Dog’s Best Friend
Pet owners turn to Perfect Pooch, an elite daycare and boarding facility for their pets’ socialization, training, grooming and more
by Karen Appold

Owners looking for their dogs to become the ideal canine buddy take their dogs to Perfect Pooch. The one-stop shop doggie daycare, boarding, training, socializing and grooming facility will surely transform any dog so it and its owner can enjoy a long, fulfilling life together.

Unlike most dog boarding facilities, where dogs are locked up in cages all day, guests at Perfect Pooch enjoy hours of outdoor socialization with dogs of similar size in several acres of open space. Shaded areas provide relief from sun or rain. Training is provided as needed to ensure that all dogs socialize well together.

Ready to Mingle?
Before newcomers are allowed to socialize with the other dogs at Perfect Pooch, they are given a free evaluation for stability and temperament. “We make sure that they don’t have any aggression issues, that they pay attention when we say their name and that they don't bark excessively,” says Kevin Lehman, co-owner and president of Perfect Pooch. “They have to respect us.

“Through our observations,” he continues, “we have developed a unique and reliable evaluation method that is based on a deep knowledge of the psychology and instinctual needs of a dog.”

When they are away from their owners, dogs can exhibit a range of good and bad behaviors. Behaviors of concern include instability, shyness, aggressiveness, anxiety and over protectiveness.

Leader of the Pack
Perfect Pooch adheres to the philosophy that the human is always the leader. “This keeps the pack stable and well balanced,” Lehman says. “It also creates a stress-free environment because as followers the dogs know the leader will meet all of their needs. Ultimately, a dog will get the chance to be the dog he was instinctually born to be—a true pack animal.”

Perfect Pooch uses balance training—a combination of rewarding good behaviors with praise and using verbal and leash corrections to mark unwanted behavior. Training entails working with a dog one on one and introducing basic training commands.

“When you pick up your dog, we will review guidelines on how you can practice consistent leadership at home,” Lehman explains. This will enable an owner to establish an environment where the dog clearly knows what to expect and willingly responds to its owner’s leadership.

“This method will not only teach you how to condition your dog to behave a certain way, but also how you can understand him as a whole being,” Lehman continues. “By doing so, you will not only learn how to eliminate inappropriate behaviors, but your dog will be able to gain more freedom and happiness than you can imagine.”

Lee Souza, co-owner of Perfect Pooch, emphasizes the importance of having puppies mingle with other dogs at a young age. “The key is to socialize a puppy early, so he can be comfortable with daycare,” he says. Socializing can begin as young as 14 to 15 weeks old, or as soon as a puppy gets a rabies shot.

Lots of Room to Run
Lehman always had an interest and passion for dogs. He has three dogs, Laden (mixed breed rescue), Gavin (miniature Australian shepherd) and Butters (miniature poodle). When he offered to help a friend in the dog training business, he was impressed to see significant changes in dogs in just a week to 10 days.

“They went from not having any structure and being terrified to having confidence in their human leader, and being responsive and respectful,” Lehman recalls. Even older dogs with issues had success.

In 2003 Perfect Pooch was founded in King of Prussia. In 2010 it moved to new location at 200 King Manor Drive. “We were running out of space,” Lehman says. The new property boasts a 6,400-square-foot facility and three acres. “There's a lot more room to work with and keep growing.”

The Perfect Pooch team has trained, socialized and cared for thousands of dogs. Typically, visitors will find anywhere from 20 to 80 dogs safely interacting in the yards. The Perfect Pooch pack, consisting of dogs that live at or belong to the staff of Perfect Pooch, provide a sense of stability to the larger group. These dogs socialize with all of the other dogs on a regular basis. Most of these dogs were rescues or at one time were too aggressive or unruly for their previous owners to handle.

The boarding facility also offers a huge rustic doghouse. “In the wintertime, people find it harder to give their dogs exercise,” Lehman says. The heated, open-air doghouse allows dogs to come and go at their leisure. Rubber mats help to ensure a drier space. Souza says dogs love playing in the snow. When owners pick up their dog at the end of the day, it will have been well exercised and ready for a relaxing evening at home.

Boarding, Grooming and More
The climate-controlled kennel is state licensed and provides a clean place for dogs to rest overnight. Dogs are housed in cages that suit their size so they are comfortable.

Owners who are crunched for time can call to arrange for pickup and drop-off of their dog for boarding, daycare or grooming. Perfect Pooch offers a full range of grooming services including bath and blow dry, brushing, shaving, ear cleaning and nail clipping.

Perfect Pooch is committed to helping foster dogs from the Delaware Valley and Chester County SPCAs by rehabilitating them and placing them in homes.  In fact, it found homes for more than 40 dogs since moving to its new location.

“Perfect Pooch’s most famous rescue last year was Curious George, a large pit bull that had been terribly mistreated, abused and nearly starved to death,” says Souza. Authorities had turned Curious George over to Delaware County Rescue, which nursed the dog back to health. So many families called to adopt him after his photos and story were broadcast throughout the region that the organization held a contest to find the best home for Curious George—named for his curious expressions. Before he could be sent to his new home, though, he needed socialization with people and other dogs, along with some basic training. The rescue chose Perfect Pooch for the job because of its expertise in the field.

Curious George was presented to his new owners at a “Going Home Party” held at the facility and attended by local media. “He still attends daycare sessions here,” says Souza. “They bring him back because it helps to reinforce the training.” Today, he says, Curious George is a handsome, alert and well behaved pit bull.

The Perfect Pooch
200 King Manor Drive
King of Prussia, PA 19406
Phone: 610-337-7698