Doggy daycares help enhance and extend the pet-owning experience by providing the socialization and care pets need when their owners are at work or on vacation. That being said, you are responsible for creating a welcoming space—which starts by creating a safe and clean environment so that the dogs play well together and socialize until their humans come to pick them up.
The first step in creating a fun environment is making your space safe for dogs to explore, eat, share social interactions with others, and get time away when they feel over-stimulated. Make sure you have plenty of divided spaces for large and small dogs to explore and play separately.
While many small dogs relish playing with their bigger canine friends, the size difference makes it far too big of a risk should reactive or aggressive behavior take over. Use dog room dividers to create flexible partitions in your indoor space and alternate outside time or create separate enclosures so that playgroups are size-appropriate and well-managed. Make sure to “puppy-proof” outlets, furniture, gates, wires, and equipment to ensure curious and determined dogs don’t bite off more than they can chew.
Dogs love to play with each other, but that doesn’t mean they always like to share. Make sure there are plenty of toys to avoid triggering a defensive response. Also include agility activities that let them run and play, especially in outdoor areas. This gives them the opportunity to burn off energy and get to know each other.
Some dogs are nervous around strangers, whether they have two legs or four. Other dogs have never met a stranger and never will because everyone is a friend. Interactive activities are a great way to help dogs socialize with each other by encouraging group play with the safety of extra supervision and the familiarity of a human in charge. You can facilitate this with the toys on hand to get them started before stepping back to watch them build social relationships.
Treats and rewards are a great way to bond with the dogs in your care, provide positive reinforcement for good behavior, and make their playtime fun. However, be sure to talk to owners first so you’re aware of any food sensitivities or behavioral issues around meals or treats. The last thing you want to do is create a dangerous situation or potentially make one of the dogs in your daycare sick.
If you plan to offer meals for extended daycare visits, ensure you choose nutritionally sound food so owners know its ingredients and the planned feeding schedule. Your dog room dividers are a great way to keep dogs separate while feeding to monitor their food intake and give them space until they finish.
A dirty pup may be a happy pup, but it can mean an upset owner. Even if you don’t plan to offer grooming services, you should still have a dog bathing hose, some gentle shampoo, and towels on hand in case outside play gets too dirty or an indoor accident requires a quick clean-up. A quick rinse and dry will let them get back to playing and have them ready for pickup in no time.
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