Why should my dog go to daycare?
Dog daycare may be a great choice for your dog! Whether you work from home or not, having somewhere to send your dog during the day can have benefits for both you and your pup. There are many reasons why sending your dog to daycare is a good choice, like alleviating your dog’s loneliness and boredom and giving your dog a positive way to get their energy out!
Dogs are social creatures and generally don’t want to be left alone all day. Sending them to daycare not only helps you know they’re safe and supervised when you can’t be with them but also gives your dog a chance to socialize with other people and other dogs. Because your dog will be playing with other dogs, this gives them a great chance to burn up any excess energy they may have. Since they have so much social time, they are also likely to come home ready to rest and relax and may sleep through the night more soundly.
If you choose to send your dog to daycare, you give them the opportunity to avoid crating or leaving them unattended during the day. You can have peace of mind knowing that trained professionals are watching and facilitating play for your dog. You can rest assured with the knowledge that your dog is less likely to have behavioral issues and anxiety due to pent-up energy as a result of all the activities at Greenlin. The ASPCA says that “regular exercise can help eliminate unwanted behaviors such as chewing, garbage raiding, and excess barking.” Your furniture, shoes, and ears will all thank you!
You want to be with your pet as much as possible, but unfortunately, it’s not always possible. Though nothing can replace you and the relationship you have with your pup, sending them to a professional, fun daycare may be the next best thing!
Will my dog enjoy daycare and do well in daycare?
When deciding whether or not to send their dog to daycare, most dog owners are eager to know if their pets will actually like daycare and thrive in that setting. It’s understandable — sending your dog to be cared for by strangers can be scary!
However, it seems that most dogs do enjoy being in daycare, given that the daycare is well-run by trained professionals. When playgroups are separated, as they are at Greenlin, the dog has the opportunity to enjoy being around canines of a similar size and temperament. We also observe all dogs closely, so we can report back on their experience to let you know how it went.
There are some dogs that may seem like they don't appreciate the time spent away from home, but even then they should give it a chance because daycare has nearly everything a dog instinctually craves! Once they attend daycare and get used to it, the experiences can often improve social skills, increase their feelings of confidence, reduce nervous energy, and lessen issues related to separation anxiety.
The three main benefits that your dog will receive from going to daycare are attention, activity, and supervision:
If your dog goes to daycare, instead of sitting alone at your house, they will be getting a plethora of attention, both from the trainers and the other dogs at daycare. When dogs are unattended with nothing to do, they will find their own way to entertain themselves, which often leads to unwanted behavior. At daycare, your dog will be offered many activities to keep them entertained and happy! This attention may also lessen your dog’s separation anxiety and can help them to learn independence.
According to the ASPCA, many dogs were originally bred to have jobs — whether to hunt, herd, or guard. Now, many pets still have those instincts, but may generally slip into being couch potatoes! When you take your dog to daycare, they will have the opportunity to run around, play, and exercise. Many daycares can also train your dog or give them activities that will not only engage them physically but mentally as well. When your dog comes home from daycare in the evening, they will be ready to rest and relax with you.
Your dog will get to participate in safe and supervised play. Well-run daycares should have low staff-to-dog ratios, so your dog should get the opportunity to play and socialize with a few other dogs that match your dog in either temperament, size, or age. When left at home, dogs can become bored, anxious, and destructive. At daycare, they will be able to participate in a variety of closely supervised activities.
What are the options if my dog does not play well with others?
How does your dog feel around other dogs? According to professional dog trainer Cathy Madson, dogs fall onto a sociability spectrum. About half of all dogs are either dog social or dog tolerant, meaning they tend to get along with all other dogs without much of an issue. However, the other 50% of dogs will fall into the dog selective or dog aggressive categories, meaning they either need high support with other dogs or aren’t able to get along with other dogs at all.
If you want to send your dog to puppy daycare but your dog falls into one of the less-social categories, don’t worry — there are still options for you and your pup.
If your dog is not aggressive but just needs some help and guidance when getting to know other dogs, daycare may still be a good option for your pet. As long as your pet is in a small group with constant supervision, your dog may find success. However, the stress from being in a new place and being surrounded by unfamiliar people and dogs may cause your dog to slide into the aggressive category. In cases where the owner is unsure or knows a dog has a history of occasional bad interactions, we will observe the dog closely and separate it the moment we feel an issue might arise.
If you are concerned about your dog being aggressive around other dogs, there are still some options for you. First, your dog can work with a professional trainer to help learn proper coping techniques and unlearn antisocial habits when dealing with other dogs. Training can also help you and the daycare staff know what situations or behavior cues could indicate uneasiness or oncoming aggression.
In instances where your dog truly doesn’t care to be around other dogs and has a known history of bad interactions, they can still stay with us for daycare. Instead of having them in our shared daycare facilities and subjecting them to the stress of that environment, we can treat them similarly to being boarded — your dog will have its own space while still being given attention and activities to stave off boredom.
