Having to leave your dog alone for an extended period is no fun. Still, you’ve decided that you must, and the best option is to have your dog go to a dog boarding or dog daycare center or service. Now, that you’ve settled on that decision, the next step is to decide which of the available centers are best for you. Here are some tips to help you decide.
Four Things to Consider When Choosing A Doggy Daycare Centre
1. Get firsthand feedback
Just as how you would not send your children to just any children’s nursery without visiting first, don’t send your dog to just any dog daycare service without visiting. If you have a dog boarding and care service in mind, be sure to plan a thorough visit where you are able to see what their day will be like.
Be sure to pay keen attention to where your dog will be spending the day, with whom, and what their activities will look like.
Our protip is to go during the busiest time – such as the middle of the day between 11 am to 1 pm. This will allow you to see exactly what the daycare will be like at full throttle and consequently what your dog’s experience is likely to be like.
Here’s a checklist to consider when observing the dog care center:
1. What’s the atmosphere like?
- Are the dogs friendly, social, and happy?
- Is the atmosphere quiet and calm, or is it noisy and chaotic?
- Does the staff appear to love dogs and their jobs? Are they actively and happily engaging with the dogs?
- Is there ample room for the dogs to move around freely and comfortably?
2. Ask questions
Chances are, the senior members of staff will speak to you concerning the services of the centre. However, it is important that you speak to the dog carers themselves as they will have direct daily contact with the dogs. When you do speak with senior members and dog carers alike, be sure to be bold in your questioning. Be unafraid to ask the seemingly difficult questions.
3. Other important observations
- What is the staff-to-dog ratio? A maximum of one dog carer to 12 dogs is a great ballpark to work with.
- Do dogs get injured, and how often
- Have dogs been expelled and how often does this practice occur?
- How are toys and balls treated? Are they thrown at the dogs that can cause dogs to become competitive and nip when they are in a group setting?
- Are un-neutered males dogs over 12 months old accepted? This should not be so as testosterone in such a group setting is not recommended.
- Are small dogs and puppies bullied by larger ones? Importantly, separating dogs by size is not necessarily the best thing as smaller dogs can bond with larger ones.
3. Look for structure and commitment
Both yourself as a dog owner and the dog boarding services you opt to use must be committed to the process and structure and the process of dog daycare. After all, the best doggy daycare centres will feature some form of consistency and require a certain level of commitment. For example, at many daycares, it is required that each client send their dog at least once per week. Regularity ensures that there is some dog group dynamic is established.
4. Look at commuting and pick up/drop off times
Many dog boarding or dog daycare centres will offer the option of collecting and dropping off a dog as a part of their services offering. In this instance, one thing to carefully consider is how long the possible commute will be. For example, if the dog is being collected and returned during peak times, then commute is likely to be long, and your dog will spend much time travelling. As a rule, look for pre-peak hour start times and post-peak hour closing times that can significantly reduce commuting times.
In addition to the travelling time, it is also important to pay attention to how your dog(s) will travel. Generally, it is best for the dog daycare service to offer dog-friendly air-conditioned vehicles equipped with vet-approved crates during commute or travel. Individual crates for the dogs are very important. This ensures that the dogs do not inadvertently hurt each other during commute and that it easy to individually drop off each dog when they arrive home without risking all the dogs escaping at once.
5. Have Fun
Finally, it is important to remember to have fun when choosing your best-suited dog boarding or dog daycare centre. Instead of being a stressful experience, it should be one you can enjoy as you consider the best for your dog. After all, you want to ensure that your dog will have fun at the centre you do choose. As such, incorporating the spirit and energy of fun from the very beginning is an excellent way to go.
Here at Triton Kennels, we provide both a fun atmosphere as well as high-quality services options. As such, you can opt to contact us anytime to discuss how we can best meet your needs and those of your dog. We are excited to meet with you!