Having a dog takes a lot of work and a lot of understanding. There’s a degree of “Yup, stuff in our house is going to get destroyed … those floors are going to get peed and pooped on … no, that schedule won’t work because we need to walk the dog at that time” type of understanding that comes up with dog ownership.
All the joys of having a dog make that stuff worth it – their unconditional, over-the-top love and enthusiasm to even just be near you – their comfort, their cuddles, their brings-a-smile-to-your-face each day kind of joy.
Our two dogs – Olive and Artie – are three and one-years-old. Olive is past the point of accidents-in-the-house and general crazy energy. She’s pretty chill. Artie on the other hand – still just a puppy (a very big puppy lol) and while past the accidents-in-the-house phase, is still very much in the will-destroy-the-house-if-left-out phase.
With our crazy schedules, and general crating guilt – Mike and I knew this year we needed to enroll Artie in dog daycare to balance out the crate days and our busy days. So we looked at the dog daycare options in Edmonton and decided to take Artie to Infinite Pawsibilites on the west end (16811 110 Avenue).
Read on for my review of Artie’s daycare experience, along with tips on how you can pick a dog daycare, benefits of dog daycare, and enter to win a 5-visit pass to try Infinite Pawsibilities for your dog!
Disclosure: I am an Infinite Pawsibilities brand ambassador so Artie’s visits are complimentary in exchange for honest, social media recaps of his daycare experiences.
How to pick a dog daycare
There’s lots of factors that go into picking where you take your dog to daycare.
Here is what was important to us:
- Location: This was very important when Mike and I were selecting a doggy daycare. We didn’t even consider a daycare unless it was located fairly conveniently near our house or near our work (on a logical path on our way to and from work). There may be excellent dog daycares in other areas of the city, but truthfully – we aren’t going to go out of our way to take Artie to daycare if there’s a great daycare that’s closer to us. In our case, Infinite Pawsibilitie’s west end location is perfect for drop-offs and pick-ups on my way to and from work.
- Vibe you get from the Owners/Employees: This is huge. Before you pick a dog daycare, make a point to talk to the owner/staff on the phone and in person. Ask if you can bring your dog to check out the space and do a meet-and-greet before you commit. You’ll get a better sense of space that way (which is another factor to help you decide where to go) but most importantly, you’ll get a better sense of the type of people you’re entrusting your dog to. Mike and I knew as soon as we met Pam and her team from Infinite Pawsibilities, that we could trust them with our boy. That vibe, that feeling you get from the dog daycare staff is so important – we immediately knew this team not only knew their stuff about dogs, but that they were also deeply passionate about dogs. Pam, Patrick, Melissa, Frank – we trust them with Artie and that feeling is everything, so make sure you feel out a place + their staff before you decide.
- Space: A dog daycare doesn’t have to be huge to be the right fit. It also doesn’t have to be fancily furnished. Admittedly, Infinite Pawsibilities space is pretty sparse. But it’s big. It’s a giant room with a long fenced-in run, smaller fenced in areas for smaller group play, and a small fenced in outside space. It’s not furnished and honestly, I don’t care. If upwards of 20 dogs are going to be running around playing, peeing, pooping all day in a space, I wouldn’t want it furnished lol. Their outdoor area could probably be bigger, and maybe a huge outdoor run is an important space factor for you but for us, this is a pretty big space and ultimately, is a far bigger space to play for Artie than what he’d be able to do in his crate at home.
- Price: As you start browsing dog daycare rates, you’ll find most of them are pretty competitive/on par so price may not be as big a factor as the previous three, but certainly something you’d look at. Investing in a dog daycare can be a significant cost. Most dog daycare rates in Edmonton are in the $20-$30 per day range for single-day drop offs. That per day cost starts to decrease if you purchase different passes (not unlike buying a 10-class pass to yoga, you could do a 10-visit pass for dog daycare) so depending on your pass (Infinite Pawsibilities offers 5, 10, 20, and 40 passes) you might save a few dollars off the price per day. I think it would be unrealistic (for most people) to be able to afford bringing your dog to daycare every day. 2x a week seems like a number that has come up for a few people I’ve talked to about dog daycare frequency. I’ll bring Artie on days when I know I have something going on in the evening so I want to make sure he’s got activity in during the day.
I think it’s important to consider the benefits of dog daycare and not just for your dog but for yourself too.
For Artie – he gets to run around all day (way better than being stuck in a crate while we’re at work), socialize with other dogs (he’s so popular), and just keep mentally and physically stimulated before coming home for the evening happy and exhausted.
He loves daycare.
