Initially, to some folks, Paul Haire would be an unlikely candidate to be the owner and operator of a leading-edge cageless dog daycare and boarding facility. He was, before this, an established real estate investor and broker -- and a former policy wonk.
His own experience with cageless daycare and boarding, taking his black lab, Bella, was enough to convince him that both cageless daycare and cageless boarding had real benefits for both a dog and the dog's owner. They weren't just a "luxury" to him but were both essential to the well-being of his dog.
When he was approached by members of the Del Ray community to open, operate, and own the dog daycare, the one thing that motivated him was the idea that daycares were not living up to all that they could be. He saw that they could contribute more to the quality of the life of both the dog and the owner than providing just a place to park your dog for the day.
What gave him this strange notion? At age 18, he had worked at an oceanographic institute in Hawaii and had assisted in the care and training of the porpoises. It was pioneering work at the time, applying the new Skinnerian principles of positive operant conditioning. Not only were the results phenomenal but it was clear that the time that the porpoises spent in training were the physical and emotional highpoint of the porpoises' days.
Decades later, the director of the porpoise training at the Institute where Paul had learned his skills adapted those training techniques to train dogs. That director, Karen Pryor, is considered the founder of clicker training for dog obedience. Now, Paul is applying the lessons about behavioral conditioning he learned in her program to create and manage a stable, happy, and vibrant community of dogs.