Picture this: your dog is bored at home, and won’t stop chewing the furniture. Stuffed Kongs don’t hold their attention, and they’ve interrupted your latest Zoom call by barking for the last time. They need mental and physical stimulation, and your work schedule simply isn’t allowing you to devote the necessary time to your dog. You’ve looked at dog daycares in your area, but how do you choose the right one? Today, we’re going to go over some tips that will help you answer that very question.
In addition to physical and mental stimulation, dog daycare provides a routine for your pup, and avoids bringing strangers into your home (in the form of dog walkers).
When deciding on a doggy daycare, make sure that you tour the facilities, or at the very least, get on a video call with the owners so that they can show you around. If the business owner has videos of the facilities on their website, that can suffice as well, but be aware of the fact that videos can be cleverly edited to make things look better than they are.
When watching the videos or touring the facility, observe the groups of dogs and the staff. Are they grouped appropriately by size and / or activity level? Is the staff involved? Are they watching the dogs closely to make sure that all interactions are appropriate? Canine body language is subtle – if one dog stares for a second too long at another, a fight may break out. Conversely, a tongue flick on the nose (or looking away / sniffing the ground) means “I’m not a threat.”
There are numerous types of dog daycare, and they mainly fall into one of three categories. Think about your dog’s personality and their style of play. Do they do better with structured activities such as fetch, tug, or obedience, or are they happier doing their own thing and sniffing round the yard? Knowing your dog (and their personality) will help you determine which style of doggy daycare to choose.
Dog Park Style
This daycare type has large open spaces, and may incorporate both indoor and outdoor elements. If it rains, your pooch may come home with muddy paws and a wet belly! “Social butterfly” types do well in this sort of environment, as it gives them a chance to say hello to all of their friends, catch up on pee-mail, and really stretch their legs! Conversely, more timid dogs, or those who play “keep-away” when you try to catch them, would not do well in this sort of daycare environment.
Separate Play Areas
This is similar to a dog park style daycare, but with smaller spaces that are either indoor-only, or outdoor-only. The size of the canine group is also similarly limited, making this environment better for more timid pups.
This is a dog daycare which, as the name indicates, is based out of someone’s home. This type of daycare is great for dogs who are prone to separation anxiety, or those who do best in a small, controlled group of dogs.
Some dog daycares offer obedience tune-up sessions during the day. These are designed to provide the dog with structure and mental stimulation, and to reinforce known behaviors. Please note that these are not intended as a substitute for obedience training, as they do not focus on teaching new behaviors, or correcting problem behaviors. At Dogology, our doggy day school provides structured walks, supervised group play, and training sessions where our staff reinforces behaviors that your pup already knows.
If you have questions about our program, or if you’d like more information, please feel free to contact us. We’d love to hear from you!