By Christine A. Bournias
Is Your Dog Ready For A New Adventure? Perhaps It’s Camp Time!
So, you and your dog have been cooped up in the house. If you think you’re restless, can you imagine how your dog feels?
As the weather turns nice outside, it just might be time for you and your dogs to venture out of your normal routine. Maybe you’re ready for an adventure — something new in your pet’s busy schedule?
Doggy Day Camp Provides A Favorable Outlet For Dogs
Current dog camp regulars may need to be reacquainted to their normal routine. And, dog owners that have never tried a Doggy Day Camp might find today an ideal time to try one out.
Whether your dog functions best with individual playtimes, or if they thrive in a canine group setting, Doggy Day Camp allows your dog the opportunity to be their own dog.
7 Doggy Day Camp Tips
1. Take Medical Responsibility
Keep current with your pet’s vaccinations before entering any populated dog park or canine group setting. Before you venture out into a new place with your dog — regardless if it’s Doggy Day Camp or a beach just for dogs — it’s your duty as a pet owner to make sure that your dog is up-to-date on their vaccinations.
Whether your dog is a young pup, or an aging senior, you owe it to your furry friend(s) to take special care of their medical needs. For your health and well-being of your pet, regular medical check-ups, conducted by your Veterinarian or trustworthy veterinary clinic, are a critical part of responsible pet ownership.
Be sure to consult with a trusted Veterinarian for medical care that’s appropriate for your pet.
2. Ask Questions, Consult With A Pet Expert
It’s beneficial to explore all of your boarding and daycare options.
Your dog may be the life of the party while other dogs may not. They may need more space from other people or dogs during playtime. Your dog may be a curious puppy transitioning into society or they might be an older dog that has little tolerance of rambunctious dogs.
In a Camp setting with other dog guests, they may even become possessive of a furry family member from the same household. Resource guarding can be minimized and/or avoided within an ideal environment and with properly trained staff.
“Once I allowed my dog to have a few days away from the house, Butch was calm and content with the whole family when he returned home.” —Tom D.
Within a different pack at Camp, dogs have a language all their own. Proper introduction and socialization into this new world is required for a well-adjusted pet at Doggy Day Camp—and at home as well.
Determine If 1:1 Care Is Right For You
Your dog may be different. That’s okay. Every pet is extraordinary and they should be cared for
as such. They may excel with individual care instead of within a large group setting.
Dogs that need extra attention—or owners who prefer to have their pets play as a family—may find that a crowded play area is not right for them. Find a Pet Hotel that caters to your individual dog’s needs. True pet professionals are trained for safety and thrive on creating a happy, healthy experience for your pet.
You owe it to your furry friend to ask questions and explore the best route to take. Ask for an interview at various times of the day, slow days—and at peak hours. If you know your pet well enough, you’ll immediately know if this is the place for your pet. You may both determine that individual play is more appropriate for your dog and his behavior. See what options are available for your pup to be engaged on an individual level and what that would mean.
3. Get An Assessment First
Look for the best environment for your dog to play or stay.
Determine if the facility is an ideal environment for your pet well in advance—not the day before you hop in the car or board an airplane to leave town. Your dog is family and they need a safe, healthy place to stay. Investing this time upfront is critical.
A thorough interview process or assessment needs to be conducted before attending any Doggy Day Camp activity. If your dog hasn’t attended Camp (or never stepped paw) in a boarding facility, it’s important to get your dog evaluated by leaders in the pet hospitality business. Pet Experts are trained to assess your pet for proper size and temperament during their initial visit.
Scheduling an interview for your dog well in advance of your drop off date will give you and your daycare provider time to make appropriate accommodations for your pet. In addition, reintroductions are necessary for Camp “regulars” to get back to normal at their local daycare provider or Pet Hotel.
Photo Credit: Breanna Elizabeth, Best Friends Pet Hotel (Willow Grove)
“If your dog has been away from boarding or Doggy Day Camp for more than a year, it’s time to schedule an interview to reevaluate your pet’s profile at Camp. As your dog adapts back into their canine group routine—and to ensure safety measures—we like to observe your dog’s behavior, check for up-to-date vaccines, and assess their overall demeanor when attending an area with new dogs and people. Our goal is to make sure all dogs have a fun, yet safe experience.” — Jessica H., Hotel Area Manager, Best Friends Pet Hotel
4. Ease Into Camp
Your pet needs plenty of physical activity, mental stimulation, and training time throughout all stages of their lives. But make sure you don’t do too much too soon.
While dogs like variety, they’re creatures of habit and often become anxious with sudden changes to their new daily routine. They may even resist leaving their familiar humans. If your dog is showing signs of separation anxiety, try lessening the duration of sustained play. This plan might help ease their way back to their normal dog time at Camp.
“Your dog needs mental stimulation and physical exercise at Doggy Day Camp. If your pet has been stuck indoors for awhile, the sooner you get back to a regular schedule the better.” —Jenn C., Hotel Manager, Best Friends Pet Hotel (Wakefield)
Doggy Day Camp “Regulars” returning back to Camp might want to limit their high activity days and a lot of dogs all at once. If it’s been a few months, perhaps a handful of half days would be beneficial. The sooner your dog gets acclimated to their regular Camp days, the faster they can get adjusted to a healthy schedule of events. Dogs who are mentally stimulated—with lots of healthy exercise—have dependable eating and sleeping schedules also.
