How should I go about choosing the right company to care for my dog?

There are lots of things you'll want to keep in mind when choosing the best care for your pup. When researching, you'll primarily want to ask about the following things...

  • What qualifications do the employees/contractors have? The pet care business is an under-regulated industry. When sending your dog into an unpredictable environment, it is paramount that the company's employees/contractors are extraordinarily well-versed in animal behavior, learning theory, husbandry, and best-practices when it comes to positive and force-free animal care. Be sure that the person caring for your dog knows how to offer the very best care, and has the accredited credentials to prove it.
  • What is the ratio of humans to dogs? A dog professional should not ever care for more than four dogs at once. (For an interesting scientific article on this subject, check out this link!) When your dog is out of your home, you will want to make sure that he or she is receiving individual attention, both for the safety of your animal and the quality of their experience.
  • Will my dog get cardio? Leashed walks offer great mental stimulation for dogs, but they very rarely offer an opportunity for increased cardiovascular activity, and dogs need quality cardiovascular exercise every day. 
  • Does the company include pick-up, drop-off, and flexibility in all services? Some companies charge extra for pick-up or drop-off, or do not offer this service at all, instead offering a central location for pick-up and drop-off. You'll also want to look into the company's cancellation policy, as you may be asked to pay the same amount for monthly service, regardless of cancellations.
  • Is the company licensed, bonded, and insured? You will want to know that all bases are covered, without question. 

Why is Dog Adventures Northwest rated #1 for pet care in Portland?

There is a reason we have been voted the number one pet care company by Spot Magazine multiple times. Take a look at the following to see why our premium service has earned that recognition...

  • Our trainers are either fully-fledged Certified Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT), or are currently accruing hours toward their CPDT. The Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers is the leading independent certifying organization for the dog training profession. Certified Professional Dog Trainers must complete 300 hours of dog training, pass a rigorous exam to demonstrate mastery of humane, science-based dog training practices, and sign a comprehensive code of ethics. Dogs who go adventuring with Dog Adventures Northwest are the care of true dog professionals, people who are very well equipped to correctly read animal body language, offer science-based training techniques to improve behavior, and provide positive experiences for dogs.
  • Dog Adventures Northwest maintains a strict four to one ratio. We never have more dogs than we can safely and securely handle. All dogs in our care receive highly individualized attention.
  • Dog Adventures Northwest offers cardiovascular exercise for dogs. We keep our pups happily hiking and playing during their time with us. The amount of exercise your dog needs depends on his or her age, breed, and health. Use this chart as a guideline, and speak with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s ability to go adventuring. Exercise modifications can be made for senior dogs, or pups recovering from injury or illness. 
  • Dog Adventures Northwest offers home/office pick-up and drop-off at no extra charge and offers flexible scheduling. Most of our clients are away at work while their dogs are adventuring. We will pick-up your pup, bring her out to have ridiculous amounts of fun, and return her to your home, happy and tired. Also, we understand that life is unpredictable and cancellations will happen from time-to-time. With more than 24-hours notice, there is no charge of any kind on cancelled adventures. 
  • Dog Adventures Northwest is licensed, bonded, and insured. We are legal business entity in the State of Oregon, with full-coverage insurance and bonding.

How much exercise should my dog receive on a daily basis?
The amount of exercise your dog needs depends on his or her age, breed, and health. Use this chart as a guideline, and speak with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s ability to go adventuring. Exercise modifications can be made for senior dogs, or pups recovering from injury or illness. 

Will my dog be kept on a leash while adventuring?
Your dog will be kept on leash from your home to the car and from the car to the trailhead/park entrance and then the leash comes off! Dogs will only be taken to legal off-leash dog areas on their DANW adventure.

How will you teach my dog to come when called?
Dog Adventures Northwest uses positive reinforcement training to teach recall (coming when called). We will never (ever!) yell at your dog or hurt your dog in any way. We teach a really reliable recall through the use of food treats, fun games, and repetition. If you book an adventure through Dog Adventures Northwest, you will receive a hand-out detailing all of our methods, so that you can reinforce the behavior while on the trail yourself.

What if my dog runs away and there’s no fence?
If your dog is the type to run for the hills when off leash, you can book a City Adventure, and we will be sure to only visit a fenced dog park. Alternately, you can book a private training session with us to train a reliable recall in a controlled area before we venture into the wilds. 

Most dogs — while they may rove and ramble — have little desire to actually run away. If you have any doubts, however, let us come to your home for a (free!) consultation so that we can test his or her off-leash skills. Our Adventurers are certified trainers, and will be able to appropriately assess your pup’s proclivities. 

