For years dog daycare simply meant a lot of dogs running around and playing while pet parents went to work or rand errands. That way, they come home just as exhausted as you are - often more exhausted – and you can relax. They get exercise, your couch stay in one piece, and you get a break – perfect right?
Many people are starting to think that all-day play might not be the best thing for our dogs. There’s a greater risk of injury, they come home dirty, learn bad behavior, and more.
Don’t get us wrong…many facilities are fantastic, but some put in minimal effort. The sad fact is that quality varies wildly among dog daycares – and that problem is quickly becoming much worse!
With the recent explosion of people adopting pets during the COVID pandemic – many dog daycares have become completely swamped. As those off-leash and all-day play facilities get crowded (sometimes with more than 30 dogs to each employee!) and it has become much more difficult to keep all the dogs safe.
Consequences of Overcrowded Dog Daycares:
More dog fights (that are harder to break up)
Less supervision – and a greater risk of injury
Coming home dirty (But they’ll sure provide a bath for an extra charge!)
Dogs picking up bad behaviors like demand barking
Dogs becoming overly exhausted from constant exertion
Shy dogs coming home with tons of energy
But with the only alternative being to kennel your dog – which is also very bad – what can you do? The answer is Enrichment Dog Daycare!
So What is Enrichment Dog Daycare?
Enrichment Dog Daycare (sometimes called Daycare 2.0) is a new model of dog daycare that focuses on mental, physical, and emotional stimulation, as well as appropriate rest. Some enrichment daycares also focus on small groups and include training as well.
Enrichment Dog Daycare tends to be more expensive than regular dog daycare because you're paying for truly quality care. They also tend to employ people who are certified in several different areas of dog behavior and health - for example, they're top spots for veterinary technicians and veterinarians that are still in training.
The end goal is that your pup safely engages their brain while they play, so they come home happy-tired instead of completely exhausted – or worse – bored an full of energy (and hungry for destruction!)
“When dogs go home and they're physically tired but not mentally tired, that's when you get bad behavior. Boredom is when they get into "dumb" trouble like tearing at couches and things.” – Reilly Goodman, Sterling K9 Retreat
What Happens at Enrichment Dog Daycare?
At Sterling K9 Retreat, our enrichment dog daycare includes all sorts of activities designed to engage your dog and help them grow – all of which are done in small groups led by a certified staff member. We also train them on the basics, to help reinforce good behavior while they’re here – and make sure they don’t pick up any bad habits!
To keep the pups engaged, we provide an activity every hour like chasing peanut butter
bubbles, playing in a dog pool, working on treat puzzles, and more:
“Every hour there's an activity at SK9, so the dogs get used to the schedule, and they really start to look forward to the different activities. They know what hour it is, when it's coming, and you can tell they're excited.” – Reilly Goodman, Sterling K9 Retreat
A good enrichment-based daycare should include many different activities and benefits to make sure that your pup doesn't get bored - and they also shouldn't all cost extra. That's the point of paying for enrichment - it comes with the regular price.
“What makes our enrichment daycare different is that everything is included. A lot of other enrichment daycares charge for add-ons. You get all day play, but you have to pay extra for puzzles or activities. With Sterling K9 Retreat, you get everything included in one price - it's a lot of bang for your buck!” – Janika King, Sterling K9 Retreat
Learn more about all the benefits of Sterling K9 Enrichment Dog Daycare Here!