Having a dog here in South Korea is both wonderful and challenging and delightful and frustrating all at the same time. If you have adopted/rescued/own one of the small breeds then you're life here will be infinitely easier than those of us who have larger dogs. Just to be clear, it seems that anything bigger than 10kg's is deemed big/large here. I have had lots of people back home in South Africa say to me that, "Oh, Shadow is actually quite small" and I have to remind them of the fact that the majority of dogs kept as pets (especially kept indoors) are of the maltese/Pomeranian size. When we rescued Shadow he was a measly 2kg's and we had no idea how big he was going to get. He has grown into a rather handsome and healthy 19kg (medium in Western standards) dog.
My husband and I came here to Korea with the goal of traveling to as many places as we can, and having a dog was definitely not part of the plan. We also go away a lot, although we have swopped hotels for a tent so we can now accommodate our pooch.
But, as much as our lives have had to change with him in them, we still go away on holiday and have had to find a place for him to stay. I know a lot of people feel that leaving your dog somewhere if you go away is stressful for the dog, I have to say that every-time we have picked him up from the boarding establishment he barely seems to have noticed we have been gone. We may be very lucky to have a very independent, self sufficient dog, but I think it also has a lot to do with all the training we did with him when he was younger. He sleeps in his own room (if you don't have another room here in your apartment you could section off part of your apartment or use a crate). This really helps with separation anxiety as your pup gets used to the fact that you aren't around 24/7. If you get them used to their crate they should be able to travel anywhere, and at least have their crate as a place of safety for them to retreat into if they feel scared or stressed.
4MenDogs in Daejeon
I have done extensive research into boarding/dog hotels for my pup and the reality is I just can't justify spending a small fortune on him every-time we go away. I found that most pet sitters/hotels will charge anything from $30 - $50 a day. If I was just going away for the weekend this wouldn't be so bad, but for extended periods of time (like our vacations which are 2 - 3 weeks) this amount is just too much. I know pet sitters work hard for their money, but as it costs us close to $4000 to take a 20kg dog back to South Africa we are on a strict budget.
I was thrilled to find out about 4MenDogs in Daejeon who cater for all sizes and breed of dogs in their rather large establishment on the outskirts of the city. Shadow has stayed there twice now (once over a weekend and then for our winter break of 2 weeks). Both times he hardly acknowledged our arrival wanting to carry on playing with his friends and came back just as happy and healthy as when we dropped him off.
It has been a little difficult communicating with the people who run 4MenDogs as they don't speak much English but you can make a booking via email with a very nice English speaking lady (details posted below). We decided to visit the place before Shadow stayed the first time and two of the staff members were super helpful and had their phones out to translate any questions we had and they explained to us the schedules for the dogs.
What I like most about 4MenDogs is that they have a number of large, outdoor enclosures in which the dogs are rotated around throughout the day. The dogs are crated overnight (so you need to supply your dog's crate...another reason to crate train them before hand so they get used to being in there and will feel safe and comfortable while in them...click here for a post on where to buy a crate online here in Korea) and then they are crated again at lunch time.
4MenDogs are able to hold a lot of dogs as they have a big warehouse type set up where the crates are kept, as well as outdoor pens (pictured above nder the shadoe cloth) where I saw different dogs kept during my visits to drop off and pick up Shadow. They also offer training and grooming.
Another great thing about them is when we arrived the first time they put Shadow in an enclosure fenced off from the other dogs to see how he behaved and how the other dogs behaved towards him. It was noted that one male was quite aggressive to Shadow and they moved that particular dog and then put Shadow in with the other dogs. So they really are careful about placing dogs with even temperaments. This should put your mind at ease if you have a very shy dog or one who has not had much socialising with other dogs. They also separate the male and female dogs and will ask you whether your dog is fixed or not. This may be a pre-requisite for boarding.
I did have a Korean friend phone for me to make our first booking and they had asked a lot of questions about my dog before hand. Things like whether he had stayed apart from us before, and what his eating habits are like when he is away from us as JIndos are known as being very picky eaters (Shadow did go on a 3 day hunger strike apparently when we were gone but then went back to eating normally after that).
4MenDogs use their website (click here) to upload photographs and videos of your dog so you can see how they are doing (see pictures above). This was great and something I really appreciated being a very soppy dog mommy I missed my pup rather a lot, and seeing him having such a great time with other dogs helped put my mind at ease.
As they don't offer a drop off/pick up service you will need to think about getting your dog there and picking them up. We have a car here in Korea and I'm not sure how anyone manages without one if they have a big dog!
I've posted the nitty gritty info & prices below. Please do have a Korean friend call them if you have any specific questions relating to 4MenDogs. This post is my personal opinion of the place, and I have been very happy with them. Please note that we, as bigger dog owners can't really be too fussy about places like 4MenDogs as there just aren't that many places that accept big dogs for longer periods of time without charging the earth. Please note, there was a recent complaint from someone that their dog contracted Canine Influenza at 4MenDogs but as a responsible dog owner you should be vaccinating/titre testing your dog annually if your dog spends time with other dogs. I hope you find this post helpful, and at the end of the day it helps you with finding a place to board your pup.
More Information from the Animal Rescue Korea Site (this information is current):
Address: 421-5 Yongsan-dong, Yuseon-gu, Daejeon.
It’s about 15 minute walk from North Daejeon IC (북대전 IC).
There is a bus of 704, 301, 918 & 5 you can take and should get off bus station 북대전IC네거리.
Pick up service available from the bus stop to the center.
For a pick up, firstname.lastname@example.org (010-2236-4004)
For further inquiry, email@example.com (not a trainer, for English communication)
You can visit your dog anytime from 09:00 am to 19:00 pm (please call ahead to give them warning)
For urgent enquiries, you can contact in advance and visit your dog anytime since at least one of 4 trainers stays at night everyday.
Price for boarding:
*Per day / More than 10 days / Per month / Normal Discounted for ARK
Small 15,000 10,000 300,000 450,000 400,000
Medium/large 20,000 10,000 300,000 500,000 450,000
*No pick up service available for boarding.
Prerequisites and things to bring
* Dogs should be up to date with vaccinations.
* For a male dog, he should be neutered.
* A small bag of hard food your dog eats and things such as toys, blanket which help your dog feeling a bit at home.
There are 4 trainers who all majored in animal training area. Mr.KWON, Gyung-geun has more than 3 years of experience in a training facility in near Seoul. Other 3 have junior level of training experience. Most of all, all of them love dogs and are passionate about training dogs.
The trainers use positive reinforcement training techniques using clickers, treats and ball. Choke collars are used upon the request of the owner, or when the trainers deem it necessary for safety.
Payment is preferred by cash or bank transfer. You’re asked to pay it on the day your dog starts training or boarding. Please inquire the account info if needed.
Other services (Playground open from 12:00pm to 19:00pm)
You can bring your dog and use the playground everyday except for every Thursday.
It is 5,000won per person and it doesn’t matter how many dogs you bring together. The dog should be fully vaccinated and not aggressive or sick.