Monthly Archive: January 2020
In this essay, I will explain our new $35 per reservation fee, after explaining a bunch of other stuff you need to know (although you didn’t exactly ASK).
Glencadia the most authentic dog camp experience available and we have great prices. We don’t charge for delivery in the city. Our overnight fees are 50% less than some of our competitors. I gag at some of the prices people charge! Sharpen your Google tools and go look! YIKES!
If you factor in the costs of delivery, there is no comparison. And yet, our fee van is the most convenient option, coming after work twice a week right to your home – again, free. Cheapest, and clearly the best and most convenient option. Don’t take my word for it, go look.
No one can touch what we do: great staff with decades of experience, Mercedes free van, ETA updates by text, gorgeous luxury building with incredible amenities, huge spaces to run and lots of time outside playing in packs, beautiful landscapes or woods, fields and ponds, no cages, online reservation system, cinematic videos, contests, excellent safety record, real fun – and the rock bottom best prices. You can’t beat that with a bat!
We’re efficient, not greedy and love dogs – that’s our secret. We want to provide a great service at a cost that is not ridiculous. However, if people aren’t here to care for dogs, help people with the logistics of reservations, drive the van, and maintain and extend the space available for dogs, the experience can’t be good.
In 2018 and 2019 we have vastly expanded the staff, vehicle costs, interior space and acres of fenced fields. We now have 6000sf of interior space, including a vast interior playground for bad weather days, AC and central heat, hot water, grooming space. We added acres of fencing. When I get a chance to make a proper tour video people will love our beautiful new building. Come up and check it out: Gary and the guys did something spectacular and the dogs (and people) love it.
The quality of the experience for the dogs has improved. We have spent money to make our deliveries better – route planning, GPS trackers, individual water bottles, music, humidifier with essential oils, and text-based ETA updates.
Yet, we have not raised prices in all that time. This year, 2019, we did add one new fee: $35 per reservation in addition to the nightly rate. Essentially, this fee is meant to mostly increase the cost of short stays without affecting longer stays as much so that these long stays remain affordable.
We also need to cover the initial costs of each stay and reservation: Every new dog usually needs to settle in, will need extra attention, we will need to monitor the social scene for every new arrival, set up feeding and medicine instructions, put on a Glencadia collar (which cost money) and make a new dog tag (which cost money). Every reservation includes a first day of the stay. We have to figure out the new arrivals and how to keep them safe and happy – as every dog does not have the same experience here.
Every reservation has some kind of management of our time – and the people who work here have to be paid for their time. For example, if a customer needs help making a reservation, or if the customer wants to modify a reservation, that takes time. Every time we go to the city, we have to plan the route. We sent out ETAs. We have to check the vehicle for maintenance issues, fill the water bottles, make sure the rugs are clean. Then the driver has to be paid.
We don’t charge for pick up or drop off in NYC on our regular nights. For a long stay – say a week or longer – the cost of delivery and pick up is folded into the overnight fee and that works fine. For shorter stays, however, we do need to make sure the costs of these trips are covered.
Even if you bring your dog to camp, there are expenses. We have to put your arrival on the calendar. Someone has to be here to work with your dog as they settle in. Indeed, the logistics of helping one new arrival to settle in mean that people bringing their dogs to camp is not easier for us than picking up in the city – since we’re going to the city anyway.
Here at Glencadia we change per night, basically, from day to day or evening to evening. If your dog is here for only 8 hours, however, that’s a “stay” or a full night. The longer your dog stays, the less you pay per night. The price you pay is the same per night whether you get pick up or drop off in the city on one of our regular Monday and Thursday trips or if you come to camp. However, obviously, the expenses to Glencadia of maintaining and running a van and driver are significant.
We haven’t changed much in terms of pricing. We simply added a fee per reservation. This fee would be a trivial increase for a long stay – less than 1% in many cases – but more of an increase for a short four-day stay – about 7% more.
So, you might have noticed a new $35 fee per reservation. We are trying to keep costs down while still expanding. Given that others charge so much more, I don’t think this new fee is too much to ask to allow us to continue to improve.
Thank you for sending your dog to camp. We are going have more great stuff all the time – new building, maybe some technological improvements you might love, t-shirts with matching dog fashion, more contests and videos. Lots of fun. Stay tuned!
