Is doggy daycare the right fit for your dog?
On the surface, dog daycare seems like a no brainer - right? In this post I'll explore the pros and cons and give you some information so you can make that decision!
Doggy daycare is a great place to socialize with other dogs! Routinely interacting with other dogs is one of the best ways to ensure that your dog becomes a friendly, confident adult. One of the reasons that this is so beneficial to dogs (especially those that may not be fully mature yet) is it teaches them boundaries, how to play safely, and introduces them to new experiences which will build confidence outside of the daycare center.
Doggy daycare is an excellent outlet for your pup's energy! Many dogs are naturally energetic - in fact, many of them were bred that way. While your dog is domesticated now it will still have the instincts of herding, digging, hunting, etc. If your dog doesn't have an outlet for that instinct to "work" then there is a high likelihood they will become destructive in your home. Letting your dog work that energy out at dog daycare will allow you to peacefully co-exist with your four legged friend!
Finally, utilizing doggy daycare will give you a break from them! Many dog owning professionals will use a daycare center during work hours, but it's also ok to admit that you just want to have a relaxing Saturday! I'm a firm believer that absence makes the heart grow fonder and that goes for significant others as well as man's best friend.
One of the biggest failings in the model of many dog daycare centers is the amount of dogs they allow per day. You can't control the other dogs that are there, and depending on your dog's personality this can lead to them being bullied and dominated by larger or more confident dogs. This can be an issue particularly when your dog is new to the group and is overwhelmed by the noises, smells, and amount of dogs they're surrounded by. Typically the daycare staff will do a good job of controlling any overly aggressive behavior or dominance but you also can't control how attentive they will be when they're responsible for 20+ dogs at a time.
Most doggy daycare facilities will require proof of vaccination, but even if they do that doesn't always prevent your dog from catching something while interacting with so many other dogs. Some quick examples are ticks, fleas, and kennel cough.
Your dog may not actually enjoy daycare! It can be quite overwhelming for dogs that are naturally excitable or reactive. For the hyperactive dogs the rush of so many new sensations can be more stressful than exciting! If your dog is overly protective, or is a rescue with an unknown ownership history then it's best to start socializing slowly and work your way up to daycare.
Doggy daycare is a wonderful outlet for many dogs! However, it's not a decision that you should make lightly. Please do your research, consider your dog's personality, and ask some questions before signing your dog up!