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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi!

I hope this is the correct section for this, but I was curious on what everyones' thoughts are on doggy daycares? Specifically what everyone's thought is on placing your dog there during the weekdays as oppose to having a dog walker coming through halfway through the day?

As a bit of background, I recently adopted a super duper friendly retriever/ collie mix. I've had him for about a week now and in the process of organizing daycare for him, he has a dog walker that has been coming in to walk him during lunch for last week and the week that's coming up. He is beautifully crate trained and we are working on housebreaking which is going well too. I feel like because he is such a social dog he would really love to be around other dogs during the day; the daycare is directly across the road from my work, which he will be at around 8hrs a day and we would be driving to and from work together everyday.

I've done some google searches about placing your dog in daycare everyday and some people say it's too much for them or that they might pick up bad habits? So I was curious to hear if anyone has any thoughts or experiences with this?

Thanks so much! :)
 

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Most dogs really don't NEED daycare. Most adult dogs don't even need a dog walker to come in during the day. But, its a great option for those of us who just don't have time to exercise our dogs when we get home from work. So unless you have absolutely no time to do anything with your dog (why would you even have a dog, lol), theres no need to have a your dog in daycare everyday. Basically, don't fall into the trap of feeling like your dog needs to be entertained 24/7. It's okay to leave the dog home alone!

But, for dogs who enjoy playing with other dogs, daycare can be a really great time! I wouldn't do daycare every single day, otherwise the dog does develop the habit of needing to be doing something or playing the majority of the day. So, when daycare is closed and your home from work on a holiday or something and just want to relax, the dog is going to EXPECT to be going to daycare. Once or twice a week is probably fine.

Also, how well a dog does in daycare depends largely on the dog. Some dogs can play all day with all sorts of dogs, others would rather play for a bit, then go to a quiet place to sleep. Others just want to hang with the humans. Many daycares do a "nap time" to give dogs a break, so that's something to look into, which would indicate people are watching to see when dogs might need a break from play and time to relax. The daycare and boarding center I take our dog to separate all the dogs at midday or thereabouts for an hour or so for 'snack time' and a good nap, haha.

One last bit, I don't think I would bring my dog to daycare until they're fully potty trained.
 

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I want my dogs to learn to be lazy and sleep all day when I'm out or busy. So sending them to doggy daycare would be counter to that objective. It'd be different, though, if I had a dog that was of and age or breed where "chill, buddy" is not a realistic expectation, or if I worked longer hours than feasible for my dogs.
 

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I want my dogs to learn to be lazy and sleep all day when I'm out or busy. So sending them to doggy daycare would be counter to that objective. It'd be different, though, if I had a dog that was of and age or breed where "chill, buddy" is not a realistic expectation, or if I worked longer hours than feasible for my dogs.
I am pretty sure, based on Kiran's response to exercise, that if I sent him to doggy day care what I would get would be a really, really, conditioned dog who had outstanding stamina and who would be high as a freaking kite all evening at home. I took him out for 3 hours worth of hiking, swimming, and climbing yesterday. He came home and bounced off the walls until I crated him and he crashed. I love playing with him but he actually seems to get a 'runners high' type response going on where he just gets WILD from exercise, rather than it relaxing him.

Not that I don't think there are dogs who do well with day care, but OP - apply caution and be prepared for the possibility that you may create a dog who needs more exercise, rather than a dog who has been exercised. Also, yeah, some dogs just get overwhelmed, over faced, and get defensive, snappish, or just generally miserable.

When it works, it works. When it doesn't it can be an issue. Be prepared that it might be an issue and if it is, just stop using it and look for other alternatives. Home all day and asleep is a perfectly valid one.
 

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Generally speaking, I don't like them because:
-You can't see what's happening to your dog (some have live cams which are nice)
-Many daycares have staff who are not trained to properly read dog body language and safely/effectively intervene to prevent altercations
-Many daycares use aversive tools to stop altercations (which, used sparingly, correctly, and for safety, isn't horrible) AND keep the dogs in the same play group...ie, force them to be together and work it out. This, I have immense issues with.
-Many daycares seem fancy and awesome but won't tell you the whole truth. I'm sure the wildly popular one in my area won't tell you that they accidentally lost one of my client's dogs even despite his specific warning that the dog is an escape artist and a runner; there are no efficient barriers between the play area and the entryway.
-Many daycares cram too many dogs together and call it fun for the dog. Even among the most social dogs, dogs are individuals and take time to know another dog, have preferred play partners, etc.
-For super social dogs, they are probably learning to be even more pushy since they are 'allowed' to instigate play all the time. I have a reactivity client who I recommended be pulled out of daycare since he apparently 'barks at other dogs all day'. And I really like this particular daycare and recommend it often (because of the small playgroup size, experienced staff, deliberately matched play groups)
-Not a good way to 'socialize' fearful dogs because it's forced exposure.
-I would love to do some actual research on this, but I have a theory that daycare increases reactivity - unstructured and unlimited play will do that. Anecdotally, I see a lot of daycare dogs who are dog social but are out of control reactive any time they see a dog outside of daycare situations, like on a walk.

