Daycare has a variety of benefits for your dog. Daycare allows your dog to socialize with a diverse grouping of breeds and temperaments. In addition to helping your dog interpret other dog’s body language, he will learn how to communicate with other dogs as well. A progressive daycare will enrich your dog with a combination of physical play, mental stimulation, and rest, leaving you with a happy and tired dog at the end of the day.
So how do you know if your dog is a good fit for daycare?
While each daycare’s standards will differ, you’ll first want to make sure your dog’s vaccination history is up to date. Bordetella, Distemper, Parvo and Rabies are recommended vaccines if your dog will be interacting with other dogs. You can request a copy of your dog’s vaccination history from your vet.
Once your dog’s vaccines are up-to-date, it’s time for your dog to begin a behavior evaluation. Many daycares will require a behavioral evaluation prior to providing services such as daycare, boarding and at-home walking.
The purpose of the behavioral evaluation is two-fold. First, the handlers will be sure your dog feels comfortable in the daycare setting. If your dog hasn’t been socialized in a daycare environment, it may be overwhelming at first. There will likely be a handful of dogs greeting your dog with sniffs and barks at once. To begin, the handlers will slowly introduce your dog to a few of the daycare dogs to make sure the introduction is as stress-free as possible. Second, the handlers will observe your dog for any possible signs of fear or aggression. Monitoring each dog’s interaction helps to ensure the daycare environment thrives on happy, relaxed play.
Here are some standard items your dog may be evaluated for:
- Behavior on-leash
- Behavior off-leash
- Behavior when held and guided by the collar
- Behavior while crated
- Greeting other dogs – large and small
- Greeting strangers
- Behavior with loud noises and distractions
- Behavior when a new dog enters the daycare
- Resource guarding
All of these items are designed to ensure your dog’s safety and well-being while in daycare. If your dog does not pass the behavioral evaluation, do not feel discouraged. The daycare environment can seem overwhelming to some dogs. Ask the handler to outline what you can work on with your dog to ensure your dog feels comfortable.
Prior to the evaluation, you may consider enrolling your dog in a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) training certification course. The CGC Certification is sponsored by the American Kennel Club and is designed to help your dog pass 10 items of good behavior. CGC Certified trainers will offer classes to help your dog address all 10 items of the exam. Many pet insurance companies will also offer a discount to CGC Certified dogs. The course is an excellent way to reinforce your dog’s basic obedience training and prepare for a behavior evaluation.
We’re happy to answer any additional questions about our evaluation process. Call us today to get started!