Turning Doggy Daycare into a Learning Opportunity

Tug can be overstimulating for some dogs, especially in daycare settings. Low arousal playgroups that match dogs appropriately by personality ensure that play stay stays low key.

The rate of child birth in the US is declining as the rate of pet ownership is increases.  Due to this, especially in the last decade, Doggy Daycare and boarding operations have sprung up on just about every corner.  For many pet owners their dogs ARE their babies and pamper them as such.  Just as a child needs care during the day so, too, do many dogs.  Consequently, the opportunity to fill this niche as turned many a dog enthusiast into an entrepreneur.

Is Doggy Daycare right for you and your dog?

Like all things, there’s no size fits all.   Many doggy daycares are owned and staffed by seasoned dog savvy professionals.  Large corporate conglomerates own others and some are staffed by youngsters with minimal handling experience.  Which one is right for you and your dog largely depends on what you’re after in daycare.  If your dog is low stress, socially appropriate and tolerant, they may do well in a larger daycare with minimal supervision.  If your dog is a little more intense a smaller space that staffs more handlers per dog is best.

Recognizing when dogs are tired and need a break is an easy way to prevent unnecessary conflict.

Some doggy daycares restrict the kinds of breeds who can attend or reside in areas with breed restrictions.  If you have a breed that falls in this category then you’ll need to search elsewhere for care.  Targeted breeds usually include pit bull type dogs and may extend to German  Shepherds, huskies, rottweilers, or other guardian breeds.  If you have one of these breeds  you’ll want to look for a daycare that temperament tests prospective clients.

Taking the Vitals at Doggy Daycare

Younger dogs tend to adapt better to social environments than older dogs. Getting a dog started early in Daycare+ will help your dog grow well versed in communication skills

Other things you’ll want to consider is how the doggy daycare is cleaned.  Feces spread parasites and other communicable diseases.  Preventative measures like annual fecal tests help keep bugs like Giardia or coccidiosis from entering the community.  Because of the potential for contagious diseases, feces and urine should be removed immediately.  Cleaning and sanitizing the floors and other surfaces within the daycare is a daily necessity.  Another concern with wet floors is the potential for slips and falls.  Many dogs have torn ligaments in their knees or suffered concussions after slipping or colliding during play.

Doggy Daycare parents are usually the cream of the crop when it comes to pet ownership.  With that said, many conscientious pet owners are starting to question the need for annual vaccination.  At a minimum doggy daycares likely require documentation of core vaccines such as rabies and parvo/distemper administered by a licensed veterinarian.  Other vaccine requirements often include bordatella or canine influenza.  Alternatively, daycares may accept titer testing in lieu of annual shots.  Titer testing is a blood test that shows the antibody load within the sample and is available for core vaccines.

What’s the Temperament like at Doggy Daycare

Some breeds particularly benefit from frequent social opportunities with low arousal playmates. Mirrored or reciprocal play is a good way to tell if both dogs are enjoying the fun.

While some dogs truly love the social aspect of doggy daycare other may not.  In general, though high arousal dogs may have need of large amounts of daily exercise, doggy daycare may be too overstimulating.  Dogs that are anxious or not well socialized may be overwhelmed by rough and tumble play.  Dogs with high prey drives may not be able to control themselves when other dogs go rushing by.  Overstimulated dogs can become cranky and nerves wear thin over the course of the day.  Older dogs with arthritis or dogs who have suffered joint injuries may not appreciate bumps and jostling from younger dogs.

It’s is not uncommon for dogs to become stressed at doggy daycare.  Just like people, some dogs are social butterflies and some are more reclusive.  The personality of individual dogs varies from day to day, as well.  Your dog may excel at 2 days

per week while 5 or more days may be too much.  The vibe of the daycare can change from day to day, as well.    If it’s loud and rough and tumble fewer dogs will excel as opposed to quiet slower groups.  It’s okay if doggy daycare isn’t the right fit for your dog.  There a lot of other ways to exercise and mentally stimulate your dog.

DayCare+ at the DogSchool

Sometimes the most unlikely combinations occur in daycare.

Doggy Daycare at the DogSchool is called DayCare+.  It’s a members only program to guarantee that the attendees are good fits for group play.  A consistent body of dogs know each other and the rules.  As a result play groups energy stays low and easy to manage on a day to day basis.  This ensures that play tolerant and socially appropriate and social dogs can help new attendees grow confident during their visits.  Members attend a minimum of 2 days per week and there are discounts for bulk or recurring payments.

DayCare+ handlers are trained to identify signs of arousal and interrupt high energy play before it escalates to aggression.  Dogs learn that they can come to the attendant if they’re overwhelmed.  During doggie Daycare+ puppies and dogs are taught to keep all four feet on the floor, wait patiently and quietly to come out of their kennel, walk nicely on a leash, and going potty outside.  Because the day is structured and frequent rest opportunities are provided they learn good manners and go home tuckered out without becoming cranky.

Furthermore, the DogSchool also offers DaySchool.  DaySchool students attend DayCare+ as well as receiving one on one training.  The DaySchool program covers a range of topics including impulse control, basic obedience, resource guarding prevention, and polite greetings.