Our K9 Grade System

Carolyn’s K9 Retreat uses a progressive, behavior-based pricing model. This allows us to provide personalized care to each individual dog according to their needs, while pricing our services accordingly with the amount of attention each dog requires from our team of Rufferees and trainers. Our goal is to safely support the behavioral needs of each dog in our care while also nurturing good manners, basic obedience, and excellent social skills in all members of our canine community.

CKR is not a kennel or traditional doggy daycare. At CKR, we are a cage and kennel-free facility—we do not crate or kennel dogs unless that is a part of their normal routine at home. This means we are a great fit for dogs who love to socialize with other dogs, and also some dogs need more human support than others to succeed and thrive in our community environment. We evaluate dogs based on both behavioral standards and the energy and personality of any given dog.

All dogs who are new at CKR must attend a Meet and Greet where we do an initial evaluation of both our ability to properly care for your dog, and your dog’s comfort with our space and communal setting. After a Meet and Greet, all dogs go through a period of orientation and evaluation, after which they are placed in either High School, Middle School, or Preschool. Dogs who demonstrate over time that they are exceptionally well-matched to our environment and community have the opportunity to move into College and Grad School pricing and behavioral tiers.

K9 Grades Explained


After a successful Meet & Greet, all dogs enter a period of orientation and evaluation. This gives your dog an opportunity to settle into a new space with new stimulus, and gives us a chance to observe your dog’s behavior as they become familiar with us and their new dog friends. Orientation and evaluation typically lasts for four visits of at least four hours each, but may take less or more visits depending on the dog.

At the end of orientation, we compile notes and observations from our staff and place your dog in either High School, Middle School, or Preschool. Daycare ready dogs are placed in High School, but if your dog needs additional training support to be able to safely and happily attend daycare and boarding at our facility, we may place them in Middle School or Preschool to ensure they receive that support.



Preschool is the bare minimum behavioral standard for a dog to be allowed at CKR, and is reserved for dogs who need considerable, focused training support before they can access the full range of our services. The only service a Preschool dog has access to is Study Hall, which is our group training program previously known as Training Camp. A Preschool dog cannot book regular daycare or boarding, and must be picked up between 2:00 - 3:00 when Study Hall is complete.

Preschool dogs may access grooming services, but they must be dropped off immediately before and picked immediately after any scheduled appointments.

A Preschool dog must:

  • Be generally non-aggressive and minimally reactive with both dogs and human staff.
  • Be able to be redirected by staff in an altercation with minimal physical interaction.
  • Be able to be safely contained on the property—cannot jump our exterior fences. 

If a dog cannot meet Preschool standards, we are unfortunately not able to offer them any services at CKR.

Middle School

A Middle School dog can access daycare and boarding services, as long as they meet a Study Hall attendance requirement. Middle School dogs are possible to manage in a daycare environment, but need regular targeted attention and/or frequent time-outs to maintain a safe group dynamic, and therefore require additional training support to become better members of our canine community.

A Middle School dog is required to attend Study Hall at least once every two weeks when they are using our daycare and/or boarding services weekly.  We may require more frequent training depending on daycare attendance—for example, a Middle School dog who wants to attend daycare 4 days a week may be asked to attend Study Hall more often than once every 2 weeks.

Middle School dogs who are not using our services on a weekly basis, will be asked to attend a Study Hall session within 2 weeks of booking any other daycare or boarding service.

In addition to the minimum behavioral requirements of a Preschool dog, a Middle School dog must:

  • Be non-aggressive/reactive at fences, gates, and doors
  • Allow staff members to lead them out of the pen or away from other dogs
  • Can be redirected from altercations verbally without physical interaction
  • Be generally manageable in the social environment throughout the day.

A Middle School dog may have specific restrictions on their access to services as determined on a case-by-case basis by our training staff and management.

High School

High School includes most dogs who attend daycare and/or boarding at CKR. A High School dog may have some occasional challenges or minor behavioral issues, but is generally a good canine citizen and community member. High School dogs are welcome to utilize any services offered at CKR.

After evaluation, any dog who exceeds the Preschool or Middle School standards becomes a High School dog. Many great dogs remain High School dogs throughout their time at CKR simply because they may require more supervision and occasional intervention from our staff. For example, young, high energy dogs may remain High School dogs throughout their formative years because of the energy and style of play they introduce to the playpen.

In addition to the behavioral requirements of Preschool and Middle School, a High School dog must:

  • Calm down quickly in timeout and not destroy property or bark disruptively
  • Be able to be calmed and re-directed without frequent timeouts
  • Promptly listen to verbal commands from staff
  • Not fixate on, harass, or bully others dogs in the group


College dogs are dogs who settle into our unique environment and become comfortable and respectful members of our canine community. College dogs are familiar with all our staff members, as well as other regular dogs, and are a good match of both energy and personality for our setting and community. 

In addition to meeting the behavioral requirements of Preschool through High School, a College dog:

  • Has good manners at gates and doors.
  • Immediately respects the boundaries, warnings, and social cues of other dogs. 
  • Does not demand bark for toys or attention.
  • Does not jump gates from pen to pen.
  • Can be left unattended with other dogs for small periods of time.
  • Does not fixate on poop eating or rolling.
  • Has spent a minimum of ten days at CKR.

Grad School

Grad School dogs are both frequent and long-term clients of CKR who are not only exceptional in their behavior, but bring benefit to our canine community with their ability to demonstrate and promote good behavior within the group. Grad School dogs are calm, mild-mannered, and get along well with the vast majority of other dogs. They can be left alone or in small groups for brief periods of time, but rarely need time-outs themselves. They exhibit no aggression or reactivity, have built relationships and trust with members of our staff, and proactively encourage calm and politeness in social settings.


After at least one successful daycare orientation visit of more than 4 hours, most guests will have access to Boarding Orientation, which is a separate required trial for boarding services. Even for regular daycare attendees, we require a one-to-two night trial boarding stay before a longer boarding stay can be booked. Our boarding trial assesses if your dog can sleep comfortably through the night in our community environment. Even some dogs who do very well in the daycare environment can experience separation anxiety when boarding that leads to disruptive or destructive behavior.

After a one-to-two night Boarding Orientation and Evaluation, we determine if we can provide a safe and comfortable boarding experience for your dog, or if we would encourage further shorter trial stays to increase familiarity and comfort before accepting a longer booking.