By Alice Fisher CPDT-KA
DOGSmart Training Systems Ltd
Having a dog means being responsible for your dog even when you cannot be with your dog. Entrusting others as guardians for your beloved pet means taking a giant leap of faith, having many back up plans and doing your homework.
Knowing what is good for your dog versus what you think you want your dog to do can be challenging for the most well intentioned of us. Physical growth, mental development and fear periods impact on your dogs needs and personality. Many people want the big run in the mountains – and so do many dogs, but others are not be able to handle the crowds of other dogs, sudden appearance of strangers or have less than a stellar recall.
As our time gets more encroached upon, we need to use the services of others to groom, walk and mind our four legged friends. Unfortunately that comes at a price that can be startling. Factoring in the price of the dog, food, vet visits, grooming and now walking and daycare some people have asked for low cost or budget options such as dog sharing through websites or Craigslist advertising. Just loving dogs and having dogs all their life does not necessarily qualify them to take care of Spot! Whatever you choose to do, buyer beware.
Here are some top questions you need to ask a prospective walker and daycare:
- Do they have a current business license?
- How long have they been in business?
- Can you observe them at work?
- Do they have Insurance i.e. liability?
- Are they pet first aid certified?
- Do they care emergency supplies with them?
- Are they familiar with the veterinarians in their neighbourhood and in an emergency can they transport your dog there? (Many vets, and emergencies need a credit card on file and a signed release to attend your dog – you need to do this)
- What do they do in the case of a dog fight?
- Do they have a protocol?
- Do they implement punishment – choke chains, pinch collars, shock collars, alpha roll, hoses, spray bottles to control the dog?
- What happens if your dog gets lost…do they have current pictures and id?
- Who has access to your dog, when you are not with them? (Be careful. Children should not be left with dogs / many children are inappropriate with dogs)
- Who delivers and picks up the dog?
- If they deliver to your home, are they bonded?
- Do they have a check in list?
- Give you a report of the day’s activities?
- Are they asking about the dogs’ bathroom habits and general health?
- If you were to visit unannounced, what would you see?
- Do they have a limit on the number of dogs and what is the ratio of dogs to caretakers?
- Ask them their definition of play:
- How do they put the dogs together for play?
- Are they interrupting humping and letting you know about resource guarding?
- Are the dogs allowed toys, chews?
- Do the dogs get scheduled downtimes with their own space and what does that look like?
- Are they asking you for detailed information about your dog and doing a trial to see how your dog adjusts to the people and location?
This is your dog and you want the same boundaries you have at home to be implemented at daycare or on dog walks. Daycare should be just that, care, for your dog, keeping them mentally stimulated and physically active and recognizing their individual needs.