What can and should daycare do for your dog?
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Dog daycare while still in its infancy as a business overall has come a long way over the last 5 years or so. While when the idea first started here in Ireland it was mainly an add on service for many dog groomers or home boarders to supplement their income now most dogs owners have now become more disconcerting in picking a place to leave their beloved pooch and are looking for much more than a crate or cage for their dog to sit in for a few hours everyday. There are some amazing dedicated dog daycare centres now open throughout the country so what should you be looking for.
Nirvana – a dog daycare dream!
In an ideal world daycares centres should be all about the dogs! While you as an owner of course has to be considered after all you will be paying the bill at the end of the day, it should always be about your dog and what they are happy doing.Daycare should always be a secure environment with trained professional staff that will enhance your dogs life. There should be activities planned daily suitable for all dogs in the group. Staff should be trained in aspects of dog behaviour to spot any potential issues with your dog, staff should be certified in canine first aid to help if an accident should happen. Staff should have a genuine love of dogs and an interest in helping you and your dog build an amazing relationship. The place itself should be clean and fresh with good ventilation and deigned with dogs enjoyment & safety in mind. Toys, games and equipment should be suitable for dogs big and small with an emphasis on mental stimulation as well as physical exercise.
We get calls all the time from people looking for recommendations for daycares in their area so here are a few tips on what to look out for.
Visit the place and talk to the staff. While for safety reasons most centres will not be able to admit you into the actual daycare area on a busy daycare day, most will have a viewing window or an open day every so often where you can visit and get a feel for the place and the team who will be looking after your dog.
Ask many questions, do the dogs get fed during the day, if so what food? Where do they go to the toilet? Do you have a neutering policy? What happens if my dogs gets ill during the day? What experience does the daycare have with dog behaviour? How many dogs come in daily? Will I get feedback on how my dog is getting in? What are your drop off and pick up times?
Assessments – A good daycare will not just say yes to admit your dog and then throw them in with a group of other dogs to fend for themselves. Daycares should always have in place an assessment system to make sure that your dog will be happy in a group dog situation. Different dogs have different personalities and not all are social butterflies that want to play in groups. An assessment should include handling exercises, slow introductions to staff and other dogs, testing for guarding instincts around food and toys etc. An assessment from an experienced dog handler can highlight issues that maybe you hadn’t noticed in your own dog before! ******IMPORTANT***** You have just done your assessment and have been told that you dog is not suitable for daycare? GREAT, this means that the place you are dealing with actually cares about your dog! They are not going to put your dog or anyone elses dog at risk or under stress for the sake of making a few euro. Most daycare centres will have dog training team working with them so ask for their advice and help. Most will have contact with local dog walkers who may be able to help if you need to get your dog out of the house during the day while you work or are unable to exercise them yourself.
One thing we always say to potential clients that come into PDT is that daycare is not for every dog. If you have a very shy or fearful dog, or a dog that’s not too comfortable around other dogs take professional advice and look at training and behaviour as a first option rather than a solution to your dogs issues.
If you would like more information on our dog daycare or any of our training, behavioural or grooming services give us a call on 019013018.