FAQ: Doggy Daycare

What are the benefits of Doggy Daycare?

Where do we begin?  Daycare is more than just a play date for your pet.  In addition to the convenience and peace of mind it provides pet parents, it also does some pretty amazing things for their pets.  Dogs who attend doggy daycare are less anxious, which means they suffer less from separation anxiety and display less destructive behaviors like chewing or soiling in the home.  They are more apt to follow commands as these commands are reiterated throughout the day by daycare staff.  They are more social and less fearful of the unknown.  They are also more fit due to the excess activity.  Most of all, dogs who attend daycare on a regular basis are just happier dogs.  The physical and mental stimulation of being in a pack is something that all dogs inherently crave.  They look forward to seeing their pack-mates, playing the games, getting the extra rush of dopamine and coming home a happy, tired, pup.  Who wouldn't love that?

What is a daycare pass and how do they work?

Our daycare passes are prepaid discounted daycare days that you can use at any time during the month purchased.  Ranging from 5 days to Unlimited, these passes are a great way to save some money on your pet's daycare and skip the checkout counter when picking up your pup!  Passes auto-renew monthly and expire at the end of the month.

Can my puppy or senior dog participate?

We require that dogs be at least 12 weeks of age to participate in our traditional doggy daycare.  Senior dogs are also welcome and can be matched with a group that best fits their energy level.  If your pet requires certain rules and limitations, please disclose these on your Temp Test application and thoroughly discuss them with our daycare staff to ensure that they have a safe and enjoyable time while at daycare.

Why does my my dog have to be spayed/neutered after 6 months of age?

At Central Pet, we respect your decision to keep your dog intact.  Our daycare regulations are designed solely for the safety of the pack, not to pass judgement.  Intact dogs are not always a good match for an open play environment such as doggy daycare.  Having intact dogs means that they’re likely to impregnate other dogs or get impregnated. They are also more likely to hump around other dogs that they haven’t been exposed to.  While we don’t discourage pet parents from keeping their dogs intact, we do require that they are spayed/neutered by 6 months of age in order to ensure that they are safer in our daycare environment.  Spaying and neutering can curb behaviors that could otherwise prevent your dog from being accepted into the pack.  It also maintains balance and fair play, as intact dogs have a higher drive to protect toys, spaces and even other dogs.  Spaying and neutering your dog gives them a chance to play with others without being overly possessive with their friends, so one dog doesn’t stand out more than the others.  Our intact guests are welcome to day-board at our facility where they will get tons of love and play in a one-one-one environment.  For information on whether spaying and neutering is right for your dog, talk to your local veterinarian.

Is there a schedule of activities?

On a daily basis, our daycare guests are rotated through a wide variety of activities.  They spend set times indoors, outdoors, playing games with the staff, etc.  In addition to our daily mix of fun and frolic, we encourage you to sign up for our newsletter so that you know when we have special activities such as birthday parties, holiday parties and more!  

How many dogs are in the daycare group?

Our daycare group sizes vary significantly from day to day.  We break our pack into groups based on size, temperament, and play activity to ensure that everyone has a fun and safe time!  Our technicians match dogs into groups as they arrive daily, allowing your pup to tell us how they feel that day and where they would have the most fun.  

How does the Temperament Test work?

When you bring in your pet for their Temp Test, we ask that you drop them off for 2-6 hours.  Upon arrival, it is likely that your pet will be overly excited or anxious at their new surroundings so this time frame allows us to really see how your pet operates in a large group.  One of our trained daycare technicians will gradually introduce your pet to a closed off portion of the daycare room.  Once comfortable, we will introduce your pet to one of our 'meet-n-greet' pups.  These are our submissive/passive dogs that have a gift for setting a calm vibe for their new friends.  Then your pet will slowly be introduced to a larger group of dogs.  Keep in mind that our staff are trained to pick up on all of your dog's cues: breathing, body language, sounds, etc.  While most dogs are able to pass the Temp Test, not everyone makes it through.  This in NO way implies that you have an aggressive or antisocial pup.  This simply means that they were unable to adapt to these specific surroundings in a way that our staff (and your pup) was comfortable with.  You are welcome to retake the Temp Test if your pup did not pass.  (Sometimes they are just having an off day).  A daycare technician will discuss your pet's test with you, in detail, at the time of pickup.  

How are corrections administered and what provisions are there for avoiding fights?

