If you've taken your dog to a doggy daycare centre before, then you probably dropped them off happy believing that they get to play with friends all day which is much more fun for them than being at home by themselves. All dogs love being in the company of other dogs right? It's just what they naturally do. WRONG! Dogs, like children, are not all the same and they're not all suited to the daycare centre set up. In fact, for many it's really damaging to their behavioural health. We look at the common myths dog owners hold about daycare centres and why you should think twice about whether this is the best pet care solution for your dog. It's a mistake to think that dogs will enjoy the company of other dogs simply because they are a dog. Like us humans, a dog's sociability lies on a scale - some are incredibly social and others are less so. This changes throughout their life too, just because they start off loving all other dogs, doesn't mean they always will. Most puppies are extremely sociable while they are learning how to behave, but that does not mean they are suitable for daycare, in fact, the opposite is true: "A puppy in particular could have its development hampered at daycare leading to mental and behavioural problems, especially if they are unable to get enough sleep. The mental development and sheer volume of stimulus they face daily through all the other things they are learning takes its toll. There is the potential to get over excited and not pick up on other dog's body language. These sort of areas need an experienced supervisor on puppy behaviour on hand and need to be well managed so that these pups do not end up coming away with behavioural problems around other dogs after learning bad habits from each other." - Sophie Baldwin, WLP Stroud Director Vet Nurse Chelsey Wheeler adds that puppies are also physically at risk from being in a daycare centre: "Puppies have fragile and under developed bones and over exercise has been shown to have long term effects on bone and joint disease. Studies have shown that these bones are not fully formed in many breeds until they are 15-18 months old and too much stress on their joints until this point can increase risks of arthritis, cruciate disease and hip/elbow dysplasia." You have to question whether daycare centres accepting puppies under 6 months old are really thinking about what is best for the dog. For adults, it's very rare to find dogs that get on with any dog. The dogs who get on with most other dogs are the ones who were properly socialised when they were young and tend to be very good communicators. They will correct obnoxious behaviour appropriately when they see it. Other dogs are more choosy and need help from owners or handlers when they are in the company of unfamiliar dogs. These dogs have preferences and will only make playmates with a certain play style or energy. They don't take well to rude behaviour and prefer to be in smaller groups. Even though they are not aggressive, these dogs still require constant supervision and when you have areas of 15, 20 dogs or more all frolicking around together, this can be impossible to manage in a daycare setting.
MYTH - All dogs are social and therefore will love an environment where they get to be around dogs all day long.
If you've taken your dog to a doggy daycare centre before, then you probably dropped them off happy believing that they get to play with friends all day which is much more fun for them than being at home by themselves. All dogs love being in the company of other dogs right? It's just what they naturally do. WRONG! Dogs, like children, are not all the same and they're not all suited to the daycare centre set up. In fact, for many it's really damaging to their behavioural health. We look at the common myths dog owners hold about daycare centres and why you should think twice about whether this is the best pet care solution for your dog.
It's a mistake to think that dogs will enjoy the company of other dogs simply because they are a dog. Like us humans, a dog's sociability lies on a scale - some are incredibly social and others are less so. This changes throughout their life too, just because they start off loving all other dogs, doesn't mean they always will. Most puppies are extremely sociable while they are learning how to behave, but that does not mean they are suitable for daycare, in fact, the opposite is true:
"A puppy in particular could have its development hampered at daycare leading to mental and behavioural problems, especially if they are unable to get enough sleep. The mental development and sheer volume of stimulus they face daily through all the other things they are learning takes its toll. There is the potential to get over excited and not pick up on other dog's body language. These sort of areas need an experienced supervisor on puppy behaviour on hand and need to be well managed so that these pups do not end up coming away with behavioural problems around other dogs after learning bad habits from each other." - Sophie Baldwin, WLP Stroud Director
Vet Nurse Chelsey Wheeler adds that puppies are also physically at risk from being in a daycare centre:
"Puppies have fragile and under developed bones and over exercise has been shown to have long term effects on bone and joint disease. Studies have shown that these bones are not fully formed in many breeds until they are 15-18 months old and too much stress on their joints until this point can increase risks of arthritis, cruciate disease and hip/elbow dysplasia."
You have to question whether daycare centres accepting puppies under 6 months old are really thinking about what is best for the dog.
