As we’ve seen from brands like Foot Locker, hosting engaging in-store experiences is an effective way to drive retail loyalty in the 21st century. Today’s consumer needs a compelling reason to forgo the convenience (and often the lower prices) of e-commerce to visit a brick-and-mortar store. With a new program enhancement, it looks like PetSmart understands the value of such experiences.
The pet specialty retailer is elevating its current Doggie Day Camp program with a new format, including an updated and enriching curriculum. With the help of The Dog Gurus, published authors, and experts on off-leash dog play, PetSmart transformed its current off-leash all day playgroups into a structured play program format called The Ultimate Experience.
“Over time, pet and pet parent needs have changed, and with that the need for a day camp offering that ensures pets are engaged throughout the day with a variety of activities that are fun for them but also excellent for their development,” says Debbie Beisswanger, Vice President of Services for PetSmart. “That’s why we’ve updated our popular Doggie Day Camp program to create The Ultimate Experience for the pets in our care.”
PetSmart’s Doggie Day Camp offers dogs a fun and safe place to exercise and play while their pet parents are away during the day. The program currently offers off-leash all day play to allow for exercise and socialization among dogs. Through this program update, PetSmart is implementing activities and healthy interactions that are more structured and offer cognitive, physical, and sensory enrichment that enhance pets’ overall well-being.
“When deciding what kind of activities to incorporate into the Ultimate Doggie Day Camp Experience, we pursued activities in partnership with The Dog Gurus that were not only fun and engaging but would also provide social and mental stimulation, as well as maximize the benefits of off-leash play and provide our associates with a fun and engaging curriculum to deliver,” says Beisswanger.
The Ultimate Experience will provide pets with a structured day of hourly enrichment meant to stimulate them and provide the opportunity for store associates to build stronger, more positive relationships with canine campers through activities such as a variety of mentally stimulating games, story time, “yappy hour,” fun tricks, rest, relaxation, and bubble time.
“Dogs typically need between 30 minutes to two hours of any physical activity each day, whether it’s walking, running, or chasing a toy,” says Jordan Cassidy, DVM, PetSmart Resident Veterinarian. “Exercise doesn’t need to happen all at once so pet parents are encouraged to split activities up throughout the day to avoid tiring out pets. Doggie Day Camp does just that by incorporating up to two hours of physical activity broken up into morning and afternoon sessions.”
PetSmart has 218 Doggie Day Camp locations across the country that are open seven days a week in select locations and offer convenient hours so campers can enjoy an activity-filled day with safety-certified, pet-loving staff.
“The goal of Doggie Day Camp is not to deliver an exhausted pup at the end of the day due to hours of play, but rather a socialized, exercised, and healthy dog enriched from a day filled with structured sessions that include mentally stimulating games, bonding activities, dog play, and moments of rest and relaxation,” Beisswanger says. “We’re really excited about this new format and can’t wait for pet parents to check it out.”

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