Hello from GFK9 daycare! This is where the canine social butterflies get together. We are lucky enough to have a very spacious facility and plenty of skilled, dog-loving staff, so we are able to handle a wide variety of dogs. As I write, we have an eight-week-old puppy and a fifteen-year-old dog here, plus lots in between, and they're all able to be in a comfortable space with suitable companions. We also have a recently spayed dog whose activity needs to be limited post-surgery, but she is able to enjoy this beautiful day and get plenty of attention while watching the play groups from a safe area.
At any given time, there could be chase games, wrestling, tug, ball games, lounging, and/or manners reinforcement going on. At GFK9, this means rewarding good behavior as well as guiding and managing activities to minimize mistakes.
I personally am wary of dog parks, which can involve a lot of unknown variables concerning other dogs and people. But I love a well-run daycare for developing and maintaining social skills, because the dogs are all screened for temperament and proof of current vaccinations, and they are supervised by attentive people who are skilled at reading dog behavior and who have a relationship with every dog in the group. Of course, lots of dogs have a wonderful time at dog parks, and I have used and enjoyed them too. Just keep an eye on things and don't be embarrassed to remove your dog from a situation of which you're unsure. Then again, that goes for anywhere you take your dog!
To tie in with Ben's post, his 3 questions are good ones to ask of a daycare you're considering as well. Also ask about the dogs’ daily schedule. Some daycares never confine any dogs, while others do - for widely varying lengths of time. Some dogs do best with some quiet time alone to rest, and we offer that option here. We do not, however, have any times when all daycare dogs are crated or kenneled. We have the space and staff to render that unnecessary, so we offer solo nap times on an individual basis.
Editor's Note: Kelly Sanford is the Daycare and Boarding manager at GFK9. You can read more about her here.