Daycare / Day Socialization
I grew-up with cats, and I can tell you that having a cat is so much different than having a dog. When we had cats, leaving them alone in the house was no big deal. we left food and water, and made sure the litter pan was clean; that was it. emotionally, cats are just wired differently. they like their owners to be home, but honestly, I don't think cats mind too much when people aren't around. Dogs, however, are a much different story. You see; dogs are pack animals. It is not in their nature to be alone. In fact, what makes the bond between dogs and people so strong is that both humans and canines survived by forming tribes and/or packs. It is simply our instinct to have a connection with others, and at one point, it was the basis for our survival.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does my dog need shots in order to attend daycare?
A: Yes. since dogs in daycare are in close proximity to one another, dogs attending daycare must have the following common shots / tests:
Rabies: Dogs must have a current rabies vaccination or titer (with letter of exemption from veterinarian) showing immunity of 0.5 IU/mL or greater in order to attend any activities at The Dog Mall.
Distemper, Adenoviros, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza (DHPP, DA2PP, DHPPV, DA2PPV, etc.): Dogs attending daycare must have a current vaccination. This may be a 1 year or a 3 year vaccine.
Bordatella (aka, Kennel Cough): All dogs must show proof of a bordatella vaccine given within the last 12 months. If dogs are coming to daycare, bordatella must be updated every 6 months.
Heartworm Test: ALL dogs coming on to the property MUST show proof of a negative Heartworm test within the last 12 months. This must be updated yearly. Dogs undergoing heartworm treatment cannot attend daycare, training classes, private lessons, swimming activities, fitness or rehab sessions. No exceptions. If you dog is being treated for heartworm, we need to see proof of a negative heartworm test and a letter from your veterinarian at the end of treatment allowing your dog to return to normal activities. No Exceptions.
Fecal Screening: Dogs attending daycare need to present proof of a negative fecal parasite screening every year
Q: Do you offer daycare everyday?
A: No, currently, we only offer it on Tuesday from 7:30am-4pm.
Q: Can I drop-off my dog earlier than 7:30am?
A: Yes, if you need earlier dog-off, we can arrange it on a day-by-day basis as early as 6:30am.
Q: Can I pick-up my dog later than 4pm?
A: We prefer pick-up at 4pm, but we can arrange for later pick-up as well as long as we know ahead of time. on most days, we have classes that start 5pm, so pick-up should be by 5pm.
Q: Is my dog crated at anytime?
A: It depends, but sometimes we will crates dogs if there is pee or poo accident that needs to be cleaned-up, or we may crate a dog that is over-stimulated and getting too rough with their play. In those cases, we'll give them time to rest and bring them back out into the group. We will also crate dogs closer to pick-up (3:45pm or so) time to ensure their safety while people are opening the door continuously.
Q: Do you mix large and small dogs together in play groups?
A: It depends; some little dogs play rough and some big dogs don't like to play at all. We match dogs in groups based more on their energy level; if a big dog is just happy chilling-out and fetching a ball, we'll put him in a group with smaller dogs that also like that. If there is a group of dogs that likes to wrestle the whole time they are there, we'll put them in a group together.
Q: How often do I need to bring my dog?
A: We require your dog comes once a week. The reason is that daycare runs really smoothly when the dogs are familiar with each other, and we know the dogs's personalities. We can focus on other things and be less worried about how the dogs are interacting. Consistent weekly customer can miss time here or there, but in general, if you miss too much time, you'll have to return to the evaluation rate.
Q: I don't normally bring my dog to daycare, but I'll be gone for the day and don't want my dog alone in the house. Can I bring him/her for the day?
A: Yes, we can accommodate daycare for dogs that are less familiar with us, but you'll have to pay the evaluation rate.
Example: New dog to the pack
Here is an example of a new dog coming into the group. Notice the new dog (i.e., the boxer) has a leash attached to them and our staff is close by monitoring them. We keep the leash on the new dog so we're able to get control of them at a moment's notice. we can step on the leash if new dog is engaging with a dog that doesn't seem to like them or lead the new dog away quickly if s/he seems stressed or anxious.
In this case, the boxer is playing very nicely with another dog in the video. it is very gentle and normal "puppy" boxing and playful chasing of one another. Even so, we'd keep a close eye on this new dog throughout the day to evaluate the dog's interactions and ensure all the dogs are safe and happy. We'd have to be confident the new dog get along with other dogs in this group as well.
Energetic Dogs: Get them tired first before calmer dogs are introduced
Energetic dogs can be annoying to older or calmer dogs, so to help avoid problems, we'll let the high energy dogs burn themselves out before some of the others are brought into their group. As you'll see in the videos below, all three dogs are very intense in the beginning, but after about 10-15 minutes of running around, wrestling, and going crazy, they'll start to slow down. With most of their energy out, they'll be less intense with the other dogs, and less likely to cause any type of disturbance in the pack. This method helps prevent any type of dog fight from starting.
Example: Time for a break in the create
We look for dogs that get along with one another in each play group. In general, they have the same energy level and play style. That might mean a group of dogs that just likes to chase each other, or likes to wrestle together, etc. However, from time to time, one dog may just "have enough" and want to rest; however, the other dogs in a group might not take the hint and keep engaging with him or her. If the dog looks irritated (i.e., growling, baring teeth, etc.), we'll put that dog into a crate or another quite area to allow that dog to rest for a bit. We also keep an eye out for dogs that are getting a little too rambunctious with one another. In the video here, one dog knocks down another dog and the dog yelps. At this point, we'll get in between to make sure nothing escalates. If a break is needed, we'll separate them.
Socialization isn’t just about exposing your dog to family and friends or your dog’s sociability with other dogs. This concept is about exposing them to different sights, sounds, and experiences. In our outdoor area, they’ll hear all the general sounds of the neighborhood, including cars driving by the property and trucks in the distance. We’ll keep a close eye on the group (especially new dogs to the pack) to ensure they aren’t showing signs of fear. We can bring the group back inside if any dogs are exhibiting an extreme reaction. Ultimately, these sounds and experiences will make-up a bulk of the regular noises they’ll experience in their day to day life with you. You’ll find they’ll be more confident and relaxed in neighborhood settings after spending time with us at daycare.
Ready for daycare?
To start your dog at our daycare, you'll have to start with an evaluation day at our facility where we'll spend a little extra time with your dog to integrate them into the pack. For some dogs, they are just not a good fit for daycare (i.e., too nervous, too stressed, etc.), and we'll use this day as a test. Please note you won't be able to schedule the evaluation day on your own (we don't like too many new dogs in one day). You'll hear from us shortly after purchasing, and we'll reach out to you to coordinate a day. Daycare is offered Tuesday between 8am-4pm. you would drop your dog off at 8am and pick your dog up by 4pm (other pickup/dropoff times may be arranged, but you would have to talk with us first).