Benefits and Types of Doggie Daycare
Have you considered taking your dog to daycare but don’t know where to start? There are numerous reasons you may want to take your pup to daycare. Maybe you think that your dog needs socialization because there aren’t many opportunities to meet dogs in your regular routine. If you have a puppy or have adopted a rescue dog, your dog might still be working on their good canine communication skills, or maybe you have a busy work life and need some assistance during the work day.
For dogs, being social is instinctual. With proper introductions from an early age, communication skills are something dogs pick up naturally. Consider it like speaking another language in humans. Without regular practice, a dog can start to lose their canine communication skills, like humans can lose their ability to speak in a language they don’t use. Regular playtime with other dogs has numerous benefits, including building confidence around other dogs and people your dog has never met. Another important benefit, especially for those dogs who are short on outdoor time, is staying physically active. Staying physically active reduces the likelihood of obesity, which is becoming more common in dogs. Some doggie daycares will help your dog learn good behavior with training. One of the sweetest benefits is seeing your dog make friends.
Whatever your reason for wanting your dog in daycare, there are a variety of doggy daycare programs to suit your individual dog’s needs. If you live in a medium to large size city, you are probably overwhelmed with options, so we want to help you filter through those and find the best situation to suit your needs. The best one for your dog might not be the closest one to you and might not necessarily be the one your friends take their dogs to.
Structure & Training
While some doggy daycares are all about dog play time, others incorporate training time as well. If a daily schedule isn’t listed on a dog daycare website you’ll want to ask about the structure of the day to get a sense of it. Structure is important for a young dog to learn a routine. Also active dogs or dogs that tend to get into mischief at home can benefit from a structured routine both at home and at daycare. Some daycares also have training built into the day. In a young or newly rescued dog, training as a part of doggie daycare may be important to help your dog with manners outside of the home.
Building rest time into the dog daycare schedule is especially important for high energy dogs or the social butterfly types, that simply won’t stop going in the presence of other dogs for fear of missing out. If your dog is able to remove themselves from playtime on their own when they need a rest, finding a doggy daycare that builds rest into the schedule may be less important to you. If, however, your dog is the type that needs to greet every dog he meets and does not stop to take a minute to lay down or drink water, you will want to look for a program that builds in rest or nap time into the daily schedule.
Communication & Visibility
Do you want webcams and daily report cards? Not all daycares are created equal in this regard. If in a playroom setting, cameras are important to you, then you may be be limiting your options, as not all daycares offer this service. If it is important to you to be able to see your dog at daycare from the comfort of your computer or a mobile app, then it is a good idea to search for a facility that has cameras. Another common thing in the daycare industry these days is the provision of report cards, or at least the ability to talk specifically about what your dog did in a day. A sign of a good hands-on daycare is one that knows your dog and their personality pretty well, because they are interacting with and supervising him. Report cards are nice to have, but they only show a small picture of a point in time during your dog’s day.
Depending on where you live, there can be a wide variety in the types of spaces dog daycares offer. If you are in a city, outdoor spaces may be difficult to come by. If you are in a suburban or more rural area, then outdoor spaces may be plentiful. Multiple rooms and play spaces can be nice for variety. A choice in climbing structures like agility course items, tires, kiddie pools all offer great learning experiences for your dog. If you can get a tour or a virtual tour of the facility, it is nice to see what spaces your dog will be spending their day in.
Do you need a place that offers grooming? Some daycares bill themselves as being like a Spa, and offer nail trim services and even a full bath, brush and cut services while your dog is in their care. If it makes your life easier to find a place that has this, it is certainly a good environment to receive such services. If you have an anxious or nervous dog, then meeting their grooming needs in a fun, safe environment where they already feel comfortable is a really good idea. Some daycares also offer overnight or boarding services. This is another great option for nervous dogs, building up their confidence in the daycare environment with which they are familiar before boarding.
Are you the type of person that needs to drop off your dog last minute or can you book weeks out? Check and see how booked in advance the doggie daycares you are researching get. Knowing what kind of lead time you need, if any, to drop off your dog for the day can help you make the decision if that location is a good fit for you!
Here at UKUSCAdoggie, we hope we can help you narrow down your field of choices to determine if a doggie daycare is the right one for you. If you need any new harnesses or breakaway collars for the occasion let us know. We’d be happy to equip your dog, and get them ready for their big day. Once you’ve narrowed your choices, keep in mind that most dog daycares will require proof of vaccinations and a temperament assessment or trial period. Contact them to get it arranged, and we hope that you find the perfect situation and that your dog makes lots of friends!