Dogs are companion pets that don’t do well when left alone for too long. So, it’s important for responsible dog owners to ensure that their dogs’ social needs are being met, especially if they spend long hours away from home.
Doggy daycare is a viable option for many dog owners. However, some dogs may not benefit from it. There are advantages and disadvantages to doggy daycare, and it’ll heavily depend on your dog’s personality and preferences to determine if it’s a good fit.
What Is Doggy Daycare?
Each doggy daycare will have its own program, but they all function to provide safe supervision and fun activities for your dog while you’re away. Many doggy daycares have schedules where dogs have opportunities to exercise and socialize with other dogs. They’ll also include snack times, naps, potty breaks, and mentally stimulating activities.
Doggy daycares can offer extra services or premium packages. Additional services can include individual playtime and attention, special treats, and training sessions. So, make sure to spend time researching the different doggy daycares near you to find one that provides services that your dog needs and enjoys.
Advantages of Doggy Daycare
Doggy daycare is an excellent option for social dogs that enjoy spending time with people and other dogs. High-energy dogs can also benefit from doggy daycare as they follow a routine that includes exercise opportunities and mentally engaging activities. Since doggy daycares provide fun activities for dogs, you may notice reduced boredom and a calmer demeanor when your dog returns home.
Doggy daycare provides a variety of experiences for dogs. So, it can be a great way to increase your dog’s confidence as it’s exposed to new things and socializing with other dogs. Some doggy daycares offer training classes, so they can be an excellent way to reinforce the training that puppies and new dogs are receiving at home.
You can rest assured that your dog is in good hands while you’re away. A reputable doggy daycare has fully trained staff that understand dog behavior and how to handle various interactions that dogs have with one another. Many doggy daycares will also separate dogs by size so that small dogs can have a fun and safe experience.
Disadvantages of Doggy Daycare
Of course, doggy daycare may not be the best fit for some dogs. Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs like meeting new and strange dogs. Just like people, dogs have varying social levels and can be very selective about the people and dogs they like. It’s normal for some dogs to prefer sticking with the people and dogs they already know and not be very willing to meet new dogs.
So, if your dog naturally takes a long time to warm up to other dogs and strangers, it may not benefit from a doggy daycare that has new dogs coming in and out. Constantly meeting new people and dogs can end up stressing your dog out. It’s important not to force your dog out of its comfort and tolerance levels in great strides as this can lead to the development of aggressive or anxious behaviors.
Doggy daycare can also be too great of a leap for dogs that are shy, under-socialized, or have high separation anxiety. Putting a dog with separation anxiety in a completely new and strange environment can end up exacerbating its anxiety. While doggy daycare can help dogs become more comfortable being without their owners, dogs with separation anxiety often need extra attention and training to help them work through their separation anxiety before transitioning to doggy daycare.
Doggy daycares also don’t offer very much specialized care. Some doggy daycares may be able to administer medication, but their scope of veterinary care is often very limited. So, if your dog has a disability or health condition that requires extra attention, a doggy daycare may not be able to accommodate it very well.
Alternatives to Doggy Daycare
Dogs that are shy or more reserved may prefer one-on-one care. A dog walker may be more appropriate for these dogs because they’ll be spending time with the same person with each visit. They can also enjoy the familiarity of a safe walk around their neighborhood.
You can also find drop-in dog sitter services where a trained pet sitter can stay with your dog for an allotted amount of time each day. This allows your dog to remain in the comforts of home while being supervised and enjoying human companionship.
Doggy daycare can be a great fit for dogs that have playful and social personalities. Dogs that are more reserved may not benefit from it as much, and dogs with separation anxiety may need some extra training before diving into doggy daycare.
So, it’s important to get a good grasp of your dog’s comfort levels and social preferences. Understanding what your dog needs will help you determine if doggy daycare is a good fit or if it’s best to move on to more individualized pet care services.
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