How To Choose A Doggie Daycare

  • SumoMe

With the busy lives that a lot of us lead our dogs are often left at home alone for prolonged periods of time.  Also, many people think that because of their work schedule fitting a dog into their life is impossible.  One viable option for those of us in this situation is doggie daycare.  Doggie daycare centers not only provide avenues for socialization and exercise, but many also offer obedience training. So, what are the pros and cons to doggie day care and what should you look for in a daycare center?  A well-run facility will be of benefit to both you and your dog.  Your dog will have the opportunity to socialize with others of his own species, learn important social skills, and become well rounded and balanced.  Your dog will also benefit from mental and physical stimulation, which can help reduce behavior issues at home that stem from boredom and inactivity.  Here is a list of questions you should ask when screening a daycare center:

  1. Does the daycare have a certified trainer on staff?
  2. What is the daycare’s training/behavior management philosophy?
  3. What is the caregiver to dog ratio? (1 to 15 is good)
  4. Does the staff have a dog fight protocol in place?
  5. What steps are taken in the event of a veterinary emergency?
  6. Is the place clean and relatively odor free?
  7. Do indoor facilities have good ventilation?
  8. Does the daycare have adequate fencing and secure areas between access doors?
  9. Does a behaviorist or trainer screen the dogs before acceptance?
  10. Does the daycare require vaccinations (see Table 1), negative fecal tests, and flea treatments/preventatives?
  11. Do staff members receive continuing education and training?
  12. Are the dogs supervised at all times?
  13. What dog-related experience does the daycare owner have?

Daycare centers are great, but they are not without a few drawbacks.  For one, they aren’t free.  Most daycare centers charge between $15-$30 a day for basic services.  Also, disease and parasite transmission can occur in any communal environment; so can dog fights.  However, a well-managed facility has staff that is trained to minimize conflict, including screening newcomers, checking vaccination status, gradual introductions, and monitoring play.       Unfortunately, doggie daycare is not for every dog.  If you have an aggressive dog, this is not the place to teach your dog to be more social.  Dogs with serious behavior issues need behavior modification and should be treated by a behaviorist.


If you have any stories about your experience  at a doggie daycare, please share!


Pictures provided by insidethemagic, amblebamble39507, and Alex E. Proimos

6 thoughts on “How To Choose A Doggie Daycare

  1. Pingback: How To Handle Separation Anxiety | The Balanced Canine | The Balanced Canine

  2. We take our social, fully vaccinated large breed mutt pup (age 7 months) to a day care, usually once a week. There is no one that can wear her out like another high energy pup, and unlike the dog park, all dogs are known to be vaccinated and temperament screened before they are accepted. Another thing is that because myself (and the other owners) are not present, we have a completely impartial semi professional person looking at the dogs’ behavior and deciding what is and is not appropriate, and good for the group as a whole, and intervening, instead of my agonizing “Is this OK, is the other dog too rough, should I stay out of it, and let them work it out, or intervene, is the other owner going to think I am irresponsible, or on the flip side, a “helicopter doggy mommy” if I intervene, or ask them to remove their dog. They have a little doggy cam set up, so I can “check in” when ever I want. Also, it is indoors, so my pup is not muddy when we go fetch her. She LOVES it! According to the staff, she plays and interacts very well.

    I like it much better than the dog park, in many respects, it seems safer, cleaner, and much more controlled than the dog park. Only downside is the modest cost, which is why she can only go once a week. We go to the dog park sometimes, too, and she does well there as well, she is confident, but does not challenge dominant dogs, but I always feel more “high alert” in that location, and try to go during hours when there aren’t many dogs there.

    So in general, when it comes to enhancing socialization for an already social puppy, We love day care, and prefer it to a dog park.

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