Commitment to Safety
At Central Bark, our commitment to safety is uncompromising. Our mission is to create a clean, healthy, safe, and loving environment where every dog and person feel welcome and treated with respect, care, and compassion.
Safety is our #1 priority. That’s why we have comprehensive policies and procedures to ensure your dog is safe and healthy every day they’re with us. A proactive approach to safety is woven right into the fabric of our doggy day care program and incorporated into our facility, specially designed with your dog’s safety and comfort in mind.
Cleaning and disinfection
Deep cleaning and disinfecting
Our store cleaning procedures exceed mandated protocols to safeguard you and your pet’s health. We clean and disinfect regularly throughout our facility to ensure a clean and healthy environment. All staff follows CDC handwashing guidelines. Also, hand sanitizer and restrooms for handwashing are available to all guests.
Dog-safe cleaning products
We clean and sanitize all play and rest areas every day – sometimes more than once a day – with veterinary-grade cleaners and disinfectants, air purifiers. This helps us ensure a safe, clean, and sanitized facility that smells good and reduces the risk of spreading infectious diseases.
Our store has fire and motion-monitored security systems with keyed-in codes for staff to enter when they arrive. These systems provide 24/7 monitoring, and emergency services get notified quickly should any concerns arise.
There are always two doors between the dogs and the outside world. If one entry fails, there is a second door to prevent dogs from accidentally leaving our facility.
Indoor and outdoor play areas
Indoor and outdoor play areas help reduce stress and create an enjoyable environment for dogs to play and socialize.
Special flooring and play surfaces
We offer multiple surfaces for dogs to play on. Rubber flooring has some “give” and is less slippery than other alternatives. It provides excellent traction for our playing pups, but it’s also gentle on dogs’ bones and joints. It’s also easy to clean and sanitize daily. Turf gives dogs a natural grass feel. Both are gentler on dogs’ paws, which helps if they aren’t used to the level of activity they’ll get at day care.
Individual crate spaces
Dogs have access to their own private space, where they can rest, relax, and feel comfortable away from the group. These crates help us create a much safer social environment for dogs by allowing them to take a break and maintain a healthy balance of play, learning, and rest. It also helps dogs avoid physical injury (from over-exercise without enough rest) and provides a space for them to unwind, so they don’t become overstimulated or over-aroused during play.
Professionally equipped salon and spa
From a simple bath to an elaborate treatment, our fully equipped salon and spa is designed for all of your dog’s grooming needs.
Doggy Day Care program safety
One-day-per-week attendance requirement
A proactive approach to safety is woven right into the fabric of our program. We require all dogs to attend day care at least once a week because we know that consistency and continuity promote safety.
Ideally, dogs will attend day care on a regularly scheduled day, so we can consistently match them with the social environment they will enjoy and benefit from most. This regular weekly schedule helps your dog feel more comfortable, confident, and social, creating a safer day care environment for all. It also ensures our staff is as familiar with your dog’s normal behavior, so we are attuned to any changes.
Benefits of a consistent attendance:
- Less stress – When dogs don’t visit us weekly, each time they come is like their first day at a new school or new job, which can be stressful. This requirement reduces stress and anxiety to promote safer social interactions for every dog in our care.
- Dogs love routine – Coming on the same day every week keeps dogs comfortable and familiar with our environment, which creates a positive, predictable, and safer social setting.
- More social time – Dogs play more safely and are more social with familiar dogs they know.
- Safety all around – Our staff can keep everyone safer when they know when each dog is attending. This allows us to create playgroups that match the dogs’ play styles, preferred playmates, energy levels, and sizes.
- We know your dog – By seeing your dog every week on the same days, our staff knows them. It helps us regulate safe play and lets us know when your dog might not be feeling like themselves.
Dog Behavior Assessments
All dogs enrolled in our Enrichment Day Care program must pass our behavior assessment before joining our Central Bark family. Our highly trained staff conduct a thorough evaluation at the facility. It helps ensure that dogs are social with other dogs and people and will be comfortable with our daily routine. During the assessment, we will get to know your dog, which helps us place them in a playgroup that’s right for them to play safely and have fun. It also allows us to proactively staff so we can keep our dog-to-staff ratios low, promoting safety.
