Choosing the Best Daycare for Your Dog

Home Alone or Daycare?

Like most humans your dog is a creature of habit. He enjoys his routines, loves to be with you, and has a keen sense of time as it relates to the things he loves best, like dinnertime, walk time, you-returning-home time. The hours you are away can be lonely for many dogs and certainly for puppies not yet accustomed to your absence.  If you suspect your dog is suffering from loneliness and isolation during your absence you may want to explore what Daycare has to offer.  An ideal daycare program will meet your dog’s needs for mental stimulation, enjoyable interaction with people play with compatible dogs, and exercise.

Some things to think about:

  • If you have a puppy under a year old, daytime activities with peers can offer ongoing training and socialization, drain excess energy, provide continual learning experiences and improve social skills. When it comes to socializing your puppy you want the very best early experiences with a variety of dogs in a safe and controlled environment. These can include puppy classes and puppy socials where a knowledgeable staff can teach appropriate ways to interact.
  • For exuberant and sociable adult dogs a well-matched play group can mean long-term friends and a continuity of relationships to help your dog become confident across a range of social situations like meeting new dogs, greeting new human friends, and learning new skills and games.

Make a Wish List:

  • Make a checklist of your dog’s favorite activities. What activities would enrich his life and bring out the best in him? A few include Flyball, agility, nose work, swimming, running with a bike, group hikes, off-leash play, or one-on-one with a favorite human.
  • Go visit some daycare centers. Some things to ask; what is their staff-to-dog ratio? Who runs their programs? What activities are available and is there an additional cost?

Dog Parks vs Daycare

Some believe dog parks and Daycare are interchangeable. For those who choose carefully, there are no similarities. Dog parks are a wildcard when it comes to safety. The absence of supervision and dependable training, coupled with a haphazard grouping of dogs can lead to unpredictable and potentially dangerous consequences for your puppy or dog. The right Daycare will circumvent the risk of injury or a bad experience by providing a safe environment, compatible playmates, and enjoyable activities run by knowledgeable staff.

Note: Not all dogs enjoy the unpredictable rough and tumble of a dog park. While you wouldn’t send a young child into a playground filled with strangers and children of varying ages (and manners), you may want to observe carefully before setting your puppy or dog loose in a dog park.

Healthy + Safety

Daycares should ensure that all dogs have been screened for possible behavior issues and are fully vaccinated.  This means that all participants are up-to-date on age appropriate vaccinations such as DHLPP, rabies shots, and Bordetella.

If you are considering a daycare program for your puppy or dog Hillary’s Hound House offers Adult Dog Daycare, Puppy Playcare  (Daycare with training wheels), one-on-one training for you and your dog, group classes, and grooming. Please call us today to find out more, schedule a tour of the Hound House, a Behavior Evaluation, or a Training Consultation.

Here is a great article on choosing the best daycare for your dog from our friends Susan Briggs and Robin Bennett of the Dog Gurus on finding the daycare that’s right for your dog.