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