Frequently Asked Questions

Frequent Asked Questions!

Here are some common questions we get asked about our daycare! If the answer isn’t here, give us a shout!

What are the requirements for getting started?

We have a few requirements for dogs coming to us for daycare! They include health requirements such as up-to-date vaccines and fecal exams, free of communicable diseases, and spayed or neutered by 12 months of age*. Additionally, they must pass a temperament test for safety around other dogs and humans. If you’re ready, follow this link for our full requirements. *Exceptions available, see full requirements link for more info.

Why do you require an evaluation? What does the evaluation even look like?

We require an evaluation day for a handful of reasons, but most importantly it’s to ensure the safety of all dogs in our care. We schedule specific drop-off and pick-up times so that you may speak with a manager on duty before and after.

After you depart from drop off, the manager will give your dog a slow introduction into the play area they deem to be the best fit based on: the behavior profile you’ve submitted for your pup, their age, their size, and their general demeanor at drop off! We will assess how your dog reacts to the new people, dogs, and space. Some dogs may find this environment overwhelming, and that’s okay! Not everyone is fit to go clubbing at age 40, your grandparents can’t hang on the playground from dusk to dawn, and sometimes we’re just more introverted than extroverted.

We require the evaluation to make sure that your dog fits into this specific social environment, we want them to be comfortable, happy, and willing to engage with people and dogs! If they’re not quite there but close, we may suggest additional training or socialization options in conjunction with continuing daycare. But if they’re not a good fit, we can refer you to other activities your dog may enjoy instead.

How old does my puppy have to be before they can start?

Your puppy must be at least 9 weeks of age and have received their first DHPP and Bordetella vaccinations, as well as have a negative fecal exam done. Puppies this young will attend daycare in our special puppy playpen until they are old enough to be social around dogs of all ages and have received their final set of vaccinations which usually occurs around 16 weeks of age. While it may sound appealing to have them be in a larger play group with the adult doggos so they come home doggone tired, it’s not the best for their puppy development.

I just adopted a new dog, when can they start?

That depends! First and foremost your new dog must be up to date on the required vaccines and have a negative fecal exam. If you adopted your dog from a rescue organization, it’s possible they have not received all of these veterinary items.

Second, each dog’s personality is different, some dogs are ready to rock and roll and others need time to settle into their new home. Young puppies between 9 and 16 weeks of age are in a critical period of socialization, so it’s best to get them started once they are comfortable in your home.

However, past that age, we want to take into account your dog’s comfort level in the home before we bring them to a new place. Remember, if they’ve been in your home for less than three months, they’re still figuring out that you’re their new family! Plus, the more time you and your dog have been together, the better you will be able to answer questions about their behavior when registering. Give us a call if you’re not sure!

What is your cancellation policy?

Reservations must be cancelled with 24 hours’ notice to the reservation start time in Gingr. Reservation start time can be scheduled at the time of booking request through the online portal. If you do not specify the drop off time, drop off time defaults to Metro Dogs business opening.

You may cancel future reservations through your Gingr online portal 24 hours or more after the reservation start time. If the reservation start time is 24 hours or less, Gingr will not allow you to cancel the reservation in the portal, and you must contact our staff. If you wish to adjust daycare reservation start times that are already scheduled in the future, you must contact our staff via email as you are not able to edit reservations through your portal. We are happy to do so!

If your dog is not feeling well or has an injury, please contact us if the incident occurs within the 24 hours prior to the start time of your reservation to cancel. We do not want sick dogs to attend daycare and will waive the cancellation charge if you notify our staff by 9 am via phone or email. Please let us know if your dog is experiencing any symptoms of illness that could be contagious to other dogs, as we track all illness and notify clients if there is a “bug going around.”

What are the different playgroups at Metro Dogs? How do I know which group will my dog be in?

We have a few different playgroups:

  • Tiny Town: Reserved for the tiniest teacup dogs, younger puppies, or ultra shy small dogs.
  • Little Kids: For engaging playful pups and small dogs who are braver than Tiny Tots but too small for Middles.
  • Middle Kids: For dogs that have outgrown Littles but are less boisterous than the Bigs. Think ‘teenagers.’
  • Big Kids: A large squared-off space for the dogs who are heavy-duty players.
  • Relaxin’ Rovers: A smaller, chilled out space for dogs that might need a less energetic type of day due to age, social skills, or physical ability. All sizes allowed.
  • Puppy Playpen: The youngest ones play together in their personal play space in the lobby. Great for socialization to people plus acclimation to sights and smells and sounds of all size dogs.
  • Confidence Club: Held in Tiny Town on Mondays and Friday.

