A dozen friendly pups flood into the entry to say hi as Laura Braidi tries to get her Schnauzer Indigo into the small dog yard at Mak Pack. (David Minton/Staff Photographer)

It seems like such a no-brainer, you have to wonder why someone didn’t think of the idea sooner: A cool place for dogs to play when the sun is hot and their coats won’t come off sounds perfect.

Spencer Mak and his wife opened the state’s first indoor dog park, Mak Pack Dog Training & Boarding, in Tempe in 2020 as the pandemic was beginning. They just recently opened up a second location in Chandler.

“I think a lot of people have thought of it, but the execution of it is incredibly difficult,” said Brittany Myer, who manages the Chandler location. “When it comes to thinking about safety, cleanliness, making sure it’s a good environment for the dogs with toys and things we need to run and jump on, as well as making sure the owners are safe in that space. 

“There’s been … about 18 months’ worth of thoughts and processing that had to go into it. It definitely took a while, but we got here eventually.”

Myer said many of the people visiting the Tempe location were driving from Chandler, so that’s how they settled on where to open their second location. It’s in a large building that was a gym at the corner of Gilbert and Queen Creek roads.

“Spencer put a lot of work into Tempe,” Myer said. “He was, at one point the only person running it, so he was doing training, … he was sleeping there overnight with the boarding dogs, and then there with the daycare dogs. So it was a one man show for a little while.”

Mak Pack offers a variety of services, including use of the indoor dog park, group training sessions and private lessons. There’s also overnight boarding available. Myer said the dogs are never left alone, that someone is there overnight with them.

Before showing up with your dog, you need to register in advance. And on the first trip to Mak Pack, the dog’s owner needs to bring along proof of vaccination before their pup can mingle with other dogs.

“The dogs that are boarding will also go into daycare during the day, we pride ourselves in being all inclusive. So a lot of places will charge extra for them to have play time during the day. We don’t. It’s automatically part of that as long as they’re comfortable with their dogs playing with others.”

Myer said the Chandler location is off to a great start.

“Our weekends are really busy with the dog park,” she said. “Obviously people are off work they’re able to come in and it’s been fun watching everyone from Chandler come in and say, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re right around the corner. I’ve been needing somewhere to bring my dog.’ We get a ton more daycare here.”

Mak Pack also has a private room available to rent for doggie birthday parties. They’ve also played host to some group fun.

“We had a bunch of doodles come in for a little doodle romp, unplanned by us,” Myer said. “Last weekend, we had a Boston Terrier romp. We had a ton of Boston terriers come in.”