When it’s time for your dog to get out of the house and have some fun with other dogs, you owe it to your pooch to make an appointment. Reserve something new and special for your pet and notice a difference in their overall behavior.
5. Allow Consistent Camp Time
Before shaking things up to their daily at home routine, it’s wise to establish a predictable and rewarding Doggy Day Camp schedule for your pet. Fill their ‘dog days of summer’ with lots of playtime, frequent rest breaks, and proper hydration.
“Healthy rest allows your dog the chance to recharge and refocus their energy at Camp. In contrast to popular belief, an exhausted dog is not necessarily a happy dog. In addition to all the extra fun and activity, we provide our pets plenty of rest time so t hey can excel in the play area.” —Melissa A., Hotel Manager, Best Friends Pet Hotel (Clinton Township)
Many facilities will offer a membership program to enable a consistent day camp experience. As a membership program, campers are expected to attend camp for a certain number of days per month depending on what is needed. With this, day camp becomes a normal, scheduled activity for your pup where he can see the same friends while he attends. Dogs like schedules and thrive in environments where they have set expectations. The “pack” created in a membership program, maintains its equilibrium and the pack members feel balanced.
Your dog will thank you for the variety of mental stimulation, physical exercise, and yes—a little time away from their human caregivers.
6. Get A New “Do” After Camp
Dogs like to play and get dirty. They also enjoy feeling fresh and clean. A little pampering will make your dog feel good all over. A day at the spa is always a treat — even for your dogs.
Scrub their teeth, clip their dew claws, and clean their ears. If your dog has gone too long without a good trim, it may be a great time for a ‘new hairdo.’
Seek out specialized grooming professionals who keep current with industry certifications and pet trends.
“Your dog’s grooming needs is important to their overall health and well-being.”— Kim M., Hotel Manager, Best Friends Pet Hotel (North Plainfield)
7. Try New Things
Getting outdoors more often is a good feeling. If your dog gets a little wind in their nose, they are happy and content. Walking in nature or taking a new route on your hiking trail usually does the trick. But, if your dog is restless with their typical walks, they could be ready to attend Doggy Day Camp.
Photo Credit: Best Friends Pet Hotel (Cincinnati)
No matter how macho your dog is, all dogs love extra attention.
Life is never mundane with Doggy Day Camp. Dogs of all shapes, sizes, and ages enjoy Camp. There are lots of interesting themed parties and loads of fun that benefit your dog.
Doggy Day Camp: It’s Like A Dog’s Bucket List:
Play + Training + Treats
Keep things interesting by enrolling your dog in training courses. Even if your dog is well-behaved and was top of their class at puppy class, sign them up for a refresher course. 1. It keeps your dog’s mind sharp and 2. training class is something you can do together.
DID YOU KNOW?
A dog performs best with conditioning. Positive reinforcement is not about “positive” in the positive/negative way. In dog training, positive reinforcement means “adding” on to desired behavior with marking and rewarding as the addition.
A different environment can solidify training constructs. Working with your dog and investing time for advanced training and tricks in many environments other than your house or backyard can be beneficial.
Toys. Lots and lots of toys.
Purchasing fresh pet toys, including games, are helpful to fight boredom. Interactive, dispensing devices keep your dog occupied and entertained while they learn. There are many durable toys and long lasting chews that will keep your dog occupied for hours when they’re not at Camp.
Even old toys can seem new if you switch things up. Rotate and replace toys in their toy bin or play the name game! Dog toys can do wonders to playtime excitement.
But, what if your dog needs more?
Photo Credit: Best Friends Pet Hotel (Cincinnati)
Best Friends At Home
To supplement your pet’s learning, teach them new tricks at home! The new ideas are sure to keep your dog’s tail wagging and bring a smile to your face.
Fun is endless when you have a dog: Read to them, bake biscuits, splash around in their kiddie pool, dress them up with bow ties, build obstacle courses, or offer your dog a challenging game of shells, hide and seek, or peek-a-boo.
Your Dog Needs Doggy Day Camp
They love to run on the beach and explore new scenery. Working dogs need a “job” other dogs live for new friends, new people, and new toys. Many dog Campers benefit from physical exercise, mental stimulation, and a chance to meet other canines and new people.
Dogs need to greet other dogs and all sorts of other people.
Getting Fido acclimated to a dog group setting requires careful pre-planning, time, and research in order to discover the best place for both you and your pet. Invest the time you need to find a place that you and your dog feels most comfortable with. If it’s the right place for your pet, you’ll notice a calm and content dog that looks forward to going to Camp and enjoys being at home too.
Our pets need their own time away from us to be their own dog. Besides, where else can your dog read books? So, let them romp, play, and experience new things.
Ready to learn more about Doggy Day Camp and other fun adventures? VISIT: Best Friends Pet Hotel or call your local center.
About The Author:
Christine A. Bournias resides in Michigan with her 2-pack; two new beautiful adopted miracles. As her “Angelwriter”, Nicodemus (1997-2010) is the wisdom behind the stories she shares. Christine champions the magnitude of building the bond between a dog and their person(s) by means of respectful communication and enduring admiration.