For adults, it's very rare to find dogs that get on with any dog. The dogs who get on with most other dogs are the ones who were properly socialised when they were young and tend to be very good communicators. They will correct obnoxious behaviour appropriately when they see it. Other dogs are more choosy and need help from owners or handlers when they are in the company of unfamiliar dogs. These dogs have preferences and will only make playmates with a certain play style or energy. They don't take well to rude behaviour and prefer to be in smaller groups. Even though they are not aggressive, these dogs still require constant supervision and when you have areas of 15, 20 dogs or more all frolicking around together, this can be impossible to manage in a daycare setting.
Dogs that are not suitable for daycare at all will be those who don't enjoy the company of unknown dogs and tend to snap at other dogs to leave them alone:
"Some dogs just don't like to socialise with other dogs for various reasons, some breeds are not bred for social interactions with other dogs but more specifically for working conditions. This can be stressful for them. Mixing large and small breeds not only runs the risk of injury to smaller breeds but can be very intimidating and stressful for small dogs." - Chelsey Wheeler
When you consider the different individual personalities and breed character traits that would need to coexist in a daycare environment, you can start to see how the dynamics of what is going on are a lot more complex than it would first appear.
MYTH - The pack regulates behaviour.
This could not be further from the truth. Certain breeds and personalities give off a bit more nervous energy and attract the wrong kind of attention from other dogs in the daycare pack. On the other end of the scale, other breeds will naturally be a lot more independent and therefore harder to manage in the company of the nervous dogs they want to dominate. Then you have a group of dogs in the middle who outside of the pack were neither dominate nor submissive. Guess what happens to them? When they see dominating behaviour go unchallenged, they follow suit and will chase or intimidate the nervous dogs:
“Like in all school playgrounds there is often a 'bully' or one that will get over excited and wind other dogs up. People talk about a well balanced or behaved dog being 'dog neutral'. This type of dog will not normally view all other dogs as its own source of entertainment but put them in a pack situation and this overexcitability could escalate quickly into something more serious with other dogs beginning to pick sides." Sophie Baldwin, WLP Stroud Director
Packs create divisions. They don't unite dogs as we are led to believe. What should not happen is that the daycare centre is used as a 'treatment' centre for a dog that has any type of fear with other dogs or separation anxiety. This needs to be addressed in the home environment first. Dogs who are already nervous stand to suffer much more in an environment with lots of other dogs.
Daycare centres may differ in their set ups and many have separate rooms where dogs of a similar personality are grouped together, however, there are some behaviours that naturally arise from having large numbers of dogs together and would be tough to contend with, no matter how well staffed they are. These include: aggressive herding, fear, aggression, pestering, excessive barking and humping.
MYTH - There's no dog fighting at daycare.
We wish this were true but the daycare centre set up makes it very difficult to monitor so many dogs at once. This carries the same risks as pack walking, but with even less control.
How do the centres control feeding schedules, amounts and types of food? Ask them to explain this to you. Some dogs do not like to eat around other dogs/people which can cause increased stress:
"Resource guarding in particular can, and will, result in fights over toys and food. This can translate to the home environment too if they are constantly fighting during the day they will feel the need to do so at home." - Chelsey Wheeler, Vet Nurse
There's also a risk of injury due to play in an uncontrolled environment. Fights are more likely to break out and pack mentality set in where dogs team up on individuals.
MYTH - If my dog fails the trial there's something wrong with him.
All dog centres should be willing to give your dog a free trial session before accepting a booking. This is when they assess your dog to see how they would fit into the pack environment and which, if any, of the existing groups they could join. For some, discomfort with other dogs could spark aggression and for others, it might be that they they seem stressed in a group setting.
With this information, daycare centres will evaluate whether they have the knowledge and competency of staff or particular set up to deal with the dog's needs. If your dog doesn't 'pass' the test, it doesn't mean that there is anything innately wrong with them or their behaviour, they simply don't suit that particular environment and are probably better off staying a home and having pet visits or a dog walker.
MYTH - Photos the centre puts on Facebook show that my dog is having fun.
Many daycare centres upload photos at the end of each day so that owners can check in and see how much fun their dog is having. This is particularly reassuring because it appears to confirm everything you already thought about the experience your dog is having. But look a bit more closely. Are your dogs ears or tail down? Are they on their own? Do they look like they're being chased rather than played with? Is your dog missing from the photos? How many dogs can you see in one room? Are they doing something you wouldn't expect them to do at home? Remember that the photos don't tell the whole story and if you see something that doesn't look quite right, you should question it.
