Scheduling playtime for the dogs in your doggy daycare business may seem like an easy task to an outsider, but there’s a lot to consider. Each dog has their own temperament, personality, and unique needs. Managing these different personalities is imperative to maintaining a safe environment for your daycare dogs and employees.
Utilizing a dog daycare software, like PetExec, can take a lot of the guesswork out of scheduling playtime with the dogs in your care. You can remain organized and ensure all your pups get the opportunity to participate in an enriching playtime that fits their needs.
5 Tips for operating safe and organized dog playtime.
Operating safe and organized playtime doesn’t have to be complicated. There may be a lot of steps to take when you’re first getting started, but with a good operations software, many of these menial tasks can be completed quickly and efficiently.
1. Use temperament tests.
What is a dog temperament test?
Running a dog daycare of all breeds and sizes means you will have dogs of all temperaments. One of the first things you should do when taking a new dog into your facility is perform a temperament test.
A dog personality test is used by dog daycare owners to give them a good idea of the dog’s general attitude towards other people and dogs.
Understanding each dog’s temperament in your care will allow you to schedule activities appropriately as not all dogs are sociable.
How to conduct a dog temperament test.
A dog temperament test includes five categories that are required to be tested by the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS):
- Behavior towards strangers: This portion of the test measures the dog’s reactions to strangers when they are in a non-threatening environment. To conduct this test, you need 1 neutral and 1 friendly stranger. The neutral stranger should approach the handler and ignore the dog. The friendly stranger should approach and greet the handler and then greet the dog.
- Reaction to auditory stimuli: A noise test can show you how the dog reacts to sounds and showcases investigative behaviors. This test involves two types of noise, a hidden noise, and a loud, abrupt noise.
- Reaction to visual stimuli: This test measures how dogs react to a sudden visual stimulus. One example is to approach the dog and the handler with an umbrella at a safe distance and open the umbrella.
- Tactile stimuli: This test measures the dog's reaction to unusual footing. For this test, you would take the dog on a walk on different surfaces. Surfaces can include a smooth plastic strip or a more uncomfortable surface, like a wire mesh.
- Self-protection or aggressive behavior: In the last test, the dog’s self-protection and aggressive behaviors are tested. These tests should be done by someone comfortable with reactive dogs and who is able to keep control, no matter the situation. This test can include having someone walk near the dog wearing a costume at a safe distance. As the test progresses, the person gets closer and acts aggressively to see how the dog behaves in a situation like this.
With each portion of the test, you’ll want to take notes of how the dog behaves and ensure you record it somewhere that can be recalled quickly. A pet care operations software can record this type of information and be used anytime you’re scheduling playtime throughout the day.
PetExec allows you to create a ‘Pet Advisory’ with icons to symbolize the different personalities of the dogs in your care, e.g. ‘aggressive’ or ‘reactive’. These icons can then be placed on each pet profile, making it easy for employees to access at any time.
2. Group similar dogs together for playtime activities.
How to group dogs for playtime.
If you have a great system in place for tracking each of the dogs in your care, you’ll become a master at grouping dogs for playtime. Recording each dog’s temperament in an operations software will ensure everyone working at your doggy daycare is in the know.
Once you understand their temperament, you can choose the dogs that will likely play well together and choose different activities that they’ll enjoy such as digging or socializing with other dogs.
How to prevent dog fights.
Dogs will be dogs, and fights might break out even with the best planning. Separate dogs into appropriate groups, such as smaller dogs in one group and larger dogs in another. Keeping neutered and unneutered dogs apart is also a good idea to prevent fights.
The best way to prevent dog fights is to learn how to recognize the signs that dogs are feeling threatened and might lash out to protect themselves.
Some of the warning signs a dog will give to show mounting tension include:
- Stiff, alert, or tense bodies
- Tail tucking and yelping
- Baring teeth
If you start noticing these behaviors during playtime, it’s important to remove the dog from the threatening environment and take them to a safe space where they can relax again.
How to stop dog fighting.
While prevention is going to be your best option, it’s not always possible. So what exactly should you do when a dog fight breaks out?
