Allyson F.

Let me just start by saying that I am very particular when it comes to my puppy, and I have very high standards for who looks after him. I moved to San Francisco this past August when my Border Collie was just 5 months old. Before I moved I'd been between jobs, so I was putting all of my time and energy into training and socializing my pup. We attended training classes at his obedience school every single day, and socializing him properly was my #1 priority. As the start date for my full time job approached, I knew that I needed to find somewhere to take him during the workday where all the hard work I'd put into him wouldn't be undone, and where he would continue to be socialized and exercised in a structured way. More importantly, I wanted to take him somewhere where I'd trust the staff to care for him as I would, so that I could rest assured that he'd be safe and happy when I'm not with him. Without that peace of mind I knew I'd just spend all day worrying about him.

When I was searching for a daycare I saw a lot of places that just let the dogs run loose in one big room (or series of rooms) with no regular interventions or any structure to break up the day. Most of these places would typically just put all the small dogs in one room and all the big dogs in another room. They'd "supervise" in the sense that there'd be someone in the room cleaning up after the dogs, but that's about it.

What stood out to me about PlayBow was that the handlers all have some form of dog behaviour training and they are constantly keeping tabs on the dogs' moods and reading the dynamic of the room. When I watch the live stream on their app I see them actively mediating the dogs' interactions. If a dog gets too wound up they get removed from the play group for a short break so that they can cool down, which keeps the environment under control. They also practice obedience skills with the dogs and there are little climbing platforms in the play rooms that regularly get rearranged to keep the dogs interested. The play groups are intermittent, with nap breaks to break up the day. When I pick my boy up he's nice and tired, but not overtired or strung out.

The hours are really convenient. I commute to Oakland and I can plan my commute to avoid the worst of the traffic and still make it to Ingleside on time to pick my puppy up.

They're also very forthright about what goes on at the daycare, and when I pick him up the staff give me updates on how his day was (without me having to ask!). If they noticed anything "off" about him they always tell me right away (for example if he didn't eat his lunch, or if he threw up that day, or anything else I should know about). If it's urgent they'll text me to keep me informed. If the handler who observed it ends their shift before pick up time, they'll even write up a mini-report and sign their name so that I get the information first hand. My boy has had some allergy-related indigestion on and off over the past couple of months, and I've been able to track his improvement thanks to the timely and detailed communication from PlayBow.

Another bonus is that they offer overnight services. I've never booked an overnight yet, but since I've got a monthly membership it would be a really great price if I ever do need it. I love that the handlers take the dogs to their homes rather than leave them in the kennels. There's another review here that says that the dogs are left at the facility alone, but according to both Isabelle (PlayBow's GM) and the website, this isn't true. My pup just turned one and is a sensitive little guy. He's never been left alone overnight before; every night he sleeps in the same room as me or another one of "his" people. If I ever go out of town I'd feel good about leaving him with Isabelle or any of the other handlers who care for him every day, and who already know him and make him feel safe.

The price is competitive for what you get. There are some slightly cheaper options out there, but you get what you pay for when it comes to quality of care. I couldn't live with myself if every single day my dog spent the whole day in a place that was too overwhelming for him, or that stressed him out, or made him sick. With PlayBow I have complete confidence in the staff's ability to meet his needs, and they've shown me that I can trust them to always act in his best interest. He gets so excited when we get in the car every morning because he knows he's going to see his friends, both the humans and the dogs (the first thing he does when we get to the daycare is run up to Jose for good morning pets)! We'll keep coming back here for as long we can!

(Yelp review)