Approximately some of us might enjoy it, we can’t be with our dogs on a regular basis. Whether you’re taking a protracted vacation without the one you love pooch, or you just need some quiet time to get things done throughout the house, a doggie daycare can be considered a lifesaver. However the question is: How will you choose the right one for your pet? To be a long-time animal rescuer, dog parent, and lost pet specialist, I’ve compiled a list to help you select your winner.
1. Require personal referrals from family, friends, and neighbors.
Turning to the people you trust most often yields great results. Visit: http://healthyhoundplayground.com/dulles-kennel-boarding/
2. Do your own online research.
While you get suggestions from people, Google the names of the facilities and owners. Look them through to Yelp, Angie’s List, and the BBB website. And, obviously, you can plug within your own search conditions to find places you might like to check out.
3. Visit facilities personally.
Once you’ve discovered some potential daycares, go have a tour. Focus on:
Staff to dog ratio
Overall cleanliness, appearance, and smell
Doors/gate: Is there at least two of these between your lobby and street? Are they in good working order, including latches and locks?
Outdoor areas: They should have appropriate fencing (at least 6’ or 7’). Make sure the fence is not compromised in any way. Also notice if there’s plenty of water and shade available and that dogs are constantly monitored while outside.
General appearance and demeanor of staff: Are they friendly, knowledgeable, and communicative? Do they appear pleased to be there and well-rested? Do they seem to be well-liked by both human and canine clients? Be wary of staff that are sullen, tired, uninformed, or confused, and the ones who don’t interact well with human or canine clients.
The way the animals are treated and supervised: Search for staffers that provide their full attention to the dogs. Watch the way they manage the dogs. Do they seem to be to be able to read dog body language? Are they able to head off scuffles at the pass? Are they calling the dogs by name? Take into account any employees who are on the phones or otherwise distracted. Look out for staffers who seem to be either overly aggressive or too passive with the dogs. Do the dogs display happy body gestures (tail wagging, heads up, playing with one another)? Scan the corners – are dogs cowering or displaying behaviors that indicate they don’t feel safe?
NOTE:Usually do not make an appointment for a tour; any good facility should be able and proud to show you their facility all the time.
4. Talk with managers/key staff and find out just a little about the facility.
Ask lots of questions:
How long gets the facility been operating?
What’s the application/evaluation process?
What is the typical day to day routine like?
Do they use cameras to monitor the dogs? Are they web-accessible to clients?
What exactly are the qualifications of the staff members?
Ask to see licenses and facility permits
Ask what their protocol is good for lost pet prevention and response
Ask how they handle emergencies such as a dog fight, injury, or sickness
Ask questions about any online or person to person concerns you have about them
5. Ask previous and current clients what they think about the facility.
You can certainly do this by striking up conversations in the parking lot or by directly messaging or emailing the authors of any interesting online reviews.
6. Take notice of the parking lot and lobby.
Watch your body language of dogs entering the facility. Do they seem excited, or do they put on the brakes? What do the dogs appear to be as they exit the facility?
Note how staffers handle dogs during fall off and grab. Are they cognizant of avoiding fights and letting the dogs bolt out the door? Do they know and use dogs’ and humans’ names? Are they professional and efficient with any paperwork and payment procedures? Do they seem to have a lot of long-term clients or is the clientele mostly new?
7. Give them a trial run.
If you believe you’ve found a winner, drop your pet off for only a few hours when you run local errands. Make it a day when you can drop everything and get over there if anything goes sideways. While your pet will there be, call and check in on your pet. Staff should be able to give a status report in fairly short order. When you select your pet up, require another report of what and how she did. The more specific the answers staff can provide, the better.
8. Once you go back home, notice your dog’s behavior.
She should be tired, however, not totally exhausted. She might be a little stinky, but she shouldn’t reek of urine or feces. Make sure to give her body a full once-over to consider any marks. Little scratches should be expected, but bites or other severe injuries should be considered a major concern. Sometimes, accidents happen at doggie daycare, however the facility should always call you immediately to report them. If they don’t, they are really either trying to cover up it or they don’t find out about it – neither which is good.
9. Stay alert.
Once you choose a facility, stay involved and communicative. Things can transform as time passes, and accidents happen even in the best places, so don’t let yourself become too complacent. Always keep your radar up.
Leaving your dog with strangers can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. A little homework can go quite a distance, so do your homework, and also you (as well as your dog) will reap the huge benefits.