Frequently Asked Questions
What To Expect for the First Visit: We have a special 'meet and greet' zone to introduce new pups to one or two dogs at a time, until they are comfortable enough to be guided into the pack. Some dogs adjust quicker than others, but we are patient with all, depending on their needs. Once single introductions are done, we gently guide and introduce your pup into the main play zone then to the play yard. We text you within the hour to give you an update. After the first visit, your pup will be tired, and that is normal. Once your pup gets used to daycare, it will learn to pace itself and it's energy level will stabilize.
Things to Bring: Food for the day (if you would like us to feed). We do not leave food out at all times for the free-roam types, as that creates an unsafe environment with several dogs. However, we would be happy to provide the opportunity for your pup to eat breakfast, lunch, or supper if you provide a baggy or container of their food. We have dog dishes of various sizes, and even slow feeder bowls, so you won't need to bring one. If your canine is on a specific feeding schedule at home, please let us know so we can do our best to accommodate such.
We ask that your dog comes on a leash, or is firmly carried into and exiting the premises.
We prefer dogs to have a collar, as long as we consider it safe for play. If needed, we provide one that's safe (studded or pronged collars will be substituted for a standard collar for the duration of daycare). If a pup has a neck condition where a collar is unsafe, or we deem a collar unnecessary for your pup, we let them play au natural.
Please do not bring toys or large treats.
Potential for Injuries: It is inevitable for dogs to get injuries because they play with their mouths like we use our hands. Dogs also use their paws for play. Nicks, scrapes, and the occasional minor puncture wounds can happen. Sam's Puppy Playhouse staff are certified to perform Pet First Aid, and the necessary supplies are on hand at all times. Our staff are trained to predict and prevent scraps before they happen, and are trained to safely separate fights in the event that they do occur. Staff will be supervising at all times to minimize the risks, but there may still be potential for accidental mishaps.
Integration of All Sizes and Ages: For those who worry about their little ones or senior ones mingling with the bigger, younger or active pups, we have different areas among the main zone designed to keep your pup safe from the high excitement of the bigger, and more active pups. If you'd like your little one to play with big ones, we support that and teach all sizes how to properly play, as we integrate all sizes. We have various sizes and ages interact safely in our environment. We know there are families with blended ages and sizes and don't want to separate them so accommodate them all the best we can, as long as it can be done safely.
Neutered/Spayed, Incontinence Requirement: A female in or near her current heat cycle, or overly defensive of those smelling her body will not be permitted. Non-spayed females may be suspended after 10 months if behavioural problems arise. Non-neutered males older than 7 months, and males who excessively mark indoors, hump or dominate others will not be permitted, and will have daycare suspended. Any canine who constantly urinates or defecates indoors may have services suspended unless a diaper, band, or alternative solution are provided by their owner.
Canine Communication: Just as people might not like everybody they meet, some dogs have aversions to certain dogs or certain situations, and we understand this. We do not expect every dog to be best friends all the time, and dogs have their own level of communication that we encourage. Dogs learn best with their own language, but also benefit with human assistance. Suitable canine mentors within daycare can help teach proper social skills to other canines better than a person can sometimes. We supervise at all times, but there are instances where a dog will not learn unless another dog teaches them. To the untrained eye, certain situations look or sound worse than they actually are. Please trust us to handle these situations in the appropriate manner. Our staff are trained to read canine behaviour, we will assess every situation, and we will step in whenever is necessary to keep everyone safe and having a great experience.
Kennel Cough: All pups in our facility are vaccinated against Kennel Cough (bordetella), but there is still a chance that a pup may contract it. Even in the most hygienic, well ventilated, spacious dog boarding kennels and daycares, the possibility of a dog catching ‘kennel cough’ exists. Canine cough can be acquired from your neighbor’s dog, from an outdoor dog park, or while walking your dog on a sidewalk. Your vaccinated dog can STILL pick up kennel cough even after receiving the Bordetella vaccine. Much like the flu, the cold, or covid, there are many variations to kennel cough, and some are covered by the vaccination while others aren’t. Given the nature of the vaccine it is still possible for dogs to contract the virus. Although most dogs will be immune, dogs with challenged immune systems, older dogs or puppies may be at more risk of picking up the cough.
If your dog is coughing or hacking for an extended period of time (even a couple days of distinct coughing fits), we kindly ask that you do not bring them into daycare.
The bacteria that causes kennel cough floats through the air after being expelled by a cough. Other dogs in the same space may inhale the air containing infectious agents, and are at a higher risk for getting kennel cough. The reason this disease seems so common, and is commonly called “Kennel” cough, is that wherever there are numbers of dogs confined together in an enclosed environment such as a kennel, animal shelter, indoor dog show, or daycare, the disease is much more likely to be spread. All it takes for contagion to occur is a single source (infected dog), an enclosed environment, and susceptible individuals in close proximity to the source of the infection. Infected dogs can spread the organisms for days to weeks even after seeming to have fully recovered.
Many dogs that contract kennel cough will display only minor signs of coughing that may last seven to ten days and will not require any medication at all. The majority of dogs with the illness continue to eat, sleep, play and act normally… except for that dry, non-productive coughing or choking sound that seems so persistent. Treatment is generally limited to symptomatic relief of the coughing with non-prescription, and occasionally prescription, cough suppressants. If the dog is running a fever or there seems to be a persistent and severe cough, antibiotics are occasionally utilized to assist the dog in recovering.
At Sam's Puppy Playhouse we take all necessary precautions in preventing kennel cough by having everyone updated with their Bordetella vaccination. Our Daycare uses powerful (dog safe) disinfectants to control all viruses and bacteria, so is germ-free today, but given an incubation period of 5-9 days for Bordetella, we are always on extra alert. If your dog has shown any symptoms relating to Kennel Cough, we would ask that you refrain from bringing them to Daycare and advise us. They will be fine to resume daycare at least one week after their symptoms have ended. Should there be any incident in the daycare we have procedures in place to address such, and will always advise you immediately.
Lice/Fleas: We take precautions to avoid these critters in daycare, however, they are inevitable for social interactions, and can still pose a risk if another dog picks them up from the groomer (it happens more than you think) or dog park, and they enter daycare unaware. We highly suggest all dogs be on a preventative to protect themselves. The vet preventatives are the safest, and are quite affordable. We do our best to screen all excessive itching, and let owners know immediately if we find anything on their dog, quarantine them until pickup, and alert the rest of our clients to be aware that it is the season of creepy crawlies. We have excellent cleaning protocols to help at preventing spreading and outbreaks, but sometimes these things sneak in, so we deal with it promptly and efficiently.