Every single guest has their own specific needs met through daily exercise, mental enrichment, socialization & adequate rest.
Boarding is a service we can provide to our regular day care clients. This is simply because their dogs will have been attending our facility on a weekly basis meaning the overnight stay will be far less stressful for them. Our guests love all of the activities and enrichment we provide but not all dogs enjoy being away from home for extended periods.
Once a dog has successfully completed a trial day and signed up to one of our day care subscription plans, then boarding will become available to you.
What' happens At
STABLECROFT DAY CARE/BOARDING
If we asked all our clients why they first considered day care, their answers would most likely be so that their dog can get more exercise. It's essential. So much so that the first part of the day is spent walking the dogs in small groups in the fields next to Stablecroft. The fields are large and open, meaning we rarely encounter anyone/anything and if we do, then being able to spot them far away means we have plenty of time to ensure our dogs are safe.
We have four secure grassy paddocks the dogs can use each day. One is dedicated to our more elderly guests who are not fond of the youngsters and their silly antics. The other three are for socializing & scent work. In a typical full day, each dog will have multiple opportunities to socialize in carefully selected and easily managed groups. Those interested in energetic play will be matched accordingly, whilst those more interest in just stretching their legs in the great outdoors can do so unbothered.
We supervise vigilantly and do our upmost to set each dog up for success. Our highly skilled team along with our strict acceptance policy ensures no dog is placed under any unnecessary stress from another.
Not all dogs have the social skills to be in an environment like ours, whether that is due to a lack of good early socialization, one or more negative experiences with other dogs or you have rescued a dog with potentially complex issues. We have a beautiful network of mentor dogs that have been attending Stablecroft for some time who know how best to react to nervous or immature dogs to help them integrate as smoothly as possible. These mentor dogs, along with a carefully planned trial day, should give us an idea of whether your dog will be happy here.
We prioritize welfare of the animals we care for and the team we employ. If we feel that your dog attending Stablecroft is too upsetting for them after all of the exercise and enrichment, or that they're upsetting the other dogs, we will suggest an alternative. This could be entail more regular visits to Stablecroft to help us work with you both or a training program with a view to reintroduce your dog once we've seen improvement.
Training is happening the entire time your dog is with us. They could be learning how to walk more calmly on the lead around different dogs or in new environments. They may be learn new play moves from the other playful dogs during their social time. They may be learning how to follow their sense of smell better during one of their daily scent work sessions. We sneakily lace one of the paddocks with a small amount of fruit, veg and chicken and allow small groups of dogs to search for the goodies. Both tiresome and extremely rewarding (the actually searching part more than the reward of food).
We also have a totally unique small challenges course that's grown slowly over the years to incorporate lots of low intensity obstacles for a dog to work through. This is usually done on a lead and works as a fantastic place for dogs to learn how to better control their bodies (puppies especially), how to engage better with the handler & to have a ton of fun in the process.
REST & RELAXATION:
This is a crucial part of each dogs day. We all know just how much dogs sleep! But it's important that they feel comfortable doing so. We've created ideal spaces for their down time where water is plentiful, the beds are warm and comfy and the radio plays the best of HeartFM.
We put the dogs to rest, not after all of their physical and mental exercise, but after their first walk, and after their social time and again after scent work and again after more social time. What we mean is, they go in and out regularly, not just to get regular toilet breaks or to allow for easy rotation of the dogs in the paddocks, but to get them used to being in rest so they know it's not long before another fun thing is going to happen. This way the idea of going inside shouldn't seem like too much of an issue.
This is usually the case with most dogs but the most common behavioral issue we encounter is separation anxiety. And whether it's attachment to the owners themselves or to people in general, it can be extremely stressful for a dog to attend a new day care or any new place unaccompanied if they suffer from this.
Just as we previously mentioned, we prioritize welfare of the animals we care for. If we feel that your dog attending Stablecroft is too upsetting for them after all of the exercise and enrichment, we will suggest an alternative. This could be entail more regular visits to Stablecroft to help us work with them to build their confidence or a training program with a view to reintroduce your dog once we've seen improvement in their confidence.
If you have a puppy and you're considering day care, I would urge you to allow them to attend one. It is a very effective investment in them whilst they are so impressionable. In Ryan's ideal dog filled world, a pup would attend day care 1-3 days per week until the age of 2 and then once a fortnight from then on. This is to allow your puppy hours and hours of learning and socialization that you most likely can't give them. (That's not a dig, that's just being honest. We're human and all busy living life, but a dog requires a ton of time and hard work in order to be balanced and calm in every scenario, that's why we exist!).
Our creche is not one fixed area, but more a routine a pup would go through in a half day/full day here with us. This involves all of the above but with the socialization and rest more carefully tuned to their needs. They're paired, sometimes grouped in three's, with very socially mature dogs. This means they have someone with them whilst outdoors that they can learn the ropes from in their own language. This won't be an energetic dog, although they do get the opportunity to play, but a calm mentor who'll help raise their confidence in different scenarios but also politely tell them if they're behaving inappropriate. We believe that the environment does 40% of the training, the mentor dogs do another 40% with us their to ensure they're safe and setup for sucess.
Our stables & converted rooms typically have 3-5 rest areas and we have 5 stables/rooms. We then designate 1 pup per room so that they can be with other more mature dogs during rest. They can hear them resting (some really snoring), they can smell them too and know their calm. This then aids in the pups staying calm during their structured rest. Of course their opportunity to toilet is more frequent and their given slightly more supervision than the older dogs but limiting ourselves to 5 ensures the attention isn't spread too thin on any given day.
If you're in the process of looking around for a day care then feel free to read our
Guide To What's Considered A Good Day Care.