Isobel is almost 7 months old now, and in preparation for boarding her this fall when we travel for a week, it was suggested we put her in doggie day care at the place in which we will board her. The idea is to make the place less strange and scary and for her to associate it with fun.
At any rate, there are 3 dogs with whom little Izzy socializes fairly frequently, although not at the facility. One Aussie Shepherd, one Standard Poodle, and one Rottweiler. Isobel only weighs about 19 lbs but is energetic and playful and seems to enjoy her interactions with the other dogs. We didn't think daycare would be a problem at all.
So we took her in and were told there would be a period of evaluation with the staff before she was introduced to the group. The understanding was that the evaluation would be approximately 45 minutes and if all went well, she would spend the remaining half day with the daycare group.
I returned to pick her up and was told she had not been introduced to the other dogs because her hair stood up on her back when the staff approached her and she growled. They decided this was a sign of aggression and kept her isolated from the other dogs.
Now, the thing is that Isobel usually has her hair stand up when first encountering other people and animals, but she quickly settles once she's acclimated to the new face/scent.
I was a little troubled to hear my peanut (yes, I said it, she is my peanut) didn't do well and was actually surprised the staff deemed her aggressive. They offered "lap time" sessions for her to get to know the staff one on one, and said she *may* integrate, but she seems to love other dogs once the initial fear and strangeness is overcome...it doesn't make sense to me.
That being said, she has NEVER been away from us (my husband, DD and myself)...she is always with her people, and I wonder if the growling and fearful behavior is more separation anxiety than aggression.
Not sure what I'm asking exactly but I want her to be comfortable in the facility when it's time to go away in November and I thought the daycare environment would help. I guess not.
Anyway, she IS skittish and fearful no doubt...she was a rescue and we aren't sure what her background is, aside from the fact that she and her littermates were dumped at approx 5 weeks and mom was badly abused.
Anyone have thoughts or insight on how to get her to calm down a bit so she's able to meet the other dogs at the facility? Like I said, she plays frequently with these other dogs outside of the facility, but it took time for her to warm up. It seems like she isn't even being given the chance to get her bearings. What can we do to help her?
I want to know she'll be OK with boarding overnight and I want her to feel secure. Suggestions?
Thanks for any advice.