Dog daycare should be a safe and fun environment for every dog in the group. Ensuring the dogs that come to dog daycare enjoy the outing and are not just tolerating the play is the result of two key systems.
- A consistent and thorough dog evaluation process
- A well trained staff who are trained to understand canine body language and group play behaviors
When creating your dog evaluation process there are several components that lead to success.
- Obtaining background information on the dog prior to the evaluation helps you plan and possibly even screen out dogs that would not be a good fit for daycare. There are some red flag responses to look for that we discuss in the video below.
- Knowing the evaluator dogs in your center that actually enjoy their role of meeting new dogs is also important. You’ll want to have multiple dogs that you can use during an evaluation and yes, it is okay to use client dogs. We talk about the importance of rotating your evaluator dogs and providing rewards to keep them happy in our video.
One of the most important aspects of the evaluation is the communication that happens with the dog parent. We definitely encourage you to be honest in discussing behaviors you observe, but this is often a sensitive area that involves “bad news”. Watch our video for tips on when and how to share bad news with your clients.
How do you know when a dog is ready to start group play? Should puppies be in adult playgroups? Our video includes great discussion on these questions, but the short answer is to observe body language to ensure every dog enjoys their playgroup. For puppies under 6 months of age we recommend creating special puppy programs that provides multiple aspects of socialization that is so important to their development. Dog socialization while important is not the most critical so expand your services with a specialized puppy program.