A place where dogs can play

Many exuberant doggie yips and yaps greeted me, as I followed Rick Clark, a self-proclaimed “Pack Leader” at the Barking Zone.

It was easy to see why he sends home tired dogs.

“Really, seeing a happy dog is inspiring,” Clark said. “It’s a great feeling when the dogs leave their owners, and run to me because they know it’s time to play. That’s one example of why this business is so much fun. It’s all about happy dogs.”

The Barking Zone is a daycare for dogs, a place where 20-30 of all breeds can romp outdoors in monitored play yards, but only with other dogs their own size. They play outdoors, rain or shine, and only come inside for a noontime nap.

Clark opened the first Barking Zone Dog Daycare in 2003. The focus is to create a safe environment where dogs can socialize, and make new friends.

As with humans, socialization is important for dogs.

Those at the Barking Zone have an attendant with them at all times, ensuring peace. Dogs can sometimes cause a ruckus, and must go in time-out for a while. This action sets boundaries of behavior, helps dogs learn important lessons, like cause-and-effect or consequences. Dogs that aren’t well socialized may become biters, or be timid and wary when taken into public.

“I’ve always wanted to have my own business,” said Clark, who was formerly a kennel manager for six years.

His twin brother is partner in the Barking Zone, which now offers franchising. He recently franchised another in Montgomery, The Barking Zone at Carriage Hills Animal Hospital and Pet Resort.

Locally, The Barking Zone at Caldwell Mill Animal Clinic is located at 5196 Caldwell Mill Road just off Valleydale Road. The hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturdays 7 a.m.-2 p.m., closed on Sundays.

Call 296-0855 for information. If you’re interested in franchising an operation of the Barking Zone, see Clark’s Web site at Thebzfranchises.com.