The value of Daycare

Little Max thinking about Agility.jpg

Well we have just finished our 4th week of our new Daycare service and needless to say it is going extremely well. Tara and I put a lot of thought into how the whole thing would work and we are very happy with how it’s all coming together.

Firstly, I want to put Daycare in Ireland in context. Up until now Daycare of the kind that is seen in the U.S. did not exist here. Yes there were some kennels offering a “daycare” service but ours is the very first of it’s kind in the country. The economy however has joined ranks with the rest of the world and has plummeted into the depths of a recession. In under a year predictions are that we will go from almost full employment to an unemployment rate of almost 10%. The financial times are scary to say the least.

But thankfully due to the fact we had such a large client base from our training classes we really hit the ground running with bookings averaging between 15 – 20 dogs per day. Our location is also key, we are placed in a new business park that sits in the biggest zone of business parks in Dublin with companies like IBM, XEROX and Ebay to name but a few as residents. Amazingly we have yet to formally advertise. A couple of emails out to our mailing list and a new page on our website was all that was needed. Additional bookings are coming through word of mouth and the rate of growth and new clients over the last couple of weeks is staggering, we now have over 60 dogs on our books. Getting the price right was key and a bargain price of 15euro per day seems to be appealing to people. This is certainly a service that people were crying out for.

For clients a by-product of placing their beloved pet into daycare is the amount of socialisation they receive. All of our clients are reporting that their dogs are easier to manage on walks and don’t get “over excited” when they see another dog across the street. This is something that of course no amount of “training” would sort out for a client and it is quite simply the fastest way to build a dog’s confidence and social skills.

Clients are reporting general overall improvements in their dog’s behaviour due to the way we interact and deal with the dogs. Certain in-appropriate behaviour results in a short “Time out”. Polite and appropriate behaviours are encouraged and re-enforced. Formal training and learning games form part of the dog’s daily routine. The dog’s go home exercised both mentally and physically.

Another unforeseen advantage for clients is that their dog’s wellbeing is constantly monitored. We have had a dog poop out an ipod cover, another pooped a slug and one pee’d a small amount of blood. We were able to report all of these things to the clients and advise a vet visit. All of these things would probably have been missed if the dogs had been in the back garden while their owner was at work.

So while we have had many people laugh or snigger at the mention of Daycare for Dogs here in Ireland, it’s a business that is set to flourish and the benefits for both dogs, their owners and society in general are immeasurable.