For a number of us, choosing the daycare for our dog is more nerve-wracking than selecting a preschool for our kids. Certainly more mysterious. At least we can relate to the preschool experience. But a daycare for dogs? The majority of us naturally assume that if 30 dogs can all be in the same space without ripping each other apart, then it’s all good. Rover’s got friends and a life elevated beyond looking at the walls waiting so that you can come home from work. Enrichment. Right?
Perhaps. However, not always. Let’s break it down and that means you can make an informed decision about daycare Located in Maryland for your pet.
1. The staff: what do they know?
The people in charge of the hands-on management of the playgroups at daycare need to find out what’s what. They’re the difference between a best-day-ever and a get-me-the-freak-out-of-here experience for your dog. Being experienced trainers, we really know what can fail in several dogs. We also know dogs give us plenty of information – broadcasting their feelings, mind-set, and intent – a long time before stuff actually hits the fan. Observers simply need to know what they’re looking at and watching for. Will be the staff at the daycare you’re considering been trained in the subtleties of dog body gestures? Dog behavior? The type of training have they received? (Note: You can’t expect credentialed ethologists to be on staff at your neighborhood dog daycare, but you can get that training goes beyond watching shows on National Geographic and Animal Planet.) Do they know the signs of stress in your dog? And just how do they handle a dog that is showing prolonged signs of stress? (Another note: Remember it’s natural for your dog showing some signs of stress as it adapts to a fresh social situation. Think about the searching look on that person as you scout the cocktail party for someone you may know, or a person who at least looks approachable. It might look a little stress-y for a little as you navigate the social scene.) How do they identify – and interrupt – potential conflict? How do they handle emergencies? Dogs are animals, and stuff happens, but a dog-behavior-savvy staff can spot a potential problem way before it erupts into something beyond acceptable canine communication. Observe a playgroup and have questions.
2. The facility: what’s the place like?
An excellent dog daycare facility doesn’t have to appear to be The Four Seasons. Dogs don’t care about wall art or color schemes. That stuff is for us. However they do need to be able to play on non-slippery surfaces, and have usage of clean potty areas. Ask the facility about their cleaning and disinfecting routine. Take into account that even the cleanest daycare is to your dog what a preschool is to a kid – germ central – and even vaccinated dogs, like kids, aren’t protected out of every virus. In addition to the standard vaccines, the facility should require a fecal test to safeguard against parasites (you’d be shocked at just how many well-cared-for dogs are infected with parasites and show no symptoms). Play areas have to be spacious enough so dogs have room to maneuver rather than feel trapped. Are there areas for dogs that may want to have a break? Lie down? Small and large dogs must have separate play areas. Learn how they handle the dogs in temperatures above 85 and below 45 degrees. There has to be some climate-controlled space.
3. The clientele: who do they let in?
We’re discussing other dogs. Just how do they evaluate dogs for daycare? Ask how they introduce a fresh dog to playgroup. It should be a managed and well-managed process. Just how do they talk to owners in regards to a dog’s behavior? Report cards? Incident reports? How do they decide if Ms. Rough-and-Rowdy’s overt advances toward Mr. Wallflower have to be interrupted? Exactly what does your dog want to do before it gets kicked out of playgroup? If indeed they observe that a puppy simply doesn’t appear to like being there, are they honest with the owners? Those folks who are in the business because our passion is dogs keep their health and safety at the forefront. Making a buck off the trunk of your miserable dog shouldn’t be standard operating procedure of an dog daycare. Again, watch a playgroup and have questions. (But don’t distract the staff that are watching the dogs.)
4. Your pet: cut out for daycare?
Finally, you have to make a genuine appraisal of your pet. Is she cut out for daycare? Does she even like being in the company of several other dogs? Before you answer, it doesn’t count if your dog simply lives with another dog, or sometimes hangs out with your sister’s two dogs. We’re talking a group of dogs, dogs whose butts your pet hasn’t laid eyes on, much less sniffed. When you have any doubts at all, or just don’t know, the daycare you select should have staff experienced in dog behavior conduct an assessment. And it shouldn’t set you back anything. Also, retain in mind that daycare is not rehab for un-socialized dogs. That’s called training and it’s a separate thing. If groups are managed properly, daycare will surely help a shy dog come out of its shell. It’s rather a lifesaver for owners whose social, energetic dogs need an outlet. However, not all dogs appreciate (or need) the company of other dogs. If your senior dog is pleased to spend your day napping, let him nap. In the home. In his own bed. Doggy daycare is the highlight of the day for most dogs. They are the dogs that happily head into the facility, all waggy-butt and wanting to play, and go back home relaxed. If your pet should be dragged in just like a prisoner to the gallows, he could not be considered a good prospect for daycare. Or you may want to try another daycare.
Underneath line in choosing the doggy daycare is you’ve got to be that pet parent: the the one which asks a lot of questions. It’s OK. An established facility will happily reply to your questions and encourage you to avoid by for a tour. Once you find a facility that passes muster to you, let your pet try it out several times for short periods. Find the download from staff how she did. Hopefully it’ll be a positive experience and a great way to obtain enrichment. If not, don’t fret. Your dog might prefer a different kind of social experience, like smaller meet-up groups in town with familiar people and dogs. In the end, not every person is the cocktail-party type.