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Is doggie daycare right for your pet?

Sep 8, 2019 | Tips and Tricks

We recently took Jake and Maggie to Misty Pines Dog Park and I asked to see their facilities.  Thomas and I have always agreed that we would never board our dogs and we stand by that.  It is either for you or not and we just feel more comfortable not boarding.  The facilities were clean and the animals looked very well taken care of which prompted me to ask about daycare. I like the fact that you can schedule a day for your pet to interact with other dogs and can be trained at the same time.  Plus it allows Thomas and I time for whatever it is we have planned while the pups are being socialized and we can pick them up after a few hours.  

I thought I was being very thorough during my tour but there are many questions to ask.  If you are thinking about enrolling your dog into daycare, here are some questions to ask.  And one of the things to consider is if doggie daycare is right for you and your dog.  

Some of the benefits of doggie daycare:

  • A chance to meet and play with other dogs.
  • Mental stimulation.
  • A routine that relieves separation anxiety and boredom.
  • Exercise — a tired out pup will be relaxed and exhausted by the time he comes home.
  • Lots of TLC.
  • Avoids the issue of having strangers in your home.

One of the reasons we would like to schedule a day to put the pups in daycare is the fact they don’t get a lot of socialization with other dogs and we feel bad about that.  This is why we took them to the park and they really enjoyed it.  Jake and Maggie were so good and even made some doggie friends!  We rely on my sister to take care of them if we are going to be gone for longer than 6 hours but we feel bad about asking all the time.  We are glad daycare is an option for us.

It is so important to take some time to check out the facility you have in mind for your dog.  You want to examine how the staff interacts with the dogs and the cleanliness of the facility.  According to the Professional Animal Care Certification Council (PACCC), here are some things to look for:

  • Is it clean and organized?
  • Does it have secure fencing?
  • Is the area free of hazards, like electrical cords, wires or broken toys?
  • Does it have minimal odors and a comfortable temperature?
  • Is there enough for staff to ensure safety?

The one thing I’m never afraid of is asking questions regarding Jake and Maggie and the activity we have planned whether it be daycare or a trip to the vet.  I’m always thinking of questions and wanting to make sure I am understanding what I’m being told so that there is no confusion.  

According to the American Kennel Club, it is important to ask the following questions:

  • Will they do a temperament test? The daycare facility should do an assessment of your dog’s behavior and personality before accepting him. AKC Canine Retreat, for example, does a comprehensive behavioral assessment, not only to decide if a dog is right for their environment but also to customize care.
  • What kind of training does the staff have? At a bare minimum, the staff should be trained in basic care and safety procedures. However, ideally, you’re looking for staff trained in animal behavior, including canine body language, and warning signs of danger, stress, or illness.
  • Does the facility have procedures in place for emergencies, like natural disasters or injuries? There should be staff members trained in first aid. Also, ask how they will communicate with you in the event of an emergency.
  • Speaking of communication, will you receive daily or weekly reports from them? Will you have access to a webcam? Will they notify you promptly if they see a change in behavior or well-being?
  • What type of discipline do they use? According to PACCC, professionally trained staff will use methods that do not use punishment for bad behavior and do reward good behavior.
  • Is there a variety of activities to appeal to dogs of different energy levels and personalities? Is there a comfortable, designated rest area?
  • Is the business bonded and insured?
  • If they’re open and responsive and seem like compassionate, warm, and patient caregivers, you can feel confident that they’ll take good care of your dog.

The most important thing is that your dog is enjoying daycare.  If we were ever to drop Jake and Maggie off for a few hours or a day of daycare, socialization, and training and they were negatively affected by it, we would stop immediately.  You know your dog and if he comes home anxious, sick, withdrawn, or if you have to drag him through the daycare door, this is a good indication, daycare is not working for him.  But if he is excited and seems to be well adjusted and even learning and showing signs that daycare is working, then this is something you might want to continue doing.  

I hope you enjoyed my post.  

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