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Dog Day Care or Not Dog Day Care…

Written by

That is the question...
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of financial ruin,
Or take arms against a sea of barks and bites...

(Thanks for sticking around while I get a little pseudo-Shakespeare out of my system. I should be good now for the next 5 years.)

The wife and I are going on vacation to see family in Boston at the end of next week. We thought about bringing Jacoby, our dog, but transferring a dog 3,000 miles for a week is tough. We'd be limited to certain hotels and certain activities where dogs are acceptable. We looked into boarding him and found that Doggyville was the place for us. They partnered with the rescue that paired us with Jacoby and the reviews are awesome. (Oh and Chris, if you are reading this, can we get a discount on Jake's boarding next week ;-) ).

Doggyville doesn't want to board Cerberus, so they require a 10-15 minute introduction. It turns out that my work is 5 minutes away from Doggyville. My option was either drive a half hour with Jacoby for the introduction, bring Jacoby home, and drive back to work (ugh...) or pay the $35 for a day of dog care. I opted for the later.

I realize I left an important part of the story out. From 5:30-8:30 (both AM and PM), Jacoby is the most rambunctious dog ever. He'll wake us up with gentle pawing. If you ignore that he'll "mouth" your hand, foot, whatever is convenient. I say "mouth" because he doesn't crunch down as if he's biting. He just wants to get your attention... all your attention. The only real cure we've seen for rambunctious dog is walking and trips to the dog park. Even those are more temporary treatments than cures.

However, Doggyville is different. I noticed a big change in Jacoby after his Doggyville visit. He got in the car at 6:00PM (the start of his attention-seeking schedule) and crawled to the backseat and just sat down... for the whole ride. We got home and he walked over to my wife's feet and curled up in a ball at them. She asked if maybe Doggieville gave us the wrong dog back. Jacoby was so well-behaved, I felt like pushing my luck and asking him to fetch my slippers.

This brings up the question I started with... dog day care or no dog day care? If we buy a bulk package we can get the price per day (7AM-7PM) to about $27. If you were to extrapolate that for a month you'd be spending $810 or nearly $10,000 a year. Obviously we wouldn't do it that much, but it still gets expensive quickly. On the other hand, having a few hours where a puppy isn't begging for attention is big. It's also good socialization of Jacoby.

So my wife and I are thinking about a once a week dog day care. Anyone go the dog day care route? Thoughts?

Posted on August 5, 2009.

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25 Responses to “Dog Day Care or Not Dog Day Care…”

  1. Cos says:

    totally off the topic of your question, but: holy cow, my *human* day care is cheaper than that! i am fully aware that day care for my daughter is a steal and have heard people toss around 800-1000 a month going rate. can’t even imagine a dog day care costing as much as for a child. that’s ….. insane?

    and now to apply to the question at hand: like i did for my daughter, what about keeping your ear to the ground for somebody that stays home, probably has their own dog(s) and might have a great place for Jacoby to hang out during the day and burn off some energy for half the cost. Yeah, hard to find … wipes out the suggestion.

  2. Far be it from me to pick on your math (OK, maybe it IS in my nature to pick on your math), but the $800 figure is including weekend, right – and you would typically want to have the dog with you on weekends? Actually montly rate would be in the $600 range.

    Does Jacoby just need more interaction with other dogs?

    For the week you’re on vacation, it seems to make some sense, although I’m not much of a dog person.

  3. mod20mayhem says:

    I don’t know where Cos lives…but geez, I wish I could find human daycare at that price. I pay close to 20K for my son’s daycare…and that is down from 22K last year when he was younger. Granted, ~1K of that is for a membership to the health club that houses the daycare…but still, 10K doesn’t sound like all that bad a deal, especially if Jacoby gets something out of it (and it sounds like he does). If it makes Jacoby happy, ultimately it will make you happier knowing that your best friend is getting the attention/interaction he needs.

  4. I take my dog about once a week. She’s 75 pounds and, really, she deserves RUNS not walks. Because it’s way too hot to run, I send her to daycare. She passes out for days.

    My day care is a lot cheaper than that though. It’s $12 a half-day and $20 a full day. So, maybe price others?

    Even every other week might really help your dog. That would only be $70/month.

  5. Bailey's Mom says:

    We take our dog once or twice a week. We pay $21 a day, I don’t regret a penny of it! She has so much fun, gets socialization that we can’t give her by taking her to the dog park, and when she gets home, she’s so tired, the cats have absolutely no appeal for a day or two. Everybody’s happy!

  6. Lazy Man says:


    Yes the math does include the weekends. While it’s generally true that you’d want to spend time with your pet… there are occasions when you might want to take a day trip that might not take dogs.

    I simply included a monthly rate, because that’s what most people could relate to.

    Dog Ate My Finances,

    I think we could probably find cheaper options and will probably explore them. Still it’s Silicon Valley where homes that would cost $200,000 typically go for $900,000. The cost of living is skewed quite a bit… though salaries are also skewed to make up for it.

