This is a guest-post from John Woods of All Things Dogs.
Dog day-care is an important service to pet-owners, especially puppy pet-owners that work and need help caring for their new family-member. Dog daycare and day-training businesses must ensure special care for puppies - as their needs are quite different from most adult dogs.
FIRST OF ALL, WE’LL LOOK AT THE NEEDS OF PUPPIES.
Let’s consider a typical day in the life of a puppy. They explore, eat plenty of food, they play, they run around, probably chase some leaves or a feather that’s floated from the sky.
They will likely experience something totally new on their walk or meet some new friends, of the dog, cat, squirrel or even farm variety. You’ll get home and they’ll flake out on their bed, snoring so loud you wonder if the neighbors can hear. The cycle continues, they’ll play, eat, sleep, explore, learn. You get the idea. But anyone who has raised puppies knows how much sleeping they do! Not surprisingly when they have so much learning to consolidate and batteries to recharge!
Puppies can sleep up to 20 hours per day! Fully grown dogs anywhere between 12-14 hours. It is well known that dogs who don’t get enough sleep can end up more aggressive or with behavioral issues, not only that but lack of sleep affects the immune system which makes the dog more susceptible to infections.
PLENTY OF SPACE FOR REST
Most owners, when they imagine dog day care, they think of their pooch romping and playing with their friends. Which can be brilliant for socialization and learning etiquette skills. Not so brilliant for your puppy who needs a huge amount of sleep.
In an average 8-10 day in day care, how much of this time can your puppy spend sleeping? A quality day care provider should separate puppies from older dogs. There should be quiet spaces where rest is encouraged.
Not only is separation necessary for resting, but it provides better management of interactions. Some puppies haven’t yet learned dog body language in its entirety. They can harass older dogs. Whilst some older dogs are considerate in helping puppies learn the way of the world, some are not. The last thing you want is your puppy falling foul of a particularly older, grumpy pooch who just wants peace and quiet!
PLENTY OF SPACE FOR SEPARATING DOGS
This brings us on to another reason for separating dogs. They should be separated based on temperament, size, sociability and activity level. Numbers of dogs in any one area should be easily managed by the number of staff in that area. Puppies need more 1:1 attention to help them learn appropriate skills. Is this achievable with your staffing-levels? Are you charging enough for appropriate puppy-care?
NOT OVER EXERCISING PUPPIES
The general rule of thumb is that a puppy should be exercised for 5 minutes per month of age. If your pup is 4 months old, they can tolerate 20 minutes of exercise twice a day.
Large breeds should be monitored closely and not over-exercised. They also shouldn’t be allowed to climb stairs or onto sofas. Any trauma in their puppy years can be detrimental to their skeletal development and increase the risk of conditions like hip or elbow dysplasia.
Is this achievable in your day-care operation?
The caloric requirements of puppies usually means they are fed around 4 times a day. Therefore, there is a high chance pup will need feeding whilst in day-care. How will you accommodate this? Are other puppies fed at the same time and in the same area?
If the pup is a slower eater, will he run the risk of other puppies getting to him and his food? A good quality setting should have the space and separation to feed puppies individually. This removes any stress around mealtimes and the possibility that your pup could develop any signs of food aggression.
How will day-care impact toilet training? Puppies need a regular routine - will their attempts at asking to go potty be noticed? Will there be quiet spaces outside for him to go potty? We all know how difficult it is to encourage a puppy to go potty when other dogs are zooming past!
The idea of dog day-care is to meet the needs of your pup in the owner’s absence. It should mirror a typical day in the life, as much as possible. Dog’s do learn from each other, but they learn everything - the good, the bad and the ugly. Interactions with other dogs should be monitored, the staff should be capable of reading dog body language and ready to intervene where necessary. Puppies needs are significantly different from an adult dog and when operating a day care, you need to be confident that you are 100% capable of meeting them!
Want to learn how Gingr software can help you meet the needs of puppies in your daycare? Contact a sales consultant Here!