How many dogs do you have in daycare each day?
Typically 10-15. We have a maximum capacity of 25 (depending on the size of the dogs).
Is it large? As in, do you have different rooms for them?
We have 1200sq feet separated into 3 rooms and because we do not have outdoor access, we take the dogs frequently for walks. We separate the dogs based on several criteria depending on the dogs we have during the day. The criteria is attitude (are the dogs able to get along together), energy level (often we separate dogs playing from dogs sleeping or that just want to relax), and size.
Do you have big and small dogs together?
This depends more on energy levels. Sometimes, larger dogs are really low key and prefer to be with the small less active dogs while some sturdy, smaller dogs like to play and chase bigger dogs. They are supervised and moved if the staff feels it is not a good combination. If we have a small group of seemingly same energy pups and they get along often, the dogs will have the run of the 3 rooms.
What do they do during the day?
They play with other dogs, play with toys, play with the staff, relax and take naps if they want.
Do they go outside to potty?
They are leashed walked outside on a regular, rotating basis, usually 2-3 dogs at a time. However this depends on the behavior assessment done on the first day so some dogs require short walks and/or solo walks due to leash issues that we work on.
Will my puppy be crated at all? If so, how come and for how long?
No, we only use the 2 crates we have for our grooming dogs. We have them only in case we have a dog that becomes ill/sick during the daycare or if the dog becomes highly aggressive with staff or other pets (to date neither has happened, but I want to be prepared as possible, since we purposefully did not install crates/cages).
How will you ensure my dog doesn't escape?
During the day our entrances remains locked for the safety and security of the dogs. People have to knock to come in and drop off/pickup. We ensure that all walk collars and leashes are secured with 2 finger rule. We also like to use the dogs' own leash and collar whenever possible because it is important for training on walks that they associate their leash and collar with behaving properly. We cannot use flexilead/ retractable leashes while out due to the countless injuries that are attributed to them. We do have leashes if needed which we always carry a spare on the walks in case of breakage. We won't use broken, tattered leashes. If a dog needs a prongs/choke collar for walks, if the owner provides it we will use it to be consistent, however I strongly advise against those and will recommend a martin-gale, halty, or easy walk harness. We do not leave haltys, prongs or chokes on while in the daycare. We take precautions on walks and walk the same routes.
Do you do training with them during the day?
Somewhat but as far as professionally so, we currently do not offer that. We do ask them to sit for a treat, putting a leash on or toys, and we discourage jumping/ biting by walking away and turning our backs. If they bite, scratch or otherwise pester we may yipe loudly.
How do you introduce the dogs to each other? How do you know and what do you do if they're not getting along, or if they fight?
Our typical mode for introducing a new dog to the group is a walk with a few of the dogs. Then they are brought into one room and introduced to 1 or 2 low key dogs in the group. If we don't have any, I introduce my dog Skippy. Both dogs are leashed at first, then my dog would be let off the leash and if the new dog does well, the leash is dropped but not removed. We typically give a few minutes for butt introductions and if they get along the leash is removed. Upon evaluation and if the staff deems it appropriate this is repeated with a few more dogs from the group until the new dog has met all dogs in the group. Once your dog is established in the pack this type of introduction generally is not repeated at future visits unless the dogs have not yet interacted before or if we introduce a new dog. We keep track of what dogs have met, who have they liked, ignored or even disliked.
If they don't get along we separate the dogs, sometimes it may take one dog longer to warm up to another dog so we do allow for multiple interactions. Sometimes an older dog gets annoyed with a puppy and will need to be separated. We constantly watch body language for these issues and try to stop a problem before it becomes one.
If they get to a point of a fight, most times they are not going to actually land blows. It typically sounds worse than it is but we react quickly. We use water spray bottles and a couple quick squirts typically move things along. All employees have whistles which one blow will break it up enough that they will stop and an employee can then separate them. We also have air horns and catch pole, though I have not yet had to use either. We will always alert the owners of both dogs and examine them for wounds and alert the owner to wounds. Dogs will be dogs and sometimes can spook each other or react for seemingly no reason. We minimize this as much as possible by separating dogs before if say some are sleeping and some are playing. We do not allow aggressive dogs in, as their initial day can indicate if a dog may not work in our group and we will not take a dog if we feel there is a risk to our staff or pets. If we see a dog bully or be bullied we will separate the dogs and note it. If the same dog is the culprit, we can make sure that the dogs are kept in separate rooms or the dog may not be allowed back to daycare. I don't have a set policy as it is a case by case basis. If the dog is consistently being bullied or is the bully, then yes we do make the owner aware.
When you pick up your dog we tell you how and who he/she played with and if we noticed any issues. We also try to post pictures on FB throughout the day.
When can my dog get started?
Your dog can start any day but we ask that we have the paperwork including vaccinations prior to the start date. So there is no delay, we do not allow the owners to be present for introductions to other dogs, simply because it distresses the other dogs that a stranger is present and they react differently.
Dogs need to be current on Distemper, bordetella (kennel cough) and rabies and have a negative fecal test. Typically rabies is given around 12-16 weeks, so the youngest we allow is 4 months. We require them to be spayed or neutered, once they are older than 7 months.
We are opened 7am—7pm Monday through Friday, drop off and pick up can be done anytime during that period. Sat is 8am—5pm.