Dog day-care centre or puppy crèche are not really novel concepts internationally but a time has arisen in this country for considering the implementation of these necessary facilities for the owners of canine companions.
There are many positive benefits for pets and people.
The gregarious nature of the dog is conducive to attending the day-care centre and having the opportunity to socialize with its own species under professional or responsible supervision.
For the people who work long hours and have to commute long distances to their jobs, many are frustrated and anxious how to accommodate their pet dog into their busy lives.
Doggie day-care usually functions for twelve hours during which time the pooch is not only fed, nurtured, socialized but also exercised. The outcome is a calm, tired dog, eager to see its owners but equally content to curl up and be relaxed instead of being a demanding nuisance.
The pet dog’s accommodation for the day elsewhere will prevent having to return home to a house.
Dogs, with the exception of a handful of breeds, are gregarious by nature and thrive on the genuine pleasures of hanging out with other dogs. Dogs love to do doggie things!
The doggie day-care centres vary considerably depending on management philosophies and also based on what activities impress the owners the most. Some are satisfied that their pets are not in cages and while away their day romping, roughhousing and relaxing in an ample outdoor playground.
Another establishment might be more structured in the exercise programme by providing rubber tyres to run through, ramps and platforms to scale and negotiate, a treadmill and hydrotherapy.
“Quiet time” for two hours, round about lunch-time, when the day is very hot is a healthy and safe option. During this break there can be access to sheltered soft, cool bedding where dogs can doze and cool down.
People who run this type of set-up may be highly selective as to which dogs will be admitted. Besides updated veterinary certification for vaccines, deworming and external parasite control temperament, early socialization and a basic training foundation is often the selection criteria for acceptance. Owners may be interviewed and dogs may be tested regarding response to its name, commands, handling and on-leash walking. The introduction of the potential applicant may then be tested in the presence of the regular visitors to determine any hint of aggression, excessive nervousness, anxiety or fear. These could be grounds for refusal.
Not all dogs will benefit from being at a day-care centre since not every dog harbours a sociable attitude and may ignore other dogs or show intolerance towards interaction and activity.
Certain opinions on this concept believe that day care speaks more of the guilt that dog owners feel about leaving their pets at home all day. Others feel that their dogs will enjoy it and that, alone, would be in their beloved pet’s best interest. How much does the dog suffer if it is on its own during the day? Do most dogs sleep when all is quiet? If you are offering quality above quantity time, playing appropriate games and exercising the dog sufficiently and regularly you may not have to consider this type of pet facility, especially if there are no separation anxiety symptoms such as destructiveness, self-mutilation, excessive barking complaints from the neighbours and soiling in places that are unacceptable.
Subscribing to a doggie day-centre is a reasonable alternative for people who can afford it.
Some people confess that without the effects of this type of establishment on their pet they would not have been able to have kept the dog. The dampening of any dog’s energy levels is a win-win situation for all concerned.
One does not have to do this every day – some only send their dogs twice a week.
There is always careful supervision and in some places areas may be set aside for small fairly inactive pooches and other areas for large hyperactive dogs. Then, if the space is available there can be subdivisions into other categories such as small hyperactive dogs and large inactive pets. The needs need to be balanced with economics.
From a health perspective the secondary benefits can include weight loss as well – on veterinary advice or as a normal sequel to activity.
Misbehaving is not permitted – if any particular dog has trouble sharing toys they could be put into a time-out immediately. In order to make this judgment and implement the decision requires years of experience or professional qualification.
A doggie day-care centre may have far more space than at the dog’s actual home; and being able to explore with freedom is a mental, emotional and physical stimuli.
Only sterilized pets are accepted.
Introverted dogs may come out of their shell after a few visits and are able to build up social confidence and trust.
One can quite innovative when it comes to arranging a puppy crèche or day-care centre for canine companions. Ideally, the purchase of a spacious property for this purpose with the construction of top class infra-structure is everyone’s dream. One may consider the next best as the use of a section of a pet boarding kennel for day visitors as opposed to long-term boarders. Smaller facilities may be set up at veterinary practices under the supervision of veterinary nurses or at animal welfare organizations under the care of the experienced staff. Meaningful contact with people and other pets is always a priority. One of the last resorts which are highly effective is for a person to utilize the back section of their home where there are no other pets and the entire area is puppy-proof and safe for dogs. Applying the knowledge of positive canine behaviour interaction and meeting all their physiological and physical needs can lend such an atmosphere to having home-from-home and if managed professionally benefits may be quite lucrative for the proprietor and, simultaneously offering a highly appreciated and vital service to the pet loving community.
The usual arrangement would be for dog owners to drop their pets off at the day-care centre early in the morning at collect them after work. Those people who work at half-day jobs may wish for half-day care.
There is also an opportunity for a collection and delivery service whereby pups or dogs are fetched from their homes by a dedicated vehicle as part of the business service and then dropped off at pre-arranged times. All this creates skilled job opportunities but it all comes at a price. In order to manage a doggie day-care centre one has to realize that the responsibility is enormous, you have to know dogs, the health criteria have to be in place and safety and security is essential because the “merchandise” is so incredibly valuable.
It may be far cheaper to have one’s dog at a day crèche than having to pay for repairs to domestic destructiveness through separation anxiety by leaving the dog at home, alone. It will be less stressful to come without complaints from the neighbours about the dog barking obsessively in your absence.
Besides the comforts, burning up of energy, getting down and dirty the day-care centre allows dogs to be themselves – what else would you want them to be?!