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September 15, 2015

10 Things to Know/Do Before Taking Your Dog to Daycare

  1. Tour the Facility – Schedule a time to visit the facility. Most Daycares have tour hours scheduled so that the participating dogs are not stressed by the visit and so that adequate staff can be present to give the tour, answer any questions and provide supervision for the dogs attending daycare. Notice how clean the facility is. Is it well-ventilated? How does the staff interact with the dogs? Do the dogs there seem happy? Is there fresh water and shade available? Is rest time scheduled in to the day so that dogs do not become over-stimulated or stressed?
  2. Know the dog to attendant ratio – Are there enough attendants to provide adequate supervision and interaction for the dogs?
  3. Know who is watching your dog – Is the staff observant and attentive? Are the dogs always supervised?
  4. Know the rules and policies – Become familiar with the policies of the daycare. What are the vaccination requirements? You want to make sure that your dog is only around vaccinated, healthy dogs. Is temperament testing a requirement before your dog attends daycare? You want to make sure you are comfortable with the policies and that you are not surprised the first day you take your dog.
  5. How are scuffles handled? – Just like children on a playground, there are likely to be scuffles. You will want to know how the staff handles them and that you are comfortable with their ability to do so.
  6. How are playgroups determined? – Are they determined by size? Temperament? Preferred type of play? There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to determine playgroups, but as the guardian of your dog(s), you want to be comfortable with the playgroup your dog will be joining. You know your dog best, so make sure you discuss this with the staff.
  7. Are treats given during the day? – This is a concern for dogs on restricted diets. If treats are given, find out what kind and what ingredients are in them.
  8. How is the staff trained? – Are they Pet First Aid/CPR certified? Are they trained to handle emergencies? Do they have an emergency plan in place?  Is there continuing education for the staff?  You, as pet guardian, have to decide the importance of the type of training the staff has.
  9. Accidents happen – Just like with the children on the playground mentioned above, accidents happen. The staff should do everything they can to prevent injury or illness, but there are instances where even with proper precautions and vigilant supervision, dogs will get hurt or sick. Sometimes, rough play will result in bite marks or scratches, etc. You should be comfortable with the staff’s ability to handle these situations. Ask questions.
  10. Not every dog is suited for daycare – Some dogs, particularly fearful or under-socialized dogs, are stressed by daycare. Some dogs are too rambunctious or bullies and do not play well with others. Generally, if your dog does not enjoy a dog park or does not play well with other dogs at the park, he/she is probably not a good candidate for daycare. The goal is for your dog to come home happy and relaxed (and a little tired) but not agitated or stressed. If your dog is not a good fit for daycare, it’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that. Daycare is a great thing for dogs who enjoy it!


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