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How to prepare your dog for daycare

 Joining a new daycare group is a huge thing for you and your dog. Doing what you can to prepare them for the experience will go a long way to help them settle.

Here are our 8 tips to prepare your dog

Small blonde cockapoo dog

1. Research

Begin your research to find the best daycare provider that will suit your dog. 

Read our Doggy Day Care guides here for information on how to chose the best place, what to look for and find out if daycare is right for your dog.

2. Vaccinations

Make sure your dog is up to date with their vaccinations. Check with your chosen daycare to find out what they require. 

Some places will require Bordatella (Kennel Cough), so check beforehand. 

All daycares will require proof of these so get a photocopy or photo ready to send them.

3. Puppy classes

If you have a puppy join a puppy class and join puppy play date groups. 

This way your pup begins their socialisation process in a small group, and lets you see how they interact with the other pups. 

This can be a good indicator on whether daycare will be a good choice for them.

4. Training classes

If your dog is older than 6 months take them along to a training class, or join one online. 

Knowing your dog has the basics under wraps will help them settle quickly because they understand what is being asked of them by their new daycare.

5. Recall

How is your dog's recall? It is really helpful when a dog responds positively to their own name. 

Begin practicing with your dog now with this simple guide from the RSPCA.

6. Crate

Get your dog used to and comfortable being in a crate. Most daycares will have crates to feed the dogs at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and some places use them for some dogs during sleepy time. Knowing your dog is happy and content in a crate will mean much less stress when they are introduced to them at daycare.

7. 1st Visit

Arrange a visit/ trial play date for your dog at your chosen daycare.  During your dogs stay they will do an evaluation assessment to see if your dog will settle and fit into their group. This involves observing to see how your dog interacts with the other dogs, watching out for any stress signals, signs of over arousal or excitement or fear. The facility will give you an update at the end of the session letting you know how they got on.

8. It's all ok

Don’t take it personally if your dog doesn’t pass this evaluation, it simple means that daycare/ group play is not right for your dog. The most important thing for any good daycare should always be the happiness of all the dogs in their care. We, as an industry, have a responsibility to make sure that we are not causing any dog stress, anxiety or over arousal by being with us. 

Maybe consider a dog walker who will have smaller groups or a pet sitter who can give your dog 1-2-1 attention.

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