Frequently Asked Questions

There is no question too big or too small for our team. Below are some answers to our most common questions.

Our Most Frequently Asked Questions

Are you a licensed doggie daycare?
Although the State of MA does not yet have a procedure for licensing, regulating, or inspecting dog daycare facilities, we anticipate that there will be rules in place soon. We practice in accordance with regulations already in place in many states and follow standard procedures suggested by the professional daycare associations that we belong to. South Paws is an LLC, registered as a legal business with the State of MA. We are licensed to operate our business in The Town of Pembroke and we are fully insured for liability.
What do the dogs do all day?

First period is English, followed by Mathematics, then American History…but seriously, our cageless daycare is really a place for your dog to do what dogs do best: romp, fetch, sniff around, nap, and play nicely with other dogs. We provide supervision as referees to be sure that dogs are properly interacting with each other. Our webcams allow you to check in and see what’s going on. You’ll notice that the dogs are most active in the morning and begin to settle down for a nap towards the early afternoon. They usually find a favorite spot along the perimeter of the rooms so, at times, the daycare may look “empty” when, in fact, everyone is simply resting. By late afternoon, the fun usually begins again and excitement builds as dogs begin to leave after a full day. The dogs know that they will soon be picked up by their loving parents and taken home for a well-earned meal.

Do you separate the big dogs from the small dogs?

Yes. Our facility is equipped with five rooms to easily separate large and giant breeds from the smaller breeds. Medium-sized dogs that show shyness to the bigger dogs can also be separated if needed. The small and tiny dogs are in a room of their own, while the medium dogs that play well with larger dogs are welcome to join the big dog group. Whatever their comfort level, we are able to provide for their needs. Occasionally, you may see a few of the larger dogs in with the smaller dogs to help build the confidence of the small and medium dogs. This is done with the owner’s approval and only the very mellow dogs that prefer the company of the small and medium dogs will be allowed to enter.

Should I bring my dog's food and toys?

No. Because we are “cageless” we cannot serve meals to your dog. We ask that you feed breakfast early in the morning so your dog has time to digest and relieve themself at home. Your dog should be weaned from “lunch” before beginning daycare. If there is medication needed to be administered or a medical reason to provide a meal midday, we will try to accommodate this. The toys we play with at daycare are the property of South Paws and are shared by all the dogs throughout the day. They are durable and easy to disinfect every night. We do not allow any personal toys or bedding to be brought into the daycare and “clothing” needs to be removed before the dog enters the play area. This is a safety concern as we cannot guarantee that your dog’s personal belongings will not be chewed, ingested, damaged, or destroyed on the daycare floor by an overzealous friend. We find that it is safer to remove extra items at the door. Collars, harnesses, bandanas, and jackets are removed to avoid the risk of entanglement. Retractable leashes are not allowed on the premises as they can cause a trip hazard or become entangled around other dogs or humans.

Can my dog go outside?
Yes. We have safe, securely fenced, outside areas attached to each indoor area. Your dog is free to go in and out at will, weather permitting. The dogs are escorted out in a group a few times during the day to make sure everyone remembers to take care of some “business”. Our synthetic grass keeps your dogs clean and makes it easy for us to clean up after them.
Do the dogs ever fight?

Sometimes. Dogs can sometimes have disagreements when playing with each other and we do everything we can to watch for behavioral signs that could lead to a dog becoming aggressive toward another dog. Fights are a rarity and minor squabbles are usually resolved by the attendant raising their voice in disapproval. We also have a few tools like squirt bottles and rattle paddles that we use to distract dogs from offensive behaviors such as humping, jumping on humans, pulling tails, and nuisance barking. The rattle paddles resemble plastic oars from a kayak or canoe. We use them as an extension of our arms to move dogs away from each other when they are starting to play too rough. We also use them around the gate area to get dogs to back up, move over, or just to distract them. These tools are usually all we need to keep the peace. We are here to provide a safe and fun experience for all the dogs and our staff is very experienced and trained to handle 15 dogs at a time effortlessly. You may notice on the webcams that attendants rarely single out individual dogs for play, continuously move about, and stay on their feet. Remember, your dog is with us for exercise and socialization with other dogs. We know that when your dogs get home, you’ll be showering them with all the personal lovin’ that they need! That’s not to say we don’t sneak in some pats, cuddles, and kisses when the time is just right. We encourage dogs to greet us calmly and politely so that when a dog approaches an attendant and sits nicely, they will be warmly praised.

