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We’ve done some major remodeling in our facility in the last couple of years and one of the things we did was placing plastic panels over all the drywall in the building. These panels protect the walls from damage and make cleaning and sanitation a breeze. They are white, which makes it easier to spot any dirt.

However, to the dogs, under the white LED lighting, the panels can appear very bright, almost fluorescent. To make it more comfortable for them, we placed rope lights in the playrooms, that have a warmer tone and are softer.

Other things we do to encourage calmness is play soft music or nature sounds. We also use Adaptil diffusers that release calming pheromones, which are placed throughout the building. And we decided to close the lobby in the middle of the day. This is a measure that really helps us with creating calmness in the facility. Here is why that is important:

Settling in: When dogs arrive at daycare, they need time to settle in and adjust to the new environment. If there are frequent drop offs and pick ups throughout the day, it can disrupt the settling in process and cause stress and anxiety for the dogs.

Establishing Routine: Without frequent drop offs and pick ups, dogs can establish a routine and feel more comfortable and secure in their environment. This routine can help reduce anxiety and promote positive behavior.

Daily Activities: We offer a variety of daily activities, such as playtime, rest time, and training. Without frequent drop offs and pick ups, dogs have more time to engage in these activities and receive the full benefits of the daycare program.

Reduced Distractions: Without frequent drop offs and pick ups, there are fewer distractions for the dogs. This allows them to focus on the daily activities and socialization opportunities.

Increased Safety: Fewer drop offs and pick ups mean that there is less commotion and chaos at the daycare. This can lead to a safer and more secure environment for the dogs.

This is a measure that has already been implemented by conscientious daycares in other parts of the country. It is time we start thinking about dog daycare in the same terms as child daycare and less like a dog park.

Why is it so important that dogs are given the change to calm down and settle in?

Being able to calm themselves down is an essential skill for dogs as it can greatly impact their overall well-being and behavior. Dogs that are unable to self-regulate their emotions may become easily overwhelmed, anxious, and stressed, which can lead to destructive behaviors, excessive barking, and even aggression. Additionally, dogs that are unable to calm themselves down may struggle with adapting to new environments or situations, making it more difficult for them to learn and socialize with humans and other animals.

All experience is a learning experience. And we want to give the dogs a chance to grow and learn good habits when they are with us. Therefore, it is paramount that we structure our daycare to be able to achieve this.

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Dirk Broersma
https://awalkintheparkoftoledo.com