Questions to Ask When Selecting a Dog Day Care
Dog daycares have become very popular the last 15 years or so and can be an excellent option to exercise and socialize your dog, but not everyone's concept of dog daycare is the same, and certainly not all dog daycares are created equal. Here are some questions to ask that will help you select the best, most appropriate daycare option for your dog:
- Who manages and supervises the daycare and what is his/her experience and professional background in dog behavior, handling and animal husbandry? Is it someone with professional experience spanning decades? Or is it someone who was merely a pet owner desiring a career change who purchased a dog daycare franchise? These are VERY important questions to ask. You are literally putting your dogs in this person's hands and his welfare depends on this person's knowledge and experience.
- Is there a Pre-Enrollment Process? - Would you want your dog to attend daycare in a place that allows any dog to drop-in without being pre-screened?
- If so, does the process include a Veterinarian - certified health certificate or just "shot records."? Unfortunately shot records alone do not ensure the dog listed on the records is the actual dog coming to daycare. Additionally, there is no way to check the validity of shot records alone.
- Does it include a temperament evaluation/assessment? Not all dogs are appropriate for off leash, dog-dog interaction and play in large groups. A temperament evaluation can weed out potential aggression toward the other dogs and daycare staff.
- If so, who administers the evaluation and what are his/her qualifications and experience in dog behavior? The person administering the temperament evaluation should have years of experience in canine behavior and body language.
- In the temperament evaluation, what types of things are they looking for? The evaluator should be able to explain the testing procedure and be able to articulate exactly what he/she is looking for.
- Are the dogs ever unsupervised (inside or out in play yards)? This is a biggie!! There should be a staff member with the dogs at all times - no exceptions!
- Have the staff undergone training in dog behavior and pack structure? Daycare staff should be trained in pet first aid, cpr, and canine body language.
- If so, where did they obtain their training and what was the qualifications of their instructor? Ask if the staff trainer is certified to train in those modalities.
- What is the ratio of dogs to staff members?
- What is the actual size of each space where the dogs are kept (square footage)?
- How many dogs are allowed within each space?
- Are "drop-ins" allowed?
- How is each dog's behavior managed?
- Are the dogs ever "punished" or "disciplined"?
- If so, what are the methods used?
- What is done about aggressive behavior?
- What is done about "bullying" behavior?
- Are dogs allowed to "mount" each other?
- What are their methods for breaking up a dog fight?
- Are the dogs given treats?
- Are balls and toys kept out for the dogs at all times?
- Are small dogs and young puppies separated from the larger, older dogs?
- Is there a designated potty area?
- Are dogs supervised when pottying or just "let out" in a yard?
- What happens when a dog has an "accident" inside?
- How often are the walls and floors cleaned and sanitized?
- What substances, cleaners or chemicals are used to sanitize?
- Will my dog come home with any odors?
- How are dogs checked in and out?
- What is done to secure entry ways and exits?
- What is done in case of veterinary emergencies?
- Has a dog ever been seriously injured in their care?
- If so, what were the circumstances?