Vaccination requirements and monitoring system
Dogs who are vaccinated are less likely to become ill or pass on diseases to other dogs in our care. That’s why all dogs must have up-to-date vaccinations. We also require that all dogs are spayed or neutered by six months of age. Parents must submit written verification that their dogs have current rabies, Bordetella (kennel cough), and DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvovirus) vaccinations. If these vaccinations are lapse, you will have to get them updated before your pup can return to day care.
- Rabies is a standard vaccination all dogs should have. Note that puppies less than six months old will need to receive their rabies vaccine by six months of age (or as consistent with state law) to continue coming to day care.
- Bordetella helps protect dogs from kennel cough; a common illness quickly spread in day cares, boarding facilities, and shelters. Although veterinarians don’t require the Bordetella vaccine, it’s necessary for day care. Please double-check that your dog has received it before coming to day care.
- DHPP is also a standard vaccination that protects against distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus.
Also, we have an operations system to help monitor and track vaccination. This system will automatically remind you when your dog is due for a vaccination one month before its expiration date. It also notifies our staff, who will tell you in person as well.
Highly trained and caring staff
Only the finest will do for our furry guests. We train our team in our unique Central Bark Training program, which incorporates the latest behavioral science and dog training principles with a focus on positive reinforcement. Included is a comprehensive training in canine first aid and CPR. Also, all franchisees are required to continue their ongoing education.
Our focus on positive reinforcement has never wavered. We continuously update our skills and policies to stay at the forefront of new advances in behavioral science and positive reinforcement techniques.
Low dog-to-staff ratio
We keep our staff-to-dog ratios low to help ensure the safety of every dog in our care. It helps us give more individual attention to each dog because we have more time to get to know them. Plus, we ALWAYS supervise play. Whether it’s a group of two dogs or 12 dogs, we never leave them unattended during group play.
One of our model’s benefits is that dogs who need a little more one-on-one time with their handlers can be placed in smaller class sizes. It gives our staff more opportunities to teach your dog, work on behaviors, and play while your dog is at day care.
Our goal is to set every dog in our care up for success with staff members who can meet their unique needs. Our low dog-to-staff ratio is enriching for your dog and our staff too!
Small Group Play and Enrichment
Small group play and enrichment groups give your dog more one-on-one time with their handlers, allowing our staff to teach your dog, work on behaviors, and play. After a balanced day of play, learning, and rest – you can look forward to a dog who is not only better behaved but also a healthy, well-balanced, and tired mentally and physically.
100% Supervised Play
Dogs are never left alone with another dog or unattended in playgroups to ensure their safety.
While playing, sometimes dogs can get tangled in each other’s collars, causing them to panic. Quick-release collars make it easy for us to disengage the buckle and defuse the situation quickly and efficiently.
Quick-release collars are better than having no collars because we can use them to quickly and safely redirect dogs when needed, especially if they become overstimulated during group play. Quick-release collars also fulfill the requirement to have a name tag that correctly identifies each dog in our care to ensure they get the food and care they require.
All collars get removed overnight when dogs sleepover to reduce the possibility of accidents, such as dogs chewing on their collar or getting tangled in. Collars are put back on when dogs get let out in the morning.
Dedicated rest time
Maintaining a healthy balance of rest and play is important for dogs’ physical, mental, and social health. Like human athletes, rest helps dogs avoid physical injury and provides a space for them to unwind, so they don’t become overstimulated or over-aroused during play. Play-breaks give dogs the support they need to stay as safe and appropriate and create a much safer social environment for every dog in our care.
Frequently Asked Questions
Selecting the right doggy day care is an important decision for you and your family. You want to make sure you find the right fit for your dog and your family’s needs. Follow these tips to find the perfect place for your pup!
Tour the day care center before leaving your dog there. We recommend visiting several centers in your area before making a final decision.
While you’re there, ask yourself:
- Is the play space clean, odor-free, comfortable, and safe for the center’s stated capacity?
- Pay attention to how the management and staff treat you, your dog, and the dogs in their care. Are they mature, knowledgeable, courteous, professional, and patient at all times?
- Note how the dogs respond to the staff – do they seem happy, relaxed, and excited? How do staff members greet and treat each dog?
- How do other dogs act during your visit – relaxed, happy, stressed, scared, or out of control?
- Is there a great deal of noise?
