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Healthy Dogs

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Choosing Doggie Daycares and Kennels: Prices, Safety, and Services

Considering doggie daycare or kennels? WebMD gets you started with information on cost, safety tips, and more.


Q: Should the dogs be separated by size?

A: It’s not just size, because small dogs and young puppies are the same size, but they’re not appropriate players. So I would also look at the activity level, the play style of the dogs. Look at the size and also the dogs’ personalities. For instance, Jack Russell terriers don’t play well with little poodles, although they’re roughly the same size.

Q: My doggie daycare wants to do a temperament test before allowing my dog in? Is that necessary?

A: It’s for the safety of both the dogs and the people. It helps to determine if the daycare is right for you and the dog. Again, not all dogs are suitable for daycare play. It’s also used to match your dog’s personality with appropriate playmates so your dog is placed in the correct playgroup.

Q: Are there some breeds that shouldn’t be allowed in daycare?

A: You really need to look at the dogs as individuals. How well has the dog been socialized? And how comfortable is the staff with the breed. If they’re not comfortable with that breed, then they shouldn’t take it into the daycare. Having a very good screening process in place for the dogs is the real key to it here.

Q: What kind of training should the staff of a doggie daycare have?

A: At a minimum they should have training in body language, signs of stress and basic animal care. But ideally you really want a good behavioral foundation of how dogs communicate and the intricacies of the canine communication. Almost nothing a dog does is incidental or accidental. There’s a lot being said by dogs and we don’t see it, even in their overt behaviors.

Dog behavior or communication is complex in itself and then you throw the dynamics of a group in there and it makes it even more complex. Of course it takes a while to learn all this, but staffers should know at least the basics and then the more they are aware, the more they see. People can learn so much just by watching dogs interact. I tell daycare workers to just go to a dog park without their dogs and just watch the interaction.

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