Taking Care of Business
Sniffing out the best local sources for pet boarding, grooming, training, sitting, and daycare.
By Carol Caffin
We know you adore your pets. We adore ours, too. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of local pet services, along with some advice on what to look for and what to avoid, so you can continue to care for (pamper?) your pets armed with knowledge.
Pet boarding services run the gamut from bare-bones basic to five-star lush and, like most pet services, they increasingly are being marketed to reflect what pet owners would want if they were pets. But your dog, as loveable and special as he surely is, does not need to sip on Pellegrino or sleep in a four-poster bed to survive your absence. He does, however, need a well-run, well-maintained boarding facility. You should look for ABKA (American Boarding Kennels Association) certification, which is preferred but not mandatory, and CKO (Certified Kennel Operator) certification. “The ABKA governs ethics,” Laura Cothren, of Northwind Kennels in Bedford, explains.
Kennels are also regulated by the Board of Health, which governs health safety and cleanliness.
Call for specific prices, but on average, one night’s stay runs from $20 to $40.
590 Harrison Ave., Harrison
BEST FRIENDS PET CARE
114 S. Kensico Ave. White Plains
Animals Boarded: Dogs and cats; White Plains location boards small animals, if cage is provided.
What you need to know: With five buildings and 150 indoor-outdoor suites, this facility is well equipped and roomy—and offers lots of perks (e.g., luxury suites with orthopedic mattresses). For an extra charge of $36/night, your pet can receive cuddle time, an ice cream break, a bedtime story, and unlimited bottled water.
Grace La., Ossining
Animals Boarded: Dogs and cats
What you need to know: Guests receive a complimentary bath with a five-night stay. Gracelane is reportedly a favorite of celebrity pet owners, though Bob Gatti, who’s owned the 95-year-old facility for 30 years and lives on the grounds, won’t name names to protect his clients’ privacy.
LUDWORTH KENNELS INC.
150 Jackson Ave., Hastings-on-Hudson
Animals Boarded: All domesticated animals
What you need to know: The facility can house up to 55 dogs and 13 cats.
Rte. 22, Bedford
Animals Boarded: Dogs and cats
What you need to know: The facility is surrounded by nine and a half wooded acres and can accommodate 200 dogs and 30 cats. All kennels are temperature-controlled (i.e., heated in winter and air-conditioned in summer), and classical music is piped throughout the facility because, says Manager Laura Cothren, “Most pet households have some noise.”
Eukanuba pet foods are served. Northwind has a separate facility/service, Century City, especially for senior dogs. “Older dogs need their rest,” says Cothren, “and here they have special flooring and lots of peace and quiet.”
21 Nursery La., Rye
Animals Boarded: Dogs and cats
What you need to know: Family-owned and operated for 40 years, this facility features climate-controlled six-by-12-foot pens and covered outdoor runs.
No certification is necessary to be a groomer, which means that just about anyone can hang out a shingle and set up shop. Training at a recognized institution, such as the 46-year-old New York School of Dog Grooming, is available (and, says certified dog groomer Renee Forgione, owner of doggie daycare Canine Companions in Pleasantville, desirable) and certification is also available through professional organizations, the best known of which are the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA) and International Professional Groomers, Inc. (IPG). To earn the Certified Master Groomer title, a groomer must take and pass a 400-question written exam, as well as a practical-skills test, which involves grooming to specification on different breeds. Still, nothing beats experience—or word-of-mouth recommendations.
THE CUT ABOVE
2122 Boston Post Rd., Larchmont
The Scoop: Larchmont’s only dog-grooming establishment is the place to take your pup for what the salon calls a “day of beauty” including grooming, massage, pedicure, bows, or bandanas.
10 Aqueduct La., Irvington
Prices Start at $60-$70 for dogs and cats, $15-$20 for smaller pets
The Scoop: This salon, which only fluff-dries its clients (no cage drying), specializes in treating geriatric pets. Lion cuts are a popular option for cats, and the salon has been known to do a guinea pig
1005 Boston Post Rd., Rye
Prices: Bath, shampoo, and styling: dogs—$25-$60;
The Scoop: Uses all-natural skin-conditioning products.
LOVE R PETS
243 Main St.
Prices: Dogs—$25-$65 (small), $65-$85 (large), $95-$125 (poodles); cats—$65+
The Scoop: Hydrosurge bathing, medicated baths, flea dips, hand-stripping, skunk treatments (to deodorize a pet who’s been sprayed), and more.
