Dog Daycare 101
Dog daycare is gaining in popularity for two primary reasons. 1) Daycare affords energetic dogs with the opportunity to expend energy in a healthy manner which usually makes for a tired and happy pup at the end of the day. 2) Dogs learn “doggie manners” by interacting in a group. This is especially important for young dogs as they learn they can’t simply run up and jump on top of any dog they see.
The benefits are clear, so apart from the obvious monetary cost, what’s the downside? Dogs are not perfectly predictable and it comes as no surprise that the occasional dog fight may transpire at doggy daycare facilities. While good dog daycare facilities have good practices and trained staff in place to minimize these occurrence, the reality is that dogs may sometimes surprise even the most experienced dog handler. Having said that, it’s important that you research prospective dog daycare facilities to ensure they have good dog daycare practices. Is there always a trained staff member present when dogs from separate families are combined? How many dogs are combined into a play group? What’s the ratio of staff to dogs?
Secondly, it’s possible your dog may get some type of sickness from another dog. This is no different than sending your child for daycare and most parents assume the risk their child will occasionally get sick as part of the daycare experience. Some would even argue it’s a natural part of building up a child’s immune system. In this regard, there is a perfect parallel between the child daycare experience and the dog daycare experience. However, there are things a responsible daycare facility will do to minimize such occurrences. This will include separating dogs that are known to be sick and cleaning fecal matter immediately.
Last of all, how often is your pet playing with others? At most daycare facilities, dogs will spend some “alone time” in some type of enclosure. This is understandable. However, the amount of alone time varies greatly by facility. Don’t hesitate to ask your dog daycare facility all these questions to ensure you get exactly what you’re paying for.
In our opinion, the advantages of doggy daycare far outweigh the downside and, as long as you find the right facility, your experience should be a positive one. You can look forward to a tired and happy pup when you get home from a long day at work.