Some of the best businesses are born out of hobbies.
It’s a beloved story, and often a coveted one: the talented hobbyist realizes that their gift can be serviced to customers with adequate compensation to cover their living expenses.
The result? As the adage goes, “Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”
This is certainly the case with R Place Kennel — a dog boarding, training, and (occasional) breeding business located here in Hartford, South Dakota.
And while the business is certainly a win for the owners, the biggest win may be for those lucky enough to give their business to this pair of world-class dog trainers.
Joe and Jean Rodriguez, the owners of R Place Kennel, began training dogs back in the 1970s.
Many of these dogs were their own, participating in showings and competitions. The Rodriguez’s received numerous obedience titles with these dogs, in addition to the success they saw with their hunting dogs through field training.
It wasn’t long before this success expanded into a business, which operated in Ortonville, Minnesota for 12 years before moving to Hartford in 1993.
Now, R Place Kennel has been serving the greater Sioux Falls area for 27 years — equating to nearly three decades of experience dedicated to taking good care of dogs and training them into a better life for both the pet and owner.
With a large indoor and outdoor complex of 60 kennels, R Place’s boarding service is set in the beautiful South Dakota countryside for a true homey feel. The kennels are entirely climate controlled, featuring heated flooring and a forced air heating system during the cold season and air conditioning in the warm season.
And while these kennels are perfectly comfortable and the care is as attentive as any, R Place does not charge near the steep price accustomed to many of the “luxurious” pet resorts.
In addition to this boarding service, the Rodriguez’s specialize in obedience training for puppies.
It’s true that dogs of any age can be obedience trained. However, the Rodriguez’s recommend taking advantage of this stage in a dog’s life when they are readily adaptable and easily influenced by association.
The Rodriguez’s obedience training program focuses on three core objectives: socialization, confidence building, and creating a willing attitude. When executed properly, these three characteristics lead to a healthy, mutually beneficial relationship between owner and pet.
“You never get tired of watching them learn and watching them become a good pet,” says Joe Rodriguez.
What’s more, R Place occasionally offers litters of golden retrievers and labrador retrievers for purchase.
Although not frequent breeders, the Rodriguez’s are known to raise excellent puppies. Their overall philosophy and expertise prepares puppies well for a life outside of the litter.
Thirty years ago, Joe and Jean Rodriguez may not have guessed that they would become known around the greater Sioux Falls area as the go-to “Obedience Teachers” for house and hunting dogs.
But that is precisely where their passion for dogs has led them.
“Our goal is that the dog has a happy home to live in,” beams Jean. “We want people to enjoy their pet for a long time. This is good for the dog, too, because the better behaved they are, the more they get to take part in family events.”
For the Rodriguez’s, it’s clear that mutual benefit is the name of the game when it comes to a relationship with a pet.
And they make sure to care for it that way.