Doing good
The Latest Trend Among Dog Owners? Dog Gyms, Of Course
Free Enterprise Staff | January 13, 2015

All it takes is a few seconds online or a walk down any street in the U.S. and it becomes pretty clear: Americans love our dogs. We walk them, feed them special food, and some of us even bring them to dog-only spas. In Alexandria, Virginia, one small business specializes in the kind of dog owner who wants to pamper their pooch and make sure they live a long and healthy life.

That company is Frolick Dogs, which opened last summer and bills itself as a place that dog owners can “keep fit, have fun, strengthen their bond, and reinforce good behavior.” You can think of it like a one-stop gym, yoga retreat, and training school—all for man’s best friend.

Founded by Kevin and Kim Gilliam, the two co-owners bring a diverse set of skills to Frolick Dogs. Kim has more than ten years of management experience and handles the day-to-day operations at the business, while Kevin has an extensive background in dog training, having been a trainer for seven years at Alexandria’s Olde Towne School for Dogs.

So, what sorts of amenities does Frolick Dogs offer its canine members? A lot, as it turns out. After dogs work up a “sweat” after participating in one of the company’s agility training classes, they’re free to head to the company’s self-grooming area, where owners are free to wash and clean their non-human best friends. Offerings also include day boarding and even wellness programs, where experts give seminars about various aspects of maintaining a dog’s health.

Though it might sound a little over-the-top to some, Frolick Dogs actually serves an important role in the U.S., where more than 40 million dogs are estimated to be overweight, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Yet if you visit Frolick Dogs, you’ll see the company’s employees working to reverse that trend at the company’s 6,000-square-foot exercise facility.

“Everyone’s always looking for new and different ways to exercise their dog,” Kim Gilliam told the Today Show during an interview. “So, we wanted to provide a great option for year-round, indoor dog exercise.”

Just in case you’re still incredulous, we recently visited Frolick Dogs to check out the company, and see what they’re doing to help dogs get healthy.

 

Frolick Dogs co-owner Kim Gilliam trains an excited dog at the company's 6,000-square-foot exercise facility.

Frolick Dogs co-owner Kim Gilliam trains an excited dog at the company’s 6,000-square-foot exercise facility.



A dog takes to the obstacle course at Frolick Dogs, which offers agility training for dogs at its Alexandria, Virginia facility.

A dog takes to the obstacle course at Frolick Dogs, which offers agility training for dogs at its Alexandria, Virginia facility.

 

Frolick Dogs co-owner Kevin Gilliam started the company last summer.

Frolick Dogs co-owner Kevin Gilliam started the company last summer.

 

A dog makes its way through one of the obstacles at the agility training course at Frolick Dogs.

A dog makes its way through one of the obstacles at the agility training course at Frolick Dogs.