During an "assessment" which most Doggie Daycare Centers in Dubai charge for (we don't!) If you think your dog is being “interviewed” for daycare, think again. While your baby's behavior is assessed and its vaccination record examined, your job is to be the real interviewer.
We teamed up with The Bark, a US Doggie Culture Magazine to get the lowdown on what you need to look out for when choosing a home away from home for you pooch! When checking out daycare and boarding operations, get answers to the following questions.
The Bark: How is the facility set up? Take a tour. Is it clean? Does it have multiple spaces for groups of dogs with different play styles? Do dogs have access to an outside area for bathroom breaks? Does the facility have a designated area for rest? If the daycare uses kennels, check them out and ask if and how stress is minimized during kenneling.
SPOT!: We highly encourage a tour of our locations, any day, anytime! Between our seven play areas and our outdoor area and garden, we have something for everyone! Our rest areas are super lavish designed and appointed by none other than Howl & Growl!
What kind of schedule does it provide? All-day play is not a selling point. For that matter, neither is a swimming pool (chlorine is not our friend) or large plasma TVs in even larger living room style kennels! Dog daycares that incorporate bathroom breaks (ideally, outdoors), play time and quiet time into their schedules are what you’re looking for. Rest is important, and it is handled differently by each daycare. Find out how a daycare provides a restful space for its canine visitors.
SPOT!: We don't do all day play. Its not good for your dog, its not good for our team! We have a routine and schedule formula which we rigorously follow that has worked well over the last decade. Ask us about this on tour! You may have read on our website that we hate fees...! Well right after fees, we have plasma tvs in the room and large swimming pools - Chlorine is not our friend! Such a gimmick.
How big are the playgroups? The handler-to-dog ratio should be 1:10 (preferable), 1:15 tops. After all, 1:10 equals two human eyes and legs monitoring 10 noses, 20 eyes and 40 legs. On top of that, handlers often need to deal with other things in the environment — refereeing a play session that’s gotten a little over the top or cleaning up an accidental “deposit” — so having more than one person on duty is a plus.
SPOT!: We totally agree! Our ration sits closer to 1:12 and we'd like it to stay that way. While our locations can hold up to 60 dogs comfortably, we prefer to set a limit at 45-50 so everyone has an AMAZING experience!
What kind of training do the handlers have? Daycare owners or managers might have CPDT credentials or be animal-behavior-conference junkies, but top-level staff are not customarily involved in daily dog supervision. Make sure the hands-on staff members are trained in canine communication and dog handling. Ask handlers about their training experience (or lack thereof). Additionally, you want your dog to have positive experiences at daycare, so avoid places that routinely use physical punishment or manipulation.
SPOT!: Ask for credentials on tour. What you'll hear is we are a wee bit over credentialed!
How are new dogs introduced? Gradual introductions set dogs up for success. Avoid a daycare that proclaims, “We throw them all in together for fun playtime!”
SPOT!: We agree! When we first bring in a new dog we set him / her up with 1 or 2 other dogs to get into the swing of things. When thats going well, the rest of the pack follows!
Do they take all comers? Accepting all dogs is not necessarily a good thing; not all are cut out for daycare.
SPOT!: We'll let you in on a little secret. In NYC, we keep out more than we let in. In Dubai, we think this will be no different! Sometimes doggies just don't like daycare, they prefer lazing around the house or our office. If this happens, not a problem, we don't want you paying for something your baby is not going to enjoy.
What about toys? Does the daycare provide toys? If so, which ones, and how does it prevent or monitor resource-guarding? While your dog might not exhibit this particular behavior, daycares should have procedures to address this potential issue and avoid needless confrontations between dogs.
SPOT!: We keep toy play to a minimum as a group to avoid all sorts of issues. Within our individual rooms however there is plenty to choose from!
Is medical help available? Ideally, the daycare has a relationship with a veterinarian and staff members who are trained in CPR and first aid. In even the best-monitored situations, accidents can happen, and quick response can be a literal life-saver.
SPOT!: Our vet on call is __________. Not only do they share the same values as us, but being Dubai's only veterinary hospital, it keeps us comfortable that in a pinch, they'll provide what is required.
Much Love, Much Laughter.
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