Why Does A Doggie Day Care Need To Interview My Dog?

At Pet Camp, we get asked about the need for a pre-boarding or pre-daycare evaluation of a dog before they can come to play. While we know that many doggie day care and pet boarding facilities require these evaluations, and some charge for them, we’ve never required them. Here’s why.

Many doggie day care and pet boarding facilities require that all the dogs staying with them be BOTH social and able to play with all the other dogs there. This “need” is generated both by the philosophy of the facility, but more importantly by the physical space of the facility. Most pet care facilities that offer dog group play have only one room or area that is large enough for group play. Yes, they often have smaller rooms or areas that they can use for “rest” or “timeout,” but when it comes to a space large enough for a dog to really play, they are limited to one such area, and thus all the dogs need to get along. This means that your dog must be evaluated as to how it will mesh with the pre-existing set of dogs at the facility. One of the things that has always perplexed us about this approach is that the set of dogs at doggie day care or playing at an overnight care/pet boarding facility is not static. Dogs come and go for a host of dog and human reasons, so if the population isn’t static, we’re not sure how this evaluation process works over time

At Pet Camp, we don’t require an evaluation before your dog can come to doggie day care or do group play if your dog is boarding with us. We have two reasons for this decision. First, Pet Camp offers multiple different types of group play options. Everyday we have a gentle adult play group, an active adult play group, a small dog play group, a puppy play group, and a senior play group. Of course, in addition we offer our all day play group in the Savannah in which dogs who truly do get along with everyone can spend the day. We can also create special playgroup for dogs with unique play issues (often this is an intact male who plays best with spayed females), and of course we offer our Ranger package for dogs that really do best one-on-one with a counselor. How can we do all this?  The answer is unlike facilities with just one play area, we have 8 areas large enough to offer group play.

Second, at Pet Camp we really think it’s our job to respond to the needs of your dog and not the other way around. Not every dog likes every other dog, sometimes a dog (just like a person) has a bad a day and doesn’t want to play with every dog, and sometimes as your dog becomes more and more comfortable at Pet Camp behavior can change. It is our responsibility to be paying close enough attention to your dog’s needs and to be able to change the dynamics of our play groups to meet your dog’s needs.

Does Pet Camp’s approach to doggie day care and group play take more time, effort, and require more counselors than the one-size-fits-all (or doesn’t fit) approach taken elsewhere? Frankly, yes. This is one of the reasons that Pet Camp is not, and never will be the cheapest doggie day care option in San Francisco. We understand that our approach might not be the cheapest option, but we do think that Pet Camp’s outlook to boarding and daycare results in the best pet care for your beloved companions.

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