Hey friends! I've been chatting with some of you about daycare 2.0. Before we talk about what's new, let's take a step back and talk about traditional daycare.
For a very long time, doggie daycare has consisted of a lot of pups running and playing all day while mom and/or dad are running errands or working. Pups go home exhausted, mom and/or dad get to relax, and everyone is happy.
A new trend has started to emerge that goes against this basic model. The reason? We're discovering that all day play isn't necessarily the best thing for our dogs. The risk of injury may increase, pups can become accustomed to high intensity interaction all day (and have trouble relaxing on non-daycare days), pups actually need a significant amount of sleep during their day, and pups need more than *just* physical stimulation. Additionally, depending on the set up of the daycare, pups may learn some undesirable behavior.
Some doggie daycare facilities have begun to modify their schedule and Arch City Dog Boarding has been incorporating breaks and snuggle time since the beginning. We've also been working on increasing our enrichment activities to get the pups thinking and solving problems.
So where does Daycare 2.0 come in? Daycare 2.0 is a term used to describe this newer model of doggie daycare. It emphasizes mental, physical, and emotional stimulation as well as appropriate rest. It aims to decrease the number of dogs per human (best practices is one human per 10-15 dogs but daycare 2.0 groups sometimes have even fewer dogs!) and to meet all of the pups needs throughout the day.
Luckily, Arch City Dog Boarding is already small. We already provide one team member per 10-15 dogs. We are already set up to accommodate the smaller groups. We already require a significant amount of training on dog body language, developmental stages, and group play. This is one of the reasons we've been able to implement this new model since we opened.
However, now we're trying to fine tune it. We want to really hone in on these principles and ensure that we're providing total care (mind, body, heart) to every pup, every day. We have been beta testing different schedules to see what seems to work best for our pups and our team. We've been trying different activities to see what the pups seem to really enjoy and what activities fall flat. We've been incorporating snuggle time in different ways to figure out what fits with our model the best. I'm happy to say that we've been learning a lot and are having a great time with the pups.
Initially, we were thinking that Daycare 2.0 would be something unique that was offered *in addition to* our regular services, but we have been toying with it and have found a way to incorporate these principals into our daily routine. This means that every dog, both boarders and daycare pups, will benefit from these extras.
So what are we doing? We will have a more focused play time with a team member. The groups will be smaller for this play session (think 4 or 5 dogs instead of 8 or 10) and may include more games of fetch or tug when it's appropriate for the group. We have been working on obedience cues but we will now be focused on a different cue every two weeks and will spend time every day with every dog practicing our cue. Since we'll be having smaller play groups and more obedience work, the pups are also going to be getting more opportunity for human pets and belly scratches! As we transition into rest time, the pups will spend some time with a puzzle toy so they can work their brains while they rest their bodies!
So far the pups have seemed to enjoy the new schedule! We really believe that this is best practices for supporting the pups development throughout the day and helping them continue to be their happy and healthy selves! We are really excited that we've found a way to formalize what we were already doing and add it as a part of our basic care!
As always, if you have questions or feedback, we'd love to hear from you! Keep your eyes on our facebook page for pics and updates!