Most of our clients have no idea what happens behind the scenes to provide care for our daycare dogs. First of all, its important to know that our daycare philosophy is to know each dog as an individual and to make sure owners feel welcome, too. Our daycare isn’t high volume, it’s about quality care and supervision. Of course, safety is our most important priority, along with making sure each dog has a good daycare experience.
Before a dog can attend daycare at Dogville, each client must submit a detailed application and schedule a temperament test so a potential attendee can be evaluated. All dogs must be properly vaccinated with records submitted by the family veterinarian. If there are any questions about a dog’s ability to pass a temperament test, the test is videotaped in order to show the owner where our concerns lie. Dogs that pass a temp test are introduced to daycare groups slowly, depending on the dog’s ability to interact with other dogs and varying play styles. Dogs in group play are carefully supervised in order to intervene if any dog shows signs of stress, aggression or fear. Play groups are organized by the dogs that are in attendance and dogs are given breaks when needed. Dogs are also rotated in and out of groups as their friends arrive and depart. We pay careful attention to the weather, too. Hot weather means shorter times outside and extra attention to short nosed breeds. Most importantly, dogs are never left outside without a daycare leader.
While we believe the play experience is important, we also believe in caring for each dog individually, too. Each daycare leader has been trained to do a hands on physical exam with the dogs while they are resting or being petted. By taking the time to touch each dog, we have discovered things like hot spots, lumps and bumps, ear infections and torn nails. Daycare leaders are also trained to notice changes in behavior in daycare dogs. Dogs that are uncharacteristically irritable, overly tired or lethargic are often masking symptoms of illness or may be reflecting a change in their home environment. By talking to our clients, we have been able to encourage owners to go to their veterinarians sooner rather than later in order to remove a mass, have bladder infections treated or bladder stones removed or aggressively treat a hot spot. When owners are unable to transport a dog, we offer to take the dogs to their vet for treatment.
I fully anticipate having a waiting list for daycare in the not to distant future. It’s important to us to make sure that dogs are safe and as unstressed as possible, so the amount of space we have will dictate how many dogs can ultimately attend. If our kind of daycare sounds like a good fit for your dog, getting an application in soon is a good idea.