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So, I hope to open my own boarding/daycare/grooming facility at some point in the future, and I just want to know what you guys would consider your ideal facility, the best place you could take your dog to. Include as much detail as you can come up with, but keep it realistic, please :)
 

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Cleanliness would top my list so I would research what type of flooring would be best. The facility I use has heated floors and it is absolutely spotless. Secondly I would want inside and outside availablity for the dog with separate runs. The outside area should be covered especially if you live in a rainy area as I do. I am not sure if this helps you at all as I am mainly speaking of the boarding aspect.
 

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I would like the ability for a nervous dog to be separated from the others or eased into it starting with a separate group of calmer dogs. I'd love to take mine to daycare but she is currently terrified of other dogs in large groups, especially if a lot of play is going on.
 

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Over the years we've used five different boarding kennels and the most important factor has been personal attention - the best places were able to tell us exactly what Hamish had been doing whilst he stayed with them and it was obvious that they had spent time getting to know him.
The ones we avoided were those that charged very high prices for unnecessary / unwanted luxuries e.g. your dog will have his own sofa and we give him treats every hour!
 

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Anywhere I take my dog to be cared for, I want people who are knowledgeable on positive reinforcement - not some self-proclaimed expert, rather people who have a firm grasp on the industry standards in positive reinforcement training and how to apply them.

I could care less how the nails or hair ends up looking, or how many cuddle sessions they get or any other nonsense. If someone has a good sense on tresholds and desensitization, I think the dogs can find themselves a lot more relaxed.
 

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The one I work at? Shameless plug?

They have multiple large outdoor yards, so the dogs go out in groups for the day with playmates, then in to separate suites for the night. Very clean, as holistic as possible as far as raw diet for those who are on it, and so on.

The only downside is they can't take/handle overly aggresive dogs or dogs with a lot of behavior issues, because it is hands on to get them inside/outside. There's just no way to do so with their setup, because the dogs aren't in indoor/outdoor runs.
 

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Clean. Safe. Warm in the winter, cool in the summer. Indoor and outdoor runs. Personal attention to the dogs. Well-trained staff.

I would also like it if the small dog area really was just small dogs - not large breed puppies.
 

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Oh boy, I'll have to come back to this thread when I'm on the computer. Trying to type it all out on my phone would be an exercise in frustration.
 

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Clean. Safe. Warm in the winter, cool in the summer. Indoor and outdoor runs. Personal attention to the dogs. Well-trained staff.

I would also like it if the small dog area really was just small dogs - not large breed puppies.
Oh my gosh, this is kind of unrelated but I took my dog to the "small dog" play group at Petco on Wednesday and she was TERRIFIED because a Great Dane and a Mastiff puppy kept bombarding her... They were probably five times her size and they just kept snapping at her playfully and knocking her down... But she didn't see it like that, and they didn't pay any attention to her signals so I ended up going home. So I agree with this.
 

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Another shameless plug - although you would be hard pressed to get your dog to me in Australia.

Both doggy day care and boarders should have the same care and attention.

A friend once told me to use my nose when looking at a kennel for our dogs. If it smells clean and fresh then you have a kennel operator who has the dogs best interest at heart. He ensures the runs and any gutters are kept clean and free of waste thereby reducing any chances of infections.

Floors must be sealed so mess and odours do not linger. Floors should be cleaned daily with a disinfectant, deoderant and insecticide.

Kennels should not face each other with dogs staring at each other across a narrow isle and dogs going from kennels to the exercise yards should not be paraded in view of dogs in the kennels. Dogs in kennels should not be able to see activity in the exercise yards.

Good air circulation throughout the buildings with good sound and heat/cold insulation and underfloor heating for those winter months.

Managed by someone with years of experience in training or working with dogs and friendly, dog loving staff.

Large exercise yards where all dogs get at least 2 exercise sessions a day and under supervision at all times.

Able and willing to meet any dietry requirements and uses premium grade dog food for those not on special (owner supplied) diets.
 

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After working in a shoddy doggy-daycare myself; I could tell you a list a mile-high of everything I don't want in a daycare/boarding facility!

My #1 priority is somewhat broad and generalizing, but a knowledgeable staff. Too many doggy-daycares hire anyone if even their basic experience with dogs comes from watching Animal Planet a few hours a week. Having a knowledgeable staff helps make things run a lot more smoothly. And when I say knowledgeable, I also mean keeping a staff that has common sense.

Cleanliness is sooooooooo important that it's second on my list, only because if you have a capable staff they'll understand the importance of keeping the place clean and disinfected. I've seen sooooooo many dogs contract viruses/infections from a doggy-daycare because of an inept staff. Things like NOT washing the water-buckets and putting fresh water out hourly is something I've experienced first-hand. So many viruses can be transmitted through water it's ridiculous!

Having multiple play areas is so important! Small Dogs....... Big Dogs....... Really? What about puppies? What about older dogs/dogs with disabilities?

Making sure there is adequate staffing. I worked in a doggy daycare that had 100+ dogs boarding, and nearly 70+ dogs in daycare over a holiday weekend. All 170+ dogs in one large, hot cramped room with two people on duty and another two people tending to boarding room duties. I am NOT making this up. I was one of those two on duty, and it was a living nightmare! Just like at a restaurant, or a child daycare facility there should be a maximum amount of dogs per one body on staff.