— Linda Hoang (@lindork) March 5, 2017
For us – it’s sort of about alleviating guilt (really). Everyone’s living busier lives these days – which is one reason why I think dog daycares are becoming so popular. One of the biggest benefits of daycare for us to help alleviate the guilt we get when Artie’s stuck in his crate while we’re at work, and then even more guilt if we get home but later that night have an event to attend. I do think it will be different when he gets a bit older and we can trust to leave him out to roam the house with Olive and the cats, but for now, a huge benefit of dog daycare for us, is helping us feel like better fur-parents.
Benefits of taking your dog to daycare
Here are a few of the main benefits of dog daycare:
- Socialization: Dogs are playful creatures and by nature, are used to being in packs – with other dogs, with other people. Dog daycare ensures they get to interact with other dogs and that is so important. Pam, the owner of Infinite Pawsibilities, is also a dog trainer. She says socialization helps keep dogs healthy. Plus, dogs who aren’t used to other dogs can start to develop other not-so-great tendencies, being snappy, being nervous, being scared – you don’t want that for you dog!
- Exercise/Beating Boredom: I mean, this is related to socialization but a beautiful benefit to bringing Artie to dog daycare is we know he’s getting lots of exercise on those days – lots of running, chasing, jumping, playing, which will help keep him physically healthy. We also love how a day at daycare keeps him mentally healthy – you don’t want a bored dog (at least, a dog who is constantly bored). Different surroundings, different routines, being exposed to different dogs and activity, that’s all helping Artie beat any boredom he might normally get if he was just in a crate each and every day. This rotating routine is also why I like to alternate Artie’s dog daycare days wherever possible, so he can have a quiet day at home but then have a busy daycare day next, and then back to quiet. Keeps life interesting.
- Training: This certainly depends on where you go, but since Pam also teaches dog training, she’s typically instilling those same type of lessons for dogs who go to daycare. Artie is really friendly, but comes off super strong and can be perceived as aggressive on first impression. He’ll often bark at dogs when he sees them (but he actually just wants to be friends). We weren’t sure if that was going to get him into trouble with the dogs at first. Sometimes when you bring your dog in for a meet and greet, you might determine at that time that they need some training before they’re able to hang out with the rest of the group. Throughout their days, they naturally have to follow some orders because it’s not just everything and anything goes, so being exposed to that type of training/commands/learning throughout the day is positive for them too. (Infinite Pawsibilities teaches dogs how to play properly :))
- Helps out Busy Owners: We’ve been told by at least one person that if our lives are so busy and we are away from home for so many hours a day, we shouldn’t have a dog. I completely disagree with that statement. What, anyone who works 9-5 isn’t allowed to have a dog? Working those hours makes them a bad dog owner? No. But I do think being ‘busy’ isn’t a reason to neglect animals and Mike and I will – wherever we can – make sure we’re factoring our animals into decisions we make around that busyness. Something like dog daycare has just been such a blessing (and I’m not religious but, really, a blessing) for helping provide Artie a stimulating, healthy day-to-day experience that complements the walks, playtime, and other adventures we have with him.
— Linda Hoang (@lindork) February 2, 2017
We’ve been taking Artie to Infinite Pawsibilities for about a month now, and about 2x per week.
As I mentioned, he just loves it, and we do too. We’re thrilled with the choice we made and if you aren’t taking your dog to daycare, I honestly, highly recommend it. I also highly recommend again – you consider what factors are important to you before deciding where to go. Because although my Infinite Pawsibilities experience has been fantastic, it might not work for everyone.
Other considerations for dog daycare
A smaller outdoor space might not be your preference, or perhaps you don’t like how there are no dog toys at Infinite Pawsibilities. Pam says it’s because some dogs are toy-aggressive, so leaving toys out for so many, and such a variety of dog personalities, can have bad results. I totally agree with that, but some people might feel differently. You might also find some dog daycares have a TON of dogs – maybe too many for your liking. Infinite Pawsibilities has about 25-30 dogs per day – but it can really depend. Mondays are quieter, so sometimes they only have 10 dogs on a Monday, which would totally change the atmosphere of the place.
Some daycares might not even take your dog. While you want to suss out whether a daycare is a good fit for your dog, know that sometimes the daycare might think your dog isn’t a good fit. There are some daycares that are ‘small dogs only’ or some daycares that won’t accept certain dogs who exhibit certain behaviour. Infinite Pawsibilities serves all dogs. Pam says one of their dogs was actually kicked out of two other daycares in town because he was just too rambunctious. Pam’s team welcomes him – and accommodates him, letting him play in fenced-off areas, with only certain dogs, and/or ensuring a healthy dose of the treadmill is part of his day to chill him out a bit. I really like how open and welcoming they are to all dogs and that really is one of the things that sets them apart from other daycares too.
