Today’s guest on All My Children Wear Fur Coats was Susan Briggs, a Certified Professional Animal Care Operator, author, speaker and pet care business expert. Along with Robin Bennett, a previous guest on our show, she is the Co-founder of The Dog Gurus, the nation’s premier resource for dog care professionals.
Although The Dog Gurus generally focuses on provided training and resources to pet care professionals, today’s show was focused on what dog lovers can expect on behalf of their dogs as doggy day care and boarding facilities adapt their business models to our “new normal.”
Our dogs have gotten spoiled and used to having us home during these turbulent “work at home” months of 2020. As we move back into the traditional workplace and away from our home offices, our dogs will be facing a transition too. Susan even admitted that her dog had some unexpected behaviors as a result of her return to work. She told us it is important to re-acquaint our dogs with their crates and get used to being alone. This may mean leaving them home for short periods of time and giving them time to readjust to a crated environment. She suggested feeding your dog in their crate or offering them time outs when they can spend some time alone. She says, “being alone is an important life skill for dogs.” For all of us, really.
At our law office, we’ve installed a doorbell. Now, our office dogs bark every time they hear the door chime. Susan suggested a training device called the KLIMB, a training tool from Blue-9. This training tool can teach your dogs to stop barking or jumping when visitors appear.
If you are considering doggy day care or need to find a boarding facility, here are some important what to look for tips:
- Do they have a professional website?
- Have you been invited to tour their facility?
- How do they care for the animals under their supervision?
- What do they consider inappropriate behavior? And, how do they deal with inappropriate behavior?
- How are they training their team? Do they have a thorough understanding of:
- First aid
- Animal behavior
- Animal health and well-being
- Proper environments for dogs
- Are team members certified by any professional organizations like the Professional Animal Care Certification Council?
- Do they have a formal evaluation process?
- How will they match your pup to the proper play group?
- What kind of enrichment opportunities are available including things like obedience or fitness.
- What is the staff to animal ratio? Susan recommends not more than one staff person per 10 dogs but this could be higher or lower depending on the circumstances.
- What are their new protocols for cleaning, contactless drop off and pick up?
These are just a few really good suggestions to use when evaluating a new or existing place for your pup. When on your tour of the facility you should observe the pets in their care. Are they happy? How are they interacting? What are their intervention techniques if needed?
You can get a free copy of Susan’s book, Off-Leash Dog Play– a Complete Guide to Safety & Fun here.