Whatever your dog’s personality and social preferences, we have daycare, short-stay, and boarding solutions for your family!
What should I look for when choosing a dog daycare?
Your dog is a very valuable member of your family, and sending your dog to be cared for by other people can admittedly be nerve-racking for some of us. One way to ease your mind about this transition is by picking the best daycare for your dog. However, there are many dog daycares, and trying to choose a good one may feel like a challenge. In order to help sort through the plethora of daycares, here are a few important things to look for when choosing a facility for your pup:
1. Trained Staff
According to the AKC, you’ll want to make sure that your dog is being watched by staff members who are not only trained in basic care and safety procedures, but are also trained in animal behavior and can read animal body language to help identify warning signs of danger, stress, and illness.
2. Indoor and Outdoor Facilities
You’ll want a daycare that has a variety of play and exercise options for your pup. Outside, you’ll want some equipment for your dog to play with, as well as a tall, strong double fence to ensure the dogs aren’t able to escape. Inside, you’ll want to make sure that there is air conditioning, as well as strong ventilation, in case of inclement weather or extreme temperatures.
3. Separation of Dogs Into Play Groups
Instead of a facility that has all dogs playing together, look for one where dogs are separated by many different attributes, such as size, temperament, and age. Having a good separation policy is a preventative measure that helps ensure safety for all the pups at daycare. Also, look for a small staff-to-dog ratio in order to guarantee adequate supervision of your pup!
4. Good Reviews/Awards
Read through the reviews of the daycare. You want to see that they have all or almost all good reviews. You want a daycare that will be transparent about its policies and procedures, and one eager to answer any questions you had.
Another way to ensure your puppy is in a happy, safe daycare is to see if the facility has earned any awards. On that note, Greenlin Pet Resorts has been named "Simply the Best" by Harrisburg Magazine for the past 10 years!
How can I tell if my dog is happy with daycare?
When deciding to send your dog to daycare, you may be wondering how to know if your dog likes it or not. Even though you can’t communicate with your dogs conversationally, you can learn from your dog through watching their behavior and body language. There are a few signs to watch out for when trying to gauge if your dog is enjoying daycare or would be better off at home.
If your dog is coming home tired it is probably a sign that they had a good day! At daycare, your dog should be socializing and playing all day, which may lead to exhaustion by the evening! Though your dog will probably acclimate to the activity levels after a few days, your dog should still be relaxed and ready to rest once they arrive home.
Another way to know if your dog is doing well at daycare is to monitor the behavior communication you receive from the facility. If your dog is doing well, it should not have many incidents reported. That being said, give your dog some time to acclimate. After a few weeks, you may see that they are feeling more comfortable and confident around other dogs.
If your dog is excited to get in the car and can’t wait to see the trainers when they arrive at daycare, that is an excellent sign that they are enjoying themselves. If your dog doesn’t jump up and down, wag their tail, or use some other body language to show they are excited to be at daycare, you may want to check in with the trainers to see if daycare seems like a good fit for your pup. Alternately, if you see your dog shaking, hiding, or tucking in its tail when walking into the facility, those may be signs that your dog doesn’t feel comfortable or happy in that environment, and you may want to reevaluate your daycare arrangement.
Can you train my dog while they are in daycare?
Yes, dog training and daycare can take place on the same day! In order to have this service set up, the owner must first meet with the trainer in order to discuss their objectives and to schedule their training appointment. On the day of the training appointment, the dog can be admitted to regular daycare and then attend their training session. In most cases, the dog will have time to return to daycare activities before being picked up by the owner at the end of the day.
Combining training with daycare is an excellent way to maximize your dog's time at Greenlin. They can enjoy playing with friends, engaging in activities, and learning new things with the help of their trainer. On top of this, our experienced daycare staff can collaborate with the trainer to observe the dog and help inform future lessons. For instance, a nervous dog with anxiety-prone behaviors may act confident around other dogs in certain situations, which can help guide training to build up the dog's confidence.
At the end of the day, you get to pick up a dog who's happy, relaxed, low-energy, and who will likely have a few new training tricks up their sleeve!
What is a typical day like for my dog in daycare?
At Greenlin Pet Resorts, we like to think of daycare as a vacation for your pet, even if it’s only several hours long. While in our care, your companion will be treated like the royalty they are, with plenty of activities and, of course, cuddles. Your dog will be exposed to both physical and mental stimulation, as well as socialization. We promise your dog will not be bored for a moment!
A typical day for your pooch will include safe, outdoor playtime on more than four acres of land, weather permitting. Your dog can climb teeter-totters, jump over poles, and plop lazily into one of our several swimming pools designed just for dogs (only available at some locations). Our playgroups are separated by size and temperament to promote safe play. When your dog needs a break — not to worry! Our land has several gorgeously shaded areas that welcome rest and relaxation. There are also indoor, climate-controlled, and air-filtered play gyms for days with extreme weather or excessive heat.