    Still, the difference of my place $27 a day vs. $20 a full day isn’t that much. I guess it just seems to add up over time.

  7. guinness416 says:

    If it’s a case of him being bored and lonely during the day and basking in attention when you’re around, how much would it cost to have a dog walker come by your house and take him out with a bunch of other dogs every lunchtime instead? Maybe that would be a better/cheaper option and if it doesn’t socialize him and wear him out entirely, may be enough to give you guys a break when you’ve had one of those days.

  8. Maureen says:

    My parents 10 year old border collie has been going to doggie daycare 2 days a week seen she was a small pup–although the cost here is $13 a day. Their vet recommended it to help socialize plus get her extra exercise. I think it is the best thing ever. Now that I have my own dog, if I could find one near my place I would take her twice a week too. Good for the dog, good for the owner.

  9. Lori says:

    For multiple reasons, we are doing it every work day. Not ideal, but because of the ‘volume’ we were able to negotiate a good price, which will spill over to the occasional overnight stays we will need when we’re out of town.

    Our dogs, like yours, are much more chill at night… and really like going to doggy day care. So for us, it’s been a win-win across the board.

    BTW, $27/day seems like a good price, especially given that you’re talking about Silicon Valley.

  10. Lazy Man says:


    I’ve always been uneasy about people having access to my home when I’m not around. That would include dog walkers.

  11. Nicole says:

    I’ve been taking my German Shepherd, Blue (age 2), to daycare at least once a week for the last nine months. My husband works from home, but he couldn’t provide enough socialization for Blue. He was aggressive towards other dogs, and didn’t listen well to us, despite having an 8-week training course. Now that he goes to daycare, he can easily walk past any other dog he meets without a second look, and he is much better behaved at home. The staff at his daycare finds out what training exercise we are currently working on and helps us with it. The current challenge is getting Blue to wait to go through a door until he is invited instead of just charging it.

    If you can afford it, I would highly recommend doggy daycare. Blue gets to burn off a bunch of energy, he gets more discipline, and he gets to socialize with other dogs.

  12. Betty says:

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



  13. SS4BC says:

    My dog does a very similar thing with the “chewing” of my feet get get attention.

    I take him to doggy daycare 3 times a week and man, when he comes home he just SLEEPS.

    The place I take him to wears him down so much he usually sleeps in the next morning until around 10am. I also leave him at the doggy care for for boarding when I go on trips because he just loves it so much.

    The place I go to is only $10/day for daycare and $20/day for boarding – and it is worth every penny. Like the posters have said before, if you can afford it, do it.

    Do you have any dogparks in the area that you can take him to during the evenings to get the rambunctiousness out? I take my dog to one on days he doesn’t go to daycare and he thinks it is just the best. =)

  14. Uhm, the cheap option … is to take said dog on long walks or shorter runs, 30 minutes for a small dog, closer to an hour for a large dog, twice daily. Having a dog, particularly a non-working “working dog” is a lot of work. It tends to get the humans in shape though; if they have the time to own a dog. I have seen dogs on a treadmill – this makes exactly as much sense as for a human. Pretty convenient too, eh? :-)

    For vacations, the cheap option is to find another dog-owner and exchange sitting favors.

    The cheap-cheap option is of course not to have a dog in the first place. It’s like having a small child permanently. It takes a lot of time and responsibility, which sometimes suck. OTOH, puppies are oh so fluffy :-)

  15. Before you throw a ton of money into doggy day care (have you thought of donating the money to a child care center to support, say, a year of daycare for one poverty-stricken single parent who needs to work to feed herself and her kids?), why dontcha try some serious obedience training? For what you’re proposing to pay, you can hire a personal trainer to hold your hand while you work on improving Fang’s behavior. Or, probably for free or close to it, you can usually find obedience classes run by city parks programs or nonprofits.

    And you can “socialize” your dog at a dog park, for free. But try to remember that it is a DOG, not a four-legged human. Its idea of society is somewhat different from what we great apes think of as society. Dogs outside the pack may not be part of the picture…and you may want to reconsider trying to make them part of the picture.

  16. Lazy Man says:

    We have a personal trainer for our dog. He still needs regular exercise and socialization (our ASPCA approved trainer comes to our door).

    Unfortunately donating money to a child care center doesn’t solve our problem. I’m not saying that it isn’t a good cause, but if we are spending ANY money, it’s got to be towards a solution.

    We do socialize our dog at dog parks, but after a full day of work and getting dinner together, it’s fairly difficult to get blogging and other side businesses done (there’s no Internet at our dog park and Internet cards from phone services are $40/mo. or so).