You can begin to narrow down your dog’s play room based on their size. Smaller dogs are most likely to be in Tiny Town or Little Kids, and bigger dogs more likely to be in Middle Kids or Big Kids. If your dog is in between, they could be in whichever group fits their play style best! Sometimes we will have a dog that defies these guidelines, but it’s rather rare.

It may be possible that your dog’s playgroup is in a different area for the day. If you check the webcam and don’t see your pup, don’t worry, keep looking for the playroom that looks closer to their usual. For example, on days we hold Confidence Club, Tiny Town pups play in Relaxin’ Rovers or Little Kids playroom!

Do you allow toys and treats in the play area? What if my dog gets possessive?

Yes! We use WestPaw, Planet Dog, and Goughnut brand toys in all our play areas. These toys are tested tough! Plus, having all the same style of toys helps the dogs be more willing to share.

We use little kibble bits for treats and rewards! When a dog displays a good behavior we wish to reinforce, we mark the behavior with a verbal cue and then treat them appropriately. The treat is only accessible through the daycare teacher and given directly to them, no tossing for a trick catch here!

We have found with these measures, it’s unlikely for a dog to become possessive of either the toys or the treats. We allow for dogs to show mild, appropriate communications that they wish to retain possession of a toy, cot, or their space. It would be unfair if we didn’t!

However, dogs that show severe possession and guarding, that may injure a staff member or other dog, are not allowed to attend daycare at Metro Dogs.

Do dogs have free access to drinking water? Sometimes they come home and act thirsty!

The dogs always have access to fresh, clean water! We have multiple water stations in each play area. They are often off to the sides of the playrooms to stay out of the way of playing dogs, so they may not be able to be seen on the cameras.

We refresh the water and the bowls often. If your dog runs to their water bowl at home it could be for a few different reasons. Some dogs can be particular about sharing the water bowl and wish to drink out of their own at home. This doesn’t mean they don’t drink at daycare, it just means they’re likely not drinking as much as they would at home. Other dogs do drink plenty of water at daycare, but due to the energy they expend playing all day, they don’t hydrate quite enough! After they stop playing and take the car ride home, they realize they need more.

Do the dogs go potty outside? How often? What if my dog goes potty inside?

We have a 550-square foot outdoor potty area with fabulous K9 Grass…year-round artificial grass…and the dogs are directed there several times a day. If temperatures are not safe for the dogs, we will skip the outside visits. If your dog potties on the play floor, we immediately clean it up with a mop and disinfectant. It’s highly unlikely your dog will forget being housebroken. Dogs are very smart when it comes to getting acclimated to a new environment. They adapt quickly and learn where it’s okay and not okay to go potty while at Metro Dogs. That doesn’t mean that their habits at home will change.

Why do I see some dogs sleeping? Aren’t they there to play?

Could you imagine jogging, riding a bike, and running up and down steps for 10 hours straight without any downtime?! That’s what daycare play is like for your dog. A good nap enables their bodies to rest, and it helps us keep everybody’s excitement level under control. Each play area will take naps at different times of the day, it all depends on how quickly they drain their batteries! We encourage resting dogs to rest, they need it!

Are there ever dog fights?

Safety of the dogs is our top priority, and our staff is trained to watch for signs of reactivity or tense behaviors. We observe body language, accelerated activity that might lead to tussles, and one dog’s feelings about another. Fights are rare, but if one occurs our staff is trained in how to separate the dogs. If there is an injury, we tend to it immediately and notify the owners of all dogs involved. Overall, our facility rarely sees dog fights that lead to injury, it’s just that easy when you use positive reinforcement and have a great staff training program!

What does the cleaning routine look like? What kind of cleaning products do you use?

We have a strict cleaning protocol that calls for daily cleaning and disinfecting of all play areas. During play activity, all dog waste is immediately cleaned up, and the point of elimination is cleaned and disinfected. Bowls and toys are washed and sanitized daily. We also utilize a fresh air exchange system to keep clean air circulating in the building. We use a veterinary-grade cleaning and sanitizing products from Virox, called Rescue. Rescue is the only Fear Free certified cleaner and disinfectant on the market. Not only is it exceptionally animal/human safe, it’s highly effective in cleaning pathogens and pheromones.

Do you have a maximum number of dogs at your facility? What is your staff to dog ratio?

Each of our play areas has a maximum number of dogs per human, however, we do take into account the size and energy levels of the dogs in the play areas. On average, our groups for larger and more active dogs have a maximum capacity of 15 dogs per human. Smaller and less active dogs have a maximum capacity of 20 dogs per human. Our Confidence Club playroom has a smaller safety capacity, with 10 or less dogs at one time.

