Saturday, July 17, 2010

Doggie Day Care

I just started a new job and since I was going to be away from home for at least 10 hours a day, I decided to look for a Day Care for Seymour. What surprised me, when I mentioned this to people at work was how "odd" this seemed to them. They couldn't understand why he couldn't just stay at home. Ten plus hours?? So, if you are like me and don't want your dog staying alone all day, here are some things to consider when looking for Day Care:

1. What hours they are open? - I found a few places that seemed to have a good reputation but when I checked their hours, they were only open from 9 am to 4 pm daily. I can't see how anyone with a job could use them, but maybe that was the idea. They must be catering to vacationers who just want to board their pets for a few hours while they tour around.

2. How are the dogs kept - cages, runs, together, alone? I know that most places that board dogs seem to keep them in kennels or cages. Since Seymour was a rescue and was in a caged area and frightened when I saw him, I just couldn't think of putting him back into that kind of environment. He has his crate at home and he loves it but I also keep it open so he can go in and out as he chooses. I found a place that is basically a house where all of the dogs are free to roam together - if they get along - or put in large rooms, if they don't. It is a bit scary to see Seymour at 7 pounds roaming around with a 200 pound dog, but he's been there for 2 weeks and it seems to be working.

3. Do they give discounts? Some places that board pets give discounts to seniors and for longer stays. I paid for 20 days, that I don't have to use consecutively at a discounted rate.

4. What do they feed the dogs? Some kennels will ask you to bring your own food and some will feed your dogs. If they feed them, what quality of food do they use? The Day Care I am using, feeds Seymour the same kind of food he is used to eating. I brought is favorite treats that I requested they give him once a day. He's not a doggie biscuit-type of guy. It has to be protein.

5. How flexible are they? Do they allow you to keep them at the kennel longer some days, or even overnight if there is an emergency? I usually call and let them know when I'm coming, or if I'm running late. There would be no problem with letting him stay overnight, if needed. That flexibility is important to me.

6. Do they discipline the dogs, and if so, how? This kennel uses a spray bottle of water, which is what I also use, if needed.

7. Does your dog want to go to their Day Care? If your dog hides when you take him to Day Care, there may be a problem. Seymour was great the first week and jumped out of the car when we got there. By the second week, he wasn't as enthusiastic and I was starting to worry. But by the middle of the second week, he was again interested in going. I think that if he had a choice, he would want to stay home with me, but since we don't have that option (no lottery winnings yet), this is his second favorite choice.

8. Check references - Some kennels have on-line reviews you can read; some even have cameras in their kennels where you can go on line and see what they animals are doing. I have a good friend who has used their kennel for over a year, so I was pretty comfortable giving it a try.

Doggie Day Care may not be for everyone, but it gives me peace of mind to know that Seymour is not alone all day.

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