How to Make Sure Daycare is a Pleasant Experience for Your Dog
Dog daycare can be a wonderful experience for your pooch, but you have to do your part to ensure a good time is had by all
Sure, daycare might seem like a fun experience for your dog, and it certainly can be, but it can also be stressful and overwhelming, if you let it. Dog daycare isn’t all running and playing, dogs have an intricate social hierarchy, so spending time in a pack can lead to worry and confusion for your pooch. That doesn’t mean that doggy daycare can’t be useful and enjoyable. If you put a little time and thought into it, you can make sure your pup is happy at her daycare facility.
Choose the Right Daycare
Especially if you live in a big city, there may be several different dog daycares to choose from in your area, but it’s likely that not all of them are as good as each other. If you choose a quality daycare facility for your four-legged friend, then it’s likely that she’ll have a blast. Pick out a dog daycare which carries out behavioral assessments on all new doggy class members, so you can be relatively certain that there won’t be any bullies or trouble makers to cause problems. You should also ensure that your chosen daycare separates dogs into suitable groups according to their age and size, and has a policy for introducing new dogs. Ideally, new dogs should be slowly introduced into a daycare environment, so make sure they don’t get overwhelmed.
Advocate for Your Dog
You should expect that your dog is all tuckered out when she comes back from dog daycare, after all, she’s probably spent most of the day playing and romping with her friends. However, she shouldn’t come back unhappy or withdrawn. If you feel like your pooch isn’t having a fun time at her daycare center, speak up and ask her caregivers how she’s getting on. They might recommend that she tries joining a different group, with dogs whose needs more accurately match her own. Or perhaps she just needs to take a couple of time outs during the day, so she doesn’t get too stressed out.
Don’t Overdo It
Sure, daycare can be a fun experience for your dog, but it loses its novelty after a while. You might enjoy a day out at an amusement park, but if you’re forced to go every day for a year, you’ll end up worn out and cranky. It’s the same for your pooch: she may love going two or three days a week, but if she’s there from morning until night, five days a week, she’ll soon get tired of it. It’s a tough call if you have a full time job, but sometimes your dog might be better off at home, where she can relax. If she’s the type of dog to sleep all day while you’re not home, she might hardly notice you’ve gone. If you can manage to come home on your lunch break or get a dog walker to take her out for an hour, then she should be okay at home for a couple of days a week. If she becomes anxious when she’s alone, maybe you could hire a dog sitter or find a friend who’d watch her.
Know When to Call it Quits
If you’ve talked to the staff at your dog daycare and they’ve done everything they can think of, and your precious pooch still isn’t happy, perhaps it just isn’t the right environment for her. Many dogs thrive at daycare and have a whale of a time, but some pooches just don’t have the right temperament for it. If she’s clearly unhappy in her dog daycare facility, you should call it a day before she gets too stressed out. It may be time to look into other options, such as hiring a dog walker or pet sitter, or even taking your canine companion to work!
Lauren Corona is a freelance writer from merry old England. She specializes in writing about dogs and other critters. Lauren lives near Oxford, with her gorgeous Doberman, Nola. When she’s not tapping away at the keyboard, you’ll find her walking in the woods with Nola-dog, raising money for the Oxfordshire Animal Sanctuary, cooking vegan food, making zines and writing about herself in the third person.