Many dog owners can feel guilty about leaving their dogs home alone all day long while they work. While you can hire a dog sitter or someone to walk your dog during the day, you may also consider putting them in a doggy daycare. Doggy daycares can be an excellent way for your pup to socialize and play, but since they are not regulated, you need to be careful when selecting a daycare for your pup.
Here, we’ll walk you through how to choose a daycare for your dog that they’ll be excited to go to and that you can trust to take care of them. There’s a lot to consider, but the right doggy daycare will meet your standards and be somewhere your pup enjoys spending their time.
#1. Ask For Recommendations
The first thing you should do is ask around. If your friends and family have used doggy daycares, they may have recommendations for you. You can also ask your vet if they know of any good daycares. Certified professional dog trainers can also give you recommendations for trustworthy places to take care of your pup throughout the workday.
You can also look through reviews online. Ensure that you read the negative reviews in addition to the positive ones. Everyone has different ideas of what they want out of a doggy daycare so it’s good to look through reviews of all ratings and see what people say. Some negative reviews can be explained away, such as if someone was mad about the doggy daycare closing too early for their tastes. However, if there’s a common thread of horror stories, it’s best to continue your search.
#2. Take A Tour
This is a very important part of choosing a daycare for your furbaby. If the daycare refuses to do tours, this is a big red flag, and you should continue your search. It’s best to do a tour while the daycare is in operation so that you can see how well the dogs are supervised, how conflicts are handled, how quickly messes are cleaned up, and more. You’ll also want to look for good ventilation, solid fencing, proper gating, and safe floor surfaces.
There are several different styles of doggy daycares, which can work better for different types of dogs. You’ll want to select the type that is best suited to your dog’s energy levels and temperament. Some are more like a dog park, while others are home-style. You want to ensure that the doggy daycare separates dogs into groups based on their size, temperament, and activity levels. You also want to ensure that there are kennels or rooms for dogs to take a break in, as too much stimulation can lead to overarousal and aggression.
There should be supervisors actively in the room with the dogs, watching them. It is not enough for dogs to be watched through a window or on the other side of a fence, as the supervisor should be able to step in and prevent trouble as needed. Generally, a ratio of 10-15 dogs per 1 human is considered safe. More active groups may need more supervisors in order to maintain a safe environment for all.
#3. Ask Lots Of Questions
If the people at the daycare seem offended or annoyed by your questions, this is another sign to continue your search. They should be open and willing to answer any questions that you may have.
Some of the questions that you’ll want to ask include:
- Do you follow a schedule? Supervised rest periods are important to ensure the health and safety of your furbaby.
- How do you group dogs? Some doggy daycares group dogs by size and age while others group them by temperament and play style. Some do both. You want to ensure that the dogs are separated into groups for safety.
- What training does the staff have? Simply loving dogs is not enough. You need to be able to trust the staff to have extensive behavioral training so that they can handle the dogs safely, especially when the inevitable scuffles break out.
- Do you require vaccinations? They should, in order to prevent diseases from spreading.
- What would you do if my dog – insert bad behavior here-? This tells you about their training style and how vigilant they are and whether you can trust them to be kind, but firm with your furbaby.
- What is your plan for emergency medical care? The staff should be able to administer first aid for the injuries that can happen during play and in general, but they also need to have a plan for what to do if your dog needs a vet.
- Will I receive daily or weekly reports from you? Really good doggy daycares will fill you in on whether your dog made friends, had any squabbles, what they ate, and more.
- Are you bonded and insured? In the event that something happens, they should be able to cover the damages.
There are plenty more questions that you can ask in order to get a good idea of whether or not a doggy daycare will be a good fit for you and your pup. If they respond openly and seem like warm, patient, and caring people, this is a good sign that you can likely trust them to take good care of your furbaby.
#4. Do A Trial Run/Temperament Test
This is something that the doggy daycare should ask you to do. Trial runs are important both for you and your furbaby and for the daycare so that you can ensure it is a good fit. These are usually free and are typically a few hours/a half-day long.
The trial run is good for the daycare to determine how to appropriately group your dog and whether they are a good fit. It’s also good for you to see if your dog likes it and if the daycare is everything that they say they are. Pay attention to how your dog behaves when you pick them up. It’s a new experience, but they shouldn’t be frantically excited to see you and get out of there. They should be content, if a bit tired from playing.
#5. Pay Attention To How Things Go
Your dog should be excited to go in the morning, and pleasantly tired when you pick them up. If they’re reluctant to go and way too happy to get out of there, listen to them. This means that the daycare likely isn’t a good fit.
While doggy daycare can be an excellent option for some dogs, it’s not for every dog. Some dogs are perfectly content staying home during your workday, while others love being able to socialize and play. As always, pay attention to your furbaby’s specific needs. If doggy daycare is not a good fit for your pup, you can opt for hiring a dog sitter or a dog walker.
Little Teton Doodles cares about helping you ensure that your pup is as happy and healthy as can be. Watch this space, as our next blog will cover how you can keep dogs safe at home and help prevent boredom. Contact us today to learn more about the puppies we have available and whether one of them could be the perfect furry addition to your family.