Most of our clients probably think that our job at Happy Dogs is all fun and games, and getting to “play with dogs all day” seems like a dream job for some. In reality, this job comes with a lot more responsibility than it may put off, and can be quite stressful at times! I’m not saying that our job doesn’t have some major perks (because it definitely does,) I’m just saying that it’s not ALWAYS a walk in the park. So here is a quick run-down of our day.
Prior to 9 a.m.:
During this time, staff and management communicate about what the day is looking like in regards to what dogs are here, number of dogs currently in house, number of dogs coming in for boarding, dogs going home, temperament evaluations, baths, and training. We must also take into consideration the weather for that day, and whether or not we are going to be outside for most of the day. At this time of the year outside play can be limited dependent upon the temperatures, we don’t want your fur babies to freeze! On days where there is snow/ice and temperatures well below freezing, we must make sure the dogs are able to go out to potty and come back in quickly and safely! This is also a time for staff to come up with the best, most efficient plan of action for all of this to occur.
9 a.m.- Noon:
This is the most fun, playful time because the dogs are so excited to play with all of their daycare friends! Because of this, when we start letting the dogs out at 9 we don’t rush, in order for all of the dogs to settle down as they go out for the day. We do this to prevent any possible accidents from happening and not allowing the dogs to get too overwhelmed in the process. Once all of the dogs are out into their appropriate groups, we must closely monitor the dogs to make sure play isn’t too rough and the dogs are interacting safely. If we notice a particular dog is overwhelmed, showing any sort of aggression, mounting, or any other concerning behavior, we put a “lead” on the dog and walk them around in order to get them back in a fun, playful behavior. We repeat this process as needed. If a dog continues this behavior after a few brief leash walks, we may give the overexcited pup a longer break.
During this time we also work on basic activities such as group sits, gate management, name recalls, etc. This is beneficial to us because the dogs gain respect for us, as well as the other dogs in the group. This may also help with basic commands to help the owners at home!
Noon- 1 p.m.:
During this time the dogs are sent in from their play groups for lunch and an afternoon rest. Once the dogs are all in their appropriate enclosure, we begin passing out lunches, filling waters and cleaning up as needed. We refresh waters if any are beginning to look “mucky” from any slobber your dog may have produced during all of their morning play! We also use this time to catch up on laundry and for our trainer to work on any ‘Play and Train’ sessions scheduled for that day. Lastly, we must come up with an afternoon plan in case additional dogs have come in for the afternoon portion of daycare!
1 p.m.-4 p.m.:
During this time the dogs will have really started to wind down and mellowed out for the day. This session of daycare is much like the first session, but we also like to work on a little more one-on-one interaction. This may include nose to tail assessments and even just some individual “lovin’s.”
Once the dogs are up for the day, the madness begins! For the daycare workers, this is mainly the cleaning shift. After long and busy days, the place is likely to be a mess! To make a long story short, basically everything from the indoor daycare and boarding rooms to the groom tub room is vacuumed, sprayed with veterinary disinfectant, and scrubbed down. In addition to this, we must clean enclosures as the dogs go home, keep up with laundry, dishes, as well as feed dinners. All of this must be done diligently, but in a timely manner in order for all of the evening duties to be completed.
7 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
And last but not least, members of our staff let the dogs out one last time for a potty break. Finally, the boarding dogs get some extra attention before being tucked into bed for the night!