According to Buffalo Grove Countryside, Candy Oppman trained her first dog when she was only 9 years old. Like many people, she grew up and started a family—only her family turned out to be a combination of kids and rescue dogs. After founding her own pet-sitting business, Candy went on to learn about training and animal behavior. These skills would prove useful for her next endeavor: Bark University, Inc.
Inside Bark University's 3,500-square-foot facility, trainers rear canines through a method called "pack leadership"; or as Candy puts it, "training them as a mother dog trains her puppies, in a language they understand." The full-service facility is also open to daycare, where supervised dogs can frolic along the 5,000-square-foot fenced backyard and in the rubber-matted playroom in groups separated by size, temperament, and playing style. They round out their services with grooming sessions and overnight stays—wherein a staffer remains on premises to keep pets safe and see if they start to talk.
Different from the average pet-boarding facility, Paradise 4 Paws has a bone-shaped pool surrounded by more than 20,000 square feet of indoor play area, plush accommodations, and comfy boarding suites. Staff members roam the facility 24/7, playing with animals during the day, tucking them in at night, and performing à la carte services such as grooming, obedience training, health checkups, and canine massage therapy. Cats can lounge in a bungalow complete with cat perches, views of an aquarium, and access to climbing trees in the facility’s Adventure Jungle. Paradise 4 Paws has its own training academy, and its pet-care professionals have received pet-first-aid certification from the American Red Cross.
The pet-minded staff cares about pet owners, as well, granting access to the play area’s real-time webcams and offering airport parking and transportation.
The Dog Lounge is a one-stop shop for man’s best friend. In addition to grooming, the pooch-friendly salon also provides doggy daycare and dog-walking services, sells natural pet-care products, and hosts obedience training with experienced trainer Maria Betlinski.
Most Popular Service: Weekly service
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Average Duration of Services: 30 minutes or less
Pro Tip: Please let us know ahead of time if your gate has a lock, or if your dogs are aggressive.
With its cozy decor and absence of ominous cages, The Dog Waggin’s welcoming facility gives busy pet owners peace of mind as their pups comfortably socialize and play. The 4,000-square-foot digs house a play room with pooch playground equipment—including slides and tunnels—a relaxing play room—characterized by fluffy pet beds—and a backyard, where dogs can caper about or stretch out and bronze their bods in time for swimsuit season. Pups are free to rest and play as they see fit with their fellow boarders, all under staff supervision during daytime outings and overnight stays. The canine caretakers also offer a number of other services, including walking, in-home sitting, and training from owner and certified dog trainer Lisa Harvey.
When dogs need a break from burying bones, chasing mailmen, and playing professional basketball, Go Doggie Home Doggie provides overnight respite in airy single- and double-occupancy cottages. Owners can leave their dogs with all their personal effects from home—such as blankets, beds, and toys—to help them sleep soundly at night. During the day the pet-loving staff takes canines for refreshing walks and supervises their socializing during indoor play sessions, along with showering them with affectionate ear scratches. Meanwhile, at the onsite grooming-and-bathing salon, groomers treat dog care as an art form as revered as that of a cappella howling.
Go Doggie's facilities also include kitty condos—private boarding rooms where cats can sink their claws into scratching posts and philosophize about the virtues of shoeboxes as they gaze through ample windows. The premises are located a frisbee's throw away from O'Hare International Airport to enable speedy pickup and drop-off of furry comrades.