Is A Dog Daycare Right For Your Dog

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Is A Dog Daycare Right For Your Dog

by Kirsten Frisch

A dog daycare can have different styles. Some are like indoor kennels where the dogs get playtime during the day for 20 or 30 minutes at a time with other dogs, but spend most of the time in a kennel. Often this type of dog daycare is completely indoors including where the dogs play and relieve themselves.

Another style of daycare is the kennel-less daycare. This style is often an building or house that is set up for dogs. They get to romp through the house and have access to a fenced in yard. Sometimes the yard is very small, but other times it can be enormous. Sometimes dogs go outside only to relieve themselves, and other times they get to play and hang out outside.

The dog daycare was originally set up to satisfy the busy professional, but it has become very popular for all types of people for all types of reasons. Sometimes people just want their dog to interact in a pack atmosphere, other times people want to be able to get some work done at home and the dog daycare provides that freedom.

A dog daycare often provides other services too, such as dog walking, grooming, pet sitting, and boarding.

If a daycare is so useful, why does my dog trainer think it's a bad idea?

Here's the deal. In the idealistic world of us dog trainer types, we want the best possible learning circumstances for the dogs we train. It makes us look good! So we don't want you to take your dog to the daycare because that makes more work for us. We will end up correcting bad habits, and our methods will take longer to work, and you might start to think we don't know what we're doing because of that.

Here's the reality. In your busy 24/7 work world of today, you just don't have the time to work long hours and take good care of your dog. We all know that a dog needs exercise and interaction. We also know that we have to work 60 hours a week plus commute time. We love our dog, but we need help. The daycare.

What happens at the dog daycare? Dogs learn from other dogs. If your dog has bad habits they won't be fixed at the daycare, and they might pick up some other habits you dislike too. Think of dog daycare as a social event among teenagers. Dogs love it, but they might develop unwanted behaviors too. But, it can also be the greatest place to have your dog while you are at work (and for some people, the only option for having a dog).

As with any social event, there can be scuffles or the exchange of a cold or flu. These may require a trip to the vet.

Is a dog daycare right for you? If you can accept that it is like sending your child off to school (with all the positive and negative influences). And that you might have to strengthen your dog training skills when your dog is at home. Or your dog might end up at the vet now and then for the occasional bite wound (after all, that IS how dogs argue). If the alternative is that your dog spends hours and hours at home alone, then absolutely, the dog daycare is right for you.

Know this, your dog will act differently at a daycare than s/he does with you. First of all, you aren't there to defend, impress or enforce. Second of all, there is a different set of rules at the daycare (the dog pack rules). Rules that might not exist at your house. Your dog might not be very nice at the daycare because the rules are different, (or he might just be the angel you never see at home).

Should you choose a kennel-less daycare or a kennel daycare? It depends on how picky you are. If you have a hyper dog that needs a lot of time to work out the kinks, then you probably want to go kennel-less. But if you have a dog who is accident prone, thin skinned, or if you freak out at every cut and bruise, you probably would be better off in the more controlled kennel type.

What about the fact that some daycare's allow a dog to eliminate indoors?

Dogs are smart. If your dog is house-trained, you should not have any problem with them understanding the difference between eliminating at the kennel, and eliminating at home. If your dog is not house-trained this could be a problem for you. That said, sometimes when there is a social pack of dogs, a dog will eliminate in places he would not normally eliminate. He also might try that same thing at home (hey, you don't know until you try). It's okay, you might have to be a little more diligent at home. Remember, he has an image to uphold, at least that is what all the dogs say at the daycare.

Before you dog can go to the daycare, the dog daycare will do an evaluation. The most difficult part of an evaluation is that it actually takes a few weeks before a dogs' true pack personality shows. A dog could pass an evaluation, and an owner could be asked to remove the dog from daycare a few weeks later.

If you are thinking about taking your dog to daycare, ask the daycare questions. Can you hang out and observe? What do they do when there is a scuffle? Do they let the dogs bark all day? Is there quiet time? Do they have any kennels if they need them? How do they enforce the house rules? Water bottle? Clicker? Yelling?

Finally, your dog is a social animal, but like any social animal he is also going to need his space. I don't know about you, but I can only handle a crowd (even if it's MY crowd) for a period of time, and then I need some alone time. The daycare can be a wild and exhilarating place, but everyone needs a break.

If a dog daycare is not right for you, try a dog walking service. It gives your dog a chance to get fresh air, relieve himself, and get some exercise while you are away.

Kirsten Frisch has worked with sled dogs for over 10 years. She has handled dogs in Alaska for mid and long distance races such as the Copper Basin 300 and Yukon Quest 1000 mile race. Her background also includes Veterinary Technician, sled dog rescue and foster, dog trainer, and webmaster. You can learn more about Kirsten and sled dogs at

Kirsten Frisch - EzineArticles Expert Author

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