What do the dogs do all day?
At Dog Utopia, we provide each dog with supervised one on one play, mental enrichment and naps. Dogs in our Masters program also receive more one on one care and training.
Games that our dogs play include enrichment and food puzzles, walks, flirt poles, trick training and many more.
When can i tour the daycare?
Because we have a number of dogs who are not comfortable with new people entering the space, and because it disrupts the dog’s routine, we don’t allow anyone back to view the space during daycare hours. We do tours on Saturdays, when we just have grooming. If you would like to book a tour, give us a call!
Why do you use food?
We use food because decades of behavioural studies prove it is the least invasive and most effective way to train and manage animals! The methods we use with our daycare dogs (and our staff dogs) are the same methods used to train top competition and working dogs, as well as large animals such as hyenas, wolves, dolphins and hippos.
How far in advance should I book?
We recommend booking as soon as you have a date in mind. Some days fill up fast, and we don’t want anyone to be disappointed.
How many dogs do you take?
This depends a lot on the group of dogs! We take the time to learn a lot about each of our dogs and how they all get along, and we tailor each day so we can best serve each dog. Our hard max is 18, but most days we cap at 15.
What is the staff to dog ratio?
Our staff to dog ratio can change a bit depending on each day. Some dogs (like puppies and dogs with specific training needs) require more individualized care, while others may require less. Our general rule of thumb is one staff member for every seven dogs.
Where do the dogs go to the bathroom?
We have a potty area out back, which is cleaned every hour and thoroughly sanitized regularly. It is concrete and gravel. All dogs get access to outside at least every hour, and all our staff follow our potty training protocol for new dogs and puppies who are still learning.
Is Dog Utopia kennel free?
At Dog Utopia, we use kennels to provide necessary rest and relaxation for our daycare dogs. For dogs who are still learning to settle, or who need a set nap, we use crates to ensure they get the quiet and privacy they need. If your dog has had a bad experience with a crate, or is not crate trained, please let us know.
Why do the daycare packages expire?
Our daycare packages have a set expiry date to encourage regular visits to daycare. This helps us maintain a strong relationship with your dog, enabling us to provide them with the best possible care. Because we all know each daycare dog individually, we are able to best tailor our playgroups and ensure that each day runs smoothly.
We find that regular visits are incredibly important as it keeps daycare familiar. Familiarity is important for a low stress environment, and allows dogs to build relationships with our staff and the other dogs.
Do you do training throughout the day?
Dogs are always learning, so although we may have some set training sessions, training is happening all the time. At daycare your dog will learn to come out of play when asked, how to wait politely at the gates, how to take food safely, to be comfortable with staff entering and exiting the space, as well as any tricks they learn during their enrichment time.
Dogs who are in our Masters tier have specific training goals they work towards each day.
Why does my dog need to do a trial?
We want to make sure that every dog is safe and happy during their time here at daycare. Not every dog is comfortable in a busy daycare setting, and others might take some time to get used to the new environment. A trial session enables us to properly assess your dog’s behaviour so we can make sure daycare is the right fit for them, and how daycare can best serve them. We keep these sessions to 45 minutes so as to not overwhelm your dog, as positive first experiences are so important.
Is it by appointment or will my dog be groomed throughout the day?
To minimize stress and anxiety for your dog, we are by appointment only. We try to get dogs in and out as efficiently as possible, and we will call you 15 minutes before the groom is completed so you are able to pick up your dog as soon as they are ready.
Why can’t you keep my dog longer?
We are not set up to have a number of dogs in crates waiting for pickup. Additionally, most dogs find it stressful to wait for pickup, and many exhibit anxious behaviour. Because of this, dogs must be picked up within 30 minutes of the time they are finished.
Why does dematting cost so much?
Dematting is stressful and frequently uncomfortable or painful for the dogs. It also puts additional stress on the groomer’s wrists. We prefer to avoid dematting whenever possible, but if it is not possible to go shorter, we do charge a dematting fee.
What is the Introductory Package?
Our Introduction to Grooming Package is designed to gently introduce dogs and puppies to the professional grooming experience. A lot of grooming can be really scary for dogs, and if we don’t build positive experiences in the beginning we can end up with fear that is incredibly difficult to get rid of. Many popular breeds and mixes will have to be groomed every 4-8 weeks for their whole life, so we believe it is important to set them up for success.
The Introductory Package is 5 sessions long and takes place over 4 weeks. We start with a breakfast visit to help get the dog used to the space and to us. Then we do a bath and tidy, followed by two training sessions and a final full groom, all spaced one week apart.
Why don’t you shave double coated dogs?
Shaving double coated dogs can easily cause permanent damage to the coat, and also inhibits the dogs’ ability to self regulate their temperature. Double coated breeds include Pomeranians, Australian Shepherds, Golden Retrievers and Siberian Huskies. If you are concerned about shedding, please speak to our groomers about the benefits of regular baths and blowouts, Deshed shampoo, and brush-outs between grooms.
Why is puppy Kindergarten so important?
Puppies develop incredibly quickly, and at the time they come home at 8 or 9 weeks they are in a developmental phase called the “Late Sensitive Period” or “Socialization Period”. During this time, their brains are quickly categorizing everything they experience as safe or unsafe. During this period they are also learning very important social skills and bite inhibition.
This period of development ends at roughly 16 weeks. After it ends, bite inhibition is set and puppies have a lot harder time accepting new or worrying things. Any bad experiences that happen during puppyhood can be much harder to get rid of.
Kindergarten is set up to maximize these crucial few weeks and set families up for future success.
Do I have to train with food?
Yes! We train with food because it is proven to work best. Behavioural studies have show that dogs prefer food to praise or petting. We do not use food as a bribe, it is a communication tool that acts to reward behaviour we want to see more of. Behaviours that are rewarded are more likely to be repeated in the future. As well as working with food, we also work with other rewards like access to the environment and toys.
How do I know which class is right for me?
If you are unsure what class is right for you and your dog, or if private training would be more suitable to address your issue, please give us a call or drop by the shop and we can help you!
What is Rally Obedience?
Rally takes traditional Obedience and reframes it in a fun, easy to access sport. In rally you use your basic obedience skills like sit, down and heel to complete exercises. Each course is marked with signs and you and your dog follow the course together. It is intended to promote positive relationships between handlers and dogs. Although you do not have to compete if you choose to take a course, competition can be a great way to meet new friends and have fun with your dog.