Excellent question!  While the majority of our corrections are done with verbal cues and body language, they are not always sufficient in gaining the attention we need in a large room of playful pups.  Because of this, our staff may utilize a spray bottle of water to get a quick response from a dog who may not hear or see us.  If a dog is particularly disruptive, they may be leashed and taken from the group until they are able to safely re-enter.  In the rare event that we have an altercation, staff will immediately separate and leash the dogs, removing them from the group to assess for injury.  Our staff keep a strict staff-to-dog ratio and are constantly involved in, and moving throughout, the pack.  They have been trained to watch for the slightest physical or verbal cue that might imply an altercation could take place.  

Are the dogs supervised at all times?

Yes!  Our daycare staff are always in the room or yard and will never leave a group of dogs unattended.  Not only are they present, but they are constantly moving throughout the pack, watching for physical or verbal cues that let them know how each dog is doing.  In addition, we have cameras that live stream our daycare rooms to our website 24/7, so you can watch your pup at play! 

What toys and activities are in the outdoor play area?

During the summer months we offer kiddie pools, sprinklers, hoses and ice cubes.  Throughout the year our daycare areas boast large play equipment, tires and chew toys, ensuring that your pet always has something to do!  Our daycare technicians will vary activities from day to day, offering water time, ball time, scent games and more, depending on the time of year and the energy level of the pack.

Do the dogs ever get to wind down or take a break?

Absolutely.  While some of our guests can run all day, we have others that burn out a little earlier.  Our staff are trained to watch for cues from your pet that let us know when they've had enough.  We're happy to separate dogs from the group for a few minutes to a few hours to ensure that they get the rest they need and thoroughly enjoy their time in the pack.

Is there a lot of noise and barking in daycare?

Surprisingly, no.  While the daycare room is often bustling with energy, our guests generally spend their time running and playing.  While dogs do bark, some more than others, it is not often that many of them do it at once.  We do play music throughout the daycare rooms but the barking is generally reserved for the welcoming of new guests and the occasional over-spirited game of chase.

Can I see what my dog is doing in daycare?

Yes!  Check out our live webcams to see what our daycare pups are up to right now!  

After daycare, my dog is drinking a TON of water! Don't you give water?

We get asked this question all the time! Please rest assured that your dog has clean water available 24 hours a day.  Some dogs don’t drink as much while in daycare due to the extra amount of mental and physical stimulation they experience.   Much like small children, all the new sights, sounds, smells and people, can be overly exciting and the last thing they want to do is stop to drink.  While this is common, know that we monitor your pet's water intake and we will let you know if your pet is not drinking at all.  (Although this is rare).  If your dog drinks in excess when they get home, simply keep an eye on how much water they drink in short periods as drinking large amounts of water too quickly may cause vomiting.  

My dog didn't pass the Temp Test, but they are around other dogs all the time. What happened?

Don't worry!  There is nothing wrong with your dog!  Not every pet is cut out for daycare in this setting.  And there are SO many factors that contribute to this.  Your pup may only play well with others when you are present.  They might prefer their previous, familiar daycare to this new one.  They might be intimidated by the size of the pack, or they might just be having an off day.  Much like children, dogs act very differently in front of their pet parents than they do when left to their own means.  Unfortunately, they can't always tell us how they feel or what they want.  Because of this, some dogs just don't adapt well to the pack.  This doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with your pet!  If you feel it was an off-day or a matter of needing more time to adapt, we welcome you to bring them back for a second or third try at the Temp Test.  Our daycare technicians will discuss your options in detail to find the very best fit for you and your pup.

If my dog requires feeding or medication during daycare, will you administer these?

We are happy to feed or medicate your pet during their day with us!  Simply drop off the food and medications when you check in your pup, along with detailed instructions, and we'll be sure that they get a private room to relax, eat and take their needed medications before returning to the pack.

My dog was in an altercation. How could this happen?

Just like children playing on playgrounds, in daycare or at school, can get hurt from time to time, dogs playing with each other on the playgrounds can get hurt too. Dogs play with their mouths and paws and like to wrestle around on the ground with each other. Because we have a high number of staff in the playrooms and because of the training program our staff is required to complete, injuries are rare. If injuries do occur, you (not Central Pet) are responsible for any medical expenses for your dog, as you would be for a child. You need to be sure that you are comfortable with this before allowing your dog to play in the playroom. If you are not, day boarding is a great way for your pup to have some fun without being a part of the pack. Most owners find that the benefits of allowing their dog to play outweigh the risks.