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Vanity Fair - A List

What to know

We all know a dog is for life, not just for Christmas. But what happens when you’re away for Christmas? And the dog’s not welcome? What to do with the pooch then?

How about this… 350 acres of woodland, meadows, lakes and streams in Carmarthenshire, Wales?   Insulated, underfloor heated bedrooms – possibly sharing with a favourite four-legged friend, plus a thorough grooming session including teeth descaling, nail trimming and … wait for it… anal expression (Yikes! Something to do with glands apparently.). Sounds good right? (Apart from the last bit.)

This slice of hound heaven is called The Dog House, owned and run since 1994 by Mark Thompson and Gillian Quek. With shuttle buses picking-up and dropping-off from London town, you can choose the specifics for your dog’s retreat. An ‘Activity Holiday’; 4-5 walks a day, flying over jumps and whizzing through assault course tunnels, snuffling out meals in pyramid puzzles – with dogs often returning leaner, fitter and usually better behaved.

Mark Thompson’s dog whispering really comes into the play with specific puppy socialization courses for ‘spirited’ types or gun dog courses for working dogs. And if necessary, ahem, weight reduction programmes are also on the menu.

But the big news for The Dog House in 2014 is the launch of a ‘Dog trainer in your pocket’ app – with years of knowledge, techniques and skills for training on the trot. And foodie-hounds, prick your ears up right now, for a range of treats has been crafted by none other than Michel Roux (a massive ‘The Dog House’ fan). These have been designed to help improve manners and sticky training issues.

Question is, can humans stay too?

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