Spread of illness or injury
We haven’t yet experienced this, but bringing your dog to daycare may increase their risk of getting injured (dogs can play aggressive, and while they’re always being monitored, you never know what could happen). Bringing your dog to daycare might also mean increasing their chance of getting lice or other illnesses. Daycares do require your dog have certain vaccinations before you can bring your dog in, but again – you just never know. My co-worker got a letter from the daycare she takes her dog to informing that there had been an “outbreak” of lice on the dogs at that specific daycare! Another girl I know said her dog caught kennel cough in dog daycare. These things can happen, so should certainly factor into your dog daycare decision as well.
Another consideration is: personality of your dog. Artie’s personality is totally suited for daycare. Olive’s? Not really. She’s always been more of a people person than a other dogs kind of dog. She’ll still play with other dogs and likes interacting with dogs, but if she could choose, she’d much rather sit in our lap than run around with dogs. In fact, when I take Artie to daycare, I usually take Olive to work with me because she’s a really chill office dog! Every dog is different so your situations may be different. Artie’s situation might change in a few years too when he’s older. Not saying older dogs shouldn’t enjoy the same benefits of daycare as younger dogs, but once Artie calms down a bit and we can trust him not to destroy our furniture at home, we might cut the frequency of his daycare visits too. It really all depends.
— Linda Hoang (@lindork) February 2, 2017
Photos and Videos
Some daycares are also more likely to share photos or videos of your dog playing. Infinite Pawsibilities uploads videos and photos of their dogs to their Facebook Page and as an ambassador, I also get additional videos sent to me so I can share on social media. Some dog daycares these days offer livestreams so you can watch what’s happening at work. Others may not offer anything of the sort. The fact that Infinite Pawsibilities is keen on capturing and sharing what’s happening at daycare was another big plus for us.
Dog Daycare Shuttle
When we’re talking location convenience, I thought I’d also point out that Infinite Pawsibilities offers a dog shuttle service! That’s actually how we first learned of the daycare – we noticed a dog in our neighbourhood kept getting dropped off by shuttle and thought that was just the coolest thing. Of course it’s an additional cost, but Infinite Pawsibilities does provide pick-up and drop-off service for your dog on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, serving homes in south, west or downtown Edmonton, as well as St. Albert. It’s another feature that sets them apart from other daycares.
Overall, I highly recommend doggy daycare!
We’ve found a really nice groove with daycare. We feel it really complements our busy lifestyles and the benefits for Artie are so great. We’ve been thrilled with the experience with Infinite Pawsibilities and of course, understanding there are other dog daycares out there (and maybe located closer to you) that might make more sense for you, but I highly, highly recommend Infinite Pawsibilities (and I am not simply saying that because I’m an ambassador for them! In fact, I’m an ambassador for them because I really believe in the service they’re providing).
Below you can enter to win a 5-visits pass to try Infinite Pawsibilities yourself.
New visitors to Infinite Pawsibilities can also get 10% off any of their passes if you email/call to book from now until June 30, 2017. Just mention the Artie / Linda Promo Discount!
Now, onto the giveaway!
** GIVEAWAY **
There are a few ways you can enter for a chance to win a 5-visit pass to Infinite Pawsibilities doggy daycare (valued at $130.00) including:
- Leave a comment on this blog post telling me about your dog and why you’d want your dog to attend doggy daycare!
- This is mandatory. You must leave a comment to qualify
- Tweet this message:
- My dog could use daycare! Hope I win @lindork’s giveaway for a 5-visits pass to Infinite Pawsiblities. #yeg http://bit.ly/2n3jzY5
- You can tweet daily
- Follow me @lindork on Twitter
- Like my Facebook Page Lindork – Linda Hoang
- Tag a friend in the comments of my Infinite Pawsibilities Facebook post
- Like Infinite Pawsibilities on Facebook – Infinite Pawsibilities
- Follow me @lindork on Instagram
- Tag a friend in the comments of my Infinite Pawsibilities Instagram post
You must check off your different entry methods using the widget below:
Note: I’ll add entries from comments on my Facebook and Instagram posts individually from the widget. Also note that comments are moderated so if yours doesn’t appear right away, that’s normal!
I’ll select a winner when the giveaway closes on March 31, 2017.
Also, do you take your dog to doggy daycare? I’d love to hear your experiences!