There are several different reasons why owners may want to consider taking advantage of indoor exercise facilities that are geared towards their pets. Not only are indoor facilities great to use year round, but they are also more likely to be appreciated by the humans in the family, providing motivation to actually get out and exercise. People and their dogs interacting provides a real bonding opportunity for the team as well as the obvious benefit of not having to worry about the weather and how you are going to find time to squeeze in a walk between rain or snow storms.
Indoor exercise facilities are also a great idea in very hot climates or with dogs that may not be tolerant of the heat. Although not all of the larger indoor play areas are air conditioned, in warmer climates a great many will be. Knowing what type of facility and if air conditioning is an issue will be important for many owners, calling ahead will typically be able to answer these types of questions.
Indoor dog parks may operate on a pay per use or a monthly or yearly membership plan. Depending on the type of facility the usage rates tend to be very moderate, often only a few dollars per session for a drop in to a few dollars a day for yearly or monthly memberships. In many of the facilities there are additional discounts for multiple dog families and all members of the family can come in with the dog, it is not restricted to one handler and one dog.
Indoor exercise facilities may have several different designs and even several different areas to exercise, train and work with dogs all in the same area. The larger facilities may even have hydrotherapy pools and dog swimming pools, a great way to provide a workout for a senior dog, overweight dog or a dog recovering from an injury or surgery.
Many indoor exercise facilities offer agility training areas, completely set up with the various obstacles. This can be a wonderful opportunity to simply use the equipment or to consider enrolling yourself and your dog in an agility class at the facility. Often there is a deep discount in training classes to members of the facility, or even a discounted membership if you take a training class.
Besides agility classes and courses, many inside dog parks also have designated play areas. Typically these are divided into areas for small dogs and other areas for larger breeds. These small to large contained areas are generally "use at your own risk" and each owner has to be in the designated area managing his or her own dog. For owners with two dogs there may be requirements that each dog have a separate human companion with them in the play area.
Some of the more deluxe types of indoor exercise facilities may also offer additional features. Groomers and even dog spas may be located on the premise, perfect for that relaxing unwind after a hard work out. Dog lounges where dogs and owners can sit around and talk with others or just spend some time with their four legged friends are also popular. Depending on the particular indoor facility this may be included as part of the cost of the monthly or daily pass or their may be additional fees. Typically if groomers or spa sessions are booked there is an additional cost for these types of specialized services.
There are indoor exercise facilities that also have very special types of events and activities for dogs and their owners. Several across the United States have specialized indoor running tracks, perfect for dogs and their owners that enjoy a jog or a run. A few may even have treadmills that are specially designed for dogs with additional traction on the treadmill, solid sides and lower speed motors for safe exercise.
Party rooms and even private training sessions or group training sessions may or may not be a part of the indoor exercise facility you are considering. These extras can be a great way to incorporate a few regular training classes or even advanced types of obedience classes right into your exercise routine. The benefit of this is you can learn about the trainers and the methods they use before deciding if this is the right match for you and your dog. In most cases the club will offer members the opportunity to sit in and observe any classes, perhaps even giving you a few ideas about how to work with your dog more effectively.
Most indoor exercise facilities have several rules that all members or daily drop-in guests have to follow. These are often the same rules that are found in outdoor dog exercise parks and play areas as well as in most training classes. Typically they include restrictions about where the dog can be off the leash while in the facility. There are several facilities that don't allow the dogs off leash anywhere within the complex, providing the most safety for everyone and their dogs.
Another rule in most indoor exercise facilities is that owners have to clean up any mess created by their dog. When puppy classes are going on there are usually lots of cleaning supplies in the area, and each facility will also have public closets and areas where all necessary supplies are kept. In addition most facilities will also have a designated outdoor area where housetrained dog can be taken when needed. Owners will also have to keep this area clean and often the facility may have the option to fine owners that don't clean up after their dog.
Another concern with most indoor exercise facilities is ensuring that all dogs using the facility are healthy, vaccinated and socialized enough to prevent issues with dog aggression. There may be rules on having either intact male or female dogs on the premise and generally intact females in heat are not allowed in the facilities. This is to prevent potential problems with dog fights and socialization issues. Some breeds may also be problematic, especially if they are a naturally dog aggressive or highly dominant type of dog. Talk to the staff if you have any concerns about your dog or other dogs using the indoor exercise facility.