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Hi, I am new here and I have a problem I hope someone has suggestions for. I have a 6 month old Lab/golden mix. I have been socializing him and he has been going to doggie daycare twice a week. We don't need doggie daycare since we are retired, but I feel like he needs it to learn to play with other dogs. He has learned all of his basic commands and is well behaved at home. He also walks loose leash and is well behaved on walks. We have taken him out of town to my daughters and he behaves well there. He is also well behaved when people come over. Now to my problem.

He is very excitable when we go to doggie daycare. Due to covid, we don't take him in. They come outside to get him. He gets so excited that all of his manners go right through the window. He knows how to sit, look at me and focus. I can take him walking on a loose lead and he is fine when people pass us or a dog passes us. He might perk up a bit but he isn't uncontrollable at all. When the girl comes outside to get him, he jumps and lunges and is very had to contain. He is 50 pounds and getting bigger. He doesn't jump on people normally because we don't allow it. He will not listen to us at all. We thought it was because the girl was coming to the car to get him so now we put him on his leash and walk him to the door. I get him settled and sitting before she comes to get him but as soon as she comes out the door he is horrible and I get so embarrassed. He also won't take treats when he gets like this. They tell me he does great at daycare and listens and plays with the other dogs. It is just the initial greeting that isn't good. It is tough because I know she can't spend all of her time outside so I can get my dog better at greeting her. I have asked that she not give him attention when he jumps and let him settle before she puts her leash on him. He won't settle. I am at a loss. I would welcome any other suggestions.

Thank you

Suzanne
 

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I believe doggy day care is just as bad as a dog park, your dog runs a serious risk of being attacked.

your dog doesn't need consistant play with another dog, My Adult dog, Deacon has played with only a handful of dogs in his lifetime.

allow your dog to meet with trusted dogs... Dont allow your dog off leash to play until you recieve a sit and a focus.
 

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Like anything, there's good and bad. The good day cares I know about evaluate dogs before they can join in and kick them out if they prove unsuitable. Also, they're heavily supervised. So they aren't like dog parks where each dog has an owner who is sure Fido is okay there, who may or may not pay attention, and who is probably going to be sure anything that goes wrong is someone else's fault.

The big worry in these Covid days IMO is whether the person leading the dog from owner to facility is competent to handle an excited dog of that size and whether the equipment is reliable. I saw on another forum a post by someone whose dog got loose when being led inside at the vet's and was still lost. From the post it was hard to tell whether the dog was in a badly fitting harness or whether the person doing the leading handled it badly.
 

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This is the kind of thing that may be difficult to tackle without putting a significant burden on the daycare employee's time. Generally the strategy would be to have her come out and then back in a few times, working up to her getting closer, until it's all very boring and routine to your pup. It's effective, but understandably unlikely that the employee will have time to work through this with you, especially as it could take doing this over a number of visits before he completely stops getting worked up.

You can work on calming exercises at home, like Leslie McDevitt's pattern games or Karen Overall's Relaxation Protocol. You can also train a very strong 'settle' on a single, specific bed, mat, or blanket, and get him used to using it in many different places and situations to chill out on, which may help his ability to keep himself calm in exciting situations over time.

But if your goal with doggy daycare is dog-dog socialization, I'd consider just stopping it for a while. It's the type of environment that amps dogs up a lot, and highly overstimulated dogs aren't very good at learning manners or social skills. Because you're not present, it's going to be very hard to judge whether he's actually getting high quality socialization or just practicing being overstimulated and amped up around other dogs. High quality socialization is where you see a lot of communication and breaks, lots of switching roles (like one dog gets chased for a bit than the other does) and stress/calming signals are respected by the other dog(s) so if anyone is feeling overwhelmed they're given space. It's the supervising humans' job to step in and enforce both breaks and good dog manners when someone's being rude.

Some doggy daycares absolutely do all this! But some don't have the staff, training, and/or setup to make it work, and easily excited dogs spend the whole time they're there amped up and crazy and not practicing good dog-dog social behavior. It's often better dog socialization to do small 2-3 dog playdates where you can supervise personally and cut things short if it seems like someone's getting too amped up to behave themselves. This gives you a lot more control and can really help you learn about your dog's personality and play style.
 

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This is the kind of thing that may be difficult to tackle without putting a significant burden on the daycare employee's time. Generally the strategy would be to have her come out and then back in a few times, working up to her getting closer, until it's all very boring and routine to your pup. It's effective, but understandably unlikely that the employee will have time to work through this with you, especially as it could take doing this over a number of visits before he completely stops getting worked up.

You can work on calming exercises at home, like Leslie McDevitt's pattern games or Karen Overall's Relaxation Protocol. You can also train a very strong 'settle' on a single, specific bed, mat, or blanket, and get him used to using it in many different places and situations to chill out on, which may help his ability to keep himself calm in exciting situations over time.

