West Business Development Center Client Stories: Dirty Dog Daycare

Dirty Dog

Sean Dewil grew up in South Africa going on safari with his parents, who ran a safari tour company in Zimbabwe. Dewil’s career over the years includes everything from becoming a qualified safari guide to working for two years in Kruger National Park in South Africa, collecting behavioral data on the African Wild Dog.

When Dewil came to Ukiah in 2007 he worked at the Mendocino Animal Hospital as a Quantum Touch practitioner providing hands on healing to dogs.

“When I came here, I saw there was a huge market for people who didn’t understand how to really work their dogs, he noted. Seeing the need in the market, Dewil pioneered the concept of his signature “Pack Walks”. These are a crucial tool Dewil uses for socialization and rehabilitation of dogs. This two-mile outdoor walk with a group of 10 to 12 dogs fosters an environment where dogs can learn about expected behavior through interactions with other dogs, while they are guided by Dewil who carefully monitors dog body language and cues. “You always have to be watching body language. You need to watch for triggers and know how to correct it, direct it and stay on top of it,” explains Dewil.  “Animals all have laws and rules in which they abide. The same thread goes through nature, herds, troupes, and prides.”

In 2010, he opened Canine Energetics, a center devoted to a kennel-free healing environment for dogs. “I realized that I could make a nice kennel-free dog facility, which no one had done before,” said Dewil.

In 2013, Dewil was presented with the opportunity to take over Dirty Dog Daycare in Ukiah.  “Kennels are stressful on dogs. It is constant barking. They just want to get out of those crates,” notes Dewil.  Dirty Dog Daycare & Grooming is currently the only dog care center in Mendocino County that offers kennel-free boarding, training, grooming, daycare, self-wash stations and more.

Dewil works closely with the owners and dogs to address a variety of social and behavioral problems including barking, separation anxiety, aggression, fearfulness, and leash pulling. Dewil helps owners identify and understand their dog’s behavior and teaches them how to correct it in a consistent manner with a variety of training tools that best fit their specific dog.  Dewil is well known for his ability to identify a dog’s temperament, behavior and personality, skills he developed while living and working in the bush, and observing the wildlife around him.

As he started up Dirty Dog, Dewil wanted to avoid some of the challenges he faced at Canine Energetics, and so he turned to West Business Development Company. West BDC helped him establish his business, outlining budgets and profit forecasting, as well as defining services and hiring qualified employees, something he struggled with before.

“West BDC has been there every time I needed them. It is good to have a guide along the way to provide that business expertise. If I need to do something important or quick, I call West BDC. They give me awesome direction and best of all it’s free,” said Dewil.

Dirty Dog Daycare officially opened in May 2018 offering a daycare, grooming, personal training, rattlesnake avoidance training, overnight boarding and the pack walks.

“We want to offer the best service in Mendocino – good daycare, kennel-free boarding, excellent client service, and really good service with the dogs. If the dogs are happy, that’s all you really need,” said Dewil.

At some point he says, he hopes to expand to a larger facility and expand his services. For now, he is focusing on making sure the animals he cares for enjoy their time spent at Dirty Dog Daycare. “When dogs have the opportunity to get off leash, to get away from the suburbs and to smell nature. That’s all they really need- sunshine and exercise,” explained Dewil.

Dirty Dog Daycare is located at 884 South State Street in Ukiah, (707) 463-8800.

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