Pups Pet Club: “No Issue Is Too Small, No Idea Is Too Big!”
By Kathy Hosler
Photos provided by Pups Pet Club
Not one day goes by where I don’t think about the immense responsibility we have to our members,” says Dan Rubenstein, founder and CEO of PUPS Pet Club. “After a tragic event at another pet care provider that took the life of my beloved St. Bernard, Sydney, I was inspired to start a dog daycare business. Right then and there, I made a promise that no pet parent would ever have to experience what I went through while their dog is in our care.”
“Doggie Dan” Rubenstein, as he is lovingly referred to, has been involved in pet care and training for twenty two years. His most recent endeavor is PUPS Pet Club, which he first opened in Chicago in December of 2015. In the last seven years, five more locations have been added in the Chicago area. And, in November 2022, they will open their first Club in New York.
“My vision was, and is, to create a national brand in the dog daycare space,” says Dan. “But, not just daycare, PUPS Pet Club is a total pet wellness center. For me, it’s more than just building stores, or how many dogs you can care for, it’s about helping people, helping dogs, and doing good for our community. And in order to do that,” Dan continues, “you need to understand this business from the ground up. There’s not a job in the business that I haven’t done myself. It’s a joy and a passion. I love what we do every single day.”
When you step into a PUPS Pet Club location, it is immediately evident that it’s all about dogs and people. The Clubs are designed to provide safety, comfort and fun for the pups. Convenience and peace of mind for the pet parents are demonstrated by their open-door policy, lots of viewing windows in each club and webcams so pet parents can check in on their pets at any time.
Every customer becomes a member of the Club and can choose either a Basic, Plus or Premium membership level. There are complimentary memberships that offer full access to Club services as well as paid memberships that offer additional benefits such as discounts, priority reservation booking, and perks like free holiday photo sessions and loyalty points (aka PUPS Bucks).
The fact that they offer the convenience of many services under one roof is a real plus for the busy pet parents. All the Clubs have the standard services such as daycare, overnight care, dog walking, retail, grooming and training, but they also have specialized services like their Puppy Playcare, pet sitting (but not at the pet parent’s home), daycare and walking combos, and some locations even have veterinary care available.
Puppy Playcare is designed for pups up to twenty weeks of age. Puppies need socialization, so their area is located in the front of the Clubs right next to the Member Service Representatives. It’s been a real lifesaver for working couples who, instead of leaving their puppies home alone all day while they are at work, can drop them off at a Club to play and socialize with people and other puppies. Their potty training is also reinforced by having them on a schedule of frequent potty breaks.
When it comes to pet sitting, PUPS takes a unique slant on it. The pet parents drop their dog off at one of the Clubs, then, instead of their dog staying overnight in a Club suite, they go home with one of the Club’s team members and stay overnight with them. This is especially popular for senior pets, puppies and dogs with separation anxiety who sometimes don’t do well in a typical boarding situation, no matter how nice it is.
Training services for all life stages of dogs are a big part of the Club’s business. They have group classes, boot camps and also offer private training. The one-on-one programs that are customized for the needs of each individual dog are some of their most sought-after services at the Clubs. Doggie Dan is a multi-certified Master Trainer and Behavior Consultant, and, likely the only CEO in the pet industry with a behavioral certification.
Dan’s own dog, JJ, is a rescue dog who was in the shelter system for two years. JJ is an accurate representation of the type of dog that many of the Club members have today.
“A lot of our members have rescue dogs,” Dan says. “Their hearts are in the right place when they adopt these dogs, but when they discover that their dog has some unexpected challenges or undesirable behaviors, we are able to help them. Daycare sometimes reveals those problems and behavior issues,” Dan continues. “Because we are a total wellness center with multiple services under one roof, we can step in and help with training where other facilities with limited services cannot. In addition, there is continuity in the services we offer, meaning from one trainer to the next, pet parents will have a very similar experience, making it easier for them to more quickly advance the training.”
The team approach doesn’t stop with their trainers. All of the different departments communicate and work together to provide each pet with the services that will benefit it the most.
“When it comes to responding to our Club members’ needs,” Dan says. “No issue is too small. Any question or concern a member has is addressed immediately by our highly trained staff. Our leadership knows that the team members who are taking care of the pups at the Clubs each and every day are the ones who have the biggest impact on our business,” Dan continues. “That’s why we go above and beyond to promote the retention and advancement of our team members.”
For those that want to learn advanced skills, PUPS provides a pathway through their onsite pet grooming academy or their behavioral training academy. These individualized apprenticeship programs provide training to any of the team members who want to elevate their position into a trade profession.
Even accomplished trainers must go through the PUPS Training Academy. This ensures that everyone is onboard with PUPS Pet Club dog training philosophy and methodology, and that the members get consistency from any trainer in the organization. It has always been PUPS Pet Club’s mission to provide information, education and support to their members, as well as products and services that promote pet wellness, and Clubs that are fun, entertaining, clean and safe.
Their website, www.pupspetclub.com, contains everything that is in the mission statement. Website visitors can get their questions answered, see the different Clubs and make reservations. In addition, their blogs are filled with articles on pet care and packed with information about upcoming events and projects.
When Dan Rubenstein says, “No issue is too small, and no idea is too big,” he means it. That actually sums up his philosophy when he created PUPS Pet Clubs as total wellness centers. PUPS’ unparalleled customer service reinforces client satisfaction and creates member retention. The explosive growth and expansion of PUPS Pet Club into other market areas is only the beginning for Doggie Dan and his team. Let the tail-wagging begin!