Luca’s Doggy Daycare & Grooming started out in 2018 and was born out of a love of exploring the Cambridgeshire countryside with my Labrador Retriever called Luca!
I had used a dog walking service before while I was at work, but it wasn’t quite enough to fulfil the mental and physical stimulation needed to keep Luca happy and sufficiently exercised. So, during a delayed train journey back from London I came up with a plan to create Luca’s - a purpose built Doggy Daycare service with a fleet of doggy school busses all based in the countryside away from heavy traffic and pollution. The vision was to come away from the traditional industrial unit set up and really get their senses going with a predominantly outdoor centre incorporating different walks, terrains, and games.
The team set off in the morning to collect the dogs from their houses and arrive at the Daycare centre ready for a day of fun, socialising, and adventure. After the usual greetings and catch up with their friends, the dogs are then off on treat hunts to get their brains engaged in something other than tearing around like loons! After all the treats have been hooved up, they are then taken off into smaller groups around the farm on long walks to explore – this is a great time for the handlers to build trust with the dogs as lots of reward-based recall practice takes place and of course the important sit and “paws” for a photoshoot!
The love of dogs is obviously the main value I looked for in team members but it’s not just about cuddling dogs all day. There’s a lot of braving the Great British weather, constantly monitoring the dog’s behaviours and body language, and ensuring all their welfare needs are met while they are with us.
Confidence is key and building up a loving bond with each dog is so important to create a happy and relaxed pack! It’s so rewarding to see a new team member build up trust and confidence with the dogs, I think this is the thing I love most about Luca’s. Given the mix of terrain we walk through - grassy fields, muddy tracks, streams, and gravel paths we need a reliable, study and comfortable boot. All the team love their Muck Boots, they are the best for all the seasons we encounter!
Top Tips for finding the perfect Doggy Daycare!
1. Check with your local council that the daycare is properly licensed with a 4- or 5-star rating (higher standard) - from 2018 all daycares must hold a licence.
2. Make sure you get to see the daycare and have a good look around before you sign up. Meet the staff and spend some time there. Observe the dogs at daycare and take a note of how they are. Dogs should be happy and content not just tearing around barking like loons the whole time!
3. There should be a good staff to dog ratio to ensure they are all being looked after and supervised at all times. No more than 8 dogs per human but really it should be lower than that.
4. Lots of different areas are really important as not all dogs want to run around chasing each other all day. There should be plenty of places where dogs can have some chill time and get away from it all if they need to. There should be a mix of indoor and outdoor spaces to account for all weather conditions.
5. Ask about the schedule/ routine. A good daycare has a mix of activities to get the dog’s brains properly engaged. A mix of playtime, different games such as treat hunts, smaller group walks, recall practice and the all-important nap time should all be on the schedule.
6. If the dogs are picked up and dropped off have a look at the vehicles and how they are kitted out. All should have air conditioning/ heating with circulation fans. The crates should be fixed and sturdy with enough room for the dog to lay down or stand up and they shouldn’t share a crate with other dogs not from the same household.
Everything has been contributed by:
Luca’s Doggy Daycare & Grooming
Owner & Founder