I am the ultimate helicopter mom, so I know what a lot of you are thinking – the best way to ensure your pup’s safety is to never let him out of your sight. While I agree, that just isn’t feasible. At some point, you may find that relying on a doggy day care is a necessity. If you do, here’s what you need to know to keep your dog safe.
1. Know Your Dog’s Temperament
The way our dogs behave at home can be a far cry from how they will respond in an unfamiliar situation with strange animals and strange humans. Consider consulting a trainer for an assessment of your dog’s individual anxieties and behavioral tendencies. The more information about your dog’s emotional needs you can provide to the staff, the more equipped they will be to keep him safe.
2. Find Out The Behavioral Restrictions
On a similar note, be sure to question the staff as to their protocol for handling different canine temperaments. Some facilities assign each dog a color based on their ability to play well with others. “Green” dogs are happy go lucky and playful. “Red” dogs have the highest likelihood for fighting, and may not be the best candidates for a traditional daycare. Dogs should be separated into groups based on their size, age and temperament to ensure a safe, fun experience for all.
3. Find Out The Medical Requirements
Let’s face it, when dogs play nothing is sacred. They are going to swap spit, and maybe some other substances. Requiring vaccinations against communicable diseases, dewormers/negative stool samples, and flea prevention all indicate that the business understands this and maintains high standards to assure the safety of the dogs in their care.
4. Tour The Facility
Businesses who take pride in the way their facility is run should always be happy to give you a behind the scenes tour. Keep in mind, there may be some poop, pee or hairballs along the way, it’s a building full of dogs after all! You should be able to get a sense of how important cleanliness and safety are to them based on an impromptu tour.
5. Inquire About The Experience Of The Staff
While many former veterinary employees and other animal professionals open boarding and day care facilities, some people go into it with no animal training at all. Feel free to ask about the prior animal experience and education of every person who will be caring for your dog. Past experience can mean the difference between a near miss and a horrible incident.
6. Get Recommendations
As with any other service that you pay for, it’s good practice to ask for a few recommendations. Clients who are big fans of their dogs’ caretakers are usually more than happy to talk to you about it, so go ahead and ask! Word of mouth from a trusted friend or colleague can be priceless for your peace of mind.
7. Take A Practice Run
If you think you have found the right fit for your dog and yourself, try dropping off your pooch for a few hours while you run errands. Ask the staff to observe him and give you a report as to how he handles the experience. This will not only give you an idea of how he would handle a longer stay, it will give you the assurance to allow someone else to care for your precious pup!