Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
1. Do you have separate play areas for big and small dogs?
Yes we have 3 separate play areas. Having 3 areas allows us to separate not only by size but by play style as well. For example while a Golden Retriever would be considered a large dog, that Golden could be a senior citizen in years with arthritic joints which would make it unsuitable to play with large young high energy dogs. With a third play area we can accommodate large gentle players with the smaller dogs that are too energetic to play with a 4 pound Yorkie.
2. Is there someone watching my dog in the play area?
Yes, there is at least one play coach and sometimes up to three with your dog at all times, it depends on the number and activity of the dogs. Your dog is never left unattended in the play areas. Our Play Coaches are trained in dog- dog group dynamics and their primary focus is to facilitate and monitor safe play between the dogs during off-leash play.
3. Does someone stay overnight when dogs are boarding?
No, someone does not stay here overnight as it is not necessary. We have cameras that can be and are routinely accessed remotely to monitor what is going on. Our facility is a concrete building that is fully alarmed and sprinkled and across the street from a fire station.
By the end of a typical day here the dogs are too tired to be interested in engaging with anybody, they are ready for a good night’s sleep! The dogs play all day in daycare with their friends and are brought to their private kennels in the evening to enjoy their dinner. After they have relaxed they are brought back to the play area for an evening romp after which they go back to their private kennel for a good night’s sleep. Our kennel staff returns in the wee hours of the morning to wake them for their morning potty break and feed them their breakfast after which they again join their friends in the play area.
4. How do you clean your facility?
Dog waste is picked immediately and the floor is mopped with a hospital grade disinfectant. Every night the floors are cleaned with a scrubbing machine that puts down the same hospital grade disinfectant which then picks up the liquid so the floor is left dry and sanitized.
5. Where do the dogs pee and poop?
The dogs relieve themselves inside in the off-leash play areas just as a dog would do in a park. The dogs do not see the play areas as part of a home. There are black rubber floors and 30 foot ceilings, they see it more as outdoors but with a roof. This will not ruin their house training at home, it is a unique environment here. Our dogs are here playing every day and they retain their house training without incident.
6. Why do I see dogs in crates in some of the pictures you post online?
There are several reasons you may see dogs in crates, the first and most common is that the dog choose to go into the crate for some personal downtime. The crates are a safe place to go when a dog decides it is time for a little nap because they are out of the high traffic play area and it signals to the other dogs that they want their own space. The crates are also used as a management tool to make sure high arousal play does not go on to long. Crating an overexcited dog for a brief period helps to lower the dog’s stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) to a point where they are ready to safely reengage with their friends in play. Finally if you have toured our facility you have seen larger crates in the hallways. These are lunch crates. Many pet parents ask that we feed their dog lunch, which we are happy to do. Of course they cannot be fed in the play areas with other dogs trying to get at their food, so they are assigned a lunch crate where they can eat in peace and are given a little time to digest their food. We never put all the dogs in crates while we “shutdown” for hours like some other facilities do. Our play areas are open and fully staffed 12 hours a day as is our reception desk.
7. Do you have an outside area for dogs to play off-leash?
No, we do not have an outside area for dogs to play off-leash. There are too few days a year in Rhode Island where the temperature is optimal for your dog’s comfort. The most comfortable temperature range for most dogs is 70 to 75 degrees, which is not to say they cannot endure more extreme temperatures for short periods of time but they may not enjoy it. If you decide to choose a dog daycare based on availability of an outside area please ask the facility the following questions:
- Is shade and adequate water available to all the dogs outside?
- Is there a windbreak for the colder months?
- Can the dogs move freely between indoors and outdoors?
- Is there supervision both indoors and outdoors or are they forced to stay where the attendant is?
- Are they monitored for hypo and hyperthermia by someone certified in pet first aid?
8. If I call The Barking Lot will I be able to talk to someone right away or do I have to leave a message and wait for someone to call me back?
We have a reception desk that is staffed from 6:30 am to 7:00 pm M-F and Saturdays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. If you call and no one answers it is because we are bringing a dog back to the play areas or retrieving a dog to go home, which only takes a few minutes. You can leave a message or call back in 5 minutes, either way you won’t have to wait long to talk to someone. We pride ourselves on having the most highly staffed dog daycare / boarding facility in the state because safety and excellent customer service are our top priorities.
9. What time can I drop-off and pick-up my dog?
This is a common question asked by people who have used other dog daycare and boarding facilities. At The Barking Lot you may drop-off or pick up your dog at any time during our normal operating hours, M-F 6:30 am to 6:30 pm, Sat. 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. We do not shut down for hours during the day and our reception / customer service desk is staffed during operating hours. Sundays and holidays are only for boarding dogs and that is by appointment only.
10. Do you have webcams so I can see my dog playing?
We have cameras all over the building including the play areas and they are routinely monitored for safety and security purposes. They are for our own use and we do not broadcast the feeds over the internet. Some of the reasons are poor image quality of the cameras, the fact that no dog plays for 8 to 12 hours straight so when look you may not see your dog playing and employee privacy concerns. If you were to sign on for a few minutes you would most likely catch your dog resting and think that they do not play. In reality play sessions are very intense and usually do not go on for extended periods. Dog- dog play is very tiring because not only is it intense physical effort it also requires intense mental activity because so many rules must be followed between dogs for polite play. The dogs must always be aware of their body language and movements to make sure they are communicating properly with the other dog(s). This tires them out and they need to rest frequently. We realize you want to see what they are up to during the day that is why we take pictures and videos when they are active and post them to Facebook. As far as privacy concerns we do not feel comfortable broadcasting our employees every move over the internet. I know I would not appreciate every sneeze, scratch and bad hair day that I have seen on a public website.