There have been numerous articles written about choosing the right Dog Daycare for your dog. However it is such an important decision because your dog is part of your family. Consider all the things we look at when choosing the right daycare for our kids. The same thing should be said about daycare for our dogs. There are somethings that every daycare should have, and there are some things that really are more about your dog, and not necessarily about the daycare. At Dogtopia have some strong opinions about what is right for dogs, and we’ve built our facilities around them.
Transparency – What is really going on behind those doors after you drop your dog off. It’s unrealistic for you to be able to walk into the playrooms while the room is full of dogs. That creates an unsafe environment. However, there are many technical solutions such as webcams that can allow us to peak behind the scenes at a dog daycare. But transparency goes beyond that. If a dog goes home with a scratch, did the daycare tell you why? Is a daycare putting profits ahead of the well being of your dog? If you want to know what is happening with your dog, the daycare should be able to tell you.
Separation of Dogs – Proper separation of dogs by size and temperament is the most important safety measure a daycare can take. It is simply not safe for a toy poodle to be in the same pack as a very large dog. Daycares will do their very best to get to know all of the dogs in their care. However, in a pack environment with a lot going on, prey drive can appear in even the most gentle of dogs. Separation should be with a solid wall to eliminate things like fence aggression. Temperament is just as important as size. An older dog may not like all the hyper puppies running around.
Evaluations – daycare is not for every dog. The obvious case is a dog with aggression issues. An aggressive dog obviously should not be in an open play environment. But the same can be said for a very shy and nervous dog. A nervous dog might be better off at home on their own bed than scared of joining an open play environment. A daycare should do an evaluation of every dog no matter how big or small, how young or old. The evaluation is a great way to get to know a dog and ensure a safe and happy playroom full of dogs.
But there are things to consider that are specific to certain dogs.
Climate Control – will your chihuahua be too cold, or your husky too hot? If there is no climate control, maybe.
To crate or not to crate – dogs are denning animals and it’s natural for them to be crated. Does your dog need some downtime during the day? some dogs need time throughout the day when they can take a break from the pack. The safest and easiest way is to use a crate. If your dog cannot go in a crate, is there alternatives like larger suites or private rooms. Most dogs simply cannot play non-stop for 8 hours and do need a break once in a while.
The daycare’s philosophy – Not all daycares share the same philosophy. The daycare should match your own. Dogtopia uses positive reinforcement when working with the dogs.
Knowing your dog and their personality is probably the most important thing in deciding which daycare to bring your dog to.