How would you react if you went out on the town only to have someone accost you, screaming at the top of their lungs or worse, jumping on you at every opportunity? That’s what it’s like for some dogs when they meet new friends who haven’t been to doggie daycare.
The stress some dogs experience when they meet others can be overpowering. Unfortunately, just as the pandemic has isolated us, leaving it difficult to meet new people, it’s isolated our four-legged family members too. Furthermore, our fur-family can’t just call up the neighbour’s pooch on zoom or text with their kids across the country.
We can’t really blame our pups when they don’t know how to properly greet others. No one has taught them the proper way unless you’ve learned the best way to smell a dog’s butt.
No? I didn’t think so.
Dogs are pack animals
Did you know that dogs were pack animals? No, not the carrying things around kind. Most dogs are happiest when they’re with others. We can fulfill that void for a time, but dogs are best when they’re being true to themselves. That means letting them run with others of their kind. Sometimes we can do that through meetups, especially through groups like the Vizsla community or beagle society. But with our busy schedules, sometimes it isn’t possible. It may just be that you don’t want to meet others too. And that’s okay, daycare allows your pooch to meet others while reducing the risk of you having to communicate with anyone else. Win. Win.
Doggie daycare provides safe socialization
Do you know the best way to introduce someone to their future partner? Are you an expert at meeting new people? Did it come naturally? Without knowing what to expect, we don’t know if we’re doing the right thing. Professionals, on the other hand, work with new dogs every day. Are they perfect? Probably not, but as processionals, they have protocols in place to ensure the safety of everyone involved, whether they’re two or four-legged. Then, when you want to try your own hand at it by introducing your pooch to the neighbour’s rottweiler, you know they have the skills to do it properly rather than go immediately to the humping.
Doggie daycare promotes physical exercise
Do you have time to come home from work and walk your dog at noon? Better yet, do you have time to get them out before your zoom call, so they don’t serenade your boss on the other end? Physical exercise is important for many dogs and professionals leading that process is key. Granted, you can have a dog walker come in to take them for a sniffari, but is it enough? For some, absolutely, for others, not even close.
It engages the mind
You know the quintessential statement from a kid, “I’m bored.” Unfortunately, dogs have a short attention span. What they do have a lot of when we leave them home alone, is time. That means, they can chew on the dining room table or dig holes in the bed. Some absolutely adore your new shoes for their lunch too. Daycare on the other hand will engage their minds, either using games or simply letting them sniff around the yard at the kennel. Turning the television on for your puppy to watch all day while they sit in their crate isn’t enough engagement to keep them occupied for long.
It builds trust
I know we don’t want to hear it, but sometimes to show someone you love them, you must let them free. The same applies to our dogs, kind of. Well, it’s more like we need to let them go so we can show them we love them by coming back. A dog’s sense of time isn’t like ours. Whether you’ve been gone for ten minutes or ten days, they will react the same as though you’ve been gone for ten years. What matters however, is that you aren’t leaving them in a crate all day. You’re leaving them with people you trust and then they can trust that you’ll be back for them.
Doggie daycare reduces separation anxiety
Do you have a digger? Does she leave little pieces of your pillows all over the house while you’re at work? Can she shred a new bed sheet in the time it takes you to get the mail? Many dogs never leave their family’s sides. Unfortunately, this means they don’t know how to. Daycare teaches them that they don’t always have to be there. The independence they learn is important for the day you need to get groceries or travel to town.
Is doggie daycare right for your dog?
It isn’t for everyone. Our Tango went when he was younger, but we soon realized he was becoming over stimulated. Now, he goes some, but doesn’t need to go beyond the few dogs he gets a long with. Puppies however have a much better chance when they’re given the chance. All it takes is once or twice a week to let them gain the benefits of meeting others. Then when you do have to travel, they don’t injure themselves trying to squeeze through the keyhole of their room door.
Wondering how to choose?
It always comes down to the questions you ask.
- What kind of exercise or engagement do dogs get during their day?
- Is the exercise supervised?
- Is there downtime for the dogs?
- Can you take a tour?
- Do the kennel attendants have specific qualifications?
- How do they separate the dogs into different groups?
A good kennel owner won’t begrudge your questions.
Ask them so you feel comfortable. Reviews are a great place to start, but don’t be afraid to ask for references. If the kennel is confident in their process, then they should have lots of people they can use to prove they know what they’re doing.
Unsure whether your pup is ready for daycare? Check out our article on socialization.
Book your day of daycare now.