Anyway, those are my biggest and more important requirements.
 

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All good suggestions so far. I'll add a few specific ones I have loved or disliked...

- Doggie play pool for hot days. Here's the ultimate doggy pool - bone shaped ( :) ) used for hot days + as a therapy & exercise pool for clients. Poca is the black dog at the back of the picture. Taken 4 years ago. She still won't swim or jump into a pool. She's a wader through and through. :)



- Liberal drop-off and pick-up hours for boarding. I hate not being able to get my dog when I want her.

- A store so I can pick up items I need when I drop off or pick up. Things like favorite treats, bullies - stuff we use a lot and run out of. I'm past the stage where I care about the toys, leashes, etc. they stock any more. I have a closet full of that stuff I don't need.

- I no longer like cage-free boarding -- too much potential for issues, even with someone right there sleeping in the same room.

- A vet on call for emergencies + available on certain days to do vaccinations and routine check-ups.

- On-site groomer

- On-site trainer to work with dogs for free throughout the day + offering classes & personal training sessions for a fee. Having someone around who has extra knowledge for resolving issues is really worth a lot to me.

- canine massage class - I attended one of these. It was great.

- Photographer who comes in once a month to take portraits you can buy

- Periodic parent days so that I can see how my dog interacts with other dogs and meet the owners of the dogs mine really likes. Sounds foolish, I know, but it's fun to compare notes with the other owners.

As others have said, though, the most important thing is staff who really know dogs and how to manage them properly, which means keeping them safe and engaged. I've seen the daycares run like dog warehouses and they suck. I want low staff to dog ratios and eyes-on-dogs at all times.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
My #1 priority is somewhat broad and generalizing, but a knowledgeable staff. Too many doggy-daycares hire anyone if even their basic experience with dogs comes from watching Animal Planet a few hours a week. Having a knowledgeable staff helps make things run a lot more smoothly. And when I say knowledgeable, I also mean keeping a staff that has common sense.
Thank you for sharing! But can I ask for a bit more clarification on this point? And anyone feel free to chime in on this, it isn't just limited to deege39. What do you think the staff should be knowledgeable about? I'm guessing things like being able to read dog body language to be able to properly manage play groups and such, but can you give me a list so I can research things myself?

Floors must be sealed so mess and odours do not linger. Floors should be cleaned daily with a disinfectant, deoderant and insecticide.
Also, what are the best types of flooring as far as how easy they are to keep clean and sanitized?

All good suggestions so far. I'll add a few specific ones I have loved or disliked...

- Doggie play pool for hot days. Here's the ultimate doggy pool - bone shaped ( :) ) used for hot days + as a therapy & exercise pool for clients. Poca is the black dog at the back of the picture. Taken 4 years ago. She still won't swim or jump into a pool. She's a wader through and through. :)

[snip]

- Liberal drop-off and pick-up hours for boarding. I hate not being able to get my dog when I want her.

- A store so I can pick up items I need when I drop off or pick up. Things like favorite treats, bullies - stuff we use a lot and run out of. I'm past the stage where I care about the toys, leashes, etc. they stock any more. I have a closet full of that stuff I don't need.

- I no longer like cage-free boarding -- too much potential for issues, even with someone right there sleeping in the same room.

- A vet on call for emergencies + available on certain days to do vaccinations and routine check-ups.

- On-site groomer

- On-site trainer to work with dogs for free throughout the day + offering classes & personal training sessions for a fee. Having someone around who has extra knowledge for resolving issues is really worth a lot to me.

- canine massage class - I attended one of these. It was great.

- Photographer who comes in once a month to take portraits you can buy

- Periodic parent days so that I can see how my dog interacts with other dogs and meet the owners of the dogs mine really likes. Sounds foolish, I know, but it's fun to compare notes with the other owners.

As others have said, though, the most important thing is staff who really know dogs and how to manage them properly, which means keeping them safe and engaged. I've seen the daycares run like dog warehouses and they suck. I want low staff to dog ratios and eyes-on-dogs at all times.
Thank you for this! Great list.
 

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Thank you for sharing! But can I ask for a bit more clarification on this point? And anyone feel free to chime in on this, it isn't just limited to deege39. What do you think the staff should be knowledgeable about? I'm guessing things like being able to read dog body language to be able to properly manage play groups and such, but can you give me a list so I can research things myself?
Knowledgeable in every area that counts. Hiring people that have owned dogs for several years of their life, who have worked with animals for a considerable amount of time, not just people that "like to play with dogs" or who just "thinks it's fun".
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I would think linoleum would be great flooring.
We have linoleum flooring at the facility I work at and over the years it has become more brown instead of white even though it is cleaned on a daily basis, so I will have to disagree.
 

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I would recommend a flooring that isn't known to be very absorbent. It's amazing what urine can soak into..... : /
 

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I agree with everything here, especially the different play areas.. mainly because I know that if I was to drop Cali off somewhere for the day and she got to "play" with bigger dogs, she'd likely get herself hurt because she's a huge tease haha. Also, the personalized attention is a big one as well.
 
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