You never want to put yourself at risk. It’s instinct to want to jump in and separate them as soon as possible, but it could put you at risk of serious injuries.
Distract the dogs if possible: Try getting the attention of the dogs by distracting them from a safe distance. Shout loud abrupt noises such as "Ah!!” to pull their attention away from each other and towards you.
Separate the dogs with an object: You want to keep your hands away from the dogs' faces. Try using a large object to get in between the dogs. Use a gate, a chair, a large lid, a broom head, or anything that could potentially separate them long enough to get the dogs to safe areas of your doggy daycare business.
Team up to separate the dogs: This is the riskiest technique, but it can be done. With another person, approach each dog from behind and grab them by the hind legs. Lift them so they can only balance on their front legs. From there, walk away from the others and place the dog in a safe area.
3. Manage occupancy.
How to manage occupancy at a dog daycare.
Managing occupancy is vital to ensure you don’t overbook. Overbooking can upset your clients and fracture relationships. It can also create a problem with too many dogs in your care at one time without enough staff.
Managing occupancy with pet operations software allows you to set limits on how many dogs you can take during the week or weekend. This prevents overbooking and ensures you are never short-staffed for the amount of dogs you have.
4. Purchase the doggie daycare equipment.
From the moment you open your doggie daycare, you need to have the proper equipment on hand to manage the dogs from when they arrive to when they leave.
You’ll need the basics, including:
- A variety of dog food and flavors (be sure to check with clients for any allergies)
- Collars and leashes
- Muzzles of all sizes
- Fun dog toys (tennis balls/tug ropes/bubble machine)
- Dog treats of all sizes and textures
- A stockpile of towels
- Cleaning supplies
- Doggie waste bags
- First aid kits for humans and dogs
When it comes to playtime, the possibilities are endless. You can provide your daycare dogs with an outdoor space to run around in.
You can purchase toys, tennis balls, and ropes for an enriching playtime. If you have the space, you can set up agility ramps and tunnels, and on hot days, you can provide a paddling pool for the dogs to splash around in.
5. Ensure staffing and supervising needs are met.
Scheduling each dog’s day requires you to schedule enough people to ensure adequate coverage. The general rule is to have one person for every 10-15 dogs. With the right operations software, you can manage your occupancy and check your employee's availability to ensure you have enough people for how many dogs you’ll have during the day.
What are the different dog daycare software options?
Finding the perfect operations software for your dog daycare can ensure you have all the features you need, and you’re not paying for anything that isn’t vital.
The right software will be the one you feel comfortable using. While many dog daycare software options are available, PetExec offers everything you need specifically for running a successful dog daycare.
PetExec can also assist you with managing your dog daycare’s playtime effectively and safely with a number of convenient features.
Some of the capabilities of PetExec include:
- Having a digital whiteboard for pet facilities to manage their play areas and pets
- Organizing daycare dogs by room/behavior/size
- Setting up max occupancy limits to avoid overcrowding
- Assigning staff members to each play area of your facility to ensure each space has someone looking after the dogs at all times
- The flexible dashboard means you can move the pets around your facility virtually as they move around physically
PetExec has countless positive reviews online and is widely considered one of the best dog daycare operations software for pet professionals.
Managing the dog daycare activities of your business can be challenging. Some dogs just simply don’t get along, and it can be difficult to tell before they interact with each other.
By using temperament tests and separating dogs into groups, you can ensure playtime runs smoothly with minimal fights breaking out. Using an operations software can help you organize your daycare dogs effectively to ensure each dog has an enjoyable and enriching experience.
How do I market my dog daycare?
Marketing your dog daycare starts with a strong internet presence. First, build your website and design an aesthetic social media. Start contacting other pet services, like vets or groomers, to build relationships that will prompt them to recommend your business to other pet parents.
What is the size of the dog daycare industry?
The dog daycare industry is a massive market that continues to grow exponentially. It’s estimated the demand for dog daycare services in terms of value is around $4.06 billion in 2023 and is expected to double by 2033.
How do I start a dog daycare business?
Starting a dog daycare business begins with getting a business license from your local government and registering for business taxes through the IRS. Next, you have to find the state regulations you need to adhere to and follow any zoning requirements of your local area.