We all know choosing a doggy day care can be a bit daunting. Sending your four paws family member somewhere you don’t know it’s a huge responsibility. All you want is the best for your buddy.
To give your loved one the best experience on a day away from home it’s essential you do some research and find out all the information you need in order to make the right choice.
Helpful Information to Guide You in the Right Direction
1. Qualified Staff
- Well trained staff is of utmost importance. Find out how much experience they have and what extra training the company provide. Staff should always be attending workshops or studying dog behaviour.
- Supervision is essential in a doggy day care environment, just observing dogs play is not enough. Well trained staff will read body language and intervene at the right moment, before play escalates.
- They need to be assertive and know how to introduce dogs positively. Ask how they will introduce your dog to other dogs.
- Make sure the day care has a low ratio of dogs per handler. I believe a manageable ratio is 8 dogs per handler.
- On your dogs first day at doggy daycare they should never be placed in an area full of dogs without being introduced on a one on one scenario. A good handler will know
2. Ethic Behind the Screening Process
- Booking your dog for the next day is wrong, you dog needs to be comfortable with whoever is picking them up so an initial consultation is paramount. This should be done in the familiar surroundings of your home for at least 1 hour and shouldn’t be rushed.
- Its essential to give your dog a good first experience with the team so your dog can associate them to good and happy feelings. Imagine some stranger turning up, putting you in a van and driving off with no explanation- How would you feel ?
- The handlers must know how to approach your dog in order to establish a positive connection.
- They need to gather all the valuable information, such as socialisation skills, personality and health.
- At the end of the consultation, the handler needs to be able to know if your dog has the right profile for a doggy day care environment. Some dogs don’t and a good doggy daycare will advise you on the best possible solution.
3. A Structured day
- Try to find out in what consists a day at day care.
- Stay away from ” They play!” answer, dogs need more stimulation than that.
- Play is very important but there is also an extensive amount of methods to keep your dog entertained while giving them needed stimulation.
- Ask for regular picture updates to your phone in the first week to make sure your dog is happy and settling in. After this period they should keep their social media updated so you can “check in “ occasionally.
- Is there an warm indoor area?
- Is there enough shade during hot weather?
- Are there separate enrichment areas ?
Winter can be quite cold in the U.K therefore insulated cabins with sufficient heating are a must at doggy day care. The doggy day care needs to be able to provide enough shade for the dogs to avoid issues such as heat strokes. Dogs feel the heat in a different way we do. 23 Degrees can feel very bearable for humans but not for dogs. Fresh water needs to be available at all times and swimming pools are a plus. These are basic facilities a doggy day care should be able to provide.
Also, look for additional features and find out how your dog will benefit from it. Enriched areas with different stimulations will give your dog the mental and physical exercise they need.
5. Health Checks
- All dogs must be vaccinated and health information should be gathered on the consultation day. It is imperative to have this procedure.
- It is important your are updated on any unusual behaviour developed by your dog. A simple “off” day for your dog can mean something.
- Remember, they can’t talk so it is up to us to do our best to understand them.