Day Care 101: An Introduction to Dog Day Care

Day Care 101 is for dogs who are not ready for day care just yet. They have potential, but they need a little help with one thing or another before they are ready.

At Day Care 101, we set them up for success. The program focuses on the fundamentals necessary to thrive in a day care setting or in our Dog Montessori School. Once the fundamentals are mastered, the sky's the limit!

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What We Focus On: 

  • Confidence Building
    Some dogs are wary or scared of new things. It could be something as simple as going down stairs or as general as “strange noises.” Day care is new and we show them how to be confident in themselves when something new comes along. That way, when we do a new activity later in Dog Montessori School, they’re excited to check it out and learn about it rather than scared of it.
  • Overcoming Shyness and Fear
    Some dogs simply prefer to be alone, or enjoy the company of people, and that’s okay. But some dogs really would thrive around other dogs and have fun playing, if only being around other dogs wasn’t so overwhelming. We show them that coming to day care means making friends and having fun, and that meeting other dogs is a good experience.
  • How to Play With Others And Have Fun
    Many dogs really want to participate in the fun and activities of day care, particularly group play, but they do not actually know how to tell another dog “I want to play!” and sometimes they don’t know how to listen to another dog say “I don’t want to play.” In other cases, some dogs want to play in a very rambunctious rough housing style that is perfectly healthy, but not compatible with more gentle styles. We help them figure out their play style and how to communicate so it’s fun for everyone.
  • How To Share Toys
    Some dogs come to daycare without much exposure to toys and resources. All of a sudden they are in day care, there is treasure everywhere, and they guard it. Some dogs have serious resource guarding issues, but many just need to be taught that everyone gets treats and there are plenty of toys for everyone. Once we show them this, they get it, and stop guarding.
  • How To Be Independent And Rest
    Many dogs today have separation anxiety. They come to day care and cling to the staff and cry or even scream if a human being is out of sight for even a moment. We can help them become more independent in a day care setting, by working with them to be comfortable being on their own for a few minutes. Structured rest is an important component of a well run day care program. We will help them enjoy the benefits of a much needed nap without being afraid. Learning to be comfortable alone for a moment will also allow them to be able to enjoy playing games like “hide and seek” and “find it.”
  • Potty Training
    Dogs come to us from all over the country who have been to other day care centers or adoption kennels where they are allowed to go to the bathroom on the floor. We show them that there is a specific place to use the bathroom, and a regular schedule with relief breaks built into their day so they know when and where it’s okay to use the bathroom.

Program Goal:

Teach the dog what he needs to succeed in a regular dog day care setting, in 4-8 sessions, depending on each dog’s individual needs. This is simply a goal, not a requirement. We want the dogs to make progress at their pace, so we aim for 4-8 sessions for an improvement towards our goal, but we do not rush, force, or end the program arbitrarily after 8 sessions, and it can be extended on a case by case basis.

This program is perfect for:

  • Dogs who have never been to day care before
  • Dogs who aren’t quite ready for all the hustle and bustle of a professional dog day care
  • Dogs that have recently been adopted (but been home at least 2 weeks to adjust)
  • Dogs that are looking to make a switch from another day care
  • Dogs who are shy or skittish

The program is not the best fit for:

  • Dogs that have bite histories with other dogs or humans
  • Dogs that have separation anxiety so severe that they might harm themselves if triggered
  • Dogs with resource guarding behaviors that have resulted in dog fights or human bites
  • Dogs that would be considered “unsafe” for any reason in a public dog park


Age: 6 months+ (we have a separate program for puppies)
Weight: 8 to 85lbs
Vaccinations: Rabies, bordetella and distemper 

Price: $45 per day (no package discounts permitted)


8am-7pm (drop off by 9am, pick up after 4pm)
Wednesdays in Columbia Heights (10-25lbs only)
Thursdays in Brookland (8-85lbs)