MYTH - My dog comes home exhausted so he must have had a great day!
Owners often assume that an exhausted dog is a happy dog. But an exhausted dog could also be an irritated or stressed dog. Their emotional and behavioural wellbeing is just as important as their physical wellbeing. If your dog is one of those that is getting picked on by the pack then the sheer exhaustion they suffer from avoiding confrontation all day will see them come home absolutely pooped. You won't know whether they are genuinely tired or genuinely terrified.
MYTH - My dog get so much exercise at daycare he doesn't need a walk.
If your dog comes home too tired for a walk and you've been at work all day, it's easy to just let it go. Obviously he doesn't need a walk, he's knackered! Wrong! A dog's walk is just as much about smelling and investigating new things as it is addressing their physical needs. Being able to have that mental stimulation, without several dogs being around them, is incredibly important.
MYTH - My dog's social skills will improve at daycare.
As discussed earlier, your dog's social skills are to some extent, already determined by their personality, previous socialisation and breed traits. Dogs that have a more nervous or worried personality might go unnoticed by daycare staff because they are not causing any issues. These dogs tend to slip under the radar while their stress is increasing with every visit. Being in that state of mind can cause long-lasting behavioural issues and affect your dog's health long term.
MYTH - Daycare centres are checked and regulated by the authorities.
Unfortunately they are not! It's shocking to think that institutions responsible for dog safety and welfare are not subject to inspection or regulation. We don't question that those who own and work in daycare centres love dogs and are interested in promoting welfare, but as it stands, there is no legislation that stipulates the minimum acceptable conditions or safe management of daycare centres - only best practice.
MYTH - My dog will go off to sleep when he's tired.
If your dog normally takes naps at home during the day then ask how they might continue that routine at a daycare centre. Will they be separated from the group to go to a crate or kennel? Your dog shouldn't be running around for up to 10 hours straight. There should be designated quiet areas for dogs to go and relax. But is that enough?
"Can they really ever truly rest when in a room with a group of other dogs? I doubt they will all be asleep at the same time and whenever one is aroused by something it will most likely wake all the other dogs up to find out what is going on - there you have continual broken sleep!" - Sophie Baldwin, WLP Stroud Director
How much sleep does a dog need? Puppies up to 6 months old need up to 20 hours a day (at least 2 hours or so in a day with lots of sporadic naps throughout the day plus their long sleep at night). Adult dogs need 12- 14 hours a day.
If a daycare centre says it's kennel or crate free, you have to ask where can your dog go for quiet time and a much needed rest? Look at the centre's website for any descriptions of daily play and rest schedules and if it's absent, call them and ask.
MYTH - Daycare staff are all pet first aid trained and professional trained in dog handling and canine behaviour.
The expertise of daycare staff will vary enormously from centre to centre. Look closely at the information provided on the website. If there are any staff profiles available, check their credentials. Are they qualified in reading canine behaviour? Have they got a background in behaviour training? Are they educated in animal science? Do they know pet first aid? Because daycare centres are not regulated, there are no legal stipulations on staff qualifications. Anyone, in theory, can set up a daycare centre without any relevant qualifications.
MYTH - Daycare centres are really transparent about their staff to dog ratio.
This varies and again, there is no legally enforceable ratio similar to those in place for nursery staff and children. You could have anywhere from 3 to 23 dogs all sharing the same space with very few members of staff supervising. Furthermore, it's prudent to find out what handling techniques they use, what their procedures are for introducing new dogs to a group and how they decide which dogs go into which groups. What access do the dogs have to outside space? If this information is not freely available online, then ask in person and judge whether you are satisfied with the answers provided.
MYTH - Daycare is the best solution for people who work full-time.
Daycare is not necessarily the best option for your dog and their temperament and it's certainly not the only pet care option available to you if you work long hours. There are plenty of other ways to provide exercise, companionship, and play for your dog while you're not there.
Dogs who are nervous, who don't like the company of other dogs and who haven't enjoyed daycare settings previously might be better off with dog visits and a dog walker instead. Read our guide for 23 questions you should ask a dog walker to find the right fit for you and read what dog visits entail here. Our daycare option is home-based in the company of up to 2 other dogs, no more. If you're worried about puppies being alone all day, puppy visits are the solution - not daycare.
To find out more about the pet care services we offer
See our Services
The Benefits of Doggy Daycare
Mental stimulation, exercise, and engagement are the primary reasons many guardians drop off their dogs at daycare. For dogs that struggle to be alone with destructive behaviors like barking or chewing, daycare can be a great option as you work on teaching your dog more appropriate skills.
