What is a typical first day like?
There is no typical day :) However most dogs fall into one of two categories when they come to daycare for the first time. Either they are a bit overwhelmed with the new experience or they are a bit exuburant with the potential for fun. In both cases it is not uncommon for a dog to spend a good portion of it's first day on leash to allow it the opportunity to observe what is going on. Once we are comfortable with the dog's body language and reactions we allow it some freedom to roam and explore off-leash or with a dropped long lead. This is the best way to ensure the dog has a positive learning experience and set it up for success.
Do the dogs get fed while at daycare
No. Feeding dogs increases risks in two key areas. First it can promote instances of food aggression in particular with dogs who have been trained to be motivated by food. Second the risks related to stomach bloat are serious and we should avoid feeding dogs immediately prior to an expected period of intense physical activitiy. Please read more about bloat from Peter Dobias
Do you give dogs toys like balls or ropes at daycare.
No. In order to maintain the safest possible environment for dogs to organically interact and play we generally will never introduce toys (with some exceptions). It only takes a single dog who has possessive tendencies to create a conflict over a toy so dogs are encouraged to create friendships and games without the use of toys.
Do you seggregate dogs based on size?
No. All dogs can socialize appropriately if given the opportunity to learn. It is critical to a dog's development and social confidence to not only learn to interact with dogs its own age but older, younger, bigger and smaller. Throughout the day it is possible certain dogs will be segregrated in order to facilitate social learning (e.g. a shy dog will be given the yard with hand picked older mild mannered dogs to develop its confidence)
How many dogs do you take at daycare?
This depends on several factors including expected weather and can range from 15-20. As we cater primarily to regular visitors who attend daycare at least once a week most of the dogs get to know each other rather quickly. We only accept one new dog on any given day as that dog will require more direct supervision to help it get accustomed to the new environment.
Do they just play all day?
No. The dogs will generally go through natural nap/play cycles. If we have dogs that have trouble settling down they will be leashed up to help them learn and avoid overstimulation.
Your dog must have immunization for the core diseases: Distemper, Parvo and Rabies. As a dog owner it is up to you to educate yourself on how to ensure your dog is up to date on its protection. You can do this either by following a vaccination schedule as prescribed by your vet but you can also take advantage of titer testing to avoid unecessary booster shots over the life of your dog. Please check out Hemopet to learn more about this.
With respect to "Kennel Cough" this term does not refer to a specific sickness but rather a list of symptoms. The "Kennel Cough" vaccine protects against one strain that can cause these symptoms while there are dozens of others. As such we do not require you to get the "Kennel Cough" (aka Bordatella) vaccine.
Please read more about "Kennel Cough" here.
Do you take intact dogs?
With male dogs in particular once their hormones kick in they are not suitable for the daycare environment.
Male dogs will begin to exhibit marking behaviour (peeing over any scent they find) and become generally restless with other dogs around. This creates an unsafe environment for all the dogs involved as well as our staff. Generally speaking if a male dog is 8-11 months old and intact there is a good chance it will not be a good fit for daycare until it is neutered.
Female dogs are generally less of a concern however while they are in heat they must be kept home.