All You Need To Know About Doggy Day Care
If you work full time and you do not have anybody to look after your dog then you may be considering dog day care. Sending your dog to day care will also be a good opportunity for her to meet and mix with other dogs, and it can be really fun for her. But not all dog day care centers are alike, so you will need to find out a few things first.
Assess How Your Dog Will React To Day Care
Most dogs handle day care well but some don’t, so the first thing you need to do is assess your dog’s suitability. How does she get on with other dogs? Does she like spending time with other dogs or does she dislike this? When your dog is with other dogs do they play well together?
Also think about whether your dog likes participating in activities such as playing in the park. Day care for dogs normally involves a lot of activities, and if your dog is not suited to this then it is unlikely to work very well. Your dog may get on well with other dogs but they might just “chill out” together rather than frantically playing.
Check Out Dog Day Care Centers
If you think that your dog is suitable for daycare then be sure to check out a number of places before committing your dog to one. The primary concern here is for your dog’s safety. There are a few horror stories about dogs dying in day care, so this is very important. Ask questions at the center, and if you do not receive satisfactory answers then walk away.
You will need to find out if they have a suitable screening process for new dogs coming in to the center. This should include a temperament test to assess the suitability of all new dogs for daycare.
This protects the dogs in the day care and the people supervising them. Your dog’s suitability as a play mate with other dogs should also be assessed. Any new dogs should also be checked for up to date vaccinations.
Then there are the security issues. Is the perimeter of the daycare center protected with strong gates and high fences? You do not want your dog to be able to escape easily and try to find you. Inspect the activity areas and make sure that they are not an accident waiting to happen. There should be no dangerous electric wires for your dog to chew. Ask them to take you through their emergency procedures.
Staff Training And The Supervision Of Classes
The training of the staff is very important, as you will want to know how the dogs are supervised, and be sure that they are not left alone to do whatever they want. You will also want to know how many dogs are supervised by each person.
Ask about the level of training that each dog supervisor has. What you are looking for here as a minimum is that they can take care of your dog, understand her body language and recognize if she is stressed about something.
The staff should all be good communicators with dogs, and have a good grounding in dog behavior. There are many intricacies here, and they need to have a good grasp of why dogs do what they do and then react in the right way to this.
Understanding the behavior of a single dog is one thing, the complexity increases when the supervisor has several dogs to manage. This is not something that is learned overnight, so you want to find out how experienced the dog supervisors are.
There are strict laws in some States concerning the ratio of supervisors to dogs. One person to a maximum of 15 dogs is a common one. This ratio has been endorsed by the Pet Care Services Association, and there are other recommendations about very active and passive classes.
If the class is really active then a ratio of one supervisor to 10 dogs is suggested, and in a more passive group one supervisor to 20 dogs is recommended. If you find that one person has the responsibility for over 20 dogs then find another daycare center for your dog.
What About Different Sizes Of Dogs And Different Breeds?
If the doggie daycare center tells you that they put all the small dogs together then get out of there! A small dog and a puppy from a different breed may be about the same size, but that does not mean that they will interact well together. The daycare should assess each individual dog for their play styles and activity levels, and not just place dogs in the same class because they are similar in size.
The same thing goes for dog breeds. There are no dog breeds that are unsuitable for daycare. It is all about assessing the dogs on an individual basis. If a dog has not been well socialized [link this to the puppy socialization article] then this can cause a lot of problems. The knowledge of different breeds amongst the staff is also an important factor.
How Regularly Should Your Dog Go To Day Care?
This really depends on the type of dog that you have, and the rules of the daycare center. Some daycares will want you to bring your dog a specific number of times so that they can ensure the correct integration with the other dogs in the class. Once your dog is in their care they should inform you if your dog is looking tired and needs to have a break.
Common sense needs to come into play here. If you have a younger and active dog then it is likely that they will be able to handle more visits to doggy daycare. If your dog is older and less active then fewer visits will be required.
Signs That Your Dog Is Enjoying Daycare – Or Not
Once your dog has started going to daycare how do you know if she is enjoying it or not? Well check her out when she comes home. Is she happy and feeling relaxed or does she seem stressed out? If she is tired and happy then that’s fine, but if she is agitated in any way then there is likely to be a problem.
When you are getting ready to go to daycare in the morning is she excited about this? Is her tail wagging and is she looking eager to go? If so, then daycare probably agrees with her. If there is any resistance to her attending daycare, then this might mean that you are taking her to often, or that this particular daycare center is not right for her.
Help Your Dog To Relax When She Returns From Daycare
Your dog has had a fun and active day at daycare and she is happy to be back home. You can help her to relax by providing a comfortable dog bed. Please read our review of the five best dog beds.