)
  • June 10th – Terriers!
  • June 14th – Bulldogs
  • June 23rd – Doodles
  • June 29th – Boxers

Tail Wags on a shirt? Hmm…

News

I really shouldn’t be sharing this early in stages, but the excitement is hard to hold back! Tail Wags is working on featuring an exclusive Tail Wags apparel design that humans and/or pups can wear. I’m THRILLED to have collaborated with Winks & Whiskers, a new startup that we’re also proud to support (a portion of their sales is donated to shelters – how pawesome is that?!). I wanted a shirt I’d love to wear myself with something on it that only dog lovers would understand; something that also celebrates local (and of course Tail Wags!). Eric’s design genius did an amazing job! Here’s a sneak peak and only a draft. Rest assured, we’ll also be looking for the best fabric (who says Fido can’t appreciate a light and soft fabric on their coats?!).

ww-tailwags-shirt