Thoughts on Doggy DayCare

Go Back   Dog Forum > Keeping and Caring for Dogs > General Dog Discussion

Thoughts on Doggy DayCare

This is a discussion on Thoughts on Doggy DayCare within the General Dog Discussion forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hey everyone, So, I recently started working at a doggy daycare, and I absolutely freaking hate it. Which I find bizarre because I absolutely love ...

User Tag List

Like Tree15Likes

 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-29-2015, 10:27 AM
  #1
Dog Forum ModeraTHOR
 
Shandula's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 4,614
Mentioned: 1383 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Thoughts on Doggy DayCare

Hey everyone,

So, I recently started working at a doggy daycare, and I absolutely freaking hate it. Which I find bizarre because I absolutely love dogs of all sizes and breeds. I have been working there for three weeks and have decided to tell the woman I'd prefer to just stick to training.

I was sitting around this morning feeling bad for giving up on it, but I seriously don't like it, so I was trying to think of the reasons why. I'm going to list the reasons I don't like it and maybe someone who works at a doggy daycare can tell me if this is normal at most daycares:

1.There are way too many dogs for the number of staff. Yesterday there were approximately 18 big dogs and 10 small dogs. From 3-6, I was responsible for both groups.
This is super intimidating for me, since I don't have any real "training" other than my limited knowledge of body language from my own dogs and observing at the dog park.
2. One group of dogs is left alone while you watch the other group.
Obviously, this one is one of the more distressing ones. If I go to watch the little ones, the big ones are unattended.
3. If a dog is being too over-zealous or snarky, a gentle-leader is put on them.
I'm not really sure if this does any good, other than they can't really bite. I worry about the other dogs grabbing it and pulling on it though.
4. The facilities are old.
Not really their fault, but it just makes everything more complicated.
6. Nothing for the dogs to interact or play with.
Which is fine, but then all the dogs do is wrestle, and there isn't really anything to distract them from each other.

The other thing I've noticed, is when I bring my two, they are starting into some bad habits, which I don't like at all.

Anyway, that is my rant on my doggy daycare, and I'd love to know from other people if this is normal or not.
waski87 likes this.
Shandula is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2015, 10:48 AM
  #2
Dog Forum ModeraTHOR
 
Aspen726's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: New England
Posts: 8,032
Mentioned: 1599 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
I haven't worked at one but I can tell you my experience with sending my dog to one.

Even if they are only there for daycare (i.e. not overnight), they still have their own run to have their 'alone time'. At this time, they have whatever toys they were sent with. I send Aspen with 2 peanut butter Kongs (an extra in case it's a rainy day or for some reason I need her to stay overnight), her favorite stuffed elephant, a purple toy that she shakes and beats the he!! out of haha and her bed.

If they are allowed group playtime (Aspen is), the groups are 3-4 dogs and not left unattended. Actually, they often post videos of the dogs playing on FB- which I LOVE seeing when I'm away.

In the summer, they have pools that they can wade in.

The owner is there 24/7. Her house is on the property and she does have a couple of staff members but she is always there.

When I dropped Aspen off in August for a one week stay, the owner was excited to show me some upgrades that she's made. Fencing reinforcement in all of the outside areas, some new brackets on the inside runs and a net over the top of the small dog play area so hawks can't swoop down and grab a little one.

I don't know if this was helpful haha but go with your gut. If you aren't comfortable, let her know.
33socks likes this.
Aspen726 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2015, 11:45 AM
  #3
Senior Member
 
tiffanyandteddy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Florida
Posts: 135
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Your facility sounds like the one I stated out at. I hated the idea that groups got left unattended because 9 times out of 10 more than 1 fight would break out in the unattended group. There was never enough staff especially for the holiday's they'd get slammed and have dogs separated everywhere with little help to manage 4-6 groups. I've noticed a few places don't allow toys to be apart of the group because some dogs have different types of aggression (door, food, toy, personal space ect) what I do is I try to play with all of them, or run around with them, let them play outside longer than usual as we have a playground set up which dogs like using the slide lol. We also have webcams too so owners can check in any time they want and see what their pup is up too. All in all I say follow your heart and if possible explain to her why it made you uncomfortable maybe they can consider changing a few things.
Cynna and waski87 like this.
tiffanyandteddy is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Old 10-29-2015, 11:56 AM
  #4
Senior Member
 
revolutionrocknroll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Vermont
Posts: 2,800
Mentioned: 161 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quite frankly that's a bad daycare- on my phone I'll post more later.
Cynna likes this.
revolutionrocknroll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2015, 11:59 AM
  #5
Dog Forum ModeraTHOR
 
jclark343's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Florida
Posts: 9,233
Mentioned: 1658 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Have you brought up these things that make you uncomfortable? I mean them having such large groups of dogs so lightly, if at all, supervised I imagine is a really big liability. I know I wouldn't want my dogs there if I knew that was the staffing.
Cynna and waski87 like this.
jclark343 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2015, 12:07 PM
  #6
Dog Forum ModeraTHOR
 
