Choosing to take your puppy to daycare? Want to ensure your puppy is only going to the best daycare available?
I get that! It needs to happen, right?
It’s just something that needs to be the case when you’re investing time into something that when you can’t take care of it? That someone else will do so to an adequate degree.
This is kind of a part 2 to Doggy Daycare: Everything You (And Your Puppy!) Need To Know.
Essentially, I want you to be able to walk into your daycare and look at them with full confidence that you know what to expect, what they should and shouldn’t be doing. Because we don’t know what we don’t know, right?
What’s worse? Is that our dogs cannot tell us if we weren’t right!
And on to some questions that you should probably ask your daycare before signing up and putting your puppy in. The first one is kind of like an amalgamation of several different things. Because such as life, they’re very similar questions, and I just want to make sure that you guys are getting the right thing when you go looking for your daycare.
This post has been mainly AI Generated from the video below! If you notice any weird phrasing?
Ping me an email and let me know, because I clearly missed it when editing!
1 – Is the Individual they qualified? Is the Doggy Daycare Insured? Bonded? Licensed? First Aid Trained?
number one, are they qualified, insured, bonded licenced, and are they first aid qualified or trained all of these things. I mean, you kind of get like a check mark for each of my books. And I would be concentrating on them having knowledge, confidence, and being legally acceptable, essentially, to take care of your dog.
These things mean that they are not only investing in themselves, their business, but it probably almost always means that they’re going to take better care of your dog. Because if they are that interested in making their business succeed? They are going to want your dog to succeed in their daycare.
It also means that if they are qualified, they have a better understanding of dogs. And there isn’t actually a like fixed qualification for daycares. And some places do offer them but they are not a legal requirement, at least not in most places.
And insurance, or bonding, whatever it is, depending where you’re from. If something goes wrong, you want to make sure that they’re covered because your pet insurance may not cover daycare. So make sure they’re covered. The licencing means that your state town, country, whatever level of government it is that that’s dictating this licence means that they’re just abiding by that. And it means that you can doublecheck the licencing. It gives you another level of verification.
Not all daycares are made equal! I am aiming to not diminish the efforts of pet professionals, but inform new puppy parents about their choices and decisions! This is aimed to help puppy parents to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Canine first aid training. I want to know that they know what to do before they get him to the vet to make sure that he doesn’t bleed out.
2 – What type of Training Techniques Do The Daycare Use?
You want to make sure that they are in that same science-based learning bracket. Now, a lot of the times when you ask a daycare provider if like, what training methods do they use, they’re going to tell you, they will not train your dog.
Which is true, because they are not a dog trainer, they are not me, they will not take your dog in five days a week. By the time your dog comes out on Friday, they’re not going to learn all the basic manners they need. Okay, that’s not how daycare works.
However, they absolutely do train your dog.
I realise I’ve totally contradicted myself, but hear me out!
You cannot use the same cues and commands necessarily that you, the parents use. I before I trained, I was a dog walker. And I can guarantee you that I did not use all the same cues that their parents used. Because whilst that would be lovely, I can’t stand in a field and go “Fluffy come! Fido here! Sarah, Tea Time!!” do you know what I mean? It doesn’t work.
You’ve just got to make sure that your daycares methods are positive that there is no punishment involved, because it does things like that very, very quickly. Escalate problems or degrade existing training.
For example, they give you puppy a little smack on the snake. Doesn’t seem like anything, right? But then when you come home, and Bella pees behind the sofa, and you’re stood there mystified as to where all of a sudden this come from, it could have come from daycare.
3 – How do they deal with less comfortable dogs?
If you’ve got the shy dog, even if you don’t have the shy dog, if you’ve got the gregarious dog, if you’ve got the dog that’s gets overexcited and barrells into everyone.
How do they deal with that? How do they deal with that Doc? How do they bring him down? How do they relax her? How do they give them that time and space to readjust.
The thing that I want you to look out for here are the following four words. “They’ll sort it out”. Those four words are the wrong four words. Okay, that is the wrong answer. Dogs don’t sort it out. They do not find harmony and balance by themselves typically, because like I just said, one dog is a pushover.
A really good example would that is humping. Humping (in most instances – and I really hope your daycare would know the difference!) is rarely sexual.
