Over the past ten years since we opened we have watched Toronto’s dog culture grow and blossom – we are such a wonderfully dog friendly city and it’s only getting better! You can find all kinds of dog services in this great city of ours but the one I want to focus in on today is Toronto’s Dog Daycares.
 
There are a few different types of Dog Daycare available and it’s important to know what they are, and what the pros and cons of each types are so that you can make an informed choice and provide your dog with the best environment for their personality!

 
 
 

KENNEL STYLE DOG DAYCARE

This is where your dog will have their own kennel / crate for the day while you are away and will be able to relieve themselves when they need to on a schedule.
 

 
THE PROS:
This type of service is great for dogs who can display unpredictable or aggressive behaviour.
 
THE CONS:
Exercise is typically limited to walking on leash a few times per day. This is not considered a “high energy” service so your dog might feel a little pent up when you pick them up at the end of the day. Typically kennel dog daycares do not offer pick up and drop off – but it may be something they would do for an extra fee.
 
 
Say you have just brought a rescue dog home with you and you were told that they can be aggressive in certain situations, with some people, and some dogs, so you have to do a lot of training with them until they can be off leash with other dogs…. but then you have something come up and you have to find a place for them to stay for the day. The kennel system allows them to have their own completely separate space so you don’t have to worry about what might happen while you are away.
 
 
 

FULLY MOBILE DOG DAYCARE

This is where a service will pick up and drop off your dog but they do not have an actual daycare facility so they are driving around with the dogs all day on their scheduled routes. This is the most popular kind of Daycare in Toronto – all dog walkers offer daycare and this is the type it most often be.

 
THE PROS:
Your dog gets out of the house, gets to see other dogs and other people, and will get some off leash park time throughout the day.
 
THE CONS:
Your dogs is riding around in the vehicle while they are doing their pick ups for the their first outing, then during the drop offs, then pick ups for the second outing, then drop offs. Some companies might even do a third outing, but 2 is pretty standard. So along with the park time, the dogs are also spending a lot of their day sitting in a vehicle.
 
 
The only way to know if you’re getting this is to ask. A company might tell you all about the park time and the fact that your dog gets two long outings but may not mention what happens in between. It is ALWAYS the owner’s responsibility to ask what their dog will be doing throughout the day.

 
 
 

PET SUPPLY STORE / GROOMER DOG DAYCARE

This is where the primary focus of the business site is either e retail pet supply store, or a dog groomers, but in the back they have a space where the dogs can stay for the day.
 

 
THE PROS:
This can be very convenient if you want to pick up supplies at the same time as picking up your dog at the end of the day, or get grooming services done during the day while they are there.
 
THE CONS:
The daycare aspect is not the primary focus of the business so there is typically no assessment process whatsoever. You can drop off a dog, say they’re well behaved and they will put them right in the room with a bunch of other dogs. Also, these rooms tend to be a bit stark, lack outdoor space and feel more like a holding area than a purpose built fully dedicated dog daycare would.
 
 
You can usually look through a big glass window to see all the dogs sitting in the room so you can check things out for yourself before you leave. Always ask where the dogs go to relieve themselves because very often there is little to no outdoor space on site.

 
 
 

WAREHOUSE OR INDOOR DOG DAYCARE

This is where the vast majority of the play space is indoors. These places are usually big open rooms. They will have an outdoor space, but it’s not meant for really throwing a ball, it’s more meant for some fresh air, a little play and a place for dogs to relieve themselves instead of going inside.
 

 
THE PROS:
The dogs get to play off leash with a group of dogs for the day. Some companies may include a pick up & drop off in their daycare rate, however most offer this service for an extra charge,.
 
THE CONS:
The thing that is missing here is the outdoor space – there needs to be more of it. Dogs need to get outside and stretch their legs, really run and have options outdoors like they do indoors. Also, many of these large “warehouse” style places may not have enough separate spaces to accommodate different sizes, ages, temperaments – the dogs are mostly all together in one space. It’s difficult to do a proper slow introduction this way – dogs can end up being plunked into the big dog pack on arrival.
 
 
Again, you can usually see the big dog area and watch how they introduce your dog to the pack. Always take a look at the outdoor space on site and ensure that it’s large enough for the number of dogs on site to comfortably use the space for play and for pee/poo – because they sure do a lot of that throughout the day! LOL Not all dogs are suited for this type on environment as they should be well socialized and non aggressive to be admitted.

 
 
 

INDOOR / OUTDOOR DOG DAYCARE

This is where there is a large amount of indoor and outdoor space for the dogs to play throughout the day. The outdoor space should be big enough to really throw a ball and play fetch, as well as enough room for the dogs to run/chase. They should also have different areas for large and small dogs both indoors and outdoors.


 
THE PROS:
The dogs get to play off leash with a group of dogs for the day. They can get the proper amount of outdoor time that dogs really need, while still having ample space inside as well.
 
THE CONS:
Not all dogs are suited for this type on environment. They would need to be well socialized and free of aggression to be able to run freely inside and outdoor, play in groups with balls/toys, and enjoy a high energy pack play enivornment. There are usually rooms that they can go to for naps/downtime but the primary focus is fun, exercise and socialization.
 
 
Again, you can usually see the big dog area and watch how they introduce your dog to the pack. Always take a look at the outdoor space on site and ensure that it’s large enough for the number of dogs on site to comfortably use the space for play and for pee/poo – because they sure do a lot of that throughout the day! LOL