There’s a new game in Roanoke and it’s called “Fido Fitness”. This new company aims to be more than just a doggie day care. In advance of Saturday’s grand opening, I asked Laura Berg, who owns Fido Fitness along with her husband, Eric, about their new business venture.
What is Fido Fitness?
Fido Fitness is a daytime dog daycare, fitness club, and training center. It is kind of a canine version of the YMCA. During the day, from 7am – 6pm, we offer dog daycare. We do not offer overnight boarding or weekend daycare. In the evenings and on weekends, we offer Yappy Hours – where owners can come learn what dog group play looks like in safe and monitored dog park-like setting – and training and fitness classes. We have multiple indoor and outdoor play spaces for varied uses and groups of dogs.
Why did you and Eric start this business?
This is Eric’s third dog daycare. He helped to start Flying Fur in Newport, VA and Field of Dreams in Vinton, VA. After we married and moved into my home, selling his, we decided we had two choices. We could either buy the house of our dreams or build our own dog daycare, taking what we had learned from over 25 years of dog experience, and applying it to a place where we would love to leave our own dogs. Thus, Fido Fitness was born. Third time’s the charm, right?
What makes Fido Fitness different from other doggie daycares in the Roanoke Valley?
We specialize in small playgroups of dogs. Believing safety is paramount to having fun, we set a limit of 8 dogs in one playgroup. Groups of dogs are placed together based on play style, age, and special needs. Dogs are rotated through the day into various play groups, rest periods (where each dog gets his or her own crate to settle down in), and exercise or training sessions with an employee.
Are small dogs grouped together?
We group dogs based on their play style, likes and dislikes, and special needs. Size matters, but is not exclusive. If the little dog likes to play rough or does better with larger dogs that is fine. Very large dogs and very small dogs won’t mix because the risk of injury is too great, no matter the play style. We do have a special small dog play area for groups of small dogs to have fun safely in a more fitting space, with rocks and such designed for their size.
What classes do you offer?
We are currently offering weekly Intro to Flyball classes on Wednesday evenings. On Sunday nights, we hold Heads or Tails Flyball Club practices. Flyball is a team sport, where four dogs on each team race over four jumps to a spring-loaded box where a ball is ejected. Each dog catches their ball and returns over the same four jumps. As one dog finishes, another starts, drag-style. In the other lane, another team competes. Whoever gets all four dogs down and back quickest wins.
In the next few weeks, we hope to offer some Intro to Rat classes and Barn Hunt practice run-throughs both during the week in the evenings and on the weekends. In Barn Hunt, a dog is trained to use their nose to search out live rats (safe in a PVC tube) in a barn-like setting with hay bales, a tunnel, and climb. Most dogs love the chance to “hunt” and owners the chance to learn how to read their dog. The rats, too, seem to enjoy the excitement.
In the near future, we are also looking to hold Fitness classes for those dogs needing to lose a few pounds and/or just wanting to build endurance or tone up some muscles.
And finally, we are working with a few local trainers to offer some more and different training classes. These classes will be organized, planned, and run by outside trainers, but at our facility. We can’t wait to see what these trainers come up with!
What are your long-term goals?
We are hoping to become “the place” to go in the Roanoke Valley for fun and fitness. Because we offer small playgroups, fitness equipment, mental puzzles, and rest periods, we believe we are the best place for young dogs, old dogs, big dogs, small dogs, pushy dogs, and shy dogs. We also want to be “the place” where folks can come seek out and try dog sports. Once a basic obedience or manners class is completed, we are the next step, where the newest adventures in canine activities are demonstrated and taught.
Anything else readers should know?
Feel free to stop by anytime during regular business hours (7am-6pm) for a tour. We love showing off! No appointments necessary.
Where can readers find more information?
We utilize Facebook the most, posting pictures of new clients and daily videos of our daycare dogs having fun. Along with that, we post updates concerning new events and classes. Additionally, folks can find us on the web at www.fidofitnessrec.com where our application and waivers are available for download.
***Fido Fitness is located at 2037 Shenandoah Avenue in Roanoke. It’s grand opening is this Saturday from 10am to 4pm.