- Does the facility seem well organized and equipped with essential tools and supplies? Look for access to fresh, clean water, sanitation tools, ready access to treats to reinforce good behavior in playgroups, toys, secure fencing, rubber flooring in the inside play spaces, and access to outdoor play spaces.
- Are there enough crates for every dog on-site in case of an emergency?
- Are the dogs ever left alone together without a staff member present?
- Are the handlers engaged with the dogs in their care and actively working with them? Or are they sitting on the sidelines?
Questions to ask the doggy day care provider:
- Will my dog get individual attention time with staff?
Ask if staff will have time to work individually with your dog on behaviors, play with them, and give them support and love while at day care.
- Are there small group play options?
Small playgroup options help ensure your dog will have a social environment that allows them the freedom and comfort to thrive based on their unique needs, preferences, and play styles.
- What’s the daily schedule? Is this tailored to my dog’s unique needs and preferences?
Dogs thrive on routine, so the center should have a clear schedule for how things run every day. A consistent program tailored to your dog’s individual needs and style will promote a healthy and happy dog.
- Are there regularly scheduled playtimes and nap times throughout the day?
Day care should offer your dog a safe and balanced day of play, learning, rest, and love so you can look forward to a happy, well-balanced dog at the end of every day.
- How and where are the dogs’ given downtime to wind down from the day’s activities to help prevent exhaustion and overstimulation?
Maintaining a healthy balance of rest and play is important for the physical, mental, and social health of dogs. Just like human athletes, rest helps dogs avoid bodily injury and provides a space for them to unwind, so they do not become over-stimulated or over-aroused during play. This creates a much safer social environment for dogs.
- Are there fenced and secure outdoor play areas?
Safe outdoor areas are important for a healthy, fun playtime. Whether it is romping in the snow or playing in swimming pools, everyone loves recess outside!
- How are new dog introductions handled?
The center should clearly outline their procedures around new dog introductions, with effective policies that encourage happy, healthy, and lasting relationships and experiences.
- What training does the staff receive?
Doggy day care staff should be professionally trained and educated in animal behavior, socialization, and obedience training to ensure every dog’s well-being.
- Are the dogs supervised at all times?
A trained staff member should ALWAYS supervise dogs.
- Ask about behavior management tools used at the facility while caring for the dogs. What happens if your dog does something right? What happens if your dog does something wrong?
Staff should use positive reinforcement and reward-based techniques to develop and reinforce behaviors that will enrich dogs’ lives at home and day care. Avoid centers that use punishment or correction to manage dog’s behavior as those techniques can create negative associations and fear. Utilizing reward-based techniques and positive reinforcement, on the other hand, can help build healthy relationships and happy experiences.
- What provisions are there for avoiding dog scuffles?
Ask staff how they manage the dogs in their care. What do they look for in dog-dog interactions? How do they deal with emergencies and scuffles? How do they interrupt and redirect dogs? How do they build useful playgroup skills to keep the dogs safe proactively? Pay attention to how staff redirects dogs who need additional support to stay safe and whether they respond promptly and use effective strategies in these situations.
- Is there an in-depth interview to determine relevant background, behavioral, and health information including confirmation of spay/neuter, proof of vaccinations, flea and tick prevention, etc.? How is this information kept up to date?
Find out what kind of assessments and evaluations the center uses before they accept a new dog. Also, every dog’s information should be regularly updated and kept on file to prevent illness and injuries.
- Do they have safety, cleaning, and disinfecting policies and procedures? What are they?
Central Bark® is licensed and inspected by the Health Department regularly. We also clean and disinfect nightly, regardless of how many dogs have visited.
Sleeping in a new or unfamiliar environment can be stressful for some dogs. That’s why we offer sleepovers to dogs already enrolled in our Enrichment Day Care.
Sleepovers at Central Bark® offer your dog a calm, relaxing sleepover in a place they can feel comfortable and loved. Because they’re in a familiar place, they can feel less stressed about being away from home (and so will you). A full day of Doggy Day Care is complimentary with your sleepover, so your dog can play with their friends after a good night’s rest.
We have a team of very qualified individuals here at Central Bark®, including managers who are certified in Canine First Aid and CPR.
Central Bark Whole Dog Care
Our whole dog care approach offers a full range of fun and personalized products and services. To promote your dog’s physical, mental, and emotional health and happiness throughout their entire life.