It’s hard to exaggerate how different the camp experience is for dogs compared to being home. The social aspect of being in a pack is mentally challenging for dogs. Interacting with other dogs, figuring out their relationships, is probably the most sustained mental activity in which a dog can engage. It’s tiring mentally. It’s healthy and normal, but tiring.
Also, changing environments is in and of itself tiring: new people, new places to explore. Further, they are outside much more than at home in most cases. There is more going on – more options for activity. It’s like going for a week-long hike in the mountains with a powerful social dimension. How would you be when you came home?
Some play for eight hours in a day and nap less than home, generally. Others, are less active of course. If a dog wants to find a quiet place to rest and be by him or herself, there is no shortage of corners, crooks of tree roots, quiet spots. We do see dogs sneak off and find a spot they like – under the stairs, or by a tree, or in a corner. Others stay in the flow all day.
Some of them figure out how to sleep here better than others, get comfortable with a bunkmate perhaps, someone they like, learn to take naps in the day, outside in the day… and some don’t figure it out. Being social, they sleep better with a friend if at all possible. In general, as social predators, dogs nap a lot. Napping here is harder: something might be going on and you might not want to miss out. This varies from dog to dog… but a sleepy, slow day at home should be enough to catch up.
In other words, if you were planning to take your dog with you as you train for the marathon the day after s/he gets home from camp, you might want to wait a day.
Your dog might come home from camp tired. “He seems lethargic.” Your dog is not sick, but wiped out. You find a scratch… the dog seems tired… what happened up there?
Seven years ago, my son Ollie, now heading to college, was ten and excited to spend a week camping in the woods with the great people at Flying Deer Nature Center, director Devin Franklin. Camping just over the border in Massachusetts on the top of a mountain about 45 minutes from the nearest road, they decided to play blind man’s bluff. Ollie, blindfolded, tripped, chipped his tooth and cut his lip. Getting out of the hospital, a tooth repaired, a lip sewed up, the first thing on Ollie’s mind was getting back up to the top of the mountain. There were two more days left at camp and he didn’t want to miss anything. So, we hiked back up.
Maybe the blind’s man bluff on the top of a mountain wasn’t smart in retrospect, but in fact, all the kids had a great time. If you are constantly second-guessing every move, you end up not hiking up a mountain at all. You end up not doing anything adventurous at all. I guess you can read about adventures or try to get a vicarious thrill from a movie, but you grow up afraid of ponds and bushes and hills and rocks. There might not even be a reason to have summer camp, for starters.
If your kid comes home from camp with some scratches on his or her leg, a few bumps and bruises, they can tell you how that happened. Your dog, of course, can’t tell you anything. But a dog has no option for a vicarious adventure. No books, no language, no movie. So, if you take away anything with the risk of a cut, nick, or scratch, they really won’t have any fun.
Look at the pictures and videos on our website (click the “latest photo” link or search for by month and year). Check out the videos on our YouTube channel. You see dogs wrestling for sticks, swimming, running past trees and rocks, digging holes, hiding under stairs, and all kinds of doggie activities. Obviously, a scratch can happen. A nick. A small cut. Remarkably, however, we almost never get any ticks. I don’t know why – we don’t have ticks.
We also don’t really have fights. We had probably 2000 trips here in 2019, for example. Pick up in the city, drive to the country, play with other dogs, return trip home, and not one serious fight. In fact, it’s been five or six years since we haven’t been able to stop a fight before it starts. No real fights in more than 10,000 stays at camp. No injuries from transport in more than 25,000 individual dog trips (including both pick up and drop off). Given how free the dogs are, given how we spend time on the road, five how huge the area for dogs is (6000sf inside and 20 acres outside) our overall safety record is great. And we’re always looking to improve! Yet, I don’t think the occasional scratch or nick or small cut can ever be eliminated.
We do body checks and find little cuts and try to report them in a timely way. However, if we were to try to completely eliminate the risk of such minor injuries, we would be a fake dog camp, not the real deal. For the record, everyone else is faking it. You should be glad your dog comes back with a tiny scratch: it proves he or she was actually out playing and having fun. If we locked the dogs up in crates and only let them out to take a very staged and posed picture, then put them back in a crate – as do some or maybe all of our competitors – there would be fewer cuts and scratches. But it also would not be the maximum great dog experience, as we seek to offer.
