When it comes to the care of your precious pup every owner wants the absolute best for them. But with so many options out there how do you know which is the best for you?
When choosing the right service, the most important thing to consider is your dog's personality and their individual needs. And sometimes that isn't always what YOU think they do.
Doggy Day Care facilities have seen a real growth in popularity in the past few years. Options can include small home-from-home care, indoor facilities on industrial estates, or large outdoor facilities in fields.
Some will thrive, but for others it could end up being their worst nightmare!
But...I want my dog to socialise!
Just like humans, not all dogs want or need to be social ALL of the time. For some, Day Care facilities, especially large ones can prove to be too overwhelming.
If you have a nervous dog, it can be easy to think that day care will offer the solution. However, just like putting an arachnophobe in a room full of spiders and expecting them to no longer be scared, this often isn't the fix-all we may be hoping for.
In fact, putting a nervous dog in to this sort of situation could lead to them shutting down, becoming more nervous, or even turning to aggression in order to keep themselves safe.
Socialisation is so much more than exposing your dog to other dogs. It requires careful management and understanding of canine body language and behaviour.
But...My dog has loads of energy!
Your dog may have boundless energy and think that playing all day is the best thing ever. However, as with humans, rest is an incredibly important part of a dog's day. In fact, an adult dog needs 12 -14 hours per day - puppies and older dogs even more!
Did you also know that playing all day could actually be increasing their stamina!
Think - the more you run, the more you can run!
When viewing a facility be sure to ensure that downtime is something they actively insist upon and prioritise.
But...My Dog Has Separation Anxiety!
Ever felt that guilt of leaving your dog in the morning as you head off to work? If so, the option of sending them somewhere where they'll be cared for, for 8+ hours may sound like the perfect solution. And for some it really will be!
However, if your dog has separation anxiety, day care can act as a band aid - covering the issue, but not healing it. True separation anxiety requires time, patience and the correct training. It may also mean that your dog never gets used to being on their own, as they are always with company.
Or perhaps your dog doesn't have separation anxiety, but you instead worry about the length of time your dog will be left alone. We get this! Ideally dogs shouldn't be left on their own all day, but we do think it's really important that dogs learn to spend some time on their own so that separation anxiety doesn't become an issue.
Day cares are full of high energy and excitement, which for some can be overstimulating leading to overwhelm. When overstimulated a dog may act and behave 'out of character'. Perhaps they'll start to act too roughly and have difficulty in calming down. For others, they may cower or take themselves off to a corner to hide. In some dogs reactivity can be a dog's go to when overstimulated. This could include barking, lunging, mouthing, mounting and humping.
If your dog attends day care, ask them for a honest report on how your dog is coping. A good and reputable company will be honest with you and put your dogs welfare over their bottom line.
Day care should be a fun and happy place that your dog looks forward to going to!
Make sure you're listening to how they're feeling and if they're giving you signs that they're unhappy be sure to listen. It is our responsibility as owners to be advocates for our dogs and put their needs in front of our own. We should always consider what is best for them, and not us.
And don't forget that there are great alternatives to suit every dog, so do some research and find the care that's best for your precious pup!