But if your goal with doggy daycare is dog-dog socialization, I'd consider just stopping it for a while. It's the type of environment that amps dogs up a lot, and highly overstimulated dogs aren't very good at learning manners or social skills. Because you're not present, it's going to be very hard to judge whether he's actually getting high quality socialization or just practicing being overstimulated and amped up around other dogs. High quality socialization is where you see a lot of communication and breaks, lots of switching roles (like one dog gets chased for a bit than the other does) and stress/calming signals are respected by the other dog(s) so if anyone is feeling overwhelmed they're given space. It's the supervising humans' job to step in and enforce both breaks and good dog manners when someone's being rude.

Some doggy daycares absolutely do all this! But some don't have the staff, training, and/or setup to make it work, and easily excited dogs spend the whole time they're there amped up and crazy and not practicing good dog-dog social behavior. It's often better dog socialization to do small 2-3 dog playdates where you can supervise personally and cut things short if it seems like someone's getting too amped up to behave themselves. This gives you a lot more control and can really help you learn about your dog's personality and play style.
This is the kind of thing that may be difficult to tackle without putting a significant burden on the daycare employee's time. Generally the strategy would be to have her come out and then back in a few times, working up to her getting closer, until it's all very boring and routine to your pup. It's effective, but understandably unlikely that the employee will have time to work through this with you, especially as it could take doing this over a number of visits before he completely stops getting worked up.

You can work on calming exercises at home, like Leslie McDevitt's pattern games or Karen Overall's Relaxation Protocol. You can also train a very strong 'settle' on a single, specific bed, mat, or blanket, and get him used to using it in many different places and situations to chill out on, which may help his ability to keep himself calm in exciting situations over time.

But if your goal with doggy daycare is dog-dog socialization, I'd consider just stopping it for a while. It's the type of environment that amps dogs up a lot, and highly overstimulated dogs aren't very good at learning manners or social skills. Because you're not present, it's going to be very hard to judge whether he's actually getting high quality socialization or just practicing being overstimulated and amped up around other dogs. High quality socialization is where you see a lot of communication and breaks, lots of switching roles (like one dog gets chased for a bit than the other does) and stress/calming signals are respected by the other dog(s) so if anyone is feeling overwhelmed they're given space. It's the supervising humans' job to step in and enforce both breaks and good dog manners when someone's being rude.

Some doggy daycares absolutely do all this! But some don't have the staff, training, and/or setup to make it work, and easily excited dogs spend the whole time they're there amped up and crazy and not practicing good dog-dog social behavior. It's often better dog socialization to do small 2-3 dog playdates where you can supervise personally and cut things short if it seems like someone's getting too amped up to behave themselves. This gives you a lot more control and can really help you learn about your dog's personality and play style.
Thank you to everyone who gave me advice. I appreciate it. The main reason I don't want to stop doggie daycare completely, is when COVID is over we have a couple of trips we are planning an we are going to have to board him. Where he goes to daycare is where he would be boarded. I feel like he is safe there and they really seem to love him. It is also the same place he goes to the vet so he doesn't get vet anxiety. When we pull up, he just thinks it is daycare.
We do only take him once a week for now to keep him familiar with it but it also makes it harder to calm him down when we go because there isn't a lot of times to practice. He has stopped reacting so much to other dogs we pass when walking and I feel like this is because of doggy daycare. I am working on the relaxing and calming tecniques that one of you suggested.

I will keep it up. Thanks
 

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I do understand wanting him to be comfortable there, then! Best of luck to you, and I hope you find something that helps. Adolescent dogs are their own challenges (mine is still in that stage at one and a half), but he sounds like a great dog and you're doing an awesome job working with him.

If you clear it with the facility, something else you can do is take trips to the parking lot there when he's not going to daycare - pull in, pull out with nothing happening, working up to pulling in, then taking him out and back in the car before driving off. Maybe work on some calming exercises you've already introduced at home. I know he really starts losing his brain when he sees the worker, but this strategy might give him less time to get amped up, since driving to and being in that waiting space no longer always means a day at daycare.
 

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I do understand wanting him to be comfortable there, then! Best of luck to you, and I hope you find something that helps. Adolescent dogs are their own challenges (mine is still in that stage at one and a half), but he sounds like a great dog and you're doing an awesome job working with him.

If you clear it with the facility, something else you can do is take trips to the parking lot there when he's not going to daycare - pull in, pull out with nothing happening, working up to pulling in, then taking him out and back in the car before driving off. Maybe work on some calming exercises you've already introduced at home. I know he really starts losing his brain when he sees the worker, but this strategy might give him less time to get amped up, since driving to and being in that waiting space no longer always means a day at daycare.
Thank you so much for the encouragement and the advice. I will do that. I appreciate the help. :)
 
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