Due to our safety capacity, we do require advance reservations for daycare services. If we have reached our safety capacity for a particular day, we will create a waitlist. If space were to open up in your dog’s playroom any time until the day of the reservation, the reservation will be accepted off the waitlist, and you will be notified via automated email. If you do not attend this accepted reservation, our cancellation policy is in effect.

If a space opens on the day of the reservation, our staff will call to notify you and will book the reservation with your confirmation. There is no charge if you are not able to attend the reservation with late notice. If the waitlist is not suitable for your situation; we ask that you cancel the waitlisted reservation. If you do not cancel the waitlisted reservation, that means you are committed to attending that reservation if space opens up and your waitlist reservation is accepted.

Is your facility safe? What if a dog is having health concerns?

Our facility takes safety measures with your first step through our doors! We utilize an entryway vestibule before entering the lobby. From the lobby, we enter hallways that all have multiple gated sections. Each play area has a double-gated entryway, like an entrance at the dog park. The hallways to the outdoor play area also have many gates to ensure we know where dogs are at all times!

If a dog is having minor health concerns, we will notify you at pick up. If a dog is experiencing moderate health concerns, the manager on duty will call you to discuss a plan for their care. Some moderate health concerns will require a dog to be isolated and picked up by its owner. If a pet is experiencing a life-threatening emergency, it will be immediately transported to the nearest emergency vet.

If a dog is experiencing health concerns before they are scheduled to attend daycare, we request you notify us before bringing your dog into the facility. While some health issues may not be communicable to other dogs, it still may not be ideal for them to attend daycare. A good rule of thumb is to compare it to yourself! If you tweaked your shoulder playing golf, you might be fine to go to work, but if your boss asked you to help carry some heavy supplies up a flight of stairs you’d say “No way.”

How are the staff trained?

Our staff is trained using a mixture of classroom resources and on the floor training with senior staff members and management. We focus on teaching them the very building blocks of behaviors, the motivation for a dog to act on certain behaviors, and how to properly reward or address them before these behaviors can escalate. The tried and true staff training process is rigorous, thorough, and designed by a professional and certified dog trainer. Our staff also have the opportunity to become Fear Free Certified, how cool! Many of our team come from professional backgrounds relating to animals, veterinary or rescue work, degrees in different animal sciences, so our knowledge base is broad-reaching. Plus, we are all pretty stinkin’ obsessed with dogs, so we are always looking for continuing education resources!

What if my dog has an off day at daycare? Will you tell me?

Yes! However, it’s important to remember that Metro Dogs only sees a glimpse of your dog’s behaviors, as we only see them during the day. We may see your dog behaving differently than normal at daycare, but it doesn’t necessarily mean there is anything “wrong.” Conversely, we ask the same of you. If your dog has been acting differently at home, or your family is experiencing a life change (ie moving to a new house, construction on the street, adding a baby, etc), or they experienced an event that scared them, please let us know! Oftentimes stress outside of daycare can change how a dog acts while they are with us.

If I’m having a behavior concern with my dog, can you help me?

If your behavior concern is related to something that occurs while your dog attends daycare, we are happy to try our best to assist. However, many behavior concerns are more complex than they seem on the surface. We would recommend working with a dog training professional to make an individual plan for your dog. We are happy to assist as much as we can with your dog’s behavior plan.

Do you have early drop-off or late pick-up?

Life is busy, but we can help. With pre-approval from management and an additional charge, we are able to accommodate for either early drop off or late pick up. As our facility offers daycare-only services, we must schedule staff appropriately in order to accommodate for either an early drop-off or late pick-up. Contact us for more information.

Do you offer tours?

Absolutely! We are happy to show you the facility, however, we require you to schedule a time in advance for the tour. Click here to schedule. Our dog’s safety is our number one priority, therefore we cannot schedule a tour during busy drop-off and pick-up times for daycare. This means our tours will likely fall between 9:30am and 3:30pm, however, these times may vary each day. In the meantime, check out our webcams to see the pups in action!

I’m having trouble viewing the webcams. Can you help?

Yes, let us know and our provider will be able to help clear up any technical issues for you. One thing to note is that the Android or iPhone App does come with a small fee paid to Online Doggy, this fee covers the development and ongoing technology costs associated with managing the apps. Metro Dogs is not able to change this fee. The web version is free of charge!

Do you offer overnight boarding care?

We do not. Our sister company, Dog Days, does though! They offer overnight care at two locations. The Dog Days Vandalia location is geographically closest to Metro Dogs, just outside of Minneapolis near the University of Minnesota St Paul Campus. The Dog Days Capitol location is in Downtown St Paul by Regions Hospital. Both locations are a quick drive from Metro Dogs and offer the same stellar care!