Tired Dogs are Better Behaved Dogs
I’ve been bringing my dogs to dog daycare for almost 15 years. They’ve always attended daycare at Dog Days in St. Paul. When I first looked into daycare I was surprised by the long waiting list, we were #80 when I signed her up, in fact, I was planning ahead and her signed up before she was even born.
Working full-time I started with a dog walker and help from family to get her out midday. But four walks a day weren’t enough for Daisy. She was a holy terror! She was always on the move and constantly biting and redirection and the puppy yelp did little to nothing to stop this behavior. As soon as we started daycare the biting completely stopped and she was calm and relaxed at home.
Dog Walkers Verses Do Daycare
Though I think that dog walkers are great I don’t think it’s usually enough for high energy dogs. Also, $/hour daycare is far better. However, not all dogs do well with daycare. Some dogs don’t get along well with other dogs so dog daycare would be a horrible choice for them.
Sometimes when dogs age, dog daycare can become too overwhelming which would be another reason a dog walker might be a better choice. Though, some daycares have special areas that are a bit quieter and more relaxing for seniors. At Dog Days a lot of their office dogs are seniors that just get help the staff with their day to day activities.
Pros of Daycare
- Aids in socializing your dog with both other canines and humans
- Lots of attention
- Helps to drain excess energy
- Keeps your dog from creating mischief when you’re at work
- Strangers will not be in your home.
- Added Convenience – Most daycares have a groomer on staff, so instead of having to take your dog to a grooming appointment your dog can just get beautified there, also many daycares carry dog food so it’s one less stop on the way home.
- It’s safer than a dog park – because daycares require proof of up-to-date vaccinations and the bordatella vaccine “Bordetella bronchiseptica is the most common bacterial agent responsible for kennel cough in dogs” (Anna Burke).
Also, because daycares have trained staff they’re better able to identify behavioral issues before they occur. Before dogs are allowed to attend daycare they must go through a screening process to ensure it’s a good fit for their personalities. At Dog Days, dogs are separated based on age, size, and playstyle.
Cons of Daycare:
- Potential for bad behavior — if you’re in the midst of training, the freedom given at daycare might derail your work and/or create new issues. (Alexandra Anastasio)
- Exposure to illness – It’s just like any daycare, although they do their best to ensure the facility is always clean and dogs are up to date on their shots, dogs can still get viruses like humans.
What To Look For in a Daycare:
Picking the right daycare for your dog is just like picking one for your child. You want to ensure your dog is receiving the best care possible.
Here are a few things to look for when choosing a daycare…
- Make sure that they are licensed, sounds like a given but there are some out there that aren’t.
- Make sure they require all dogs to be up on vaccinations including bordatella.
- Make sure they require flea and tick preventative.
- Knowledgeable Staff
- That they have a plan in case of emergencies. If your dog gets sick or hurt, what’s their plan on how they handle this.
- Take a tour of the daycare, make sure it’s a clean facility.
- Make sure they have set group size limits…Having too many dogs in a small area can cause big issues
Daycare isn’t the right choice for all dogs or all families, but for the majority of dogs, it works great. Most dogs, especially young ones, have excess energy they need to burn and really what better way to do that than playing with other dogs. Even if you don’t work outside of the house your dog still needs time to play and socialize with other dogs and humans too.