All dogs will be required to wear not only their own home identification on a properly fit flat collar, but also Dog Adventures Northwest identification. We have been working off-leash with new dogs for eight years, however, and we have never lost track of a dog. Your pup will be in very good hands. 

How long will my dog be out of the house?
If you book a City Adventure, your pup will be out of the house for 2-3 hours. One hour of this time will be spent actively playing. If you book a Country Adventure, your pup will be out of the house for 3-5 hours. Two hours of this time will be spent actively adventuring. 

How will you transport my dog?
Via our personal vehicles! Dogs will be crated, tethered, or kept safe behind a grate-partition. 

When adventuring, will my dog be made to hike at a certain speed or over a certain distance?
Nope! Every trip is catered to the specific adventuring dogs. Some dogs like to run in big goofy circles in tall grass, others like to fetch balls out of the river, and others like to go on long hikes through the forest. No dog will be pushed to exercise if he or she shows any signs of fatigue. Periodic rest stops and water breaks will be part of every adventure.

Will my dog play with other dogs while adventuring?
Yes. It is essential that your dog is socialized to other dogs if you would like him or her to adventure with us. Your dog doesn’t have to be the life of the party, but aggression issues will not be accommodated. 

Dogs go out in groups of no more than four dogs to one trainer to ensure everyone has a good time, and is kept safe. Dogs on a weekly schedule go out with the same group, and often become very good friends with their other adventure buddies.

Will my dog get dirty while adventuring? 
That’s half the fun! No dog will be kept from getting dirty if that is what is in his or her heart’s desire. All dogs, however, will be returned with clean paws and a towel-dried coat. Dogs who really love the mud (ahem, Labs and Goldens, ahem) can also get hosed off outside of your home. Please note that we do not offer dog bathing. If your dog goes to the groomer every week or two anyway, why not coordinate a pre-bath adventure? We’ll be happy to drop off your pup at the groomer’s instead of your home.

I don’t want my dog to swim in the river. Is that OK?
If you would prefer if your dog did not go swimming we can adapt our route so as to avoid the river. (We can also specifically intentionally visit the river if you do want your dog to swim!)

What kind of exercise will my dog get if I book a “City Adventure?”
There are so many fun things to do in an off-leash dog park, big or small! Fetch, chase, and keep-away are among the favorites.

What if my dog gets hurt while at the park or on the trail?
Dog Adventures Northwest takes every precaution to ensure your dog’s safety. No dog is pushed beyond his or her physical comfort zone, and rest stops and water breaks are part of every adventure. Also, all adventure leaders are trained to deal with unknown aggressive dogs through diversion and appropriate body language. All adventure leaders have a cell phone in the event of emergency, and also SprayShield, a citronella spray designed to stop aggressive dogs in their tracks. Even with precautions, however, adventuring presents risks. If your dog does get hurt while on the trail, we will take him or her immediately to the closest emergency animal hospital or to your own veterinarian. Though Dog Adventures Northwest is not financially responsible for any injury your dog may incur while adventuring, the risk of injury is quite low, and we will do everything in our power to prevent injuries of any kind. Lastly, all of our trainers are up-to-date in animal first-aid, CPR, and rescue breathing, should the need arise.

Where can I find pictures of my dog having fun?
We are happy to text or email you photos and videos of your dog having the time of her life. We will also post selected photos to our Facebook page

What is Camp Pendleton?
Camp Pendleton is the home of trainer, Jess Lara and her 3 pups, Sadie, Dandi, and Lumi, and is the location of our Day Camp service. Camp Pendleton has an indoor training room as well as in the large fenced backyard. Camp Pendleton is a place to learn, play, and relax!

What is the Dog Adventures Northwest cancellation policy?
If you need to cancel an Adventure, you will be charged 50% of the Adventure price if it is cancelled less than 24-hours in advance, and 100% of the Adventure price if it is cancelled within 3 hours of pick-up.  This being said, we understand that life just gets in the way sometimes; if we can make an alternate plan work, we will do our absolute best to do so!

A 50% deposit of the service total is required to reserve dates for overnight care. This deposit will be fully refunded if service is cancelled one or more months before the first date of service. The deposit is only refunded within thirty days if the cancellation occurs within three days of the initial request.

What is the Dog Adventures Northwest foul weather policy?
Is it raining? Bring it on. Windy? No problem. Snow and ice on the roads? We may need to cancel. It is up to each individual trainer as to what feels safe to them, and whether or not to offer services when the roads may be dicey. If your trainer does not feel safe venturing out, but you would still like service, we will do everything we can to find a sub. 

Is Dog Adventures Northwest licensed, bonded, and insured?
Of course! Dog Adventures Northwest is a legal business entity in the State of Oregon, with full-coverage insurance and bonding.