Dog daycare can be a great activity for your dog, getting out that crazy energy while you are extra busy and helping your dog learn how to play with new dogs. While daycare might not be right for every dog, there are a lot of options out there and picking the right one for your dog is important.
Daycares have many benefits for both you and your pup. Having a place where you can take your dog during the day so they can get some exercise while you are working is a major plus! If the weather is poor, you have a busy week, or you have company coming over, using a daycare can help wear out your dog. Dogs also learn to socialize with other dogs and new people. Whether you have a puppy or an older dog, dogs learn a lot from other dogs, and being in the daycare environment lends itself to dogs teaching and learning from each other. Finally, daycares give dogs a chance to be dogs. Some dogs act one way at home and while walking on the leash, but can then let loose at daycare and have some playtime with their friends. Most daycares will also offer grooming services. So after your dog is tired out, their nail trims and baths will go a whole lot easier.
When looking for the right daycare, our recommendation is to ask yourself, “Do I feel comfortable at this facility?”. Yes, it’s about the dog, but if you don’t get a good vibe from the place, do you trust your dog in their care? Be sure to ask a lot of questions! You are trusting these employees to take care of a member of your family. Ask to tour the facility and think about the following questions. Do the employees seem knowledgeable about the place? How does the building smell? Does it look cluttered? How does it sound? Are the dogs barking excessively? If the employees don’t have time to answer your questions or seem bothered by them, it probably isn’t the right facility for you. Current clients can give you a great idea of how they feel about the facility. So if you see someone dropping their dog off for daycare, be sure to ask them questions too!
Daycares come in a variety of sizes and prices. Some daycares only allow a certain number of dogs per day, some separate by size, some have video cameras, some put the dogs in kennels for nap time. Some daycares will have over 150 dogs each day, while that might seem like a lot (ok, it’s a lot) some dogs will love to have that many friends to play with every day. If you have a retired racing greyhound, they might need to be at a facility that separates by size to ensure that they don’t start chasing around all of the little dogs. If you have a golden retriever that loves everyone they meet, 150 dogs might be heaven! If you have an older pup, finding a daycare that has beds or cots to rest on and a little extra TLC is something that is going to be important to you. High energy dog, find a daycare that has extra space to run. Labrador, find a daycare that has pools or sprinklers. Bored at work, find a daycare that has a camera.
Try out different daycares as most daycares offer a free evaluation on the first day and ask specific questions when you pick them up? How did they play? Did they seem comfortable and excited or were they nervous? Your comfort and happiness with the facility and employees are just as important as the dogs’ happiness. Determine your priorities and deal breakers with daycares, and you will find a match that works for both you and your dog! Seeing how excited your dog is to go in and play with their friends and having a tired pup when you pick them up makes for a positive experience for all!
By: Erin Hansen