If you have ever shopped around for a dog daycare or a franchise for that matter, then you understand that not all of them are created equal. In fact, it can be quite difficult for a pet parent to evaluate the dog daycare options for a couple of reasons:
#1 You are not an expert on dogs, which forces you to take the word of someone who tells you they are.
#2 Until now, there has not been a “gold standard” to measure up against in the dog daycare space.
At Dogtopia, safety is our middle name so when we see other daycare facilities that demonstrate these features below, it worries us about the safety of the dogs.
- Play-spaces that are too large for an attendant to get to a dog quickly that may have engaged in a scuffle with another dog. Or outside play-spaces that are impossible to keep free of foreign objects that can be harmful to dogs.
- Porous, cracked, concrete floors that are not only dangerous physically for dogs and staff members, but they become difficult to sanitize effectively.
- Very soft, spongy interlocking floors (similar to what you see in gyms). This type of flooring is actually impossible to sanitize and can actually start breaking away which can be dangerous if ingested by a dog.
- One large playroom where there is no separation of the dogs based on size or temperament.
- ZERO training activities that promotes good behaviour.
The features listed above highlight only just a few of the differences in philosophy of how at Dogtopia we believe is the best way to operate a dog daycare, but it’s the last point that is often overlooked. Melissa McKee District Manager of Dogtopia Canada’s corporate locations and member of our Support Office says, “At Dogtopia there is a purpose and objective to everything we do. After your dog attends daycare, you will have a tired, well balanced, well behaved pup – they will be well better socialized and better trained. Best of all, when they see you after a full day of play, they will be ready cuddles and quiet time at home.”
We achieve this in three ways:
- Evaluation of the dog for the playroom
- Activities in the playroom
- The sophistication of the playroom
How We Evaluate Dogs for the Playroom:
- The basics – vaccination records, spayed or neutered after 7 months of age.
- Questionnaire for the Pet Parent including 5 questions about how their dog socializes.
- Touch test
- Crate test
- Friendship test (how does the dog react with dogs of the opposite sex, passive dogs, excitable dogs, etc.)
When the dog passes, it is placed in one of three rooms depending on its size and temperament. When the dog does not pass the evaluation, the Pet Parent is given a report card of things to work on and tips to achieve these goals.
Activities in a Playroom:
As Melissa mentioned, our goals at the end of the day are to have tired, well socialized, and better-behaved dogs. There is an art and a science to achieving this, and we can tell you that it does not happen by just letting a group of dogs loose in a room without any structure. Here are just a few of the ways that our Canine Coaches ensure that each day every dog has the most exciting day ever.
- At a minimum, each dog is practicing training activities at least 10 times a day. (e.g. leash desensitization)
- It’s not all ‘work’ for the dog, we encourage balanced/fair play. No biting, pulling, no two on one, no group chases. We play games like follow the leader, take them through obstacle courses, and everyone’s favourite we play with BACON BUBBLES! …yes, it’s a thing.
Lastly, the one thing that really shines the spotlight on Dogtopia as the leader of the pack in dog daycare is the Sophistication of the Playroom. From the flooring to the air filtration, below you will get a small taste of why Pet Parents coast to coast trust Dogtopia with their BFFF’s. (Best Furry Friend Forever)
- Specialized non slip, nonporous flooring that is easy on the joints, easy on the staff and easily sanitized. Side note: This flooring can also help us identify potential medical issues by easily allowing us to see the dog’s urine and bowel movements.
- Appropriately sized and spaced playrooms designed for optimal play and safety.
- Specialized UV lighting that helps kill airborne bacteria.
- Temperature controlled and sophisticated HVAC systems that brings fresh air in from the outside in, but filters out pathogens, all while keeping the smell of the outdoors making the dogs feel like they are outside.
- HD webcams that promote transparency and lets the Pet Parent be a fly on the wall and check in on their dogs throughout the day.
This truly is our secret sauce – we have been able to perfect our systems and training to equip franchisees to run their businesses safely and effectively. From the four weeks of in-store and classroom training the franchisee will receive combined with the 60 plus hours of in-room, online module training for Canine Coaches, continuous education and ongoing coaching you receive from Support Office, we’ve got you covered! When you become a franchisee with Dogtopia Canada, you become part of our pack, and the rule is, you never leave a pack member behind!
See you in the Dogtopia playroom with your BFFFs (best furry friends forever).