Perham pet business adds fourth building

Photo by Robert Williams
Perham area dogs got a big upgrade for their vacation and daycare time after the opening of a new facility to expand The Backyard Boarding & Playcare in early September in the Perham industrial park.

By Robert Willams


The Backyard in Perham has added a fourth building to a growing petcare campus after opening the new playcare center on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

The business is broken up into the pet supply and grooming center and the boarding and playcare. The new playcare building is around the block from the storefront at 115 9th Avenue NE, across the street from Disgruntled Brewing.

For regular customers, not much has changed regarding playcare, other than the dogs having a lot more room for fun.

“The space—that was the main thing. We’re very, very happy to have the extra space. The dogs love it too. You can tell they’re really excited to have more room. Everything else is pretty much the same.”

Ashley Schmitz, manager at The Backyard in Perham

The boarding facility continues to offer multiple options from standard kennels to premium private dog areas with a television, access to outside, and cameras which allow owners to check in on their dogs online.

The boarding building and playcare buildings are connected by a fenced-in walkway to allow for dogs that are being boarded to come over for playcare. Customers who board their dogs get a discounted rate on playcare.

“We do have some boarding dogs that just don’t get along with other dogs and we make sure they don’t come in contact with any other dogs,” said Schmitz.

Those dogs have gotten some peace since playcare has moved down the block.

“Now that we have moved playcare over here it’s really super quiet,” Schmitz said. “The boarding building got a lot quieter.”

Future plans have been discussed about using the greenspace between the two buildings to become an area for training or agility classes, but having only been up and running for two weeks has staff concentrating on getting settled into the new digs.

“There are definitely still some tweaks and adjustments we need to make,” Schmitz said.

Another difference is pets who are not fixed can be boarded, but they cannot participate over in playcare.

“We will board dogs if they’re not fixed, but they have to be spayed or neutered after seven months to come to playcare,” said Schmitz. 

The busy boarding season ebbs and flows with human travel time like holidays and over the summer and conversely the playcare business tends to fill in the rest of the year.

“Boarding has kind of slowed down a little bit because everyone is staying around and not traveling, but playcare is definitely picking up because people are at school or work and they don’t have anyone to take care of their dog during the day,” said Schmitz.

Customers range from single day visitors, to morning shifts and all-day regulars. Those regulars have three hours of play in the morning and afternoon with an hour for lunch or a nap in between.

New dogs go through an orientation before meeting the pack. First visits include staff evaluations and typically only a half-day stay to keep more timid dogs from becoming overwhelmed.

“We evaluate them and see how they do and slowly introduce them to one or two dogs at a time,” said Schmitz.

Dogs at playcare are always supervised.

“We learn their personalities too and we know what to watch for,” she said. “We always have staff back there watching them.”

Dogs at the Backyard Playcare get treated like they’re spending the day at their second home.

“Absolutely, we definitely consider them like family,” said Schmitz.

Drop off and pick up times changed with the move. For boarding, they are 7:30-9 a.m.; noon-1 p.m., and 5-6 p.m., seven days a week. Playcare is 7:15-9 a.m.; noon-1 p.m., and 5-6:15 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Dogs must be current on vaccinations and owners need to complete registration paperwork for new customers. Cat boarding is also available

More information can be found by calling 218-298-4023 or visiting BackyardBoarding on Facebook and