sean with okie at dingos dogsitting

Another 10 (Plus One Extra for Good Measure): Eleven More Questions You Should be Asking Before Enrolling Your Dog at a Doggy Daycare!

1.Question: Do you crate the dogs at your facility?

Answer: Typically, no. Occasionally, dogs will need “time outs” or breaks from play in order to control predatory drift. We have a small area both outside and inside that we use for this; however, if the area is occupied by another dog (these are also the areas we use to feed dogs and dogs are strictly fed in isolation) then we may use one of the two large crates for this purpose. Dogs are never crated for an extended period of time.

2.Question: Do you crate dogs in your bus or van?

Answer: Dogs that have accidents in our vehicles as well as those that do not remain seated during transit are crated. The majority of the dogs are not crated during pickup and dropoff.

3.Question: For how long are dogs outside during the day?

Answer: This is weather dependent but we are always outside first thing in the morning, as despite having relieved themselves before coming, all dogs will, without fail, both pee and poop again upon arrival at the daycare as a means of spreading their scent. In the morning we like to give them ample opportunity to do this outside so it is not occurring inside! On very hot, very cold, or rainy days our time outside is limited, but weather permitting, we typically stay outside most of the morning. Around late morning/early afternoon the dogs are ready for a scenery change so we take them in. We will bring everyone out again mid-afternoon for another potty break. Note, “yard time” will be limited for new dogs, especially those experiencing paw sensitivities due to the pea pebbles in our yard. This eventually dissipates but it can take a few weeks depending on the dog and the frequently with which she comes.

4.Question: What do you do if a dog gets sick or injured while at your facility?

Answer:  The first thing we would do is notify the owner.  If an injury is minor and we can treat it on-site we will. For more urgent matters, we would contact the vet with whom we consult, Doctor Arthur Friedman of Hawthorne Animal Hospital and/or the injured dog’s vet. In an extreme medical emergency, if an owner is not available, we would take the dog to the Veterinary Referral Hospital in Woburn. Veterinary care would have to be pre-approved by the owners so primary as a well as a secondary contact information is necessary for all clients.

5.Question: Do you have a cut-off time for people dropping off their dog for daycare?

Answer: We do not have an official policy so ostensibly one can drop their dog off anytime; however, we recommend that dogs get dropped before 11AM for the benefit of the dog. The key to a successful pack is pairing like energy with like energy and the energy at the daycare is naturally highest in the morning. If you were to drop your dog off in the afternoon when a number of dogs have either already gone home, or will be going home soon, your dogs’ energy is going to be higher than the other dogs’ with whom he wants to play. This could potentially be a drag for your dog and annoying for his reluctant playmates.

6.Question: Do you require reservations?

Answer: Yes. Early reservations help us insure we are adequately staffed. Normally, we can accommodate a last minute request provided rides are not needed but at least 24 hours notice is requested for clients needing transportation; that means if your dog needs a pickup on Friday morning then we would kindly ask that you put the reservation in by Thursday morning.

7.Question: Do you charge late cancel fees?

Answer: We understand that things come up so we do not charge cancellation fee’s but we do ask, out of respect for the amount of time we take to create our staffing schedule (did I mention we have the best staff to dog ration of any daycare in the area?) that clients try to avoid making a habit of this. With that being said, if you cancel a ride after we have already arrived at your home for a pickup, then yes, you will be charged a “no go” pickup fee.

8.Question: Do you remove dogs’ collars when in your play areas?

Answer: Yes! Dog strangulation or neck injuries can occur when a tooth of one dog inadvertently gets stuck in another dogs’ collar. That is why our dogs play “naked”! We also ask clients to remove flea collars and electric bark collars before dropping off their dogs as these accessories are expensive and easily lost or damaged.

9.Question: My dog has a tendency to swallow inedible items like rocks and sticks; can you make sure he doesn’t do that when he’s with you?

Answer: While we make every effort to insure dogs are not eating our pea pebbles or sticks that fall into our outdoor area, we physically can not watch every dog for every second given that we have thirty to forty dogs that attend daycare with us on a daily basis. If your dog suffers from severe pica, you may want to opt for a daycare without an outdoor yard.

10.Question: Do you let the dogs play with toys?

Answer: In general, we keep toys out of the play areas to avoid resource guarding or aggression among pack-members. However, depending on the daily dog log (and weather), we will bring small groups of dogs that we know are copacetic around toys, inside for a game of fetch or the like.

11.Question: Is your facility air conditioned?

Answer: We have two free-standing window air conditioning units and multiple fans humming at a constant clip throughout the summer. Our building is also made of concrete with few windows so it stays a good ten degrees cooler than the outdoor air (great in the summer, not awesome for our heating bill in the winter). For brachycephalic dogs prone to overheating, we suggest avoiding daycare during the extreme heat, or at the very least, limiting his/her time with us to a few hours in the early morning.

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