Your first time

Is this your first time you've contemplated leaving your dog at a kennel?

We know this can be difficult the first time. It can be like dropping your kid off at school for their first day.

We aim to make ourselves available for as long as you need to feel comfortable. It's important to us to understand your needs, and to ensure that we can provide the level of care you require.

We run things differently to the vast majority of other facilities. We offer extensive options for your dog to have exercise and play, whilst being very, very cautious for their safety and well being. All of our dogs sleep inside at night, and they are also brought in for an afternoon nap, and when the weather is unsuitable. We don't believe dogs should be sitting out in the hot sun, the driving rain, or a freezing wind.

Things to consider when boarding your dog

  • How much exercise time do I want my dogs to have, and is there any extra charge for this.

    Here the overnight tarriff ($30-$60/night) is all inclusive of extensive exercise sessions. ie: several hours each day.  (Dam sessions are only an extra $10/dog/session to those dogs who "qualify" for such)
  • Do the owners of the facility run the facility?

    This may or may not be important to you. We believe it is critical that you meet us, and that we do the work. Jane has been a dog lover since she was knee high to a grass-hopper. She is an internationally recognised dog judge, and sends her dogs around the world to wonderful homes. Even the Obamas asked her about getting one of her dogs. True.

    Royce is the big dog specialist, being in dogs for 40 something years. He's also a specialist in dog injuries and behaviour management.

    How experienced are the owners?

  • Having confidence in the owners who run the facility is going to be very important to you. See the above notes!
  • Do my dogs get to mix with other dogs?

    Sometimes - it depends on your dog. Mostly only dogs under 10kg are permitted to socialise.   While some owners may want their non interactive dogs having an opportunity to mix with others, we know that other owners prefer their dogs to only mix with socialised dogs, rather than be an experiment for the independent of mind dogs. Our belief - is safety first.

    Do the dogs get to go for a walk each day?

  • We have enough yards for everyone to have their own space both inside and outside.  This keeps your dog safe.  The bigger dogs will get access to their own enormous yard, and maybe rotated to smaller yards to rest whilst other dogs use that yard.  The dogs aren't taken for a walk as such each day (I can do it, but once people realise what my one on one time is costed out at - you do not want to be paying me $50 for a 20 minute personal walk of your dog, they realise having a romp in a yard that can be as long as 100m for 4 hours is plenty, and included in their nightly tarriff.)
  • Some breeds of dogs find the boarding experience quite stressful.  Often we will suggest that it's a good idea for that dog to come out to us for 2-3 days as a trial well beforehand.  It doesn't happen often, but when it does it's a nightmare for all involved - ie:  dogs that are wonderfully amicable at home, turn into biting snarling beings when others try to handle them without their owners close by.  You do not want to get a phone call when you're halfway to the airport for your dream holiday to be told that you need to come back and sort out alternate accommodation for your dog.  There is no magic mystical flag waving dog whisperer here (or anywhere) that can resolve this situation.  And this is not because "my dog was beaten before he was rescued" scenario, which people tell us ALL THE TIME (quick tip:  Australia is NOT full of dog kicking/belting citizens.)  It's often because whoever bred the dog didn't put the time in to carefully select well tempered dogs to breed from.  And the odd occasion, where regardless of pedigree, like humans, some dogs just don't like new people (or any people other than owners.)  In some rare scenarios some may find their dogs need to go to specialist behavioural kennels of which I know of one in Melbourne, where you'll pay $200+ per night for appropriate care.  For $30-$40 a night excellent care here - this does not include free specialist behavioural care.  We do not have those skills.  That is a whole niche market which invariably people do not want to pay for (in our experience).

Tips for first timers to Toolleen Country Retreat

Here are some handy tips that will help your first trip go smoothly:
  • All humans who exit the car need to wear a mask.  No exceptions.  If you are unable to wear a mask for whatever reason, you need to get someone else to drop off your pet/s.  (I've noticed that a tiny number of people claim they can't wear a mask for 5 mins to drop off their dog, yet can wear a mask for 10+ hours as required by the airlines to travel overseas.  So best we not have that discussion.)
  • Bring your dog's lead to safely get him/her out of the car. No dogs off lead thank you.
  • Bring your dog's vaccination certificate. Remember, they need to have had their C5 at least 2 weeks before their visit.
  • If your dog is a fence jumper, let us know before you arrive. (there is an extra charge for jumpers as they require full time supervision when outside.  If your dog turns out to be an escape artist you may be asked to arrange for someone to pick them up immediately.)
  • Be on time. We have limited office hours which allows us to keep our rates down. 
  • Don't bring your personal items of clothing for your dog (no exceptions).
  • Relax. We've done this before. We've seen all sorts of different dog behaviours. Don't be afraid to be honest with us about any naughty tricks your dog has tried before. In fact, the more honest you are, the better experience we can provide.
  • Updates are available, but particularly post covid a small number of people have insisted on contacting us well into the night and before sunrise even on a Sunday expecting an immediate response.  Let us be clear:  we need balance in our own lives and uninterrupted sleep to do this job well.  Those that exhibit these behaviours may be requested to immediately arrange for pick up of their pets.  At the very least, we will not take further bookings.  After hour updates will incur considerable fees and must be pre-booked and paid for.  If there is a need to contact you urgently, we will do that.  This is incredibly rare that this happens.
  • If you're going away for a big holiday, and you've never left your dog with us, we'd strongly encourage you to leave him/her here for a weekend a few weeks beforehand. This will make their 2nd trip here far more enjoyable for them, and you won't feel anywhere near as stressed. Trust me on this.
  • We strongly encourage you to desex your pets. Non desexed pets can not have the same interaction experience with other dogs because of complications arising from hormonal situations. Many boarding facilities will no longer take "entire" dogs because of the problems involved. We charge a surcharge for all dogs that aren't desexed because of the considerable extra work involved, and we do limit the number of "entire" dogs we take during peak periods. It would be highly unusual for us, for example, to take a first time visitor during peak time that wasn't desexed. Our other clients too appreciate that most of our other dogs are desexed as well.
  • Payment is required up front when you arrive (we do not take credit card, but you can place the funds directly into our account, at least 2 days before arrival). We also require a non refundable booking fee for peak times.
  • If you are going to be late to pick up your dog, call us or text us - and you'll be required to pick up or drop off in the next available session.  There is no option for out of hours drop off or pick up.  No exceptions.
  • Please let us know if something happens that you are not coming. Those that don't will not be allowed to re-book their dogs. Ever. We put a considerable amount of work prior to your dog's arrival, and often turn away other clients because of that booking.
  • When visiting the facility you will be required to be accompanied at all times. No one is permitted to stroll through our yards or grounds unless we are with you. No exceptions.
  • Your dog will have an enjoyable time with us. We go out of our way to make sure this happens.
  • Now relax. yes, we know there are a few rules, but by telling everyone how things can run best and most smoothly, everyone will be happier. Trust me on this.


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