Like a lot of things at Waglands, this is something we have developed ourselves in a totally unique and individual environment. It is us doing the hard work of adapting our service to the individual needs of our guests, for their health, happiness and safety. This philosophy rolls through everything we and our team do together for the betterment of our guests experience. Ben talks about this further in a blog “Dog Centred Care”

Absolutely. Ben specifically puts aside windows of time to give you a really thorough welcome and introduction to the whole holiday experience we provide, giving you a complete insight into the unbelievable effort we keep pouring into adapting our holiday environment to your dogs health, happiness and safety.

Our unique philosophy drives our almost decade-long evolution into dog-centred care.

You can request a time for a tour through: Waglands Tours

Every little evolution we have done to create Waglands comes into its own for our longer staying guests – freedom, socialisation, wonderful food, health and weight monitoring, complimentary washes and our dedicated and very attentive team working with them day in and day out.

Their needs aside, we totally understand that you are going to be parted from your furry friend. We really encourage you to come for a tour, so you know exactly where and what excitement we have in store for them, and to appreciate the volume of work we do to have everything go beautifully to the standards we set for ourselves. Because we want you to go away and not worry – you can look forward to an update to let you know how they are getting on, and who they are playing with.

If your favourite furry friend has specific needs like separation anxiety, or is arriving into one of our busier times and may take longer to settle in, (or if you would feel better…!), let’s arrange a shorter pre-stay of around 3 days/2 nights to experience our routine for both you and your treasured pup. We want you to be totally happy before you go away to have fun, without that lingering worry that separation can bring.

This is rarely needed, but there are times when our guests (or more often their family) experience separation anxiety, and this can be helped with a three day, two night visit in a quieter time prior to your holiday. If this would help you sit beside a beach, blissed out in the knowledge that your furry friend is having a holiday too, let’s do this.

We consider individual needs including age, size, temperament, anxiety, toileting, and space available to decide if family members are going to well suited to sharing accommodation.

To better suit families, we have specifically created new and differing accommodation, allowing us to have more ability for family members to share accommodation. The family room and bedroom suites are ideal for this, even for larger guests.

If your furry family is really well suited to sharing their accommodation, absolutely. To be really compatible, there needs to be sufficient space for their comfort and hygiene, and they need to have a close relationship.
We have specifically expanded our range of rooms to allow for different family groups to share their accommodation to better meet their needs.

We are definitely not the right place for cats to have fun. Fortunately, we have Gail at Hillcrest Cat Motel just down Normandale road a little, and she is wonderful. You can reach her on 569 3598. Website: Hillcrest Cat Motel

Our entire focus is doing a wonderful job right here for our guests. To do this well, this keeps all of our hands very full, as it should.

For transport, we are fortunate to be able to recommend these wonderful services:

Driving Miss Daisy 568 2254, 027 280 0668.

Lower Hutt franchise, specialising in smaller dogs with or without their owners.

Creature Comforts
027 323 1962, Website: creaturecomfortsnz.com

We have a number of cumulative discounts that apply based on holiday length, accommodation size needed, number of guests, sharing accommodation (if suitable), and midweek offpeak periods. Your rate will factor in all of these that are appropriate.

There are also options to upgrade to our bedroom suites, or family room, and your washing/ grooming and treat options.

You can get an exact idea by creating a basic profile, then creating a reservation request. It is only tentative – have a play with some options!  More information can be found on our Bookings and Prices page.

Routine is one of the most key elements for a dog to settle in and enjoy their holiday, day in day out. This has required a huge evolution in our facilities to allow this, especially to create enough recreation space for them all to enjoy when it is playtime.  Guests come to know and look forward to both play and rest periods, to get the best out of both.

730am:                 Cruisy playtime: 20 dedicated recreation areas to enjoy the same well matched and familiar company

1030am:               Coming in to rest.

11am:                    Breakfast time: Fresh lamb and salmon, or other specifically chosen meal for their delight

12-3pm:               The afternoon snooze, a daily institution in a dogs daily routine…

3pm:                      Cruisy playtime. Again!

530pm:                 Coming in to rest, with dinner in mind

6pm:                      Dinner time!

7pm:                      Nigh Nighs…. not a sound to be heard, usually!

