Fear and Force Free Doggy DayCare Serving South Portland and Surrounding Areas

3 questions to ask before you leave your dog ANYWHERE….

It’s not common knowledge, but there’s very little regulation for doggy daycare, training, and boarding facilities in Maine, and most of it’s based on health considerations… 

…not the emotional or mental well being of your pup.

Here are 3 things I would absolutely need to know before I left my dog anywhere-and the owner or staff should be comfortable answering these for you.
1. How are dogs disciplined?
TIP: The only answer I would accept is that they’re not “disciplined.” 

At The Bark Yard, when a dog is behaving in a way that is inappropriate or annoying to other dogs, we use a combination of redirection, positive reinforcement, and curating your pup’s day so that s/he is supported and nurtured in a way that works for them and allows them to be at their best in group play.

I would not leave my dog anywhere where they used shock collars, yelling, prong or choke collars, squirting with a water bottle in the face, or any other “punishing” methods. 

AND…you should ask directly if any of these methods are used, and explicitly state that they are NOT allowed to be used on your pup.

2. Where is my dog all day? And what does their day look like? How long do they spend in their kennel?

I want to see where I’m leaving my dog. 
Any facility who won’t give a tour, won’t allow you to see where your dog will be all day, or won’t tell you exactly how their day will go would make me extremely uncomfortable.

Parents are often surprised that we’ll give tours and allow them to see where their dog will be during an evaluation. 

And while I understand that insurance policies might not allow for parents, say, to be in a playgroup room, you certainly should get a basic tour and see where your dog will be all day.

3. What kind of training does the staff have? How long does your staff tend to stay/what’s your turnover rate?

Many doggy daycares throw inexperienced, new staff in rooms with 20 and even 30 dogs. The combination of low pay, stress, and emotional upset over how stressed many dogs in over-packed daycare groups can be leads to high turnover among daycare employees.

If you see new faces all the time and old ones disappearing, it’s not a good sign.

At minimum, staff should have basic dog body language training and at least 3-4 shadowing shifts if they’re not experienced dog handlers. Any less than that can actually be dangerous for staff and dogs alike.

Has this info been helpful for you? 

Let us know! 

And if you’d like to come explore enrichment-based daycare or fear and force free training for your pup, head on over to the new parent registration, fill it out, and we’ll get in touch asap!