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Looking "down the road", we're trying to plan on how to best accommodate Kona when we both go back to work (this is the main reason we originally were not planning to get any dog for a few years).

I had been thinking that, after spay, a doggy day care could be an option. But, I have a relative who worked at a "nice facility" (i.e., clean, updated, etc.) in a "nice part of town". This relative responded with an emphatic "no", and described treatment of the dogs that sounds like a kennel version of a puppy mill.

Does anyone have any first-hand information they can share? Especially positive? I know of someone who is thrilled with their doggy day care, posts pictures of their dog playing, etc., but I can't shake the idea that that's "what they see" (similar to what my relative relayed), vice "what really goes on".

Thanks!
 

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Molly needs shots in 2 weeks and then is going to doggie daycare weekly or bi weekly for more socializing.

They have 4 acres mowed and fenced in. Inside is full of toys and agility training stuff. It is clean and they post pics of the dogs having fun. I believe there are cameras streaming inside you can view.
 

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Puddles
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I was a long time owner of in-home daycare / boarding at my home. I kept 20 to 30 dogs each day. When the dogs went home they were pooped. Typical day was group play with dogs of similar size and temperament. This did not mean turning then out on their own, I supervised and played anytime dogs were together. All dogs were walked 3 times a day for at least an hour. Every pup got group training, I'm too small to have 5 large dogs push me out of the way to get through a doorway so everyone learned to sit and wait until their names were called. Every dog had their own place to nap and eat that was steamed daily. I have had years of training in animal behavior, care and training. In almost 15 yrs I never had one skirmish or lost dog.
I'm not looking for brownie points, these are the things you need to look for. Find a place that has knowledgeable employees. I have visited many "commercial" dog daycares and can't say I was impressed. The staff spent way too much socializing with other people than with the dogs. Dogs spent way too much time confined and allowed group exercise to wear them out right before they went home. They were squirted with water if they barked or whined too much. Many did a really poor job of keeping up with shot records & owner contact information.
I have honestly never used or found the need to use a daycare. My pups were well exercised before heading to work. LOL I was at work before 6am. When they were under 3 months I came home twice to exercise & feed. I never used a crate, tired puppies were happy to be gated in the kitchen. There are lots of opportunities for gang fights at some of these places without the proper supervision. Parasites can be shared and not all dogs enjoy group play. Lots of not so adorable behaviors can be learned from a group of dogs. So be sure you really check the facilities out. Visit unannounced several times a day. I had a lot more dogs in the morning than I did in the afternoon. Is there a lot of barking in the back room? This is a sign they are not getting enough exercise or attention.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
They have 4 acres mowed and fenced in. Inside is full of toys and agility training stuff. It is clean and they post pics of the dogs having fun. I believe there are cameras streaming inside you can view.
Ummm...I'm guessing you don't live in a metropolitan area in Southern California. 😂🤣

I have relatives in other parts of the USofA who have a setup similar to what you're talking about. They do obedience training, day-care boarding, and longer term boarding. Problem is, in my neck-o'-the-woods, anyplace with this type of room is definitely not adjacent to daily commute routes. :)
 

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I have visited many "commercial" dog daycares and can't say I was impressed. The staff spent way too much socializing with other people than with the dogs. Dogs spent way too much time confined and allowed group exercise to wear them out right before they went home. They were squirted with water if they barked or whined too much. Many did a really poor job of keeping up with shot records & owner contact information.
This sounds exactly like the scenario my relative described. The facility is part of a chain, looks good, has good marketing, but maybe it's too much "a job" for the folks who work there, vice an interest that they've found a way to make a living with.
 

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Ummm...I'm guessing you don't live in a metropolitan area in Southern California. 😂🤣

I have relatives in other parts of the USofA who have a setup similar to what you're talking about. They do obedience training, day-care boarding, and longer term boarding. Problem is, in my neck-o'-the-woods, anyplace with this type of room is definitely not adjacent to daily commute routes. :)
Yeah, this place is in the middle of no where lol. They also do boarding and grooming.
Both husband and wife are AKC recognized professional dog trainers.

The fenced areas are split up and have appropriate sized dogs and/or play temperament with someone in there with them. All that good stuff.
 

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Puddles
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I was a long time owner of in-home daycare / boarding at my home. I kept 20 to 30 dogs each day. When the dogs went home they were pooped. Typical day was group play with dogs of similar size and temperament. This did not mean turning then out on their own, I supervised and played anytime dogs were together. All dogs were walked 3 times a day for at least an hour. Every pup got group training, I'm too small to have 5 large dogs push me out of the way to get through a doorway so everyone learned to sit and wait until their names were called. Every dog had their own place to nap and eat that was steamed daily. I have had years of training in animal behavior, care and training. In almost 15 yrs I never had one skirmish or lost dog.
I'm not looking for brownie points, these are the things you need to look for. Find a place that has knowledgeable employees. I have visited many "commercial" dog daycares and can't say I was impressed. The staff spent way too much socializing with other people than with the dogs. Dogs spent way too much time confined and allowed group exercise to wear them out right before they went home. They were squirted with water if they barked or whined too much. Many did a really poor job of keeping up with shot records & owner contact information.
I have honestly never used or found the need to use a daycare. My pups were well exercised before heading to work. LOL I was at work before 6am. When they were under 3 months I came home twice to exercise & feed. I never used a crate, tired puppies were happy to be gated in the kitchen. There are lots of opportunities for gang fights at some of these places without the proper supervision. Parasites can be shared and not all dogs enjoy group play. Lots of not so adorable behaviors can be learned from a group of dogs. So be sure you really check the facilities out. Visit unannounced several times a day. I had a lot more dogs in the morning than I did in the afternoon. Is there a lot of barking in the back room? This is a sign they are not getting enough exercise or attention.
I would have charged more than $15 a day if I lived there! Just remember your puppy will not be little for long. It's totally possible to provide enough exercise & training without going to daycare. LOL I don't use dog parks either :) TX has too many redneck people with pits... Not a bad breed but not known for playing well with others.
I also used to visit peoples homes and provided exercise, sometimes lunch, snuggles and walks. If you are concerned about leaving the pup too long on their own, having a good, reputable dog walker might be an alternative. Honestly I'm not a group play sort of person with my dogs. Play dates with friends is safer. I want my dogs to learn calm and well behaved behavior. JMHO but daycares and dog parks is an excuse for not properly exercising your dogs yourself.
 

