Each dog that comes to Dr. Dave’s to join our playgroup must first pass a one-hour temperament evaluation. During this evaluation, our staff will assess your dog’s communication skills, stress levels in the unfamiliar environment, and watch for any aggressive or problematic behaviors. This process is completely free of charge and if your dog passes, you are encouraged to make daycare appointments!
Scheduling Your Pup’s Evaluation
Evaluations are by appointment only, Sunday through Wednesday from 10am – 2pm on the hour at the Campbell location, and Monday and Tuesday beginning at 11am at the Saratoga location. They last approximately one hour and make sure your dog is comfortable at our facility, plays well with other dogs, and is responsive to our staff. All dogs over the age of 7 months must be spayed/neutered.
These appointment days and times have been specifically chosen to ensure that there is a correctly sized daycare group with varying personality types, in order to accurately asses dog behavior.
What Should I Expect on the Day of My Dog’s Evaluation?
- Please arrive on time for your evaluation, as they are scheduled very carefully. If you are a new client, please make sure Dr. Dave’s has a copy of your dog’s up to date vaccinations or you can bring proof of vaccinations to your appointment. Upon arrival you will be asked to fill out our
Once all of the paperwork is filled out, we will take your pup to their assigned play group and place them in the “chute,” a gated area which allows them to see and sniff the other dogs, without being overwhelmed. During this time, we suggest that puppy parents leave, as dogs often exhibit more stress and nervousness when they can see you through the window. Once your dog shows interest in entering the playgroup, we open the gate for them to greet their new friends. During this period, we keep a close eye on their behaviors and reactions to the different dogs in daycare.
We ask that our puppy parents return approximately 45 minutes to an hour after the evaluation begins, where we will give you a short report on your dog’s behavior. Our staff will have made a determination regarding the evaluation and hopefully we will be able to book your pet’s first appointment!
What Types of Behavior Are You Looking For?
We are looking for signs that daycare is a good fit for each individual dog. Dogs that pass our evaluation typically show an interest in social interaction with both the dogs and humans in their new environment. They portray positive body language, such as neutral/relaxed stances, moderate to slow tail wags, and relaxed facial expressions.
Open daycare is designed for dogs that enjoy social interaction, but there are some really great dogs that just do not like social environments. In the best interest of all the dogs’ physical safety and emotional well-being, our staff is on the lookout for behaviors that indicate daycare is not a good fit. These behaviors include high-stress signals, bullying behaviors (such as pinning or rolling other dogs), aggressive behaviors, and sometimes, refusal to enter daycare.
How Much Does an Evaluation Cost?
Evaluations are completely free!
What Do I Need to Bring for My Dog?
As we mentioned, please bring any outstanding vaccination records and client paperwork to your pet’s evaluation. Since it is a short appointment, your pet will probably not require a snack, but you may bring one if you like; our dogs are usually way too excited to eat during their first visit! Finally, make sure you bring your dog on a leash. There are other daycare and grooming drop-offs and pick-ups throughout the day and we need to make sure all dogs are safe in the lobby!
If My Dog Passes, Can He/She Stay for Daycare That Day?
We do not suggest booking daycare on the same day as an evaluation. This was your pet’s first experience in our facility, with a new group of dogs and humans. When you return for your pet after an hour, they are reassured and are more likely to correlate daycare with a good, positive experience! We also suggest Half Days, as opposed to Full Days, for your dog’s first few daycare appointments, to give them an opportunity to become comfortable with being dropped off and playing with their new friends.
What Happens If My Dog Fails?
In the situation that your dog should fail, we like to reiterate that we believe every dog that comes through our door is awesome, but the new environment can be overwhelming for some. Our first step is to discuss the inappropriate behaviors witnessed during the evaluation and recommend options for correction, such as obedience classes and use of consistent training cues. Each situation is different, but we highly suggest giving your dog the opportunity to socialize at different places, whether it be the dog park, with friends, or training classes. If your dog is on the border of passing our evaluation, we may suggest returning in a couple of weeks for another try.