    I don’t know what you mean that dogs’ idea of society… What are dogs ideas of society? I firmly believe that dogs, like most advanced living creatures need attention and love. As best I can tell he needs that from a dog park, a dog day care, a daily dog walker, or us. We are trying to make it us, but sometimes we don’t have the 3 hours a night to commit to it – that’s where outsourcing comes in. Plus the results of him socializing at dog day care for 8 hours are much more profound than an hour at a dog park or playing with us at night. We haven’t tried a dog walker yet.

  17. Michelle says:

    Doggie day care is a great thing. And there are some wonderful alternatives suggested already. Here’s another:

    What about getting a second dog? Then the two pooches could get some of their socialization and exercise with each other. Food and vet costs would probably be less than doggie day care, but you of course run the risk of a dog that needs medical care (after recently spending $3500 on emergency surgery for my dog, I sure wish I had pet insurance…).

    Or, go ahead and get that wireless card so you can go to the dog park and still work. That is still more cost effective than a weekly trip to day care.

  18. Tim says:

    I was skeptical of paying $28/day for doggy day care, but our dog is really happy. We decided that he really needed to socialize with dogs since he hadn’t done so when we were living overseas. Also, he started to do some attention getting things since he was at home alone, whereas when we were overseas he had someone with him all day long.

    Even though he only goes twice a week (same days every week to keep him on a schedule), we can tell the difference. He does seem happier and has stopped doing those attention getting things. You do need to give your dog time to adjust to the place. For the first three weeks, our dog didn’t want to go and would run out. after the third week, he was running in.

    I’m all for doggy day care, although he did get a stomach thing probably from one of the other dogs at the day care. We send him to Dogtopia, which has a nice feature of webcams so you can observe your dog throughout the day.

  19. Weighing in a little late here, but doggie day care is often a great thing for your dog and for you! 1-2 days a week, especially on a day you’re going to do a lot of work at home in the evening is a great investment in your dog’s health and happiness, and for your own stress level. You’re getting a long day of daycare for that $27, and for a good facility, it’s a good price. A good dog walker is going to cost only a little less than that, and your dog won’t have anywhere near the same level of activity and socialization.

  20. Mel says:

    I have 3 dogs.. 2 smaller/older and 1 big/young… I take the big one with lots of energy to day care once a week ($9- sounds like i’m getting a great deal!). He LOVES it… he gets to interact with lots of dogs his own size and romp. He practically drags me in when we get there. He is totally tuckered out when he gets home.
    It gives my old guys a break too.
    It is well worth it to me.

  21. Maxwell's mama says:

    Maxwell goes to doggy daycare in Ga five days a week. It’s only $8.50 per day. We take him at 6:45 am and pick him up at 5:00p. Couldn’t ask for a better vet or vet techs. They’ve had him since he was 9-10 weeks old. He’s now 10 months old. We figure we could get a fence and spend $3500 on landscaping/grading/fencing, or approximately $2400 a year on Maxwell’s daycare. So far, we don’t have the fence. We’ll keep this up until we get one, and then, we will probably get another dog and take them both once or twice a week.

  22. Jared Enos says:

    My boy Wrigley has been going to a day care 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) since he was a pup. He doesn’t need 5 days a week he Is very tired even the next day after day care. My day care is $24 a day but if you buy 10 days at once you get it for $20 a day. (I pay the $20 a day) I would not switch day cares because mine is 3 houses down from me. I too am trying to fence in my yard, but that can run up to $8000 so the day care which costs me about $3000-$3200 a year is well worth every penny paid. Try to see if you can do a package of 3 or 4 days a week. It helps your dog excercise and helps you relax while hes home. Good Luck!

  23. Sandi says:

    My dog so loves doggy day care, he won’t get in the car when I come to take him home. Oh he greets me happily. But doesn’t want to leave. The day care owner has to come out and get in my car for him to get in. Ha. It’s somewhat frustrating, but I know he loves it and is treated well there. I generally take him the one day a week when I have a lot of errands and he’d be home alone all day. The one we use is in a lady’s home. He has “friends” there that he loves to play with. Mine is $20 a day. He is tired when he gets home and so happy. It is good for my husband and me to have time to relax and talk at the end of our day instead of constantly tossing a ball or playing tug to wear him down before bed. A good investment.

  24. Maxwell's mama - follow up says:

    Not sure how i received this again, but so happy i did. I noticed i left a response “Maxwell’s mama says:January 11, 2010 at 7:40 am”. That’s when Maxwell was 10 months old. He is now 7 years, 4 months old and he still goes to daycare every single day. We did get a fence and he loves the backyard and it is perfect for Maxwell and his little brother (7 year old Midnight Ira). But they both go to daycare every-single-day. They are exhausted at the end of the day…and we pay $9.00 Mon-Thurs and get Fridays free.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Wow, the time flies, doesn’t it?

      I’m doing dog sitting myself now, using websites like DogVacay and Rover. I can’t believe it’s as low as $9 a day. The lowest day care rates of anything around here is $20, with a typical rate around $25-30.

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