Your Dog’s First Day at Daycare

Everybody has lots of questions on their dog’s first day at daycare. The following is based on a handout we provide newly-approved students (well, their parents, really, most of our students are way more interested in reading the pee-mail than boring old stuff like this!).

Please note that, in order to safely integrate new members into their play group, we only introduce one new dog at a time, so reservations ARE required for your dog’s first day in daycare.

Daycare hours are Monday through Friday 6:30am to 6:00pm. Evening training classes begin at 6:30pm, so we close the daycare department right at 6pm. As a convenience to our customers who cannot pick their dog up before 6pm, we have a late pickup option: whenever you arrive after 6pm, go straight to the crate room. Your dog will be resting with her leash and collar on top of the crate. Please be careful to close the crate door when you leave so that it doesn’t create an obstruction. Please let us know when you need a late pick-up. We do not charge for late pick-ups, but we don’t have staff up front to get dogs or take payment after 6pm, so please make any purchases and payments in the morning when you drop off your dog. Late pickups are not available Friday evenings, and we ask that all dogs be picked up by 6pm on Fridays. 

Daycare Schedule (Big Dogs): The dogs rest until 8:30am, so please be sure to potty your dog before dropping him off for daycare. The dogs go outside from 8:30 until 11:30. We bring the dogs in for a nap from 11:30 until 2:00 because behaviorists studying daycares found that dogs that did not rest during the day went home tired and grumpy instead of tired and happy. Play resumes from 2:00 to 6:00pm. Please let us know if you need to pick your dog up during nap time (between 11:30am and 2pm) so we don’t have to interrupt doggie dreams for the rest. 

Daycare Schedule (Little Dogs): Morning session for little dogs is 7:30am to 11:30am. The afternoon session is 2pm-6pm. Please let us know if you need to pick your dog up between 11:30am and 2pm. 

Drop-off time (Big Dogs): the best time to drop your dog off is between 6:30 and 8:30am. If you come between 8:30 and 10:30am, your dog will probably be able to join the pack outside. If your dog comes after 10:30am, it will be too late to join the morning session, but he will be able to nap until 2pm, then join the pack for the afternoon session. 

Drop-off time (Little Dogs): Little dogs who arrive between 6:30am and 7:30am will rest in crates until their teacher arrives at 7:30. Little dogs who arrive after 7:30am will go straight onto the play yard.  

Pick-up time: the best time to pick your dog up is between 2:30pm and 5:45pm. If you need to pick up your dog between 11:30 and 2pm, please let us know in advance so that we can put your dog up front. This will ensure that we don’t need to wake up your dog’s friends during their naptime. Please remember to let us know if you need a late pick-up. 

Reservations are only required on your dog’s first day at daycare. For safety, we only introduce one new dog per day. The first day, your dog will need to arrive before 8:30am. Your dog will go out first, which is much less stressful than going out last and having all the other dogs rush up to mob the new guy in town. 

Lunches are given at 11:30. If you want us to give your dog lunch or a snack, please pack it in a plastic bag with your dog’s name clearly written on it.

Stuff: You do not need to bring any toys, beds, or other supplies for your dog. We have plenty! 

Safety: Our #1 goal is to keep every person and every dog safe. To that end, please observe the following:

§ We do not recommend or use extendible/retractable leashes. We do not prohibit them, though, so if you use one, please be sure to lock it down before bringing your dog into the building. We have a lot of dogs, from Chihuahuas to Great Danes in and out, and they all need to be right up close to their human.

§ Do not bring your dog to daycare if he or she is acting sick, throwing up, or having diarrhea. Your vet would be a better choice on those days. Neither the other dogs nor their owners will appreciate the sharing of germs.

§ Please do not go past the cones in the parking lot. The dogs react to anything or anyone outside the fence, and the smaller ones can get trampled in the rush to see who’s there.

§ Please do be sure to keep your dog’s tags (1) visible and (2) attached. At the very least, your dog’s collar should contain your name and at least one contact phone, and preferably more. If a cat were to dash past your dog as you were getting into or out of your car, you may find yourself relying on a friendly stranger to return her! 

Overnight Boarding: Please let us know in advance about boarding nights so that we can save your dog a spot. We typically fill the kennel on holidays and during spring and fall break, so reservations should be made as soon as your plans are laid.

What to expect the first day

Sore Pads: Running and chasing new friends all day long can be rough on your dog’s feet, and the pads may get worn or abraded. This will go away as the pads toughen over time. 

Sore Muscles: Most dogs are having so much fun they never think to stop to rest. Over time, they become stronger and in better shape. Your dog may seem stiff after the first couple of sessions. Gently massage the muscles, and let your dog get plenty of water and rest. 

Exhaustion: All of the running, jumping, and sniffing, not to mention meeting and greeting, can wear a dog smack out. It often takes several visits for dogs to learn how to pace themselves. First timers often require a day or three to recover from the party. 

Enthusiasm: While some dogs are worried about new places and experiences, your dog’s enthusiasm to enter the group will grow as they become familiar with our schedule and staff, and make friends with the other dogs.  

Damp or dusty coat: Your dog’s coat may be damp, especially on wet days or during the summer when we put out the soaking pools and misters. We do try to make the dogs presentable before sending them home, but sometimes Mother Nature makes it quite the challenge. 

HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY!: Do expect to see a happy dog. A tired and happy dog who has made new doggie friends and met new people. Your dog’s wagging tail and smiling face will be his or her way of saying “THANKS A MILLION!!” for bringing them to PDX.

Thank you for trusting us with your dog. We appreciate your business, and treasure your confidence. If you have any questions, any questions at all, please let us know!