First-Time Doggy Daycare: 3 Tips for Pet and Owner Preparation

If your beloved dog will be left in doggy daycare for the first time or you are going to enroll him in a new daycare, you have to prepare both yourself and your pet. You don’t want separation anxiety, missing information, and misunderstandings adversely affect your pet’s daycare experience that, in turn, will affect your own experience.

With this in mind, here are our tips for preparing yourself and your pet before leaving him to enjoy his first daycare experience at a local Dogtopia.

Start with Physical Preparations

Your dog should be prepared for the day when he will be left for half a day or an entire day in doggy daycare. You have the responsibility of preparing him obviously because you’re the alpha dog so he will follow your lead. You can do so by keeping these useful tips in mind.

  • Check that your dog has up-to-date vaccinations. You will likely be requested to produce documentation for this purpose so you should be conscientious in your record keeping.
  • Ensure that your pet has been treated of fleas, ticks and other pests, as well as spayed or neutered by the time he reaches the first year mark. You will also be asked about these matters so better be prepared.
  • Check that your pet has also been groomed before going into daycare. You may also ask for grooming services from Dogtopia before getting your dog into its daycare facility, if you don’t have the time for grooming yet.
  • Teach your dog a few basic commands, such as sit and stay, so that the daycare staff will have an easier time taking care of him. You will also benefit from placing a well-behaved dog in daycare because there will be fewer complaints about his behavior, such as aggression or fearfulness.

The first three steps are essential for two main reasons. First, most doggy daycare facilities require these things for the safety and health of their staff and the other dogs in their care. Second, you will want your dog to be safe and healthy while in daycare, too. Think of it as a common courtesy to your fellow pet owners.

Practice is a Must

Doggy daycare is essentially an indoor park where dogs can interact with others of their kid, run and walk around, and feel at home as much as possible. For this reason, you should first bring your dog to an outdoor park and observe his behavior for an hour or so. You can then adopt the necessary steps so that the chances of his enjoyment in doggy daycare can increase.

For example, if your dog still doesn’t know how to interact with other dogs, you can take him to an outdoor park for an hour or so each day or every other day for several days before the planned daycare appointment. You are effectively giving your dog plenty of opportunities to learn dog language, react in a proper manner to other dogs, and become accustomed to their presence.

By the time you leave him in a daycare, he will be more cooperative because of his prior experiences.

Maintain an Open Mind

The best doggy daycare facilities perform an initial in-depth assessment of each pet without its owners present. This is crucial in formulating a plan that will allow staff members to provide the best possible care for your pet. The basic assessment will vary between facilities but in general, it will include questions like:

  • How does your puppy react to being kept in a crate?
  • How does he interact with the other dogs in the facility?
  • How does he like to be handled by people (i.e., sensitive parts)?
  • What are his apparent likes and dislikes?

Emphasis must be made that doggy daycare facilities are obedience training facilities. For this reason, your dog may be rejected for enrollment if he exhibits signs of being unsuitable for open play, scheduled activities (i.e., meals), and social interaction with other dogs. You may hear suggestions about enrolling your puppy in obedience training classes first before he can be accepted into daycare.

You must then adopt an open mind to these suggestions. You must remember that such suggestions aren’t meant as an insult to your capabilities as an owner and as an affront to your dog’s intelligence and lovable nature. You and your dog will benefit from obedience training, if it comes down to it, as well so listen to the advice.

All of these tips are made with the assumption that you have made the right choice in a doggy daycare facility. You should ask about the policies and practices regarding meals, activities and amenities for the dogs, as well as the services that will put the minds of pet owners at ease. You may want access to video feeds from the daycare’s cameras so that you can monitor your pet from your tablet, smartphone or laptop while you’re in the office.

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