Are there any dogs that you do not allow in daycare?

Yes. It is mandatory that all dogs attending daycare be spayed or neutered by maturity. Adult dogs that are over the age of 2, have not been well socialized, have a history of aggression, or have severe anxiety around other dogs will not do well in our environment. Dogs suffering from chronic pain, hearing loss, or vision loss, may not do well in our active, freestyle environment. Please feel free to openly discuss these issues with us. If South Paws cannot provide the right environment for your particular dog, we will do everything we can to find a professional facility that can accommodate you.

Can I drop my dog off whenever I want?

No. Drop-off hours are from 6:30 AM-10:00 AM for both “Full Day” and “Half Day” visits. This policy helps us to keep everyone on a similar activity schedule and avoids disruptions to their play during the day. We require that all dogs visit at least ONCE a week so that they stay familiar with the other dogs, our staff, and our routines. Pick-up for “Half Day” dogs is from 12:00 PM-1:00 PM and Pick-up for “Full Day” dogs is from 3:00 PM-5:00 PM. We also offer Extended Hours from 5:00 PM-6:30 PM for those who work later for an additional $10 per dog. If your dog is not picked up by 6:30 PM you will incur a late fee of $10 for every 15 minutes after our 6:30 PM cutoff time.

Why do I have to arrive at 10 AM on trial days?

We require all trial dogs to show up at 10AM as this allows things to settle on the daycare floor after daily drop offs (6:30-10AM). This way, we can make sure your pup is getting the undivided attention and support needed to introduce them to the daycare environment.

Can I go into the playroom with the dogs or have a tour while the dogs are there?

No. Dogs often exhibit behaviors in the company of their owners that they may not exhibit on their own in a group of other dogs. By leaving your dog in our care at the reception desk, we can immediately begin our temperament evaluation. It also starts a pattern of consistency that is the key to making drop-offs and pick-ups run quickly and smoothly after just a few visits. Getting dogs in and out of the play area is the trickiest part of our job and would become difficult to do safely with people who are perceived as “strangers” near the gates. Any “new” person entering the playroom would be swarmed by the dogs and potentially scratched, nibbled on, or knocked down. Although we are always interested in enrolling new clients, the safety and security of the dogs in our care are always our main priority. For your safety and that of the dogs, we do not allow visitors past the reception area while daycare is in session. Please feel free to check out our live webcam to see the dogs in action and call or email us to schedule a tour of the play areas before or after daycare.

Will my dog be tired after the first day of daycare?
YES! Your dog will likely be asleep prior to your pulling out of the parking space. Other changes in your dog’s behavior on the first day may include loose stools due to all of the excitement of meeting new friends and excessive thirst. It takes a few visits for them to get used to drinking out of our bowls and drinking enough throughout the day to compensate for extra activity. We suggest you fill their bowl with small amounts of water and refill as needed to avoid gulping too much water and air all at once.
Why do you require us to visit once a week?
Your dog is required to attend daycare once a week so that they can stay familiar with us, our facility, and most importantly the other dogs. This pattern is intended to reduce stress and increase comfort for all the dogs in our care. All dogs must be dropped off by 10:00 AM. Dogs arriving after 10:00 AM will not be accepted into daycare that day.
Do I need to make a reservation for daycare?

Yes. We require a daily reservation to attend. Due to space limitations, we must turn away pups who do not have a reservation. By sticking to a pattern or routine, your dog is more likely to be playing with the same dogs every time they attend daycare. This makes it easier to socialize. It is not mandatory, but we do suggest giving your dog a break from daycare every other day so that they have ample time to rest at home. Dogs who attend daycare daily may become overtired and cranky by Friday. Giving your dog a “rest day” you are allowing them to get the most enjoyment out of their time at South Paws.