SafeK9 daycare & enrichment program
Our individualized program will unlock your dog’s natural strengths and will help develop areas needing support in a fun pressure-free way! Designed to follow a healthy daily canine routine of emotional regulation, our program offers opportunities for play, problem-solving, practicing natural behaviours, and opportunities for decompression and relaxation.
We want to positively impact your dog’s well-being while in our care, which is why our program is different from other dog care centres. Our hope is that through this program, you can expect your dog to evolve and grow in confidence, optimism, patience, calmness, cooperation and collaboration, inhibitory control, memory and other vital components of cognitive development. All while playing and participating in fun games that make their experience positive and joyful.
FULL DAY DOG CARE
7:30 am – 5:30 pm
Drop Off Time: 7:30 am – 9:00 am
Pick Up Time: 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Packages are available for dog guests attending daycare on a weekly basis. Buy 10 Get 1 Free.
Our dog guests are provided with
how we provide your dog with an enriching experience
One of the areas missed in most dog routines is the opportunity to practice natural, instinctive behaviour that will keep dogs feeling fulfilled and satisfied deep within their spirit. All dogs are born with a purpose, and the enrichment component helps discover your dog’s purpose and lets them step into that space to feel good about what they do and how they express themselves.
Opportunities for sensory exploration and integration are essential for healthy canine development. Too much training or distraction of our dogs from genuinely experiencing and soaking in the sights, sounds, smells, and touches flowing in from the outside world can prevent your dog from learning to integrate information.
Impaired integration can lead to a dog becoming overwhelmed by the sensory input that is all around them, all the time. If dogs are not allowed to learn, they may not be able to organize that information and process it to stay regulated and access a calmer state of mind. Part of our program allows for dogs to practice moments of just looking at things, sniffing things, listening to something and experiencing the sensation of touch with different surfaces to help them slow down and take the time to integrate that information.
Activities experienced in this part of our program are things such as going on a sniffari, walking on different types of ground, digging in the dirt, foraging and exploring the environment, walking over obstacles, balancing their body and other slow types of movement that fulfill instinctual needs and leave dogs feeling satisfied, calm and happy.
Dogs need to have the opportunity for self-expression, partner and individual play and healthy body movement. Our program provides supervised free play in carefully created groups of dog friends.
Free play is vital to meet dogs’ particular, but not all, social needs, to help them learn low-stress conflict resolution, practice their natural way of communicating, and have fun! While in the past, canine professionals believed that exercise and play was the most critical part of social development, we now know that there is much more to meeting the social needs of dogs.
The focus of our free play and exercise segment is to provide positive experiences for all of our guests. We match play partners up with other similar or suitable friends to ensure the needs of all parties are met through the experience of free play.
When our dog guests arrive they are excited to interact and play with their dog friends. Depending on their level of arousal upon entry, a dog guest may need decompression time participating in some sensory activities to regulate their emotions. Once settled and calm they will participate in free play and exercise with their friends.
Learning games are fun and support cognitive and skill development in dogs. Our learning games include pattern games that will support skill development, memory games, inhibitory control exercises that help impulse control and problem solving, thinking games that promote emotional flexibility, agility and strength exercises that bring awareness to the body, mind and spirit connection.
Some of our favourite pattern games teach skills such as attentiveness, reorientation and cooperation through dynamic movement. We also love to develop communication skills through gestures, cues and other signals to help the dogs in our care become more responsive to enjoy nature hikes with us and other fun activities that require cooperation.
Body awareness exercises are great to help ground dogs into their body and mind, lower arousal levels, help them focus on themselves rather than the environment, strengthen their core and tone the vagus nerve, slow their breathing to slow their heart rate and support a more regulated state. Introducing dogs to different equipment will help build confidence, strengthen their resilience and meet social needs for new, positive experiences.
10 minute leashed, dog led decompression sniff walks may be included in the daycare program and offered as needed.
Off-leash group hikes can be added for an additional $15/dog ($25/2dogs) on the weekdays offered. Off-leash hikes fulfill the free play, exercise, sensory, and learning components of a healthy canine routine and highly recommended for full day dog guests. Please see our add-on services on Gingr.
Dogs are wired for predation. Although they don’t need to hunt for food anymore, that doesn’t mean that they are not wired to do so. You cannot train out predatory instincts any more than you could train out red fur; it’s impossible because predation is anchored in genetics.
Many games and activities we enjoy with our dogs meet the other needs for predation, but there is mostly an unhealthy imbalance of more activation and less relaxation. A large part of a dog’s day should be spent laying still, relaxing and dissecting their meal.
Meal enrichment provides a period of relaxation and decompression after a complete cycle through the enrichment program. This supports your dog back into a balanced nervous system state, lowers stress levels (even the good stress from play needs to be lowered), promotes digestion and prepares the body for the shift into rest.
The benefits of meal enrichment are plenty, but we like to focus on the release of endorphins experienced during this activity. These chemicals help your dog feel happy, relaxed and ready to take a nap.
Every dog in our program will likely cycle through the complete emotional cycle at least once (morning daycare may be an exception based on a dog’s individual needs while at SafeK9) and practice regulation and relaxation by having a meal in a stuffed frozen Kong, Toppl, or slow feeder.
Please bring your dog’s frozen meal enrichment in a ziplock bag with your dog’s name on it. More info in the graphics below. We just recommend part of your dog’s daily food requirement, we are not wanting to add more calories. There will be a $5 charge if we need to prepare your dog’s Kong or offer them one of ours.
We know there are a few dogs that don’t seem to be very food motivated, and some dogs that are extremely food focused. We will address the varying needs of our dog guests, and may reach out and recommend something other than a frozen Kong for their enjoyment during meal enrichment times.
Often not considered an essential part of a dog daycare program, rest & relaxation is needed for all dogs, particularly those who have just played, learned and explored. Adult dogs need 16-18 hours of sleep each day, and puppies need 18-20 hours of sleep each day to recharge and fully reset their nervous system.
Rest & relaxation should not only be experienced when a dog is so tired that they crash. The ability to regulate themselves through calming and soothing activities such as chewing is a valuable life skill for dogs to acquire through their caregivers and guardians.
After spending some time working through their meal enrichment, each dog will have the opportunity to nap in a safe, calm environment with soothing music playing and safe, natural scents diffusing. This practice supports emotional regulation and nervous system balance to ensure the dogs in our care can take in more information later in the day without feeling overwhelmed or exhausted. Once they wake up, they will either start the cycle again or get ready to head home.
By supporting regulation through certain calming activities, the nervous system is learning to return to a balanced state, which will support emotional resilience, lowered stress levels, better coping with stress, new problem-solving strategies, and an increased capacity for making decisions when under pressure.
how To Apply for our Dog Daycare Enrichment Program
Please follow the instructions to create and set up your new account and register for our SafeK9 First Aid Course. You should find Gingr user-friendly. Here’s how to sign up:
- Access link to our SafeK9 portal is: safek9.portal.gingrapp.com
- Enter your email, create a password and click “sign up.”
- Enter all the required information and personalize your account.
- Once we have reviewed your application, if we feel our program would be a good fit for your dog, we will contact you to set up a consultation and tour.