Choosing a doggy daycare and boarding facility can be a harder prospect than it first seems. Your dog is part of your family, and leaving them behind at a place you’re not totally comfortable with is not an option. So let’s say that you have a few places in mind, you’ve looked at their reviews, called and spoken to staff. Your next step should be to visit the facility for a tour to personally see where your dog is staying.
Some places have only a few set hours in the day when you can come for a tour, other facilities require a reservation for a tour (Wag Atlanta offers tours anytime between 8a until 6pm, no reservation needed). You’ll want to call ahead or check online each facilities process for getting a tour.
What questions should you ask while taking the tour?
You should ask questions that get you familiar with how the facility functions, what it’s schedule for the dogs is etc. You want to make sure that its schedule is a good fit for your dogs schedule (if they close at 7p, and don’t open until 7a and don’t have overnight staff, you will want to make sure that your dog is okay holding their bladder for 12 hours). Wag Atlanta is open 24/7 and take dogs out for potty breaks late at night for those who are on that kind fo schedule, or that have trouble holding their bladder (puppies, old timers, etc.)
You should ask what cleaners they use, how often they clean their play yards, and any other questions you can think of on how they run their facility. You’re also seeing how knowledgable the staff is.
How many ways and how often are you able to contact them? Are they open 24/7 where someone will answer the phone no matter the time so you can check on your pup? If they are not 24/7 be prepared to make sure you know their hours of operation so you can call when they’re open. How active are they at answering emails, or on facebook? (A good way to test this is to send them an email/facebook message a few days before the tour with a few simple questions and see how quickly they get back to you).
Things to Look for
How much of the facility do they show you? Some facilities are not set up to show tours of the whole facility, but you should be able to see a good portion of the place. If you’re show the lobby and a set up “example” lodging, that mean’s you have not seen exactly where your dog is staying and can’t be 100% sure the place is right for them. Wag Atlanta offers full facility tours so you can see exactly where your dog will be staying.
How clean the place is when you come will tell you many things about it. For facilities with tour hours or scheduled tours, you would expect the facility to be pretty clean, they knew you were coming after all. There should always be allowance given to any facility, as dogs can make huge messes without warning, and no one can be blamed for that. Facilities that offer unscheduled tours will likely be a little messier, as they are functioning non stop, with no break in the action for the dogs. Most likely things will not be totally clean, or smelling good all the time, but it shouldn’t be a pig stye. You want you dog to be clean while you’re away.
Do they dogs look active and happy throughout the facility? Are the staff staying busy or do they look idle? A pile of laundry doesn’t mean they are slow to do laundry, it could easily mean they go through a lot keeping the facility clean.
Dogs boarding get used to the staff that care for them, and can tell when a stranger is present. Expect a lot of them to bark at the excitement of seeing someone different, just like they would at home.
There are many ways to make sure that you’re making the right choice in a boarding and daycare facility for your dog. Do your due diligence and homework, take tours and ask questions. Your dog is worth it!
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