How should I go about choosing the right company to care for my dog?
There are lots of things you'll want to keep in mind when choosing the best care for your pup. When researching, you'll primarily want to ask about the following things...
The pet care business is an under-regulated industry. When sending your dog into an unpredictable environment, it is paramount that the company's employees/contractors are extraordinarily well-versed in animal behavior, learning theory, husbandry, and best-practices when it comes to positive and force-free animal care. Be sure that the person caring for your dog knows how to offer the very best care, and has the accredited credentials to prove it.
A dog professional should not ever care for more than four dogs at once. (For an interesting scientific article on this subject, check out this link!) When your dog is out of your home, you will want to make sure that he or she is receiving individual attention, both for the safety of your animal and the quality of their experience.
Leashed walks offer great mental stimulation for dogs, but they very rarely offer an opportunity for increased cardiovascular activity, and dogs need quality cardiovascular exercise every day.
Some companies charge extra for pick-up or drop-off, or do not offer this service at all, instead offering a central location for pick-up and drop-off. You'll also want to look into the company's cancellation policy, as you may be asked to pay the same amount for monthly service, regardless of cancellations.
Even dogs with a solid recall and strong relationship with their adventure leader and dog friends may still startle at the sound of a hunter's gunshot in the distance. She may spook from an unexpected encounter with an unknown person or dog on the trail. She may see a deer for the very first time and decide she simply has to get closer. She may step on a bee and panic in an irrational way by dashing off. In the face of this unpredictability, all off-leash dogs should be tracked using satellite GPS tracking, and not cellular tracking services such as Fi, Whistle, or Link.
You will want to know that all bases are covered, without question.