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[See bolded section below for cliff notes]

Hello everyone....

A couple of months ago, I enrolled my dog in doggie daycare at a small daycare facility that is relatively close to my home and on my way to work. All in all it's been a great experience. As I've posted before, he's been much more relaxed and well behaved since starting daycare. Tuesday night and Thursday night are great because he's so wore out from daycare that he just comes home, eats and sleeps. I love having a dog but it's nice to have a night or two off as well.

Anyway, the daycare place I've been taking him to has been good overall. They have very nice staff and there's only about four to six dogs per day so it's not very crowded. I've had a couple of issues though since I started taking him there.

First, they changed the hours from 6-6 to 8-6. This isn't really a problem but I'm usually at work before 8:00 so on the days I take him to daycare, I have to go in a little late. Also, there's been a couple of occasions where they've opened late and I've had to sit in the parking lot, waiting for someone to show up.

Second, I'm not sure they watch the dogs very closely. He frequently comes home after daycare and gets sick. Either he throws up, has diarrhea, or both. He has a very sensitive stomach to begin with, so I'm not exactly sure if his stomach issues are due to daycare but there seems to be a correlation.

Anyway, I stopped in this new Petsmart to buy him food on my way home from work one night and saw that they had a daycare facility (they call it day camp). I spoke with the woman who appeared to be in charge and she was very nice and helpful. The place was brand-new but it looked absolutely spotless. I was very impressed by how clean everything was. One of the staff was hosing down and scrubbing the play area as I was there.

Also, this location is even more convenient to my work and they have a pet hotel there that would be good for when I travel. Kodi loves doggie daycare and I think it would be a lot easier on him if he were boarded in the same place as doggie daycare rather than some strange place he's never been before. Also, you can drop off anytime after 7 a.m. and pick up any time before 7 p.m. (although day camp is only 9-5).

My concern though is that there's no "outside" area for them to play so they just go to the bathroom on the floor. The woman assurred me that they clean it up immediately but I'm sort of concerned about sending mixed signals to my dog. I had a difficult time potty-training him to begin with and I don't want him to think that it's ok to go to the bathroom inside. Do you guys think this will be a problem or am I just being paranoid.
 

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I am NOT impressed with the Petsmart one. INdoors only, tiny little play area, and way too many dogs in the small area IMO. Plus, the supervision seems to be pretty lacking- I know there ARE good employees at Petsmart, but a lot of the ones I've seen seem to be not very knowlegable about dog behavior.
 

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[See bolded section below for cliff notes]


My concern though is that there's no "outside" area for them to play so they just go to the bathroom on the floor. The woman assurred me that they clean it up immediately but I'm sort of concerned about sending mixed signals to my dog. I had a difficult time potty-training him to begin with and I don't want him to think that it's ok to go to the bathroom inside. Do you guys think this will be a problem or am I just being paranoid.

Although I don't take my puppy to a Petsmart Doggy daycare, the one that he does go to is also all indoors, so they have the same thing with going to the bathroom inside. Parker hasn't had any problems knowing the difference between going indoors there and going outside when he is at home. They had a section about this in a brochure I got before signing him up to go there. It said something about how if they are properly trained in the first place, they will know the difference because they won't go in their "home". They also see all the other dogs going at daycare, and realize it's ok. I haven't seen any problems, and the brochure also said that there has never been a customer complaint about other dogs having problems.
 

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The place where Bailey used to go kept the dogs indoors if it was raining heavily or too cold. He was still house trained at home (and is/was a puppy), so that wasn't a problem.

Also, I agree that it would be good if your current daycare made you aware of any issues while your dog is there, and it sounds like they aren't. However, at the same time, I think dog daycare is not unlike kids' daycare or school -- he'll be exposed to more bugs and will probably get sick more often.

Anyway, I think it's a balancing act. If your dog is basically healthy and isn't catching anything serious, I wouldn't worry too much about it. If you have concerns about the cleanliness of the daycare or your dog catches something more serious, it's probably time to take him somewhere new.
 

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I've taken a look at the local Petsmart Doggy daycare. It might be pretty different from yours, but here's what I saw - VERY crowded area, indoors only, no designated bathroom place for the dogs, big dogs and little dogs together, which ended up with this Great Dane bullying some sort of Maltese puppy, I think. There was only one person watching the entire group of dogs, and it was very crowded and he made no effort to stop dogs from getting too rough. One dog seemed to have gotten injured and I saw her whining and a cut on her ear.

Not very good impressions.
 

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That's odd. At ours small dogs have one area and the bigger dogs have another. And at one time there are no more then 4 dogs out at a time. And a caregiver in each room with a squirt bottle if the dogs get too rowdy. They even have a "puppy playroom" where dogs under a specific age can play togther.
 

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I guess it's like any other Petsmart-related issue... there are good Petsmarts and there are bad Petsmarts. My guess is that it depend on who they have working there - whether it's older, more experienced people who know dogs; or young high school kids who don't know and don’t' care. On my brief visit I was very impressed by the facilities and the staff, so that's less of a concern. I think I'll stop back on either Tuesday or Thursday and see how the daycare works. My dog is very, how should I say... rambunctious. So I’m not as concerned with him being bullied or anything like that. Plus, he’s a somewhat large dog (65 lbs). I just don’t want him thinking that going to the bathroom inside is acceptable and getting confused every time we’re over a friends house that has a tile floor.
 

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From what I've seen at the Petsmarts in the NC/SC/GA area - the play areas are WAY too small - especialy for medium-to-large sized dogs. They mix all sizes of dogs, which can be dangerous for the littles. The dogs pee and poop inside. Sorry, but I've worked to make sure my dogs understand they aren't supposed to pee and poop inside ANY building. Not a good day care set up, IMO.
 

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The one here, they seem to kick out any bigger breed dogs for being to rowdy. They have a tiny room so i can't imagine its suitable for anything but small and toy breeds. The throwing up may be from going to long without food (some dogs throw up if they go to long) or excitement, could be from the car ride home after running around all day. I would speak with the people you are currently using about their schedule and being late to open, if they don't seem to get better then i would look for another place other than petsmart personally.
 
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