Choosing a daycare for your dog – Part 1 of a series: planned play times vs all day play

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By Laura Pakis, Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Blogger,

There are many reasons for a dog owner to seek out doggy daycare.  Long work hours, special events, high energy levels and even socialization.  But what should you look for in a daycare setting?

Daycare facilities usually fall into two groups; those that have the dogs out in a play area the entire time and those that use kennels a portion of the time. Which one you bring your dog to depends more on your dog’s personality and temperament than the kennel facility.

How do you know what plan the facility offers?

Ask the facility to explain what a typical daycare playgroup experience would be for your dog.

Does the dog ever use a kennel? If it does, for how long? Usually the minimum rest time is at least 2 hours a day

How long is the playtime?  How many playtimes in a typical day?  This will give you the best answer for what plan is being used.

How many dogs are typically in a playgroup?  Do they limit the playgroup by size or by personality?  How many staff members are interacting with the playgroup at one time?  The suggested ratio for safety is 1 person to no more than 10-15 dogs

Which daycare is better?  One that has planned playtime groups or one that has playtime the entire day.

A lot depends on your dog.  If your dog is shy, laid back, or prefers humans over dogs consider a daycare facility that limits the amount of interaction with other dogs.  A controlled environment will help improve this type of dog’s behavior while providing the necessities during your absence.

More active dogs and very canine social dogs would be more suited for the all-day play groups.

No matter what you choose, there is an adjustment period for the dog so be sure to give the facility a few visits before deciding if it’s not right for your dog.

A good source for daycare operations standards is provided by the Dog Gurus 

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