What makes a doggy day care a good match for your dog? How do you choose the right doggy day are for your best friend? Well we have a few key tips and questions for you to heed and ponder to ensure that your dog is well cared for, safe and in good hands.
1. Visit before enrolling your dog. Prior to dropping your dog off make sure you go in for a tour. You will want to make an appointment to schedule a tour. Make sure you go alone on your first visit and leave your dog at home to avoid distractions so you are better able to pinpoint any red flags. It is important that you are focused and get a detailed sneak peek into a day and the life of this doggy care.. Watch carefully how dogs interact with each other and with the staff. Notice how the dogs are treated (shade, rest & water) and if the staff behaves in a highly professional manner.
2. Look, listen and sniff. The day care facility should be clean, doggy odor free from urine and fecal matter and filled with happy dog talk, not whines and aggressive growls.
3. Check the climate. Make sure the day care is properly ventilated and air conditioned. Also, check to see if your dog will have a safe place to get out door exercise and fresh air.
4. Look at the layout. Are big dogs separated from the tiny dogs? Are their safe toys within each designated doggy zone? Does your dog have a nice & comfy place to retreat, nap and flop?
5. Ask about pack introductions. How is a new dog introduced to the pack of regular pups? Often times some facilities will have a staff member shadow the new dog for a day or two to ease the transition and acceptance by other dogs. Make sure that the doggy day care does temperament test and properly separate highly submissive or fearful dogs from over confident, dominate dogs. Often times day cares will provide the owner with written rules to keep all dogs safe, including the right to expel dogs who exhibit very aggressive behavior tendencies.
6. Consider the staff. Make sure the day care is equipped with enough staff to handle even the most rowdy furry bunch. Does the staff include professional dog trainers & care takers? Does the staff rely on positive reinforcement rather than physical punishment? Is the staff equipped to handle emergency situations and trained in canine CPR & first aid? How are dogs transported to the vet in the event of an emergency?
7. Do a health check. Reputable doggy day cares require every owner to show proof of updated vaccinations, regular flea and tick treatments, are not aggressive and parasite free. You also want to make sure your dog is spayed or neutered.
8. Gauge the personal level of attention. Are your dog’s personal supplies (food, medications, leashes) kept in a separate container? Does the staff greet dogs by name and recognize dietary needs and personality traits?
9. Scout the facility for safety. Are there double locked doors preventing dogs from escaping or fleeing into the streets? Are medications and cleaning supplies stored out of paws reach? Is there a safe confined & fenced outdoor area for dogs? Do handlers make sure dogs are walked on leash? Does the staff insist that all dogs were their ID tags at all time?
10. Do a trial run. Schedule your dog to spend a day or few hours at the day care. When you pick up your dog at the end of the day observe your dogs behaviour & demeanor. Does your dog seem happy & relaxed or anxious & tense? Watch carefully to see if your dog goes happily up to the staff or cower back.
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