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We have a ~14 week old puppy, Porter. We're really trying to socialize him with other dogs as much as possible, but we have limited access to other trust-worthy dogs. He's had a couple of playdates with a friend's boxer, and we meet some other leashed dogs on walks in our neighborhood and the park (we do have a dog park, but it sucks - there are mean dogs and ignorant owners there, and I refuse to take any dog there, much less a puppy).

The puppy kindergarten we wanted to enroll in ended up being at a time that we can't make it, so we'll be waiting to start beginning obedience there when he's six months old. In the meantime we're training him at home.

I've been thinking about sending him to daycare one day a week, but was wondering if it was a good idea. The daycare we have in town is one that I used a lot when we had another young dog a few years ago, Suzie. Suzie LOVED it there and would go twice a week and be exhausted for two days afterwards. It was also nice, because we could board her there when we were out of town, and she was already familiar with it and loved it (they have BEDROOMS instead of kennels!)

This place is a house on five acres with a very high fence (Suzie could jump our 6' privacy fence at home) and the owner and workers there obviously love dogs. They spend all day actually tossing balls and playing with them. When the weather is bad, the living room in the house is just a giant playroom with dog toys.

They are really strict about aggressive dogs... they have a kennel and if a dog acts at all aggressive, they put it up and won't let it come back. They also require bordatella (sp?) and all other shots be UTD.

So, do you think it's a good idea or a bad idea?
 

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I think an all day daycare is a little much for a 14 week old puppy.

How about a puppy kindergarten class?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I think an all day daycare is a little much for a 14 week old puppy.

How about a puppy kindergarten class?
You think he'll get too worn out or over-stimulated because of his age? Hadn't really thought about it from that angle... he's not an overly hyper dog, so you have a point.

There's really only one dog training place in town that's good, and they only puppy kindergarten class is Sunday afternoons, and I have another commitment on Sundays AND my husband works so I have both the kids (will take the older one with me to training when we go, but not the baby). But we'll for sure start obedience at 6 months.

I guess I *could* go to like a Petsmart class, but (1) I don't think they're very good from what I've observed and (2) it doesn't look like the puppies get to interact much with each other.
 

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I take it your dog park doesn't have a small dog/puppy section.
The dog park is probably the worst place for socializing your pup. I second the vote for puppy kindergarden class - and it doesn't have to be petsmart. What about trying to find a meetup group in your area?
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I take it your dog park doesn't have a small dog/puppy section.
No. And it's just a yucky place - muddy, aggressive dogs (who would take a DA dog a dog park?!?), stupid owners, scary. :(

The dog park is probably the worst place for socializing your pup. I second the vote for puppy kindergarden class - and it doesn't have to be petsmart. What about trying to find a meetup group in your area?
There's a dog training club here that's AWESOME, that offers all levels of obedience and agility, and it's where we'll take him when he's 6 months (that's how old they have to be for beginning obedience). But their puppy kindergarten is at a time I can't make it. I took our old dog there and love it, I can't wait to take Porter!

The only other group training places I can find in town are Petsmart and Petco.

Not sure how to find a group...?
 

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You mentioned the dog part of socialization but didn't say anything about the rest. Unless other dogs are going to be an everyday occurrance/part of their daily lives then, this is really a small(er) part of the whole socialization process.
 

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Clal the doggy daycare and see about doing a half day on their least busy day? Or see if they've got any puppy K classes they recommend. (For example, I put on a puppy playgroup every saturday - it's on hiatus right now but will start up again once the litter I have at home has had their shots. It's $5 a week, I provide treats for puppies and sodas and snacks for humans, and we introduce puppies to tunnels, climb on the rocks and do a lot of off-leash puppy games while letting them play.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
You mentioned the dog part of socialization but didn't say anything about the rest. Unless other dogs are going to be an everyday occurrance/part of their daily lives then, this is really a small(er) part of the whole socialization process.
Are you talking about humans? Porter does get to meet lots of new people and be in new situations... we take him with us lots of places (we're fortunate to live in a neighborhood where we can walk to Starbucks, the cupcake shop, the playground, etc.) So we walk him in pretty populated areas and he so cute :)D) that people stop and greet him. We also take him on car rides when we're running quick errands, like to pick the kids up from school, etc. Our house is pretty well visited too... last weekend we had a birthday party for one of our kids, and usually 2-3 times a week we have friends and family come over for a visit.