Please don’t come out of our office hours. A resource consent stipulates 830-530pm as the customer access window, and the daily rest period from 12-330pm is crucial for our guests to be as undisturbed as possible.

Occasionally we can make a special arrangement out of hours for a fee, but this is still disturbing to our guests in their rest periods, so not the best or first option.

Most oral medication can be administered to even the most difficult of guests.  Any medication that is required should be supplied with clear instructions on dose and frequency of administration and labelled with the guest’s name. Please ensure there is enough medication for their specific needs.

We do wonderful washing, de-shedding washing, and specific targeted grooming which includes fringe trims and nails.

In the recent past, Arlene was a NZ representative in grooming, and a local hub of Wellington’s grooming community. Unfortunately she had to give this away as it was interfering with the huge commitment we have to Waglands as our first and foremost priority.

Once our kids are more established in their schooling, this may change – but for now, we wish to do everything we commit to done to a standard that is our own.

Our ideas about Guest-Centred Care means we always work to adapt our holiday experience to individual guest’s needs.  To help us maintain the large team size that can care for the more intensive special needs well, we have an ‘Extra Love’ fee.

Special Love’ may include close weight monitoring with additional meals, dietary workarounds, special exercise provision to adapt our social environment to specific needs or limitations, or specific privacy measures in recreation or accommodation areas. Or anything else that we feel we need to invest special time to make all the difference for a special individual.


For the health and safety of your companion and our other guests, we must insist on current vaccinations:

  • D.H.P (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus),
  • ‘Canine Cough’ vaccination.
  • Leptospirosis is not required in the Wellington Region, so we do not require this for entry. But it is recommended for families travelling North with their furry family.

If vaccinations are not sufficient, we will not be able to help.

Vaccines can take up to 14 days to gain effectiveness. Please factor this in to your plans.

If this is not possible, please contact us, and we can assess the best course of action, and whether the full two weeks is required in your individual case and discussion with your vet professional.

Absolutely. Our reservation system has the most convenient way of sending us an image of your booklet – please do this at the time of making a reservation so we can prevent any late notice hiccups that may upset your plans.

We require guests to maintain a recommended schedule of reputable flea and worm treatments. We can administer these treatments on your behalf if that is helpful – you can find these as options in your online reservation request.


We have a number of foods to tempt our very discerning guests:

  • Royal Canin ‘Energy’ or ‘Digestive Care’ – both chicken based dry foods.
  • K9Natural ‘Endurance’ – lamb and salmon based raw and grain free food.
  • K9Natural ‘Lamb Green Tripe’ – freeze dried raw & grain free lamb offal based food
  • Purely Pets ‘Power Patties’, and ‘Rabbit and Hare patties’ – chicken or rabbit based raw & grain foods.
  • Blackhawk ‘Kangaroo’ – Kangaroo based low allergen grain free dry food.
  • Ziwipeak ‘Venison’ – venison based dry grain free food

We make some careful choices based on our guests Health, Happiness and Safety, taking in their health background, digestive tolerance, energy needs, and even their likes and dislikes.

From there, we listen to them and our scales, with a weight in each 4 days. We keep refining their type (and amount!) of food that will keep a smile on their face.

We have chosen our foods really carefully to be able to work around dietary restrictions. They are also some of the most palatable foods available. We combine this with a daily routine that allows them to relax both before and after meal times, so their tummies can do their most essential work unperturbed.

Variety can be the spice of life! How about taking this opportunity to give their taste buds a holiday experience too…

It is actually easier for us to provide food, and by combining our buying power, we can work together better than you buying it at full retail price and bagging it up in extra plastic.

But if you have special dietary needs due to health issues, there is usually no alternative for you to BYO. If so, please:

  • Let us know the volume you usually feed at home – but bring extra as we plan to have higher energy levels here!
  • Leave your measuring vessels at home so it doesn’t get misplaced

The actual cost of us purchasing the wonderful foods we have chosen for our guests is only a small part of the effort our team put into providing their meals. While we could save a little on the food cost, the effort in receiving, communicating specifics, storing, and returning any leftover food all go against any reduction in cost and effort. Sorry we aren’t able to reflect this in your account.


