From young puppies to old pooches, any dog can experience separation anxiety when they’re dropped off at your doggy daycare. Even if they’ve just stepped into doggy daycare utopia, the feeling of being left behind by their families can be overwhelming.
However, as a fearless pet-care professional, it’s your responsibility to face this challenge head-on and show these nervous pups that there’s nothing to worry about. In this master guide to a relaxing dog boarding experience, you’ll learn expert tips to relax, reassure, and comfort any one of your canine clients.
Here are our top essential dog boarding tips:
- Educate Customers Prior to Boarding
- Request Familiar Items from Pet Owners
- Maintain a Friendly, Trained Staff
- Use Boarding Software to Stay Organized
- Promote Exercise and Fun Activities
- Socialize Your Pups
- Keep Comforting Objects on Hand
- Communicate Regularly with Pet Owners
With all of the other stressors of running a doggy daycare, the last thing you want on your hands is a crying, inconsolable pup. Fortunately, these simple and effective de-stressing strategies should help any dog relax and enjoy their stay.
Educate Customers Prior to Boarding
If a parent helps their child to read and write before heading into kindergarten, they’ll be better prepared for the work ahead.
By that same logic, if a pet parent takes steps to socialize their pooch and minimize their anxiety before boarding, they’ll be far better off when the time comes for them to leave their furry friend behind.
Share professional resources on your website and in your facilities about boarding a dog for the first time, boarding dogs with separation anxiety, and boarding aggressive dogs.
Depending on your pet-care software, you should even be able to customize the appointment scheduling process to request and share information about the behavior of dogs being boarded.
Request Familiar Items from Pet Owners
No toy or treat is a true replacement for a pup’s family members. However, keeping items on hand that dogs in your care recognize can make your dog daycare feel a little bit more like home.
As customers are arranging their pets’ stay, inform them that old toys, blankets, dog bowls, and other well-loved objects can soothe their nervous pets. Use these items to turn a scared pup’s temporary living space into a tiny home away from home.
Maintain a Friendly, Trained Staff
Pups may be scared by their unfamiliar environment, but a friendly face can make all the difference. Maintain a kind and empathetic team of staff that has experience calming skittish dogs and easing them gently into the boarding experience.
For the first few hours or days of boarding, consider a small number of staff members being tasked with specific, anxious pups. This gives the dogs some much-needed stability during such a confusing time.
Use Boarding Software to Stay Organized
As we just mentioned, newly boarded dogs are already confused enough as it is. The last thing they need is a disorganized and hectic boarding experience to scare them even further.
Streamline the dog boarding process with dedicated boarding software to help manage reservations, appointments, and kennel capacity.
On top of that, some pet-care software even comes with built-in employee management systems to ensure that each dog in your care is actually being attended to. Checklists, to-do reminders, and mobile notifications guarantee that no pup in your daycare goes without the attention that they need.
Promote Exercise and Fun Activities
Keeping your boarded pups cooped up in their kennels will only dampen their moods even further. Instead, take them outside, toss the frisbee around, and brainstorm other fun games to get their blood pumping and their tails wagging for a few hours a day.
The fresh air and exercise allow them to release pent-up anxiety, promote the release of “happy” endorphins, and give them an opportunity to socialize with other pups and staff. It’s a win-win-win!
Socialize Your Pups
Remember that kindergarten analogy that we used before? Well here’s another one: when a kid starts their first day at school, one of the first things that's going to help put them at ease is making a school buddy.
Likewise, your pups are going to have a much easier time acclimating to the doggy boarding experience when they have a friend. Training sessions can help to formally teach a dog social skills while group activities, games, and leisure time encourage natural pup-to-pup interactions.
Keep Comforting Objects on Hand
Aside from belly rubs and treats from home, there are plenty of other tools that are specially designed to ease dogs with separation anxiety.
Consider integrating these doggy comfort objects into your dog boarding toolkit:
- Snuggle toys and plushies
- Puzzle locks
- Weighted blankets
- Calming pheromone spray
- Squeak toys
You can also sell this pet merchandise in your facilities for pet owners to purchase once they pick their relaxed pups up from boarding. Tell them which tools worked best so they know what to use with their pooches at home.
Communicate Regularly with Pet Owners
At the end of the day, pet owners will always know their pups best. While you only have a few short days or hours to figure out the personality of each dog, their families are intimately familiar with their habits and behavior.
Keep in touch with each pup’s family via text or email with questions or updates about their pooch’s dog boarding experience.
Pet report cards are an especially fun and memorable way to deliver this information. This essential dog daycare software feature allows you to reach out to pet parents throughout the day with comments, photos, and videos all about their furbaby’s time in your daycare.
This is not only a perfect way to facilitate important updates about each pup, but it also gives pet parents a treasure trove of digital memorabilia about their dog’s time in your daycare!
Maintaining a happy, safe, and efficient doggy daycare can be hard on any pet-care professional. Between managing your staff and overseeing different training, grooming, and play sessions, sometimes it may seem like you simply don’t have enough hands to juggle it all.
However, with these expert dog boarding tips, tricks, and software solutions, we hope that you can at least cross one concern off of your list.
Eager to learn more about tools and tips that can take your doggy daycare to the next level? Check out these resources:
- Dog Grooming Business Plan: How-To Guide & Best Practices. From dog boarding to financial management and marketing, learn how to create a dog daycare business plan to improve every aspect of your business.
- How to Choose Pet-Care Software: 4 Questions to Ask Yourself. Pet-care software can do more than streamline the dog boarding process. Find out the steps you can take to pick the perfect pet-care software for your business.
- How to Wow Your Customers and Keep Them Coming Back: 5 Tips. Explore these top tips to keep customers coming back to your pet-care business for years to come.