What can I expect on my dogs' first day?
The first day that your dog attends daycare is a big one! They start their day off with a different routine, then get in the car which may be exciting or scary for them, and then go to a strange place to meet new people and a big group of new dogs.
When you arrive, we go over your paperwork and we have a question and answer period. Once complete and you have departed, we will take your dog into our space and let them explore without other dogs around. We then introduce the other dogs one at a time.
After your dog is comfortable and relaxed within the group, they can start to experience the daily routine, which on an average day looks something like:
Arrival - 10 am : Social and play time! This may include activities like Snuffle Town (hunting for treats 1:1 with a staff member), pool time, or peanut butter Kongs.
10 am - 11:30 am : We perform assessments and/or additional services like nail trims or brush outs as required. During this window, you will be sent a text or email update on your dog.
12 pm - 1:30 pm : Lunch and snack time, nap time.
Nap times occur naturally throughout the day, usually after lunches and then again mid afternoon.
1:30 pm - 3:30 pm : More social and play time. First day pick up is ideally within this window.
3:30 pm - 6 pm : Play time and home time!
We keep their first day short so that they do not feel overwhelmed or get too tired.
Your dog has free access to fresh, clean water at all times. They will be offered some separately if they seem reluctant to drink. This does not mean that they will drink on their first day with all that is going on. We will let you know if they drank or not. This also means that your dog may be thirsty when they get home - do not let them drink too much at once - offer small amounts over time.
We will tell you if your dog is not enjoying themselves or is not fit for our group play environment.
This is not a reflection on you, there is nothing to be embarrassed about, and your dog did nothing wrong.
Your dogs' safety and wellbeing is paramount. Keeping them in a place they are not comfortable in is very much a disservice and not what we are here for.
What if my dog is sick?
Always speak with your own Vet regarding your pets health first. We are not Veterinarians and cannot give you medical advice. This is a short list of common illnesses seen in the canine community:
We will notify you if your dog is experiencing any symptoms of illness at daycare.
If your dog is suffering from any communicable illness or ongoing health issues, always let the daycare know and KEEP THEM HOME. Cleaning processes are rigorous but we do extra deep cleaning in these situations.
Do NOT bring your dog to daycare after being under anesthesia for at least 2 days, even if the procedure is minor. If your dog has stitches, wait until they fall out or are removed before returning.
What about injuries?
Injuries here are thankfully very uncommon. However, the most common minor injuries seen in group play settings are:
Pinches - Most often with puppies or new dogs learning the tolerances of their friends and playing a bit rough. Less often, pinches can be a rude way to get a reaction from another dog or to try and force play.
Scrapes - By tooth or nail, generally seen during play while running or pawing at another dog. Dogs with thinner hair are more susceptible.
Missing fur - The same as above, generally seen as a result of playing while running or other rough play. Sometimes seen as a result of a correction from another dog for not listening/paying attention.
Broken nails - Commonly seen in dogs with overgrown nails, this can result in part of or the whole nail being broken. Always keep your dogs nails trimmed regularly.
Bites - The word alone looks scary, but there are varying degrees of bite and a lot of reasons why it happens. Commonly seen during play or disagreements are bites with no skin contact or abrasion but no puncture.
Note: We do not accept or keep dogs in daycare with a bite history with puncture.
What do you look for in a daycare dog?
During play, it is important that everyone is having their best time and everyone is consenting.
Each dog is an individual with different play styles and preferences. It takes time for your dog to build relationships and not every one will be an ideal match.
Good play - Soft, bouncy body and relaxed facial expressions. Play bowing. Hip check/butt swipe. Changing roles during play. Self handicapping. Mouthing and play biting. Sneezing, snorting, separating regularly and shaking off like they are wet before returning to play.
Inappropriate play - Neck biting and holding. Body slamming. Pinning. Standing with head over the shoulders of another dog. Excessive barking in the face of another dog. Demanding play/not listening to other dog.
Any of these inappropriate behaviours left uninterrupted or routinely practiced can lead to confrontation.
Factors include genetics, age, socialization, training, breed traits, individual personality, and experiences they have had near or with other dogs.
The ones highlighted in green are what we look for in group play environments.
Dog Social - Okay with pretty much anyone that is being appropriate.
Dog Tolerant - Great with regular friends. A bit aloof when meeting new dogs.
Dog Selective - Choosy when making friends. May see some reactive behaviours. Requires support and management when interacting with dogs.
Dog Aggressive - People only dogs, happiest without dog interactions.
Never force your dog into any interactions and respect when they are done.