Is Doggie Daycare Right for My Dog?
By: Jeff Noce, Voyce President
In the last 15+ years, doggie daycares have risen in popularity amongst devoted pet parents. These facilities often offer personal attention and fun activities that help keep dogs healthy, active and stimulated. Not to mention the opportunity to play with other pup pals.
However, not every dog is cut out for this type of environment. Just like some people don’t enjoy big parties, some dogs prefer more quiet and controlled opportunities for socialization.
So how do you decide if daycare is a good fit for your particular pooch? As with so many things, it comes down to knowing your dog, his personality and his preferences.
Observe your dog’s behavior as objectively and honestly as possible. Daycare may be a great choice if he is:
- Friendly with other dogs and people.
- Respectful of other dogs.
- Playful and well socialized.
- Young and/or has extra energy to spare.
- Adaptable to new situations
On the other hand, you may want to research other options if he is:
- Overly pushy with other dogs.
- Oblivious to signals from other dogs to back off or take a break.
- Reactive or aggressive with animals or people.
- Fearful of new people, pets or places.
- Nervous or uncomfortable around other dogs.
- Anxious when separated from you.
- Elderly, ill or has another physical condition that would make it difficult to handle a prolonged period in a noisy, high-energy environment.
If your dog exhibits any of the above, try to avoid the temptation to take him to daycare anyway, thinking it will help solve your dog’s issues or quirks. All too often, it can have the opposite effect.
Sometimes, however, the decision isn’t so clear-cut. If you’re uncertain, ask the daycare to evaluate him for you. Reputable facilities typically require it anyway and they can give you an honest opinion whether your dog has the “right stuff.”
Once you’ve decided that daycare is a good fit for your dog, take time to choose the right facility. It’s an important decision and you’ll want to make sure that both you and your dog are comfortable, confident and happy with your choice.
Start by calling ahead and setting an appointment to take a tour. During your tour, note the cleanliness of the facility and any safety concerns. Feel free to ask as many questions as you wish regarding their background/experience, their pet care philosophy, the training they go through, their safety record, their vaccination requirements, etc.
One of the most important questions to ask is what their dog-to-staff ratio is. The fewer dogs per person, the more closely your pup will be supervised.
Finally, observe how the staff interacts with the dogs and whether the dogs seem happy and relatively calm. If the environment seems exceptionally chaotic or the dogs appear stressed or overly vocal, that can be a red flag.
It can take some time and effort to decide whether daycare is right for your dog and then to find the perfect place. But when pick up your happy – and tired! – pup at the end of the day, it’ll all be worth it!
I’d like to hear from you! If you have questions you’d like me to address on this blog regarding pet health or behavior, send an email to email@example.com.