Daycare is generally pretty easy, your dog gets dropped off, they’re put in with the pack, they play, they snooze, they get picked up, and head home. Since dogs like routine, this routine works well. Boarding, however, is a bit different. Being dropped off and not picked up for several days can be a bit of a jarring experience for a dog - this is especially true of dogs who don’t regularly attend daycare. Setting your dog up for success for a boarding stay is easy, just note these important points:
1. DAYCARE - If you’re a daycare regular (meaning at least a half-day per week), your dog is already accustomed to how things work at Good Dog, they know it’s a fun place to see their friends, play, nap, sometimes snack or go for a walk, and the transition to boarding can be novel or fun as they get to have dinner and go into Slumberville for the night. If your dog isn’t familiar with the staff or the facility from going to daycare, being dropped off to stay for several days can seem scary.
2. FEEDING - Most people understand that a change in a dog’s routine will result in some behaviors that may be different from their behavior at home - this is most apparent when it comes to feeding time. It is extremely common for boarding dogs to eat much less than they normally would at home. Often on their first evening, they don’t eat dinner or they don’t eat much, the same goes for breakfast the next day, however, usually by meal three, they’ll start eating. We always try to make the food more appealing when needed by adding some chicken stock (as long as there are no chicken allergies on file) or entice them with some peanut butter. It’s very rare that after a couple of days a dog still isn’t eating but if that happens, we notify their humans to see what we should do to proceed. There are, however, some dogs (like our Lila) that eat normally and may even have an increased appetite from the increase in activity.
3. ADD-ONS - While add-ons add to the cost of your dog’s stay, they can enhance their experience - especially the snacks. When we board Lila we add a cannoli and a Scoop! frozen treat every day. We don’t usually send her on potty walks because she’s not the best on walks (when we used to board Madoc, we always added potty walks because she enjoyed inspecting the neighborhood). We occasionally include ball play to add some variety to her day, and we always finish her boarding stay with a bath so she comes home fresh!
We have to circle back to number one on this list - the daycare recommendation - because this is the most important and best way to increase the probability of a successful boarding stay so we must stress this point!
And, yes, we charge for the daycare we recommend because we’re providing the service, but what we feel is important for our dogs’ humans to know is that our goal is to set every dog up for success when they’re with us. It makes their experience better which, in turn, means a better experience for their humans.
So, please, when planning a trip - especially if you’re not a regular at daycare, plan a few days or half-days of daycare in the two to three weeks prior to ensure that your dog will have a good stay at Good Dog.