What we do is something kind of special. We actually do what you see us do in the videos all over our site: we open the gate and let them out in natural and fun places. Given how free they are, actual fights are remarkably rare. We’re pretty good at stopping those before they start. It almost becomes second nature, reading the dog pack to avoid hostility. Still, even healthy and friendly play can lead to a nick or cut.
So, that’s camp, for kids and dogs alike. A nick or cut is par for the course.
Whew! Here at Glencadia, the holiday season has officially come to an end. Looking back, it’s always a time chock full of activity. Lots of family, festivities, and friends (furry or otherwise). It all begins to kick into gear in mid December. Dogs of all shapes and sizes begin to book stays and then arrive at camp. Our drivers definitely keep busy. In general, driving is a good way to get to know new campers. It’s also good for catching up with the regulars. Since it’s the holidays and all, extra treats for the road are often in the mix. That goes for drivers and dogs. Milk bones and jerky for one group, egg nog and cookies for the other.
While at camp, we make sure that everyone gets plenty of outside time. However, everyone has access to go back inside to stay cozy. Mealtime is always a boisterous event! Eating is a holiday highlight right? Easily, the most fun during this time of year, as well as most other months, is playtime in the big fields. Snow makes it even more enjoyable. Running, rolling, jumping…and that’s just the humans! Well, maybe dogs and humans. Most of our pictures are from this time. Picture almost all of our holiday campers frolicking around together. It’s a sight to see!
A good time was had by all this year. Now, bring on summer!
Here is an index of blog posts, FYI – and so many more I have to write.
Here are some videos that show you more of what we do here:
This video walks around in the barn (prior to last renovation round competition): https://youtu.be/31W_K2nrVhs
Here is us having some fun: https://youtu.be/JBSqhfbDf3g
Digging a hole: https://youtu.be/uQDM7eGj0TM
Chasing a drone: https://youtu.be/hTkTINAk4Nk
Cleaning up: https://youtu.be/JOy7G0qNT7I
Inside more often, not getting enough exercise, over-eating: normally, we people worry about gaining weight around holidays and in the winter. This scenario is far from the case with dogs at camp. With our camper dogs we worry more about losing weight in this season.
If the high temperature is slated to break 32 and the wind is not super high, you can bet that most dogs will get a nice time outside at some points in the day – maybe several shorter romps, but they add up. If the temperature is 45, they will have even more time outside. We have central heat, wood stove, and a well-insulated facility, but we shoot for about an average of 50-60 degrees F in the winter. It’s just that most dogs are more comfortable at a cooler temperature. If the outside temperature is close to freezing or above, we let most dogs be outside most of the time.
Even on very cold days – which we have not really had this year – we still have the great open spaces for them to explore in our enormous barn. They move around a lot even inside.
This video is kind of a tour of the building and around the area. You can see how much fun they are having exploring the completely open and huge area.
If they are older, or have a thinner coat, they can curl up by the stove and get as warm as they need to but most -younger ones with more fur- will have access to the outside for long periods and won’t be at human room temperature at night.
Any time of year, the dogs here usually get significantly more exercise than at home.
We can try to make up for the need for extra calories by feeding more – and we do that. But a lot of dogs do seem to have the sense that they are enough and stop. Also, the food we feed them is probably pretty concentrated and healthy and doesn’t have a lot of filler. Or so we hope. We can make up more calories with treats- and we are definitely more generous with treats in the winter.
We try to send dogs home about the same weight as when they arrived. This goal is not too hard to achieve in most cases in the summer, spring and fall but in the winter it can be tricky.
We have tried to weigh in all the dogs. One problem with that is, our scale seems to reset itself and isn’t great. The other is that some dogs move on the scale and we might not always get it right. But the weigh-in process is good, since it might help us get a baseline. The other issue is keeping up and weighing them frequently enough. It takes time. Cleaning the yards takes time. Washing out the vans takes time. Putting the Glencadia collars on and replacing the ones that fall off takes time. Washing dogs takes time. Going for a romp takes time. Uploading pictures and editing videos takes time.
Dogs might go home tired and a bit thinner. It isn’t a sign that they were sick or something bad happened. It’s a sign they were living a more natural life- with plenty of exercise, an austere and a healthy diet. However, we will work to keep the weight on. We can limit some of the outside time for the thinner and less greedy voracious eaters. We can increase food and treat rations. We can and do try those things, but maybe even more so in the future.
We’ll keep at this and get better keeping them at the same weight – unless there is a specific request to gain or lose weight by the owner.
Thanks for reading!