So, you’re thinking of sending your dog to doggy daycare! This is an excellent thought, and here are some reasons why:

Benefits of Doggy Daycare

  1. Socialization: Especially if yours is an only dog, daycare gives your dog a chance to socialize in a fun, safe environment with other dogs and new people. The upside is also that having this opportunity can prevent possible behavior problems at home. 
  2. Exercise: Doggy daycare gets your pup off the couch and running around with the pack. Exercise is crucial for a dog’s mental and physical health.
  3. Stimulation: Not only is it fun, but doggy daycare also offers mental stimulation through activities that make them think and keep them occupied.  
  4. Boredom: If your dog suffers from boredom at home, doggy daycare provides endless new and exciting things to explore. Dogs left at home for long periods may find ways to get into trouble and become destructive because of boredom.
  5. Safe and secure: Knowing your dog is safe in a secure, county-approved kennel with a daycare while you’re away will help keep your mind at ease.

How Long Does It Take?

There’s no hard and fast rule for how long it takes for a pup to get used to a new environment, including doggy daycare. Also, the amount of time varies from dog to dog. In fact, how long it takes for a dog to get comfy can range from just a few minutes to a couple of visits. Patience is the watchword for longer adjustment periods. 

The fact is that a gradual adjustment approach is always the best way to introduce your pup. 

At first, your dog may need to go through a behavioral assessment to determine his temperament around other dogs, and therefore, where he should be placed and with what kinds of other dogs. Examples of this are energy levels, age, size and more. 

The next thing is to take it in small steps. Take him to daycare for a half day at first, gradually building up to longer periods. And, an important key is to give him lots of high-value treats and praise when you pick him up. This way he will learn that doggy daycare means that all good things follow. In addition, it would be ideal if the staff could also give him treats during his adjustment times when it’s safe to do so around his other playmates. Staff may decide to give your pup these treats in his private suite during rest time. 

What You Can Do

Yes, you can help prepare your dog and shorten his adjustment period. 

  1. Doggy Daycare: Inspect the daycare facility and ensure it has areas for rest, knowledgeable staff, dogs that are having fun, but also well-behaved, and a focus on overall safety. 
  2. Personal Items: Ask if you can bring along any of your pup’s favorite items or comfort things.  A favorite “blankie” for a few visits may help his adjustment during rest time in his suite.
  3. Transition: Here, the shorter is the better. When you drop off your dog, make it short and sweet. Avoid long, drawn-out emotional partings.
  4. Worry: As a pet parent, you will probably be worried about your dog, especially in those first few days he is at daycare. A doggy daycare that cares will welcome your text/call to see how your pup is adjusting. It’s important that you connect with the team. 
  5. Lunchtime and Snack Time: If your dog likes a snack, pack a little something for your pup. In most cases, your pup will be escorted to a private area for snack time and a little rest before joining the pack once again.

Signs of Success

Whether it takes just a few visits or a longer adjustment period, here are some signs that your dog is now a happy doggy daycare member! Your dog:

  • Can sometimes occupy himself alone with a toy or self-imposed rest time.
  • Looks for positive interaction with staff.
  • Is friendly and happy.

It’s important to look out for your dog’s happiness. It means so much that they are excited to visit the team and their playmates. 

Double Check These Important Items

It cannot be stressed enough that a doggy daycare needs to be under the authority of their county’s animal control to ensure that safety protocols are being followed to include shot records, sanitation, safety and wellness guidelines.

Look for a daycare that has turf and cement as opposed to dirt. Turf and cement can be sanitized eliminating germs and bacteria whereas dirt cannot.  

Interact with staff and double check that they are friendly. If they are friendly and polite to you, they will engage well with your dog. 

What To Do If You’re Running Late

Find a doggy daycare that also has boarding options in the event that you are running behind so your pup can stay the night.

Doggy Day Care is meant to be a happy place for not only the dogs but for the people that work there. It truly is a positive experience for everyone when it’s done the right way.