The most beautiful company is based on the personal preference of our guests, and observing and acting on this is the best advice our team can have. We make further decisions of compatibility taking into consideration size, enthusiasm, personality, preferences, playing style and health.

Most of our guests have been to us many times previously, and over time we develop great insight into which playgroup they best suit, and then make continuous little adjustments to have everyone getting the best from their social experience.

Most newly arriving guests would like nothing more than to take in the space, sights, scents and environment, so we strive to give them space to do just this in a calm and quiet area.

Once they are really familiar with the environment, they are much more relaxed and better placed to dive into some lovely small-group social activity with the close group we would like to introduce them to.

The quietest time for arriving is 1030-12pm, when our existing guests are breakfasting and getting into rest mode in our accommodation.

If you can’t make that, the earlier morning 830-1030am is preferable to the afternoon arrival 330-530pm. If it has to be afternoon, no problem – but please do come at the 330pm end rather than 530pm to maximise their recreation time.

Also note that you are their #1, and many guests will direct all their attention to you when in an unfamiliar environment. Your ongoing presence will be a distraction from engaging in their new environment and company, so don’t feel that staying around will help them settle in.

We have some great treats available in our reservation system – including bones as a little accommodation surprise, and one-on-one team member sessions with them.

We are passionate about fostering a social environment and require all of our guests to be able to enjoy the company of others. We do occasionally have guests recovering from surgery or injury and we adapt to keep them quiet, separate and safe. But for individuals exhibiting behaviour that threatens or affects the enjoyment of others, if we are unable to adjust them into nice company, then they are best suited to isolation-focussed facilities.

Amazingly, it isn’t. With everything we have evolved, we have the quietest rest periods much to many people’s surprise. This is critical to our guests’ routine, health and happiness. We even have calming music tinkling through our accommodation as they transition from play to rest.

Our customer arrival hours have been timed to coincide with our guests’ recreation times, so they will be active then – and your arrival just created a huge point of interest, as has our team member who goes into their playspace to fetch guests going home. These temporary bursts of activity and noise settle down again with all the careful privacy we have between yards, and they go back to recreational cruise mode.

If your vet is based in Lower Hutt, we attend your vet where possible. Otherwise, we attend our local vets, who have an excellent range of services and expertise and great hours of availability. We will ensure any pertinent information concerning the ongoing care of your dog is shared with you and your usual vet for their continuity of care and records.

In addition to Arlene and myself being fully committed, we have a large group of talented and active people to allow us to keep on top of all the critical foreground and background organisation that brings to life the Excellence that earns us awards.  They are all an absolutely key part of the experience we provide. We specifically select our team based on their personality, attitude and background. They all love their work and, being stable long term people, they get to know our guests and their individual needs well.

We encourage our guests to allow us to provide this, as we have always struggled with laundering, locating and returning own bedding at departure time. If you do wish to BYO, please don’t bring anything you would hate to lose.

We combine various soft bedding with good quality beds. We have specially imported U.S. made ‘Kuranda’ beds which are carefully chosen for their comfort and durability. Our own towels, polar fleece blankets and ‘DryBeds’ are perfect for us to keep them comfortable and clean, can be washed as soon as needed and dry nicely through the day as required.

Creating an online profile is the best way to give us all the information we need. If dropping us a quick query, it is really helpful for us to know:

  • Guest details including Name, age, breed(s)
  • What dates you would like

Every decision we have made in making a dog-centred holiday destination has been met with real challenges to simplicity. From hand mowing our expansive grassed playgrounds, to health and weight checks, to three separate accommodation buildings, to sublime washes, to providing raw food – everything we do requires more effort.

We have made a specific decision to have the best people join our team. To expect them to be with us through the busy periods, we have to commit to them through the whole year – so you will find our whole team are consistent, permanent, and totally dedicated.

Peak Periods

We do our absolute best to meet each request, but some are going to be really hard to help with. At certain times, we know we will be flooded with many requests for every single place we have to offer.

Each request is reviewed on its merits:

  • Dates that neatly fit around the other requests we have committed to, and the way the peak period falls in the week/weekend.
  • Guests who are familiar, fit in constructively with our routine, team and the other guests.
  • Guests who support our team’s continuity through the year by also visiting at times other than when we are going to be full, upgrades to holidays, and food purchases.

