Dog Daycare & Dog Boarding

621 Old Hickory Blvd, Nashville, TN 37209
Behind Sonics and across from Sam's Club

What kind of training does your staff have?
Ruff Dog prides itself on educating our Play Group Leaders. Many of our team members have a background in animal care and are required to complete extensive coursework on safe off-off leash play, canine body language & behavior during their new-hire training which includes a 16 module program taught by The Dog Gurus. All new Ruff Dog team members take the Dog Gurus Safety Pledge and are also sent annually for their Pet First Aid & CPR certifications.

Is training for my dog involved? If so, what kind?
Our play group supervisors reinforce positive behaviors throughout the day. While participating in our daycare or boarding program, dogs are encouraged to exhibit appropriate play styles, to respond to their name quickly, and practice basic obedience manners. Our supervisors use only force-free methods and promote the use of positive reinforcement, redirection and plenty of tasty treats to reward pups for their good behavior.

  • Practicing Recall – Supervisors call dog’s names throughout the day during play and ask them to “come” when called.
  • Positive Reinforcement – pats, cuddles, treats and praise to reward appropriate behaviors.
  • Quick Time-Outs – Supervisors use time-outs to demonstrate the certain behaviors are not permitted while playing. For example: Bullying, mounting, marking, excessive mouthing, excessive barking, etc. Time outs are also used to provide pups with a quick moment to calm themselves down in order to prevent over-excitement. During time-outs, dogs are placed on-leash, in one of our rooms, or inside a crate. If in a room or crate they will enjoy a food puzzle, stuffed frozen kong or other tasty treat to help them settle down in a healthy, fun way.

While Ruff Dog does not offer any specific training programs, we are elated to have force-free/positive reinforcement focused referrals across Nashville if you are looking to requested to spruce up your pups obedience, socialization or specialized training skills.


Is There a nap time?

All dogs need rest after strenuous play and stimulation. Due to the high level of activity and play throughout the day, all dogs will be encouraged to take a mid-day nap between 12-2pm. Daycare guests will enjoy sharing some quiet time with lavender aromatherapy with their friends. Those that need extra encouragement to settle-in for a snooze will be placed in one of our rooms or inside of a crate.

Where do the dogs go to the bathroom?
Our pups enjoy a healthy amount of time outdoors when weather permits. Potty breaks are typically every half hour and on our nice days, dogs may come and go as they please. During any extreme weather, they are given the opportunity to go outdoors, however there may be occasional accidents which are picked up immediately and cleaned with a disinfectant to prevent the spread of germs and virus.

What is done in case of an emergency?
Ruff Dog makes every effort to provide a safe and pleasant experience for your pup. However, even in the safest of environments, there is a risk in allowing a group of dogs to play together. Should a pet be injured or fall ill, owners will be contacted immediately and the pup will be transported to the appropriate medical clinic. Costs arising from medical care will be billed to the owner upon check-out.

How do you keep the facility clean with all the dogs coming in and out?
The staff of Ruff Dog cleans the facility daily with a special cleaner and disinfectant designed for use in pet care facilities. At the end of every day all toys, bowls and surfaces inside and out are cleaned and disinfected. Our outdoor yards are scooped promptly after a dog eliminates and are disinfected & treated twice weekly.

Are there any breed restrictions?
No. We carefully evaluate each individual dog and are confident with our experience and our ability to recognize potentially problematic behaviors in a dog, regardless of its breed. However, from years of experience we have found that some breeds are a better fit to the environment than others. It is a fact that certain breed-type tendencies are not appropriate in social dog play. Off-leash play is a high activity environment so dogs that are quick to arouse often are not a good fit. Arousal and aggression are linked so for safety in play, dogs must self-control their arousal. We have an obligation to create a safe environment for all the dogs that attend and will evaluate each dog on an individual and educated basis.

What behaviors make a dog incompatible for daycare?
For the safety of our supervisors and other dogs, there are behaviors that cannot be tolerated in an off-leash play setting. Aggressive behavior toward people or dogs, extreme fear or shyness, fence climbing/jumping and repeated acts of domination (like mounting) cannot be tolerated. Dogs also need to know their names well and have their basic obedience cues established so our staff can safely guide and redirect them throughout the day. If such behaviors continue to happen after several time-outs and attempts at training, our supervisors will contact you to discuss whether or not our facility is a good match for your pups needs.

What is the best way to socialize my new puppy?
Enrolling in puppy training classes (for puppies under 5 months) that provide supervised puppy social play as part of the class is our preference. Professional trainers include tips on the wide range of socialization activities that puppies should experience as part of their classes. There are key stages of development that dogs progress through as puppies and life events during these stages do contribute to the activities they enjoy as adult dogs. For this reason we do not recommend dog parks or regular adult dog daycare for puppies younger than 5 months of age. We are happy to refer you to a local puppy class.

 My dog is young and very energetic, should I bring him to daycare every day?
For most dogs, attending daycare every day is not a good idea. Dogs need plenty of rest to stay healthy and they may not get enough if attend daycare daily. We are happy to help you come up with a balanced schedule for your pet’s ultimate happiness and health.