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I would check with your Vet to see if they have a recommendation for a daycare.

I belong to a local neighborhood site called Nextdoor.
Go to the website, enter your address to find your "local/area" neighborhood.

In my area, people ask for Recommendations for Vets, contractors, licensed professionals, etc.
In my area, people are pretty honest about who is good and who is not...
 

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Our vet offers day care and boarding. The great thing is they take of amber on a regular basis so if any issues came up we trust them to take care of it.
 

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In addition to what others have said, never ever let dogs run and play on cement, especially not developing puppies.
 

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oh gosh yes I've visited some daycare facilities and the flooring is really really slippery (but easy to clean) and I would not consider sending a growing puppy there at all.

I'd also have a preference for daycares that have have live stream cameras where owners can check in on their dogs throughout the day so thats something I looked for when I was considering. if not the daycare owner has to be the sort that updates me frequently ( pictures etc or uploads them on their social media accounts)- i get separation anxiety HAHA
 

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I live in San Francisco and there are a lot of dog daycare or walking options here. Here are my experiences with 2 daycares (sorry, a lot of text!)

We were able to keep Tomo at home, plus doggy socials a couple of times a week, until he was about 4 or 5 months old. Then he started being a lot more active and could knock over the x-pen (we have hardwood floors so no way to tie down). I looked at a lot of daycare listings, and went to a couple to view their facilities and also they had me bring him for a half day evaluation.

He started daycare a couple of times a week, then over 2 months we ramped it up to 5 times a week because he seemed to have so much fun there. It was a smaller facility with 2 indoor rooms, the floors are a type of durable mat material in gyms and other dog places. The staff clearly loved the dogs. The dogs were mostly smaller dogs and puppies, though they did have a few larger dogs. I think they typically had < 20 dogs on any day. He would join either play group, depending on who's there that day; they also liked that he played well with smaller dogs so he could help give them a good experience with larger dogs. There were cameras that would turn on during playtimes, not all the time because they rotate the dogs between playtime and naptime.

He was at this daycare until about 10 months, when he started getting more dog reactive to other teenage male dogs. The daycare also thought Tomo was reacting to certain dog groups - because he was rotated between different playgroups and other dogs typically stayed in their own groups. (Interestingly, the daycare owner was a bit surprised when I mentioned that on the weekends I took Tomo out on 3-4 walks a day plus a long play session outside.) Our trainer advised that maybe he would do better at a different daycare where the caretakers were more versed in dog body signals and can intervene faster.

So we switched gradually to another daycare, run in someone's house so they have free reign of the house plus the backyard that was a combination of brick and fake grass. The dogs there are larger and older; they also had enforced naptimes. I noticed that Tomo was much calmer at pick up. However, we noticed that his dog reactivity didn't go away. He still notices dogs from half a block away, pull to greet, and will growl - we think because he's frustrated that he doesn't get to meet the dog because he's on leash. Trainer said it's typical behavior in dogs who are in daycare all the time, and that we'll have to decide if we want to continue with daycare or if we want to change that behavior.

Due to the shelter-in-place orders, we then had Tomo home all the time - from 12 months to 14 months right now. The first week was hard adjustments for everybody, but he's since calmed down a lot more and naps most of the day. We still do 3-4 walks a day plus a fetch session in the afternoon. We are continuing to work on walking nicely on leash, he's improved but still want to greet other dogs, particularly when he's off leash.

The other odd thing is that he thinks putting on the harness (for car rides or walks) is a type of play. When I pull a harness out, he will become alert and then runs away like I should chase him. I didn't understand why he would do this until one of the last days of the first daycare, the caretakers took him out of the playroom and was putting the harness on him (they typically do it in the playroom), and instead of telling him to come over for the harness, she was trying to catch him with the harness. No wonder why he picked up that habit.
 

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After the shelter-in-place ends and we transition to go back to work, we are thinking about keeping the same walk/play schedule and get a dog walker or group walk for lunchtime. So he would still have the benefit of outside time during the workday, plus our usual walks/playtime/training. I think he's ready for this new schedule.

For us, daycare filled a much needed gap we couldn't provide during the puppy times. He learned dog behaviors like what's acceptable play and what' too rough, playing appropriately with smaller/younger dogs, waiting in a group for a treat and not pushing to the front, waiting to pass through dog gates, letting a variety of people take care of him, chill out when it's naptime, etc. And he had a ton of fun everyday!

The only major con is the dog/leash reactivity, the harness thing is just a funny quirk that doesn't hurt anything (other than taking more time to leave the house because I have to retrain him coming to me and associate it with going out).
 

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Just wanted to add that although daycares have the written policy that dogs older than X months be neutered, when I talked to them they were open to taking intact dogs on an individual basis, as they know the research for a later neuter particularly for large breed dogs. Might be a bit more discussion for female dogs if there are intact males, but I've found that good facilities are up on the research and want to do the best thing for the dogs.
 
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