140 Mount Vernon Ave., Mount Vernon
Prices: Dogs—$40+ (Chihuahua $20+); cats—$45
The Scoop: Offers cold conditioner, hot-oil treatments, bows, and bandanas.
139 Croton Ave., Ossining
Prices: $44-$69 (depending on breed)
The Scoop: Offers oatmeal baths and flea-and-tick baths.
PAWS ON FIFTH
308 Fifth Ave., Pelham
Prices: $30 and up, depending on breed
The Scoop: Uses moisturizers, medicated baths.
GROOMING & ACCESSORIES
51 Babbit Rd., Bedford Hills
The Scoop: Not many groomers work on cats, let alone specialize in grooming cats. This is the place to coif a fastidious feline.
146 Bedford Rd.
Prices: Dogs—$45-$70 (depending on size and breed); cats—$55-$65
The Scoop: The 20-year-old shop has, according to owner Ted Zuckerman, 6,500 clients. It recently merged its Pleasantville and Armonk shops into this new Armonk location.
217 Fremont St., Harrison
The Scoop: It just doesn’t get any more convenient than this; this mobile service comes to your home—the bathing and blow-drying are performed in the company’s truck.
390 Palmer Ave., Mamaroneck
The Scoop: This salon will pamper your pet from head to tail, offering artistic scissoring, specialty skin treatments, nail clippings, teeth brushing, and more. Walk-ins are welcome.
122 Croton Ave., Ossining
Prices: Dogs—$35; cats—$50 ($60 for shave)
The Scoop: New York School of Dog Grooming training; this salon offers medicated, hypoallergenic flea baths.
WAGS & WHISKERS
392 King St., Chappaqua
The Scoop: Offers hand-scissoring, coloring (yes, coloring!—including pink or green for punked-out pooches, or “dustings” for a more subtle effect), and more.
Want your four-legged friend to stop gnawing your new four-legged kitchen table or stop waking up the neighborhood every time she hears a car drive by? You could threaten, yell, punish (“One more yelp out of you and no Bully Stick tonight!”)—or you could hire a professional trainer. A trainer with certification may help ensure good service, but certified professional trainer Lisa Edwards, proprietor of Three Dogs Training in Carmel, says, “I know some great trainers who aren’t certified—as well as the opposite.” Ultimately, says Edwards, “you need to feel comfortable with the trainer and his or her techniques. If you are uncomfortable with a trainer’s methodology, it’s not going to work.”
Ken Berenson’s Canine Services
Prices: $150 for six-week class; $100/session for individual training.
M.O.: Has been teaching classes at Roundhill Community House since 1976. Uses what he calls “positive progressive techniques.”
B&B Dog Training and Pet Sitting
Prices: $90/lesson (1 1/2 to 2 hours)
M.O: Specializes in on-site training in clients’ homes. Uses systematic desensatization (gradually introducing a dog to a stressful situation or stimulus to eliminate anxiety) and therapeutic massage (especially with puppies and older or arthritic dogs).
Lisa J. Edwards
Three Dogs Training
Prices: Class: $150-$155 for six-week course; $90-$100 for individual lessons depending on length and type of lesson.
M.O.: Uses positive reinforcement, reward-based methodology. “I figure out what the dog wants,” says Edwards, “and I make a deal with the dog. ‘You do this for me, and I give you what you want.’” Edwards is an associate of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.
Simply Sarah, Inc.
Bedford and Katonah
Prices: $225 for six-week class; $100-$190 for individual lessons.
M.O.: Stresses the importance of teaching owners as well as their dogs (“It’s about having owners understand the dog’s language, what I call ‘doglish,’ before teaching him the owner’s language”); uses upbeat, positive training methods and an array of tools, including her patented Teaching Lead (a special leash that communicates control and conditions appropriate household manners without discipline or force).
Canine King Services
M.O.: Uses behavior modification techniques, clicker training (a positive reinforcement/ reward-based training system that uses a clicker, rather than words, before a reward is given). King is a CGC-certified tester (the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen program, which teaches responsible pet ownership skills to people and good manners to dogs), and is a Therapy Dogs Inc. tester (for pets and owners who wish to participate in animal-assisted therapy).
Bark Busters Home Dog Trainers
Prices: $550-$600 for a program with a lifetime guurantee.
M.O.: Uses body language and vocal control for both correction and praise
Common Ground Dog Training
Serves Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, and Fairfield
(845) 228-0341; (914) 329-8369