Absolutely. We can record your request in the event that someone’s plans change. It is mostly out of our hands, but we will do our best.

Our waitlist is also prioritised to the above criteria, so it isn’t just a number in a queue. We have to match the dates you are needing to any dates that may pop up – it is a real juggling act at busy times.

If we really think that we will not be able to help, even with our waitlist, we prefer to be upfront with you, rather than leave you hoping that this will work out for you. This way you can use the time available to find other solutions that will be more likely to help you out.

We fully commit to every Booking, and over critical peak periods, this fits a complex jigsaw puzzle arranged well ahead of time: accommodation/ playgroups/ waitlists/ customer communication. Cancellations bring a massive effort on our part to regroup/ reposition/ re-communicate/ re-book. Based on past years, the flurry of changes and cancellations when we have declined so many people for those places is extremely awkward. We feel it is time to commit each Booking to us, just as we commit to each Booking.

We commit to every single Booking we accept ahead of time, and put accommodation space aside and commit our team’s time and rostering to this. If we could have filled the space we have committed to you, then a vacated space has harmed our ability to provide the service we so wish to provide. So we reserve the right to charge for the time that has been committed to in full.

But equally, we totally understand that your needs may change, and we wish to minimise the cost to you. We will strive to fill the vacated space from our waitlist, and subsequent requests. This may partially or completely reduce any cost to you in your reduction or cancellation of your planned holiday.

For Critical Peak Period Bookings that have paid a Booking Fee, where the dates and details go at least as agreed, we would like to give you a financial pat on the head for great behaviour. You helped us put our guests needs first through a really busy holiday period. Well done!

Canine Cough

Just like you and your family at schools, workplaces and cafes, a social life puts us in contact with others who may have a cough that can be passed on. Dogs will catch a cough at some stage in a life well lived. As with a human cold, it is spread by airborne droplets (e.g. sneezing) and contact with each other and their mucus secretions. This can and does occur absolutely anywhere, even if your dog does not leave your backyard.

No – vaccinations assist in preventing specific strains only. Coughs in dogs (just like people) are caused by many different viral and bacterial agents and it is impossible to identify, prepare and administer vaccines against all of them. Your dog certainly would not thank you for all the jabs either! Your vaccinations contribute to a baseline immune response which should prevent some, and reduce the severity of other strains not directly protected for.

  • A dry hacking cough, sometimes leading to retching
  • The cough is sometimes described as hacking/gagging/honking
  • Personality and activity becoming a little quieter as shift into recovery mode
  • Less interest in food

Some illnesses look like Canine Cough, and your vet is on the look out for these. Other symptoms that need investigations include:

  • Nasal discharge
  • Complete loss of appetite
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lethargy and/or inactivity

Very young, elderly, or medically complicated dogs are recommended to go to the vet to check for complications that may cause them more problems than a cough normally would.

Just like when you (or your kids) have a cold, a doctor’s appointment is not always necessary. Antibiotics are often of little use in basic cases, although are frequently prescribed for canine cough. Some other medications may assist with easing the irritation in the throat to reduce the cough. Very young, elderly, or medically complicated dogs are recommended to go to the vet to check for complications that may cause them more problems than a cough normally would.

The majority of cases will bounce back to normal after a few days of rest. The cough subsides over time – days or occasionally a week or two. Keep an eye out for excessive loss of appetite/energy and unexpected symptoms or stress which would require your vet’s advice. As with a human cold, a watchful eye is best to detect more severe or worsening symptoms of a chest infection (pneumonia), which definitely needs immediate attention.

Occasionally we do hear this, although I am sure school principles /bus company executives/ employers and others don’t get similar criticism when we humans contract a cough in environments they manage such is the power our beloved family dogs exercise over our emotions and decisions.

While we are proud of our hygiene standards, and only guests that have had their full vaccinations are admitted, we are a social facility for the good of our guests – and one individual arriving who has invisibly contacted a cough in the community can create more contact here.

We will manage this as best as we can, secure in the knowledge that neither the Common Cold nor Canine Cough are going away anytime soon. The best human science has given us a whole vaccination program, and cleaning products that are unprecedented. But there are still times when nature is just cleverer.