All that said, I know many folks who use daycare and are thrilled with the results. Daycare has been the saving grace for many dogs with separation anxiety. I personally recommend a few daycares to certain clients. However, seeing as you've only had your dog for a week, I recommend building a stronger relationship and doing some training before sending your dog to daycare. Specifically, work on calm and focus around dogs in real life settings. If your dog is already reactive or overly exuberant, daycare might be fun but it might further reinforce those behaviors.



I took him out for 3 hours worth of hiking, swimming, and climbing yesterday. He came home and bounced off the walls until I crated him and he crashed. I love playing with him but he actually seems to get a 'runners high' type response going on where he just gets WILD from exercise, rather than it relaxing him.
Seriously, Brae is the exact same!
 

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When Esther was a young hellhound, doggy daycare probably saved my marriage. She would go 2-3 times each week and be pretty mellow for a few days afterwards. Staff reported that she would literally run all day.

They did have webcams, so I could watch her from work 40 miles away, and it was exhausting just watching her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all so much for all your responses!

I have so many thoughts haha!!! :D

I actually wouldnt have a problem with crating him for 8hrs or so during the day when I'm at work and extend our walks a little during the mornings and evenings. But unfortunately, my daily commute really adds to the 8hrs that I'm actually at work and that's just too long for him to 'hold it'. :(

Just having spent this short time with him I can definitely see that walks, play and even potty breaks outside gears him up and gets him more active! He's still a young dog, so it's going to take a few years probably for him to be my lap dog, he really likes to be 'doing something' when I'm home and is allowed to roam around. When he's crated, it's a completely different story! He's just soooo chilled! Just sleeps! So in saying that, I definitely don't what to intentionally hype him up alll the time with daycare.

That's a really good point Canyx about working on how easily distracted he can be when he sees a dog... He just really wants to play, all the time! I have us enrolled in obedience classes starting the first week of May and then I actually have the last week of April off work, so hoping the weather is nice and we can go out and do things together. So my initial thought really was to have him in daycare for the 2nd and 3rd week of April and re-evaluate after that?

I really had originally thought that daycare was the best option for him to be honest, and hadn't really considered at all that having alone time might actually be good for my dog too (besides crating over night - bedtime)!
 

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We started putting Pepper into daycare when she was a puppy because she just had SO MUCH energy! We both work full time (plus commute) and even with walks/exercise/play before and after work you could see it just wasn't enough. We started out sending her twice a week - Tuesdays and Thursdays - just to break up the work week. The day after daycare she usually sleeps most of the day so it was a good schedule. When she was 2 we got another puppy and they started playing together quite a bit so we cut daycare down to once a week (on Wednesdays). This helped with the cost of sending two dogs to daycare too. That's the schedule we've been on now for 3 years. They go once mid week. The rest of the week is pretty boring for them so I'd feel guilty not sending them at all.

Carefully research the daycare and make sure they have properly trained employees, a limit on how many dogs they'll accept at one time, that they have positive reinforcement attitudes, etc.

I wouldn't recommend sending a dog every day; I honestly don't think it's necessary and might actually make them more in need of constant stimulation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quick update: I enrolled him in daycare for the next 2 weeks starting monday to see if he likes it. I guess my only reservation having seen the daycare is that there are quite a few 'balkers' in the kennels. And my dog isn't a balking type of dog at all. So I'm hoping he won't turn into one. My other thought was that I also hope he doesn't think I'm dropping him back of at the shelter! I'm packing him some toys and a treat filled kong, so hopefully this sweetens his day a little.

Seems like they have a nice schedule for them, they don't just run around and play all day. So we shall see how this goes! I'm excited to drive to work together. :)
 
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