Frequently asked questions
How old does our puppy need to be before she can start at the day care centre?
Providing she has had all of her injections and the vet has said that she is able to be around other dogs, then she is more than welcome to start at the day care centre. In fact the earlier she gets started with us the better, as she will learn valuable social skills by meeting lots of new friends.
Initially she will be confined to a designated puppy area away from the bigger dogs so she can learn the ropes slowly, in a safe area. I am a strong believer that puppies need plenty of rest to prevent any health problems in later life, so initially the exercise will be kept to a minimum.
Please do let me know if you would like me to work on any particular aspects of her training, as continuity with a young pup is key to having a confident and happy dog.
Who will be picking up my dog, will it be a different person each day?
It will always be me picking up and dropping off your dog.This means that I can keep you updated on your dogs’ progress and any issues can be addressed.
Despite being in the position where I could employ someone, I prefer to work on a small scale, ensuring that I build a good relationship with each dog parent.
I feel that by expanding I would lose the personal touch that I think is so important when you are trusting someone with your much loved pet.
What happens if I’m going to be out when you arrive to pick up or drop off my dog?
Many of my clients are out when I pick up/drop off dogs and find giving me a key means they don't have to organise their day around my collection/delivery times. I’m insured to be a key holder and I am more than happy to set alarms if needed. I will always ensure that your keys are kept in a locked safety deposit box when they are not required.
I do ask that if there is any chance something may happen which could result in you missing my collection/ delivery times, you do provide me with a key. Keeping to a tight schedule means that I can ensure travel time for the dogs is kept to a minimum.
What happens when it rains?
For the dogs that don’t like to go out when it’s raining, we have an indoor area with infra red heat lamps, comfy raised beds and vet bedding for them to snuggle into. However, most of the dogs like to be out in the elements and enjoy splashing about in the puddles.
You may like to send your dog out with a coat to keep him/her warm and dry in the colder months.
At the end of the day the dogs’ feet and tummy area are washed using our heated shower unit to prevent them coming home with muddy paws.
Do all your dogs get along?
I’m delighted to say they all get along and work really well as a group. I believe the key to keeping a harmonious and happy environment at the day care centre, is the fact that I am selective when I bring a new dog into the group.
I know each and every one of my dogs inside out so I can recognise what breeds and temperaments may cause upset. I would never risk the enjoyment of any of my dogs by bringing in a dog that wasn’t right for my lovely group. If a dog is displaying behaviour that is changing the dynamics within my group, then I will advise the owner that my setup isn’t suitable for their dog and suggest alternative options.
Please add yourself to my Facebook group to see videos and photos of my happy bunch interacting together.
How will my dog's day be structured?
Your dog will be collected from your house between 7.30am and 9am (depending on where you live). Your dog will then climb into his cushion lined crate in the doggy bus, and we will then drive straight down the M4 to arrive at the day care centre for 10am.
The dogs are then let out into a confined area where they can go to the loo, which makes picking it all up much easier.
The dogs are then calmly let into the main play area one by one, where they are always delighted to see one another. We then spend the entire day out in the main field where the energetic dogs can play and run around, and the more chilled out or older dogs can plod around happily next to me.
I believe that a well-behaved and happy dog is stimulated both mentally and physically. In order to achieve this I interact constantly with the dogs, to ensure that they are tired and content by the end of the day. For the dogs that need a little extra stimulation we have a full agility course.
Some of my dogs can find 5 hours of exercise too much, so they either sit in the shade in the warmer months, or can relax in the cosy barn when it’s a little colder, and join us on our walks when they feel a little more energetic.
In the summer months we take regular breaks to ensure that the dogs don't over heat. During this time they can relax in the shade of our Eucalyptus trees, cool off in one of our paddling pools, or play in the sprinkler system.
At the end of the day any muddy paws are washed off in our heated shower (something that they rather enjoy) and then they are put into the van ready to leave at around 2.30pm.
The dogs will then be dropped off tired but happy between 3pm and 4.30pm.
What happens if you go on holiday or take ill?
Having used the services of a dog walker for a few years before I started working in the dog care profession, I understand that it is imperative to be able to rely on your dog care provider. Enjoying my job as much as I do means that I find it easy to keep the number of days I take off to a minimum. Having lived in Chiswick my entire life means that I know most of the other dog professionals in the area, and they happily cover my dogs on the rare occasions I do take holiday.
In the 6 years of owning The Leading Dog Company I have never taken a day off sick, and pride myself on being totally reliable.
I can’t decide whether to use a traditional dog walking service, or send my dog to your day care centre?
I feel that a responsible dog carer should recognise that every dog is different, and while the day care centre works brilliantly for most dogs, others may be better suited to a traditional dog walking service.
If you are looking for complete peace of mind where you can relax in the knowledge that your dog is in a safe and secure area then the day care centre is able to provide that. I feel very proud to be able to work with such happy and confident dogs who evidently achieve a lot from spending time at the day care centre. I have grown my business slowly and steadily over the past 10 years, ensuring that I only take on dogs that I feel will benefit from the environment I have worked hard to create.
I would recommend having a read through the testimonial section of this website to see what my other dog parents have to say about the service I provide.
How do I pay for your services?
I will send you an invoice by email on the last day of each month detailing the number of days that your dog has been at the centre, along with the total money owed. I ask clients to transfer the money electronically into my bank account. Please do bear in mind that I am a small business so I appreciate the invoice being settled within 5 working days of receiving it.
Does my dog need to come on set days?
No – I'm really flexible and can accommodate ad hoc bookings.
Some clients prefer to book their dog in for set days each week, while others text me in advance to let me know the days they would like. I understand that life is sometimes unpredictable and hard to plan for, so I try and accommodate last-minute bookings when ever possible. However, it is worth noting that because I put a limit on the number of dogs I take with me, some days can be busier than others. For that reason I would recommend booking as far in advance as possible so you can be guaranteed a place in the day care centre.
Do you board dogs?
Unfortunately, I no longer offer this service. However, I’m more than happy to recommend some brilliant local dog walkers who offer a ‘home from home’ service. They look after my own dogs when I go away and I’m particularly picky about who looks after them(!)
© 2016 by The Leading Dog Company.