Shandula's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 4,614
Mentioned: 1383 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
@jclark343 - I definitely would not leave my guys there, and I try to only take one so I can supervise more closely.
jclark343 likes this.
Shandula is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2015, 03:51 PM
  #7
Senior Member
 
revolutionrocknroll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Vermont
Posts: 2,800
Mentioned: 161 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shandula View Post
Hey everyone,

So, I recently started working at a doggy daycare, and I absolutely freaking hate it. Which I find bizarre because I absolutely love dogs of all sizes and breeds. I have been working there for three weeks and have decided to tell the woman I'd prefer to just stick to training.

I was sitting around this morning feeling bad for giving up on it, but I seriously don't like it, so I was trying to think of the reasons why. I'm going to list the reasons I don't like it and maybe someone who works at a doggy daycare can tell me if this is normal at most daycares:

1.There are way too many dogs for the number of staff. Yesterday there were approximately 18 big dogs and 10 small dogs. From 3-6, I was responsible for both groups.
This is super intimidating for me, since I don't have any real "training" other than my limited knowledge of body language from my own dogs and observing at the dog park.
2. One group of dogs is left alone while you watch the other group.
Obviously, this one is one of the more distressing ones. If I go to watch the little ones, the big ones are unattended.
3. If a dog is being too over-zealous or snarky, a gentle-leader is put on them.
I'm not really sure if this does any good, other than they can't really bite. I worry about the other dogs grabbing it and pulling on it though.
4. The facilities are old.
Not really their fault, but it just makes everything more complicated.
6. Nothing for the dogs to interact or play with.
Which is fine, but then all the dogs do is wrestle, and there isn't really anything to distract them from each other.

The other thing I've noticed, is when I bring my two, they are starting into some bad habits, which I don't like at all.

Anyway, that is my rant on my doggy daycare, and I'd love to know from other people if this is normal or not.
1) The generally recommended staff to dog ratio is 15:1, I've even heard it's a law in Colorado that there are no more than 15 dogs per handler. But even 15 is overwhelming when they don't properly train you. Heck, I get overwhelmed with 15 in a high energy adolescent/young adult group. My first daycare job put me in a group of about 30 dogs by myself and told me if they even move to spray them with a hose. Of course there was a fight my first day and I had no idea what to do. Luckily a couple months later I learned different techniques to try (through college courses and my own research). But I thought that the way the first kennel was run was the norm for a while. And sadly, that's not far from the truth, there are so many poorly run daycares owned by people who want to "play with dogs all day" and don't know how to actually work with dogs- you're not alone! These things shouldn't be normal, but sadly they are.

2) That is absolutely the worst thing a daycare can do- leave a group of dogs unattended. There was a thread recently about a couple of dogs that died while boarding because the staff left the group unattended and there was a violent fight. I would talk to the owner/manager about this. Does the facility have crates or kennels to put the dogs that aren't being watched? That's what my current daycare does.

3) Do you do anything to either work with the dog or give it a time out? That's what should be done. Are the gentle leaders just left on as muzzles or do you put a dog on a gentle leader and then work with them on lead? That's really bizarre if they're being used as muzzles. What do you mean by "overzealous" or "snarky"- dogs that are snapping? Insecure? Picking fights? Bullying or humping other dogs? Are they wearing collars? If so you can attach a lead to the collar, if not, use a slip lead. (If you are using a slip lead be very aware of the pressure around the dog's neck, it should be loose while you are working but you can subtley increase the pressure to communicate with the dogs- very similar to the "silky leash" method described in https://www.dogforum.com/training-beh...-walking-1683/ Since you don't have a clicker and treats, use praise and the release of pressure as reinforcement.)
Take the dog to the side away from other dogs and work with it until it physically starts to calm down. Walk it back and forth, have it sit and focus on you (I can send you some specific drills if you decide to keep working there that build focus and calm dogs down). Have it sit on a lead for a few minutes so it can take a time out away from the group and calm down a little. Praise it whenever listens to you, plays appropriately, and/or calms down. If a dog is having trouble listening put it on a long lead and practice recall- reel it in if it doesn't come when called and then praise it and pet it. Don't go overboard with praise and petting though, do it in a calm manner, otherwise it will spike the energy of the group.

4) Is that a problem with the layout or just things falling apart? I guess there's not much you can do there. Both of the daycares I worked at have had employees designated for facility maintenance. Maybe that's a solution?

