Approximately some of us might like it, we can’t be with this dogs all the time. Whether you’re taking a protracted vacation without your beloved pooch, or you just need some peace and quiet to get things done around the house, a doggie daycare can be a lifesaver. But the question is: How will you choose the right one for your pet? Being a long-time animal rescuer, dog parent, and lost pet specialist, I’ve compiled a list to help you pick your winner.
1. Require personal referrals from family, friends, and neighbors.
Turning to the people you trust most often yields great results. So start early and put the word out. And don’t forget about calling your web circles through social media and neighborhood websites like Healthy hound playground
2. Do your own online research.
Since you get recommendations from people, Google the names of the facilities and owners. Look them through to Yelp, Angie’s List, and the BBB website. And, obviously, you can plug within your own search terms to find places you might want to check out.
3. Visit facilities in person.
Once you’ve determined some potential daycares, go have a tour. Focus on:
Staff to dog ratio
Overall cleanliness, appearance, and smell
Doors/gate: Is there at least two of these between the lobby and street? Are they in good working order, including latches and locks?
Outdoor areas: They must have appropriate fencing (at least 6’ or 7’). Make sure the fence is not compromised at all. Also notice if there’s plenty of water and shade available which dogs are constantly monitored while outside.
General appearance and demeanor of staff: Are they friendly, knowledgeable, and communicative? Do they seem to be pleased to be there and well-rested? Do they seem to be to be well-liked by both human and canine clients? Be skeptical of staff that are sullen, tired, uninformed, or confused, and the ones who don’t interact well with human or canine clients.
The way the animals are treated and supervised: Look for staffers that give their full focus on the dogs. Watch how they manage the dogs. Do they appear to have the ability to read dog body gestures? Are they in a position to head off scuffles at the pass? Are they calling the dogs by name? Take into account any employees who are on the phones or otherwise distracted. Watch out for staffers who seem to be either overly aggressive or too passive with the dogs. Do the dogs display happy body language (tail wagging, heads up, playing with each other)? Scan the corners – are dogs cowering or displaying behaviors that indicate they don’t feel safe?
4. Talk with managers/key staff and find out a little about the facility.
Ask lots of questions:
How long gets the facility been operating?
What’s the application/evaluation process?
What is the normal daily routine like?
Do they use cameras to monitor the dogs? Are they web-accessible to clients?
What exactly are the qualifications of the workers?
Ask to see licenses and facility permits
Ask what their protocol is for lost pet prevention and response
Ask how they handle emergencies such as a dog fight, injury, or sickness
Ask questions about any online or person to person concerns you have about them
5. Ask previous and current clients what they take into account the facility.
You can certainly do this by striking up conversations in the parking lot or by directly messaging or emailing the authors of any interesting online reviews.
6. Take notice of the parking lot and lobby.
Watch your body language of dogs entering the facility. Do they appear excited, or do they put on the brakes? What do the dogs appear to be as they exit the facility?
Note how staffers handle dogs during fall off and grab. Are they cognizant of avoiding fights and letting the dogs bolt out the entranceway? Do they know and use dogs’ and humans’ names? Are they professional and efficient with any paperwork and payment procedures? Do they seem to be to have a lot of long-term clients or is the clientele mostly new?
7. Provide them with a trial run.
If you believe you’ve found a winner, drop your dog off for simply a few hours when you run local errands. Make it a day when you’re able to drop everything and overcome there if anything goes sideways. While your pet will there be, call and check in on your dog. Staff should be able to give a status report in fairly short order. When you select your dog up, ask for another report of what and how she did. The greater specific the answers staff can provide, the better.
8. Once you go back home, notice your dog’s behavior.
She should be tired, however, not totally exhausted. She might be considered a little stinky, but she shouldn’t reek of urine or feces. Be sure to give her body a complete once-over to consider any marks. Little scratches should be expected, but bites or other severe injuries should be a major concern. Sometimes, accidents happen at doggie daycare, however the facility should always call you immediately to report them. If indeed they don’t, they are simply either trying to cover up it or they don’t know about it – neither which is good.
9. Stay alert.
Once you select a facility, stay involved and communicative. Things can change over time, and accidents happen even in the best places, so don’t let yourself become too complacent. Continue to keep your radar up.
Leaving your pet with strangers can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Just a little homework can go quite a distance, so do your homework, and you simply (as well as your dog) will reap the huge benefits.