Questions for a Potential Daycare/Boarding Facility

choosing a daycar/boarder

By: Melissa Kolmar, CPDT-KA, SBA

I am often asked what to look for when choosing a daycare or boarding facility for a dog. We want to set our dogs up for success and, as much as possible, prevent negative experiences from happening.

First off, I would ask to tour the facility. If an establishment is unwilling to give you a tour, that is a red flag. You should be able to see where your dog will play, rest and spend their time.

I would also askĀ a lot of questions such as:

  1. How large are your play groups?
  2. How many dogs are supervised by one person? If it is more than 6, that could potentially be a red flag.
  3. How are they sorted? Usually it is by size, but playstyle is even better.
  4. How can you tell if a dog is not enjoying play?
  5. Do you have mandatory break times for the dogs?
  6. What do you do if play gets too intense?
  7. What experience does the staff have at reading stress and dog body language?
  8. What do you do if my dog is showing signs of stress?
  9. What are your thoughts on forcing a dog? (To go in a kennel, be handled, etc.) They should follow LIMA standards, which means Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive.
  10. Where does a dog go to rest?
  11. What is your training philosophy? This should be positive reinforcement-based, not corrections-based. You should ask this even if they are not actively training your dog. An employee’s training background influences how they interact with dogs.
  12. What are your emergency protocols?
  13. When will you let me know if there is a concern with my dog? If they say “when you pick him up”, that’s another red flag!

Take the time to thoroughly research a facility and ask lots of questions. Trust what you feel and what your dog tells you!