5) That's pretty normal- having toys in a group of dogs can trigger resource guarding, energy spikes, sprinting/keep away games (leading to the pack chasing the sprinter down/predatory drift), fights, etc if it's not done right. My current daycare will have about 50 tennis balls for 15-30 dogs because when a resource is abundant there's less chance of fighting over it. Even then you need to know the dogs really well as well as warning signs. This isn't done most of the time- we play tennis balls a few times a week for about 15 minutes at a time. Many daycares don't even want to take the chance and I don't blame them at all. At least they can play- the daycare I first worked at didn't let dogs play and employees weren't allowed to pet the dogs (though I secretly did both when no one was around- I think a lot of people did).


How have they taught you to handle the dogs? Control the energy? What techniques are you using? How many staff members are scheduled during your shift- is there someone off the floor cleaning or something to help when you need it?

It's really important to remain calm at all times- dogs will pick up on your emotions and reflect them back. They'll also take advantage of you if they know you're not mentally "there." If you are stressed, frustrated, angry, or sad, they'll pick up on that, act horribly, and then you feel worse, they get worse, and it becomes a positive feedback loop. Even if you're not feeling great, fake it with your body language- act confident, carry yourself tall, move deliberately and calmly- don't run around chasing dogs. Don't yell- that jacks up the energy. You can always tell who's new because they start yelling when they get frustrated with the dogs. They just have to be calm. That's really the key.

Anyways, if you don't end up sticking with it, don't feel bad. This sounds like a very poorly run kennel and it's completely their fault for not training you.
waski87 likes this.
revolutionrocknroll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2015, 04:13 PM
  #8
Dog Forum ModeraTHOR
 
Shandula's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 4,614
Mentioned: 1383 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Hey @revolutionrocknroll

They do have crates, but ALL dogs are put in the crates 3x a day. Once for 30 minutes in the morning, two hours over lunch, and 30 minutes in the afternoon.

The leaders are left on as muzzles, all day long. They are mainly put on dogs that are getting overly nippy and stirring up trouble. All collars are removed from the dogs when they arrive, and we do use slip leads, but it's hard because the dogs get so excited when they see the leash. I would love to be able to work with them, but there is no space, and you can't just get one off by itself.

The layout is a problem. It is basically a big warehouse where everything is separated by wooden walls on wheels that you push to open and close the gate. The gates are "locked" with little latches. The only problem is that small dogs can fit under, big dogs/good climbers get over, and everyone chews on them. You also can't close or open them quickly because they are heavy/don't move well, so it's hard to prevent dogs from getting anywhere. I think instead of maintenance they need some serious upgrades.

I'm not too concerned about the toy thing, since I see so many toy-RG at the dog park that I can see the problems. I just feel bad for the dogs that are sitting off to the side desperately waiting for when their owners get there.

No training whatsoever. The only thing I'm going with is my basic knowledge of how to interact with dogs. Basically these are the techniques we are told to use:

If the dogs are getting into it, bang on the walls, bang the water-dishes together, or yell to get their attention. They also use spray bottles with water as aversives. There is generally 2 people on. One in the front office and one in the back with the dogs. Sometimes 3 if the owner comes in.

My current technique is just to whistle or clap and say "let's go for a walk" and then walk around the warehouse.
waski87 likes this.
Shandula is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2015, 04:17 PM
  #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Toronto
Posts: 347
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Doesn't sound like a good day care to me either. I don't work at one, but my guy attends once a week. I'm not sure what the ratio of the place Tuck goes to is, but at any one time you'll see 4-5 people around, if not more. The dogs are never left unattended, they get taken out for a couple walks during the day, and the staff works hard to keep the pups engaged and having fun + allowing lulls for the pups to relax and nap. They provide a summary of the days events and how the pups did. They are PR based and work on teaching tricks, doing some agility stuff, play games, celebrate pup b-days and generally look to just have a good time with the dogs.

I think that the fact that you wouldn't leave your own dogs there speaks volumes though, trust your gut. It's easy to say without knowing your financial situation or the options in the town you live in, but I wouldn't work there if I didn't need to.
waski87 likes this.
Thisisme19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2015, 05:12 PM
  #10
Dog Forum ModeraTHOR
 
Shandula's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 4,614
Mentioned: 1383 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
@Thisisme19 - Man, all these other daycares sound way more fun than this one.

I'm very fortunate that I don't have to work, my husband is definitely the breadwinner in this relationship, and he's encouraged me to pursue the dog trainer thing full-time.

There are a couple other daycares out there, so I might see if they're looking for any volunteers.
Shandula is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply




Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Doggie Daycare? Bpall897 General Dog Discussion 1 10-18-2015 07:14 AM
Breed name mixing - thoughts? cos General Dog Discussion 73 10-15-2015 04:08 PM
How to fond a good dog daycare? timber General Dog Discussion 5 10-13-2015 08:20 PM
Cutting edge dog collar- thoughts? fredolau Dog Gear and Supplies 11 10-11-2015 06:38 AM


Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:43 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd. Runs best on HiVelocity Hosting.