Let’s Talk Doggy Daycare!
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This past winter has been an extreme one. Because of this, despite asking around, we were not able to set up many winter doggie play-dates for our lovable rescue mutt, Jessie. This meant that for the past few months, Jessie was not around too many other dogs on a routine basis, which resulted in her becoming very excitable on our walks when she did meet another four-legged someone.
Now that Spring is coming, we anticipate more routine play dates. We want to make sure that Jessie remembers her manners, and be able to check her high level of excitement at seeing another dog.
So that’s where doggy daycare came in. Yesterday was Jessie’s first Evaluation Day at a new doggie day care center. Despite being a very nervous Mommy, we dropped her off and we all survived.
Are you looking into a doggy day care?
Doggy daycare has been compared to pre-school for children. In this setting, they meet new friends of all personalities and sizes, and learn social skills that are invaluable to their development throughout life that can only be taught by other dogs.
It’s a great way to encourage independence, in a new setting, that’s safe. Doggy daycare can be utilized in many ways: as a baby-sitter, a boredom alleviator, and an exercise outlet. Did you know that many doggy daycares also board dogs?
There are many great articles giving tips on how to find a great doggy day care. I’ve taken some of the best advice from a few different articles for a quick summary:
- Ask your trainer or veterinarian for a recommendation.
- Select a few doggy daycares and go visit them.
- Are all areas clean and fresh smelling? Is your dog sensitive to cleaners? Ask what they use.
- Are trained staff always present in all dog play areas? They should be.
- Do the dogs have access to water all the time? They should.
- Is there an indoor and outdoor area? Some dogs may not tolerate gravel or pebble foundations. Found out what their outdoor area has for ground covering.
- How often are dogs allowed outside? Some dogs won’t void inside.
- How does the staff interact with all the dogs? You don’t want someone watching over your dog who does not interact /pay attention.
- Does your dog need to eat during the day? Talk about your dog’s special needs.
- What are their emergency procedures for injuries, sickness and/or severe weather? Ask about their safety plans.
- What is their process for handling aggression?
- Is there a nap time? Where do the dogs get to lie down?
- What are their requirements? You will need to provide proof of requested vaccinations, etc.
- A responsible daycare will want to evaluate your dog at their facility to ensure that s/he is a good fit.
- Many doggy daycares offer webcam access so you can keep your eye on how s/he is doing.
Don’t be discouraged if it seems like the first few visits look like they are not going well! It may take some time before your dog begins to feel comfortable and confident in a doggy daycare setting. You can rely on staff feedback, webcam watching, and your dog’s reactions after coming home to determine if doggy daycare is the right choice for you.
What if doggy daycare isn’t for your dog? Try these suggestions to provide a well-rounded lifestyle:
- Formal training classes
- Dog walker services
- Dog parks
Remember, your pet depends on you for a balanced, healthy lifestyle!