You get what you pay for. And you may be hoping to pay your way out of a full time second job of caring for a new dog.
We never want to believe it, we always think we’re finding the better deal. We are always let down when we cut corners to save a few pennies.
Take your dog. Do you buy your dog the cheapest food money can buy? Did you shop for the least expensive vet? How long do the cheaper dog toys hold up? If you’re like most Americans, the answers are no, no, and not long. Why would you choose the least expensive option for your dog’s care needs?
As an owner of a doggie daycare, I am biased toward our business model. But before I was an owner, I was a customer. I was a customer of a doggie daycare and I was a customer of a dog walker. I have found that while you may save a little bit of money, your dog is the one that misses out.
What is doggie daycare? At Camp Run-A-Mutt it is several thousand feet outdoor and indoor play space. Our entire operation, except for feeding, is cage free. From the time that your dog enters our space, they are running, playing, lounging, finding their favorite spot in the sun or jumping in the pool. There are myriad breeds of dogs. Large and small, young and old, barky or quiet, rambunctious or chill, we have them all on any given day.
Doggie daycare allows your dog to interact with all shapes and sizes of dogs as well as different types of humans giving them an opportunity to develop their social skills without their parent. They learn how to share space and human attention with other dogs. In essence, they become a more independent dog. This helps with separation anxiety, leash aggression, and resource guarding.
|Camp Run-A-Mutt||Dog Walker|
|Hours upon hours of play||Up to 30 minutes of walking on a leash|
|Socialization with other dogs||May share their walk with other dogs|
|Cage Free||Home or leash bound|
|Yard and facility designed for play||Not so much|
|All dogs are temperament tested/vaccinated/spayed or neutered||Never know about other dogs on walks / parks|
|Consistent / Dependable Staff||Inconsistent Staff|
|Play until tired||Limited time for energy exertion|
|Ability to watch on Muttcams||Not able to watch|
|Call for updates any time of day||Only one update per day|
|Mental stimulation for anxious dogs||Dogs get anxious when visitors come and go|
|Trained Staff – CPR First Aid, dog behavior||High turnover inconsistent staff|
|Constant Supervision for Positive Reinforcement (recall, basic commands)||Limited interaction for reinforcement. Limited recall training on a leash|
|No strangers in your home for you and your dog to meet and give access to your home.||Stranger danger|
|$39 for a full day of play||$27 for a ½ day|
|No upcharge for feeding or medication||May charge extra|
|Guaranteed hours of operation 24/7 for boarding||Sporadic availability|
Now, while these are all great reasons to use doggie daycare over a dog walking service, it is not for every dog. Should your dog be injured or need surgery, they cannot attend daycare while they have stitches. You may need to use a dog walker during that time because your dog may not be permitted to run, jump, or go up stairs. Cage free doggie daycare is not an option.
Another example could be a senior dog. If you have a dog that is older and doesn’t really have a lot of energy to begin with, then taking them to a highly stimulating place such as ours might not be what your dog needs. Again, you will get what you pay for which usually maxes out at 30 minutes of activity. Maybe that’s all your dog needs, but that is seldom the case. It’s best to let your dog tell you.
In the end, you may find that a combination of the two services works for you. The best advice that I can give is to listen to your pup. If they are tearing up your home, driving your neighbors crazy with barking, or you cannot seem to find a way to burn all of that energy, you probably would see a greater benefit having them go to doggie daycare than having just a walk. I am sure that there are great dog walkers, but even the best of them can only offer your dog so much in a limited amount of time.
Like I said, you get what you pay for.