I just adopted a dog and don’t know their background. How do I socialize them?
Start with walks in your neighborhood and closely observe your dog’s response to other dogs. It is important for a newly adopted dog to become comfortable with their new home and family first. Spend 2-3 weeks creating a routine for your new dog before you start socializing in a group environment. If your dog shows an interest in meeting dogs on your walk then consider enrolling your dog in playgroups at a professional pet care center. Their professional assessment process will provide good information on your dog’s social behavior and provide a great environment for your dog to socialize.

What if my dog doesn’t like other dogs? Is there a separate area for dogs that don’t get along with others?
While we do have areas that we can use to separate dogs if absolutely necessary, our facility is not a suitable establishment for dogs that require their own space. Fortunately, there are plenty of great options in and around Nashville for dogs that cannot be socialized, or that require more restricted/selective socialization. Feel free to call us, and we’ll give you some recommendations.

My dog is having problems at the dog park and my friends say I need to socialize him at a daycare. Will that help?
Our daycare is only designed for dogs that currently enjoy off-leash play. Just attending off-leash play is not the safe way to socialize a dog. This can actually backfire and make the dog even more nervous around other dogs. A better solution for your pet is to find a professional positive dog trainer who can help your dog be more comfortable in the presence of other dogs. You want to find a force-free professional that has a background in dog behavior modification and an understanding of group dog play. We are happy to refer you to some of Nashville’s best.

My dog plays at the dog park so why did the pet center tell me he wasn’t accepted into daycare?
Unfortunately we find a lot of play behaviors that are practiced in dog parks are not ones that would be considered safe in a well-run off-leash playgroup. Typically dog owners have not had the benefit of professional training in dog body language and appropriate play behaviors. At professional pet care centers, dog playgroups operate with specific boundaries and limits to provide maximum safety for all the dogs.

Why did my dog do fine at one pet care center but was turned down at another?
Sometimes dogs will respond differently in similar environments. There are many variables to each off-leash play environment. Additionally, there is a wide range of safety practices adopted by pet care centers that provide off-leash play. The physical space, mix of dogs and staff leadership all contribute to the style of dog playgroups in each pet center. Typically centers that focus on safety will ensure every dog is evaluated to be sure they will enjoy the unique play environment offered. Each pet center knows their environment, group of dogs and play dynamics. They want all dogs that attend their groups to enjoy and not just tolerate the environment so they will turn down dogs that do not enjoy their off-leash playgroups.

What are your hours? Does my dog need to arrive at a certain time?
We are open for daycare Monday through Friday 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, and are closed for daycare on Saturdays and Sundays.
We do require all guests to arrive during the weekdays for daycare AND boarding between the hours of 7am-10am so their energy level matches those already in the building. Dogs coming in later in the day have a harder time adjusting to the already calming crew and disrupt the flow of the day. Any late drop-off must be approved by the Ruff Crew and an additional $5.00 per half-hour late fee will be applied. Pick-up is between 2:00pm and 7:00pm but may be done earlier with notice.  After 7p.m. there is a late pick up fee of $1.00 per minute up to 20 minutes. If your dog is still in the building after 7:20 pm they will be boarded overnight at the owner’s expense in addition to the $20 late fee.
Pick-ups and Drop-offs are available over the weekend for our boarding guests between 8:00a.m. – 10:00am and from 5:00pm – 7:00pm.

Do I need to make a reservation before I come in?
YES! Ruff dog does require a reservation for your pup’s trial day, daycare and boarding visits with us. Being safely staffed is one of our top priorities and to make sure our foot to paw ratio fits the industry standards and each dog has plenty of space to play and enjoy themselves, we need to know how many dogs will be joining us each day. We encourage our clients to have their pup on a recurring schedule with us for their daycare visits which guarantees them a spot every week and provides their pup with a routine to keep them happy and engaged. Last minute requests may not be approved once we have reached our cap for the day.

What do I bring when my dog spends the night?
Spare your pup a potential upset belly and bring in their food from home. All food should either be pre-bagged or in a sealed container for proper storage. All medications need to be in their original bottle with the correct instructions on the label and will be reviewed and documented at check-in.
**Remember to always pack extra food and medications (if required) in the event an additional day is needed due to weather conditions or transportation delay/cancellations.
We gladly provide all of our guests with a comfy raised Kuranda bed along with food & water bowls to make your pet feel right at home. Beds and blankets from home are permitted with the understanding that they may not be returned in the condition they arrived in (in the event of a bathroom accident or a bored mouth overnight).
We encourage you to provide an assortment of long lasting chew toys (bully sticks, nylabones, kongs, marrow bones, antlers, etc) that can preoccupy your pup’s time while they are in their room so they don’t resort to chewing on beds, blankets or door frames if they get bored. Small treats and toys are great, but rarely will your dog engage with these for more than a couple of minutes on their own. The longer lasting treats provide your dog with a way to preoccupy their time and mind if they get a little anxious or worked up before or after their play time. We also have frozen peanut butter & pumpkin stuffed Kongs along with Bully Sticks and Whizzy Sticks available for purchase at check-in. We do allow toys from home but do not allow any that squeak or make noise for the peace and quiet of the neighboring pups. Rawhides are not permitted and will not be supplied to our guests due to the potential dangers they cause.

More Questions? Please don’t hesitate to ask! Contact Us!