So it is mainly to do with over arousal (which again is not sexual), to do with excitement, anxiety, nervousness, it can be done for a whole bunch of reasons.
It happens a lot in daycare. It’s not polite doggy behaviour. They should be taking The Humper and giving The Humper a little bit of downtime, because they are clearly over a point where they just need 5 or 10 minutes just to bring themselves down again.
The subject of The Humper should not learn that that’s acceptable behaviour.
We need to teach our dogs to find their balance, and we do that by managing them.
Is Not Easy
What if I told you there
was an easier way?
4 – How do they integrate new dogs?
So that’s a very tense thing when dogs meet? Do they do it on late may or may not be a good thing? Depending on the dogs involved? Do they do it on mass? I’m really hoping the answer is no.
Do they cherry-pick dogs to introduce your puppy to one at a time, and then slowly add in more or take some away depending on your puppy’s reaction to each. That should probably be the way they do things if they have a really good reason for doing it another way, maybe, and let me know actually if they do, because I’d be very interested in that. And again, I don’t want to hear that they’re throwing puppy in the deep end.
That’s never a good thing.
We want gentle we want positive experiences. And we want to make sure that it’s a really nice above board situation for all involved. These are kind of the fundamentals of puppy socialization, and we need to (ideally!) get them right to prevent future problems like reactivity and separation anxiety, and a number of other demonstrations of anxiety or fear.
5 – How Many Dogs Are There Per Person?
We want to make sure that we have a nice ratio of people to dogs because whilst it sounds like a feasible thing to stick 30 dogs in a room, they dogs in a room with only one person guiding them could be quite a pickle.
We don’t want 30 Dogs one person, we want nice ratios that you think that even you could probably manage. So like. Somewhere between like, maybe four and eight dogs per person (maximum!) I personally I would struggle doing eight. Just saying…
6 – Do they have rules about Spaying and neutering?
Whilst you don’t necessarily have to take their opinion into account and I would probably advise you don’t. And you want to make sure that their rules potential, you know, regulations or similar like what how they run their business aligns with how you want to raise your dog.
I’ve got a load of information on spaying and neutering, if you need help with this decision by the way!
In essence, if you’ve decided to spay or neuter your dog at two years old because there’s a German Shepherd and they are well known for having behavioural issues, if it happens earlier, they are well known for getting cruciate ligament issues, hip dysplasia, and elbow dysplasia prior to that age. And your daycare has an enforced rule that they will kick you out if your dog is not spayed or neutered by nine months, then you’ve got a problem.
Is it worth your time signing up to this daycare if they don’t agree?
7 – How do they ensure your puppy gets enough sleep?
How are they going to ensure that your puppy gets enough sleep, because a lot of the time the goal people have with daycare is to put the dog in there for daycare to exhaust their dog and for them to come home have their dog to sleep from home time until morning.
Now, whilst that’s potentially great for you, particularly if you’ve had a rough day, and it’s not great on pup, and we and their behaviour and actually it can mean that you bring home a dog that is a one puppy or a puppy that’s a wild puppy.
And if they get extra bitey, extra cantankerous extra zoomy these things mainly boil down to a lack of sleep, as we have said multiple multiple times and ensuring that your daycare makes puppy sleep is a good thing.
I’m a big believer in enforce naps. I think that they are the biggest game changer in training any puppy. So ask your daycare that because that one’s gonna be very important to your savant your success and survival with your puppy.
My final words on this is that getting a good daycare, I know that I’ve put in a lot of stuff that says it’s going to be tough. I know that I’ve said that they are like a diamond in the rough. And sometimes finding them is is like takes time. It takes patience. But it is totally doable. Okay, you can find a fantastic daycare they are out there.
They are just hard to find. Make sure you check documentation so that you don’t just take their word that they’ve got these things because the word of stranger is the word of stranger. And when it comes down to your dog, they show a bit of diligence is is worthwhile. Please be picky is kind of the bottom line.
Let’s face it, if you’ve invested all this time, all this effort in your puppy so far, don’t blow it all away with a really rubbish daycare.
If you’re almost tearing your hair out with your puppy, please stop! I have the solution for you. All your answers are in pupdates, and you’ll get them delivered straight to your inbox before your puppy makes something a problem! Go get your answers!
Author, Ali Smith
Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.
Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021’s worlds’ best pet blog!