Long story short, we are really grateful that we enrolled Herbie in daycare (despite the fact that he got attacked by a chow on his first day). He became much more socialized with strangers, other dogs, and more importantly, was able to romp around and play to his heart's content. At the end of the day, when we'd pick him up, he'd pass out the minute we got home.
Doggy daycare can definitely be expensive, but we feel in our case it was worth it. Now that Herbie is older, has his own frenemy, and a backyard, we only take the dogs to daycare when we're going on a day trip somewhere or working late. Here are two places in LA on the east part of town that we can recommend for both daycare and cage-free boarding:
I Dig My Dog
2160 E. Foothill Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91107
This place is very organized: There are about 5-6 sections, and dogs are grouped by size and temperament. During the day, each group rotates to each area that have various activities and obstacles. This is also the only place we've ever seen a pool shaped as a dog-bone.
Pros: VERY organized--there's not much wait for your dog when you come to pick up. Baths and grooming are on-site and can be scheduled after a day of playing or boarding. Easy parking to load/unload your dog.
Cons: If you're interested in knowing what your dog was up to during the day, don't expect to hear anything from the front desk. Ask the employees who are supervising in the back next to the parking lot.
2400 San Fernando Rd.
Los Angeles, CA 90065
We haven't been here in awhile, but from what we do remember, they were expanding their facilities. Dogs are separated into small and big, and they are free to roam in the covered open space or the fenced-in outdoors. This is also a great place to adopt dogs as well.
Pros: You'll always know which dogs your dog plays with during the day (they'll tell you when you pick your pooch up), baths and grooming are on-site as well, and they do schedule field trips that you can sign your dog up for (ie, beach, Griffith Park, etc). Also, if you board your dog here and you're worried that s/he might miss sleeping in your bed, there's an option available where your dog can sleep in bed with an employee. And yes, there is a "doggy bus" where someone will pick your dog up from your home and return them. (We've never done the last two options, so we really can't review those). Open later than usual (until 9 pm on weekdays).
Cons: Picking up your dog can take awhile, and the parking lot is small.
Got a place you take your dog for daycare and/or boarding? Add it to our list!
[ Photo from I Dig My Dog ]
P.S. The San Francisco daycare Herbie went to and loved was K9 to 5. It's no longer there, but we have to say that it was probably the most personalized doggy daycare we've ever been to. For example, every day Herbie came home with a "report card" that told us exactly who he was playing with and how many time-outs he had.