We also have a cat, who gets along well with. But we haven't socialized him with other animals - I do NOT think hamsters are going to be a big part of his every day life :p

The main reason I am worried about the dog part is this: http://www.dogforums.com/19-first-time-dog-owner/43935-dominant-puppy.html

Also, as he gets older, I'm starting to see some APBT in his looks. I don't say that because I think all APBTs are automatically DA or anything, I just want to make sure he's well socialized with dogs while he's young, and he learns how to play nicely with them.
 

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Clal the doggy daycare and see about doing a half day on their least busy day? Or see if they've got any puppy K classes they recommend. (For example, I put on a puppy playgroup every saturday - it's on hiatus right now but will start up again once the litter I have at home has had their shots. It's $5 a week, I provide treats for puppies and sodas and snacks for humans, and we introduce puppies to tunnels, climb on the rocks and do a lot of off-leash puppy games while letting them play.
Oh my gosh, how fun!! I wanna come!! :)

Good idea about the half day... I know from before that they are pretty much always full (they have a limit they will take a day, I think like 12 dogs). But they won't mind if I only go half day, I'll just pay for the whole day.

I think I'll go ahead and take him Friday, but pick him up around lunchtime instead of keeping him there all day, and then see how he did. If he loved it, then maybe we'll do a half day once a week for a while and then work up to a whole day.

We're fortunate that my husband is home all day, and Porter does get daily walks and romping around. But there aren't places to take him locally for BIG areas to run free (our backyard is a good sized and is fine now, but as he gets older), so that's part of why we had Suzie at the daycare - she loved having acres to just RUN. Plus she loved playing with other dogs, she even had a standard poodle BFF :) Our other dog was an old Sheltie who had no interest in playing with other dogs, so we never sent her. We'll see how Porter likes it. For sure if they feel like he was stressed out, or I see that he isn't happy there, we won't go back (at least not until he's older).
 

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You might call and ask them if it'd be better for him to come in the morning or the afternoon - I know that the daycares I'm familiar with, the afternoon tends to be calmer than the morning.
 

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I just wanted to update...

We took Porter to daycare yesterday and he LOVED it. We ended up having to take him in the morning because of scheduling/car/kid/work issues. I called at noon and asked about him, because I was prepared to pick him up early. They had just fed him lunch and he was in one of the rooms taking a nap. There was another puppy there his size, and apparently they became best friends and played all morning. I decided to just leave him until I got off work at 4, since he was getting a good rest. They said he slept for a couple of hours, and then he and the little girl played again. They said he got along well with all the dogs, so that made me happy.

I think we'll keep taking him a couple of times a month, just to give him that opportunity to run around with other dogs. Also, this is where I board my dogs if I have to, so he'll be used to it.

He sure was worn out last night though - he was filthy so I bathed him and he just SAT in the tub looking at me with sleepy eyes, while normally he's trying to get out of the tub, shaking, jumping around, etc. He slept well all night, and woke up ready to play again :)
 

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I'm glad your pup had a good experience and you decided to give it a try. If it's the right daycare with people who know what they're doing, it can be a wonderful thing as it has been for our dog. The only things I would worry about are age/size-appropriate doggie friends to play with and the puppy getting over-tired. As long as they put him down for a long nap and put him in with other puppies, he should be just fine. A good daycare will also take the time to give him supervised play with an older dog or two who can teach him appropriate play behavior.
 

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At the daycare I work at we put the puppies in with the adult dogs . . . just certain adult dogs. They take a nap halfway through the day for an hour or two (and get lunch at that time) if they are there for a full day. They get to play with other puppies, young adults, adults and older dogs, so they learn how to act appropriately around all the age groups. We just make sure the dogs in the group are all stable, well socialized dogs.
 

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That's how it is at this place - all ages and sizes of dogs together BUT they are very strict about temperment... if a dog is at all not friendly it gets separated from the others and can't come back. And there are always two people around, so I feel like he's safe. There was a large adult yellow lab who also played nicely with him. Actually I want some older/bigger dogs to teach him what NOT to do, because he's still kinda bratty with biting and putting his paws/head on top of other dogs - but the daycare lady says they all let him get away with stuff because he's still young, and when he gets older they will correct him.

But yes, after his lunch he gets put in a room with his blanket to take a nap. :)
 
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