Dogs are social animals. They crave our attention and want to be close to us. It’s why we love them so much, and it’s also why it pains us to leave them behind when we head off to work in the morning. This is especially true for cute little puppies!
You may wonder: Do they miss me? Are they having an accident indoors? Did they just eat my new pair of shoes? These are all valid questions, especially if you’re leaving a new puppy at home alone for the first time.
One of the best ways to ensure your puppy isn’t lonely or bored is to try doggy daycare. Puppies may be too young for commercial daycares, however, or unprepared for the number of other dogs there. Taking your new dog to the home of a qualified pet sitter for a one-on-one daycare experience can be a great alternative—and you can find one easily on Rover.
Here are some tips to prepare you and your dog for your first in-home puppy daycare visit.
Taking your young dog to puppy daycare has some definite benefits. Most importantly, your dog will have company while you’re away. If you haven’t had much time to socialize your puppy yet, daycare is an ideal opportunity for your pup to play with older dogs and interact with other humans too.
This process is invaluable for teaching your young dog about canine behavior and etiquette. It’s also a way more enjoyable way for your puppy to spend his time, as opposed to being home alone!
As a bonus, puppy daycare also gives you peace of mind. You won’t be coming home to any puppy-related damage or mess.
When choosing a daycare situation for your puppy, make sure the dog sitter’s home is dog-friendly and puppy-safe. When you and your dog tour a potential sitter’s home and yard, look out for any issues and don’t hesitate to address them.
During the tour, ask yourself:
- Is your dog showing signs that they’re comfortable in the home (e.g., tail wagging, relaxed posture, sniffing around, etc.)?
- Could your dog move around easily in this home without knocking things over?
- Are there any exposed cables or electrical cords?
- Are there any house plants that may be toxic to teething puppies?
- Are potential escape routes outside barricaded?
- Is the backyard safe and secure with plenty of green space for your dog to play and go to the bathroom?
Once you’ve determined that a sitter’s house is suitable for your dog, you’ll want to make sure the sitter’s day-to-day operation works for you and your pup. Ideally, you’ll drop your puppy off in the morning, and then after a day of playing with his friends, you’ll welcome your pup home tired and happy.
To ensure you and your sitter are on the same page about expectations, ask them the following questions before your puppy’s first stay.
- How many dogs do they care for on a given day (size, breed, etc.)?
- Are they always the same dogs?
- Do they ever leave the dogs alone during the day? If so, what’s their protocol?
- Will they send photos or updates during the day?
- What time can you drop off and pick up your dog?
- What days of the week are they available for your dog?
Your sitter will likely have many of the daycare essentials your puppy needs, such as bowls and toys for playtime. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to ask your sitter what puppy daycare essentials you should pack for your pup’s stay. If your dog goes to puppy daycare all week, you may be able to leave some of the bulkier items (like a large bag of dog food or an extra crate) with your sitter long-term.
Your daycare essentials should include:
- Leash and collar with up-to-date dog tags
- Dog food (pre-measured in an easy-to-transport container or ziplock bag)
- Detailed care instructions (include training instructions, your dog’s sensitivities, and number of feedings and walks required each day)
- Emergency contact information for you, a secondary contact, and your dog’s veterinarian
Optional items (discuss with your sitter beforehand):
- Pee pads for potty training
- Treats for training rewards and snack time
- Crate for nap time and training
- Chew toys to help soothe your teething pup’s gums
If your sitter hosts other dogs, they may ask you to leave your pup’s own toys and treats at home. Be sure to ask.
Whether you’re using one of Rover’s puppy daycare providers or some other option, we hope this list gives you peace of mind and sets your puppy up for countless fun hours with his daycare friends.