Activities may be arranged depending on the current schedule or how the playgroups are feeling that day. Our staff also love to improvise new, safe games and activities that fall within the facility's guidelines for group play. Dogs are encouraged to get a mix of physical exercise, social interaction, and relaxation throughout their day's routine.
You can rest assured that your best friend is going to be treated like a member of our own family. Staff-to-pet ratios are kept to a minimum for safety’s sake, and all of our staff are trained in the unfortunate case of injury or illness. If your dog could talk, we know that they would tell you they had a great day!
Are you prepared in case of illness or injury?
We understand that it can be difficult to trust others with the care of your furry family member. Please know that, yes, all of our staff are trained in the event that an injury occurs or a guest becomes ill.
Injuries are certainly rare, but we know they can and do happen. In typical cases, the wounds sustained at daycare are minor. Just like human children, not all dogs understand their own power or others’ boundaries. While we take every precaution to avoid injuries while pets are under our care, minor injuries, such as scratches, do sometimes occur. Our staff is well-trained in how to handle these situations in a safe and effective manner. You will be notified of the occurrence upon pickup, but you will be contacted immediately if we feel the incident has potential cause for concern.
In the extremely unlikely event that a concerning injury occurs, all of our staff are trained to provide emergency first aid and CPR. The owner will be contacted immediately. If the situation is a medical emergency or the owner isn't available to pick up the animal, we may arrange transport to a nearby animal medical treatment facility. We will always make every attempt to get the owner's permission before doing so, but if the owner can't be reached and if the animal requires life-saving care, we will not hesitate to rush the pet to the treatment it needs.
In the event that a pet becomes ill, we can contact the owner while also handling the situation. We do ask that if your pet is ill prior to their visit that you notify us to discuss our options. If the illness is mild and non-contagious and doesn't affect the pet's activities, we may advise that it is perfectly safe for your dog to attend daycare. If we are concerned about your pet's ability to safely enjoy daycare — or whether they could infect other dogs — we will ask that you keep your pet at home for the day.
Also, please tell us about any medical needs or accommodations we should be aware of. Pets who need light activity, for example, because of a prior injury can be put in an appropriate playgroup and engaged with using appropriate games and activities. Pets who are on regular medications are more than welcome to attend any of our training sessions, events, or daycare provided it is safe for them to do so. We do ask that you bring along their medication along with your vet's dosing instructions, and we will happily administer it as needed so your treasured friend doesn’t miss a dose.
What are the basic requirements needed for my dog to be in daycare?
At Greenlin Pet Resorts, the health and safety of our guests is our number one priority! We have taken steps to ensure that the risk of illness is minimal and ask for your partnership in this mission.
Before your puppy is able to attend daycare or boarding, we ask for proof of up-to-date vaccinations that include rabies, distemper, and bordetella. This measure is to prevent an outbreak, which could otherwise have major consequences for the local pet community as a whole.
To prevent any dog interaction issues — or unexpected litters — any dog over the age of 6 months must be spayed or neutered, or they will be isolated from the other dogs. We know that all pet guardians have their own thoughts when it comes to the altering of pets. We will still love and appreciate your intact pooch, but we will keep them separated from the group to help ensure everyone’s health, safety, and comfort.
Likewise, if your pup is feeling a little more Negative Nelly than Positive Polly, we will not integrate them into group gameplay. Again, we still love your dog, but we want everyone to be safe!
We ask that you let us know about any medical needs or concerns so that we can adjust your dog's activities or playgroups accordingly. We will also relay this information to daycare staff so that they can know about conditions like seizures, prior injuries, allergies, etc. in order to closely observe the animal.
If you have any questions about our medical or behavioral requirements, please do not hesitate to contact us for more information. We want daycare to be the most enjoyable experience possible for your companion.
Do smaller dogs play with the larger dogs?
No. At Greenlin, we understand the concerns that can come with mixing large dog groups with small ones. Not only is there a risk of accidental injury, but the plain truth is that smaller dogs may not have as much fun playing with the bigger guys! By separating playgroups by size, we are able to ensure that all dogs feel confident, safe, and in the midst of their pack community. They can engage in similar activities together, and they can do so without fear of being pushed aside or overlooked.
Playgroups are separated as follows:
- Petite dogs: 0-20 lbs
- Small dogs: 20-40 lbs
- Large dogs: 40+ lbs
- Giant Breed dogs: 110+ lbs
We also frequently separate playgroups based on temperament. That way, dogs that really love physical games like tug of war or running around can enjoy themselves as much as possible. Other dogs that prefer mild physical activity and relaxation can enjoy a social experience among human and canine friends. Dogs that aren't typically social around other dogs will likely be separated individually, as well, so that they can feel safe and content during their stay.
Some of our facilities even have swimming pools specially designed for dogs for those pups that love to swim! All facilities have both natural grassy outdoor play areas and indoor, climate-controlled play gyms. All of these accommodations allow us to adjust activities based on the weather and the favorite activities of the dogs we currently have that day!