Throughout most of my life, I had never heard about "doggy daycare." It wasn't until about 15 or so years ago that I first encountered this phenomenon. That won't last, I said to myself. It's just a fad to squander the hard-earned money out of pet owners. Now, as I look back, this "doggy daycare" craze is all the rage. It has turned out to be a blessing-in-disguise for many a pet owner.
Is Doggy Daycare Right For Your Dog?
Doggy daycare is not the ideal choice for every dog, however. The best candidate that will benefit from these programs are dogs that are outgoing, playful, and require a considerable amount of exercise daily.
For a dog that is energetic and needs a lot of exercise, these places are really great. Today, with both pet parents working and hectic family schedules, many dogs do not get nearly enough exercise. Veterinarians will tell you that they see way too many dogs that have serious health issues because of the lack of exercise. Many dog breeds were developed to work. These dogs really don't like sitting on their paw thumbs doing nothing. Many of them develop emotional and behavioral problems if they are not active.
Adolescent and young adult dogs also require a lot of exercise throughout the day. Remember when you were an adolescent or young adult? How much energy did you have? It's the same for animals. If they don't get enough exercise you are just asking for trouble. At the very minimum, all dogs should get at least a half-hour of very vigorous exercise.
Think of a doggy daycare center as a place for dogs who like to have a social life. But don't use it to socialize your dog. Especially if you have not properly trained your dog as a puppy to be social. Many times owners think that this is a good way to socialize their dogs to become more friendly with other dogs. If a dog was not socialized as a puppy The end result will be very bad.
Dogs that are not well-socialized tend to have a fear of other dogs. Either your dog will end up more anti-social or a big fight will break out. And that is your responsibility.
For dogs that haven't been properly socialized, you should make more time in your daily schedule to spend time with your dog. Play a good game of fetch. Take him for long walks. Slowly introduce him to other dogs. Take a walk around the outside of a dog park to see what his reaction will be like with other dogs. Then once your dog is able to get along well with other dogs you can slowly introduce him to a doggy daycare program. You might have to be there with him for the first few weeks though.
Which Doggy Daycare Is Right?
Even if a dog is a good candidate for a doggy daycare program you still have to match the program with your dog. Large cities offer the best choice. However, the best daycare for your dog may be at the other end of town. The first step is for you to visit the day care center to evaluate the situation. Don't bring your dog at this stage.
Be aware that there are both good and bad doggy daycares out there. Most of these businesses are not registered and have untrained staff. Do your research. Ask for referrals from the daycare center. Get a list of customers who have given good reviews as well as customers who have given bad reviews. Check with your local humane society if they've had any complaints about the prospective daycare. Do some research online about them also.
A good doggy daycare should be very clean. There should be no odor of animal urine in the air. You should also not smell any cleaners in the air. Meeting some of the staff can be a big plus. This will allow you to get some insight into the people who work there. Pay close attention to how they interact with the dogs. Also, watch to see that they aren't smoking around the animals.
Doggy daycares that have streaming videos are an absolute plus. This allows you to check in on your dog over the Internet. Daycares that have these systems in place are almost sure to be on the up-and-up.
What Doggy Daycares Require From You
Good doggy daycare centers will first evaluate your dog before agreeing to take your dog. You will be asked to provide proof of vaccinations and your contact information. You will also have to provide your veterinarian's contact information. Also, many doggy day care centers absolutely require that your dog is fixed which helps to prevent certain behaviors which often leads to fighting.
If all is in order your pet will be accepted to the doggy daycare.
All dogs require social interaction and plenty of exercise. Doggy daycare can be a great choice for the household that has a busy schedule.
Good doggy daycares will have a staff that is tentative towards the animals. Providing all that is needed. They will properly manage them to avoid fights and injury.
If you have chosen well you will never get a call from the daycare with bad news. What you will end up with is a very happy dog. A tired dog that will love to just cuddle with you on the couch. A dog that will look forward to tomorrow so that he can play with his daycare friends.