Start Your Pup
on the Right Paw
Puppy Hour is a FREE supervised puppy playtime and social hour at Central Bark® Milwaukee Eastside. Puppy Hour is a ton of fun and it also provides a critical opportunity for puppies to get socialization during their “sensitive period” which is between 8 and 16 weeks of age. Socialization is a process of preparing your dog to enjoy interactions and be comfortable with other animals, people, places, and activities.
We invite you and your puppy to attend as many sessions as you would like until your pup reaches the age limit. Meet our staff, speak with our trainer and groomer, and check out our facility. At Central Bark, our mission is to nurture and enrich your dog’s life, and a great way to start your pup on the right paw is through puppy socialization!
During this puppy program, your pup will:
- Enjoy off-leash age-appropriate play with vaccinated puppies of similar ages
- Be supervised by an experienced caregiver to ensure all play is safe and appropriate
- Be introduced to new dogs, humans, toys, environments, and obstacles
- Be exposed to new and interesting obstacles to encourage age-appropriate socialization and exposure
- Help your dog build comfort and confidence in unfamiliar settings
- Positively affect your dog’s lifelong emotional development
- Expend your puppy’s excess energy
- Begin to learn important group play and social skills
- Establish a strong foundation for a healthy, happy, and socially appropriate dog
Rules & Requirements:
- Puppies age 8–16 weeks
- Preregistration is required
- Proof of up-to-date Bordetella and DHPP vaccines
- Parents and children are welcome to participate
- Observe CDC guidelines including social distancing and wearing masks
- Regular 6-foot flat leash (no retractable or flexi-leads in the lobby) and a quick-release collar. If your dog usually wears a harness, you’re welcome to bring that as well.
If you are interested in a Puppy Hour event, sign up for email updates
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?
Learn more about Enrichment Doggy Day Care
After decades of experience, we know that reward-based training is the most humane and effective way to train dogs and address unwanted behaviors. With reward-based training, you can build a loving, trusting bond that enhances your relationship with your dog for a lifetime of happiness.
Positive reward-based techniques help puppies and dogs develop essential life skills and behaviors that will enrich their lives at home and day care. These methods set dogs up to succeed and reward them for performing desired behaviors. Rewards are tailored to the dog’s preferences and include food treats, time to play with a favorite toy or verbal praise.
For dogs, being comfortable in a crate is a life skill that is incredibly useful for them and their owners. If you have ever traveled with your dog or had the unfortunate experience of an overnight stay at the vet, knowing your dog is comfortable in a crate is immeasurably comforting.
Crate training can take just days or a few months, based on your dog’s age, temperament, and past experiences with crates. The two keys to successful crate training are to keep the experience positive and go slowly.
When your puppy is not in their crate, keep the door open and reward them every time they choose to enter, even if you didn’t ask them to enter it. When crating your puppy, give them a safe enrichment item (like a stuffed Kong) that will keep them busy and allow them to self-soothe while confined. Remember that crate training should take place in a series of small, slow steps that will help your puppy become more comfortable.
Central Bark® offers everything you need to help you care for your new puppy. Our Enrichment Day Care gives puppies all the socialization, exercise, mental stimulation, and rest they need for a lifetime of happiness with you and your family. We also offer expert training and classes so you and your puppy can learn and bond together.
When potty training your pup, consistency is key. It’s crucial to establish a routine, practice positive reinforcement, supervise your puppy (especially when potty training), and avoiding punishing your puppy when mistakes happen.
Potty training a puppy to eliminate outside can take just a few weeks or several months. But it will go more quickly if your training routine is consistent, and you’re consistent about taking your puppy outside every few hours.
Central Bark® offers everything you need to help you train your puppy. We offer expert training and classes so you and your puppy can learn and bond together.