Teacher's pet: Unleashing doggy daycare success

Putting your pup on track to daycare success. 

It’s time to let go. Leaving your pet at doggy daycare for the first time is one of the hardest pet parenthood milestones. You will experience a range of emotions: sadness, excitement, relief. Possibly, even separation anxiety. Remember, you’ll both come out better, stronger, and more independent in the end. They get more playtime. You get more flexibility. Watching them grow up is one of the many joys of pet parenting.

At Toggle®, we’re here to help you protect yourself from losses related to physical damage with apartment insurance and auto insurance, but as your bloggy friend, we’re also here to help you deal with the emotional strain and constant responsibility that come with adulthood. Here are some training hints, daycare vetting techniques, and other pup preparation tips you can use to secure your gifted little one’s rightful place as a teacher’s pet at doggy daycare. 

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Get ready for your proud pet parent moment (bring tissues). 

Well it is, after all, their first day of school. Your little prodigy is growing up and going off into the world on their own. But even if it might be a little “emotional,” there are a few things you can do to give yourself peace of mind and make it fun and less stressful for your pet. First, when can puppies go to daycare? Since many doggy daycares also function as puppy daycares, with a separate area for the younger pups to play, the minimum age for most is a puppy-friendly 16 weeks. They should require proof that your puppy is up to date on vaccines. If they don’t (yikes) then it may not be a trustworthy daycare. Here is a guide to first-year puppy vaccinations from the American Kennel Club.

Dog school only has three subjects: recess, naptime, and snack time. But mostly it’s recess. Therefore, it’s important that they are used to playing with other dogs – individually and in groups. So, get them into your local dog park a bunch of times to get them ready. Appropriately socializing your dog as a puppy is important all around. It makes them less likely to exhibit problematic behaviors as adults, including aggression and fearfulness (source: National Library of Medicine). 

Make sure they are comfortable spending time in a crate. Many daycares use crates to give pets a break from all the fun and excitement, especially if it’s an overnight dog daycare. What to bring to doggy daycare? It’s a good idea to bring some of your pet’s favorite toys and an item with your scent on it, such as a t-shirt or soft sweater, to leave inside the crate; your scent reminds them of you. Sniff, sniff. Bring your pet’s regular food if they have a special diet and provide feeding instructions. Remember to bring any medications your pet takes along with instructions. BTW, we have Toggle Perks in the pet department if you’re on the lookout for special pet food deals. 

A practice run is not cheating: To get your pet used to the daycare and the people who work there before you drop them off for an entire day, visit with your pet. This familiarizes them with the facility, people, and other pets with you at their side. It’s like those open houses they do at kid schools before the real deal begins. 

Then, on the first day, leave them for just an hour or so. Even if you must pay for the whole day, it’s worth it. If they dig it, next is a whole day. Some pets get too scared or a little revved up. Relax. If that’s the case, it’s not a fail. It’s just part of your pet’s unique personality. It’s estimated separation anxiety affects around 14% of dogs (source: AKC.org). So, it can take a little extra time and training to get your pet comfortably adjusted.

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Find a daycare that deserves your gifted baby. 

Obviously, your pet is way, way, way above average. Not all pet parents can say this. And not just any daycare will be good enough. Here’s what you should check out to make sure the facility hits the level your pet deserves. Choosing the right doggy daycare is important. Only the best doggie daycare with the most qualified of teachers deserves to have your pet as the teacher’s pet. 

Are doggy daycares safe? If they have their safety certifications, they should be. But we also suggest checking ratings and reviews online to find a good doggy daycare that is safe. The daycare is not a vet, but attendants should know how to respond to health emergencies and provide basic first aid. The Red Cross offers certifications, and your daycare should have one person on staff who is CPR certified. If you are also on the lookout for vet services, Toggle customers can also get perks in that area.  

Look into the cleaning protocols. With so many pets close to each other, there’s a higher risk of illness. Good daycares have a cleaning protocol they follow every day and will be able to outline it for you. Also, check to see if the daycare has floor-to-ceiling walls because half walls and chain links won’t stop airborne illness. 

Finally, ask what a typical day is like. Schedules vary dramatically. Some are structured. Some are loose. Choose a daycare with a daily activity schedule that suits your pet. Looking for an advanced curriculum? Choose a dog day care with training to place them in the ranks of other canine geniuses. Some also fit dog grooming into the schedule if you want them coming out looking fresh.

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Get your pet prodigy’s medical records together for enrollment. 

Good daycares will want to ensure that every pet in their facility is vaccinated and spayed or neutered by their first birthday. Also, if your pet has any special dietary or medical needs, be sure to have the instructions written down to give to the attendants at the facility.

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Advanced dog daycare learning environments have cameras.  

Yes, it’s true. Some of the best dog daycares have cameras that let you go online and peek on their progress. Just a quick check on your pet throughout the day, running, jumping, playing, or just quietly resting. It lets you relax and do whatever you’re doing better because you know your pet is A-OK. Which is a lot better than wondering how they would be doing if you left them unsupervised at home for the entire day. 

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Time to let them spread their paws and soar.

Okay, you can let go of them now. Hand over the leash and the daycare will take the lead from here. You should both be proud of yourselves for getting ready to take this step. Expect to hear glowing praise for your pup when you pick them up later on in the day. The teachers are going to be impressed with your dog's preparation, good behavior, and overall enthusiasm. Yes, your pup is destined to be a real teacher’s pet. 

Finally, since your pet isn’t going to be at doggy daycare 24/7, check out our other blog, “Ditch the faux paws: pet proofing ideas,” to cute up your place with some safety features for your cutie. 

Links to third-party websites are provided for your convenience only. Toggle has not independently verified any of the information provided therein and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of such information or any content.

 

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