Frequently asked questions

How may we help you?

 

At what age should I bring my dog to try daycare?

As soon as your puppy has taken all the required vaccinations, you can bring them to our daycare. We have puppies as young as 4 months old. Puppies have lots of energy and especially benefit from socializing in a pack setting.

Does my dog need to be spayed or neutered to come to Happy Dogs? 

Dogs 9 months and older must be spayed or neutered. In fact we recommend that you spay or neuter your dogs at 6 months, unless otherwise advised by your vet.

What is the benefit of daycare versus my dog only getting walks?

Walks are great for bathroom breaks and brief stints of exercise. For some dogs, that is enough. For many dogs, however, daycare provides important benefits. They get mental stimulation from not being alone all day. They enjoy social interaction from playing freely off-leash with other dogs in a pack setting as they would in nature. And they get as many hours of physical activity as they need, often mixed with naps and rest time, leaving them ready for a calm evening at home with you. All of this is provided in a safe and clean environment that is comfortable and bright all year round, with the supervision of highly-trained staff who referee play and monitor every dog’s well-being. Remember it’s not necessarily either/or — a combination of walking and daycare may be the best weekly routine for your dog.

How do you keep your pack well behaved?

We take care of our dogs by using a proven pack leader approach based on dog psychology and natural pack behavior, as opposed to artificial methods like spray bottles, leashes that physically punish a dog, or cages. Our highly-trained staff use calm and assertive presence to assume the role of pack leader within the pack — it’s like being a “human alpha dog.” As a result, dogs don’t fight each other for dominance; instead they feel secure and play freely, knowing their pack is well cared for by the pack leader. Of course, there are occasional dogs that don’t respond well to the pack setting — that’s why all dogs have to pass a temperament test with the pack before joining.

Do you separate the dogs by size?

We group our dogs based on temperament rather than arbitrarily separating them based on size. This way, dogs who prefer to rest and relax get to have a calm space while active dogs can play together freely. The fact is, some small dogs prefer playing with larger dogs and vice-versa. Dogs are very social animals and thrive from being together regardless of size. All shapes, sizes and breeds are welcome to be members of our pack as long as they pass our temperament test and get along with the pack and our pack leaders.

My dog only “goes” outside. What do they do at daycare or boarding?

Dogs have access to our outdoor patio throughout the day when weather permits. They treat our indoor and outdoor dog runs just like the dog runs at the park and will go freely without having to wait or hold it in, just like in nature. We clean up after them according to our “30 second rule” and thoroughly clean our dog runs every night. Importantly, dogs can tell the very clear distinction between a communal run like ours and your home where they know not to go.

If you’d still like your dog to go outside during daycare, we offer daycare walks for a fee.

How do I get started with daycare or boarding?

Four simple steps: (1) complete our registration form, which you can do online or download and print, (2) bring in, email, or fax us a copy of your dog’s up-to-date vaccination record, (3) read and agree to our Membership Handbook, and (4) bring your dog in for a free on-site temperament test. We use the test, which usually lasts between 1 to 2 hours, to assess how a new dog interacts with other members of the pack. That’s it! Once we have these four things, you will be a member of Happy Dogs and can then use us at any time. No appointment is needed for daycare. We recommend making a reservation for boarding, especially for weekends and holidays. To get started, please click here.

Do you follow a fixed staff-to-dog ratio?

No. We know from our eight years of experience working with thousands of dogs — and hundreds of thousands of daycare visits — that more people doesn’t always mean safer. Too many people can rile up the pack which can lead to injuries.

Some third-party organizations focus on arbitrary minimum staff-to-dog ratios as a measure of  daycare safety. We instead focus on training our people in the correct pack handling skills, making sure we have the right number of staff based on the actual size and energy of our pack, and on achieving a stellar safety record and injury rate.

We have a 99.98% safety record, meaning only 0.02% of visits to Happy Dogs results in a dog injury needing vet attention — typically a wound from rough play that will quickly heal with cleaning and antibiotics. We are confident that Happy Dogs is one of the safest places anywhere for dogs to play together. The numbers back up this claim.

Will my dog always have space to play?

Yes. We never let our pack size grow larger than our space allows. This means making sure dogs always have plenty of room to run around and play whenever they want. Having said that, dogs are pack animals by nature and tend to love to bunch together when they aren’t playing even though there is plenty of room to spread out. It’s because they’d rather be cuddling together when resting or following around a staff member as a pack.

Of course not all dogs have the same personalities. If a dog is more solitary and wants to have more space, we’ll put them in a quieter, calmer area. If a dog wants to be in the center of the action, always surrounded closely by playmates, we’ll let them hang out as much as they like  with their more gregarious friends. 

We encourage all of our members to see our space via our in-store viewing windows and our free live cams. The live cams are a great way for parents to see when their dogs decide for themselves whether to crowd together or spread out over the course of the day.

234 pack photo

Gregarious dogs love being together in the pack

space to stretch

There’s always room to stretch

Why be alone when you can snuggle?

Why be alone when you can snuggle?

There's always room to play and goof around.

Always room to play and goof around.

Does the price of boarding include daycare as well?

Yes, the nightly price for boarding includes daycare during the stay. You can check in as early as you like before the first night without any additional daycare charge. On the day of check out, if your dog stays past 10am (or 11am on Sundays), there will be an additional daycare charge (or a previously purchased daycare package will be applied).

What is the password for your live camera?

To protect our pack’s privacy, we periodically change the password to our live camera. Live camera access is free for all members. Please call or email us with your dog’s name and we will give you the password. You can also see photos of our dogs in action on our Facebook and Instagram pages.