Just when you thought Cabo may have too many posh hotels and spas, along comes “Woof” the doggie hotel, spa and daycare center.
Sealtiel Alatriste is the owner of Woof Cabo and his passion for working with dogs is evident from the moment he starts speaking. He has unique insight into how dogs learn. He observes dog behavior, understands its meaning and conveys that information to the pet owner. He is a wonderful dog person who has designed his facility and handpicked the staff to provide the best environment for your dog. You can be confident that your dog is safe, won’t get chomped on by another dog and instead of learning bad habits, tends to come home better mannered. Sealtiel may not always remember the owner’s name but he and his staff never forget your dog’s name. My impression of Sealtiel is he a very deep thinking, very focused young man who is always trying to improve.
Sealtiel’s father is a renowned surfer in Mexico and Sealtiel started surfing with him when he was very young. Surfing together created a closeness that he and his father share to this day. His father came to Cabo first just before 2008 and told Sealtiel that he should take a look at it because the surfing was great and he felt that were a lot of opportunities yet untapped here.
Sealtiel told me the story that when his father turned 70, and he got a German Shepard puppy and Sealtiel studied how differently his father treated this dog from all the dogs he had grown up with. He watched his father reading books on dogs, buying dog toys, meeting new people and making friends because of his dog. He felt that his father was in some way replacing the children who had left home. He realized that there were many people in this category who were doing the same thing and he started thinking about this as a business opportunity. People were traveling from around the world to Cabo and they were bringing their dogs with them. For many people, their children were grown and not traveling with their parents anymore – but their dogs were. This older generation was bonding with their dogs in a different way than when they were in their 30’s and 40’s because at that time they were focused on work and raising their children.
Sealtiel was always told that he had a knack for finding good business opportunities and the idea of the doggie hotel, spa and day care presented itself to him. Since he already had a strong love for dogs, once he decided that this is what he was going to do, he went through vigorous training and he now puts all of his employees through the same training. They have to be professional in every way but more importantly, they have to love dogs even more than he does – and that is setting the standard high. They work for him on a trial basis for a month before he decides if can keep them on. He started out as a one man show and worked for a couple of years doing everything from manual labor to paperwork all by himself. Through hard work and dedication, he now has 5 employees and is seeking to hire one more. Since he started the business 5 years ago, January 28, 2016 was an important date – he reached the 7,000 mark of dogs who have been serviced at Woof.
His doggie play group is a big part of his business and the dogs absolutely love it – so much so that they often do not want to go home. He also has birthday parties and they get to run around and play with their friends and eat healthy dog snacks. While I was visiting the site, two adorable bull dogs came in obviously excited to play and have a birthday party. They seemed so comfortable with everyone and were ready for a good time. When you bring your dog to the play group, it is important for Sealtiel to study them and understand how they get along with the other dogs. Some people claim their dogs are very friendly with other dogs, but can act aggressively when placed into a group of strange dogs. Other clients will tell him that their dogs do not play well with other dogs, but when the owners are gone, the dogs are fine. When he shows his clients videos of the dogs interacting and having fun, they are often quite surprised.. We discussed why some dogs do not interact well with other dogs and he explained that it could be because their dog is protective of the owner so when he is not there, they are free to play.
Woof offers grooming and he believes that haircuts for dogs are like haircuts for humans – they want to make the dogs and the owners happy and proud to wear their creations. The groomers take great care to never hurt your pet and are experienced and certified.
Before opening Woof, Sealtiel traveled to San Diego to study as many dog boarding places he could find. He tailor-made Woof to make it the best of everything he saw. For example, he does not like cages, so he created the rooms with unbreakable glass, air conditioning with a heat extractor to pull out the hot air and odors and installed a tv to comfort the dogs. He went to grooming school in Mexico City and has dog behavior certificates but has firmly believes he learns more from observation and hands on work.
I asked Sealtiel which veterinarians he would refer and he suggested Dr. Felipe Martinez at Clinica Las Palmas because he spends time with the owners and talks to them about the problem and how he thinks he can solve it and works with the owners to help with the assessment. He also recommended Hugo Castrejon and Jorge Bravo, Centro Veterinario San Jose’. They have different medical approaches and work great as a team. When working with a veterinarian, Sealtiel noted the obvious – dogs cannot speak. A good vet interprets the symptoms. Many times it takes the process of elimination to assess the problem.
We discussed what you should consider when buying a puppy. Sealtiel absolutely believes the puppies should stay with their mother for 10 to 12 weeks. Also, don’t make the mistake of picking the puppy that runs up to you and you think – oh, he likes me. There is a hierarchy in the animal world so the highest ranked puppy in the litter is usually the most forceful. Also, if he is the fattest of the litter, it could be that he pushes all the other puppies out of the way when feeding. You need a very strong owner with a puppy like this. You also need to be aware of the smallest, shyest puppy because they could be afraid of noises, be nervous and hide under the bed, etc.
Sealtiel wants to keep Woof Cabo small – a boutique hotel and spa – so that they can give the dogs the love and attention they need. Most of his clients are “word of mouth” and that is the best advertising of all.
Sealtiel tries to gently guide people who he observes are contributing to behavior problems. He watches the way they interact and can usually assess the problem. Dogs are not humans and humans are not dogs – that is the key to healthy relationship.
To see a video, go to Video of Woof Cabo
Woof Owner: Sealtiel Alatriste
Woof Manager: Mark Portilla
Dr. Felipe Martinez: 142-2928
Drs. Hugo Castrejon and Jorge Bravo: 142-0007