In both cases, dogs tend to be outwardly sad and depressed at daycare. Sometimes, the dog becomes insecure because the alpha pack leader of the family is now absent, leaving the dog in limbo and causing the dog to be frustrated and more aggressive at daycare.
Stick to no more than three days per week, and make sure you allot time to walk, train and play with your dog as well.
Chances are, if you chose to take your dog to a dog park, daycare, or group play boarding facility, they are going to get some sort of communicable illness. Probably the cough, but things like puppy warts and giardia are also things that are seen in animals that have close contact with one another.
- They perk up when you mention going to day care.
- They're excited in the morning when it's time to leave the house.
- They seem calm or excited when entering the day care facility.
- They respond positively to the staff at the day care facility.
Why is my dog so tired after daycare? Your dog may be tired and worn out when they get home. Dogs in daycare don't often take breaks from running and playing. While we do offer hour long nap rotations in the middle of the day; the dogs will still need some extra sleep at home.
Research suggests that dogs do miss their owners when boarded in kennels. There have been multiple studies to see how dogs react when their owners leave, and all point to changes in the dog's behavior. However, don't let that put you off putting your dog into boarding kennels.
Most times, your dog's tears represent happiness and excitement in their life. Most dogs spend all day alone while their owners are going about their day or at work, so any time and energy spent around their owners are going to be the highlight of their day.
Dogs Can Make Friends At Doggie Daycare
Many customers work full time and don't want to leave their dogs home alone. “I've seen dogs form friendships and relationships in their play groups, and they actually seek each other out when they come in the door,” explains Hounds Town USA founder Mike Gould.
A reactive dog is one who behaves inappropriately (in our eyes) to a particular situation or a stimulus. If your dog is aggressive to other dogs, hates strangers or copes badly with certain situations, dog trainers would potentially describe them as a reactive dog.
Signs of Kennel Cough in Dogs
The primary symptom of kennel cough is a non-productive and persistent dry cough. It usually sounds like a goose honk or as if something is stuck in your dog's throat. Runny nose, sneezing, lack of energy, decreased appetite, and mild fever are other symptoms.
Do I have to worry about my dog getting sick at daycare or while boarding? Kennel cough is the doggie equivalent of a human cold. Germs can spread any time dogs come into contact with each other, or through the very air. Like kids at a daycare, dogs will come home with an occasional cold or tummy bug.
In fact, little diarrhea in the first 48 hours after returning home is actually very normal and is often simply due to the excitement that your dog feels about coming back to an environment and people that he loves. You may even notice a little mucus or blood in his bowel movements.
Some of the signs of parvovirus include lethargy; loss of appetite; abdominal pain and bloating; fever or low body temperature (hypothermia); vomiting; and severe, often bloody, diarrhea. Persistent vomiting and diarrhea can cause rapid dehydration, and damage to the intestines and immune system can cause septic shock.
If your dog doesn't like daycare, he will likely have a negative reaction, such as whining, not wanting to get out of the car, or hanging his head and tucking his tail.
A dog who is dog tolerant can also do well in a daycare environment. They get along with most other dogs and tend to be more subdued in their excitement levels. Many adult dogs who were properly socialized and have had positive canine interactions as young puppies settle into this category.
Dogs will bark to get your attention. Sometimes they are letting you know they want something, like a treat, to go outside or they want to play. Sometimes they just want your attention and are trying to get it in a way they know how.
One or two 2 hour naps are not sufficient to provide enough rest and recovery between play sessions in the long term. A full 24 hours is good. 72 hours is even better. Dogs sleep for 12-18 hours a day.
If a dog has been abandoned in the past, he may lash out due to fear when the owner or primary care giver is not around. Fear of physical harm: One of the more common causes of fear-based aggression is a traumatic episode in early life—such as being jumped by another dog.
- Gets Overexcited.
- Loses Self Control.
- Has Health Issues. If you notice a difference in the way, they move or breathe, this could be an indicator of a health issue brought on by overtiredness. ...
- Loses Interest.
- Yawns A Lot.
- Forgets Commands.
- Lays Down.
- Gets The Zoomies.
The study found that dogs did, indeed, react differently when their owner had been gone for a long time compared to a shorter period of time. An owner gone for two hours elicited much more tail wagging, face licking, and excitement compared to the owner being away for only thirty minutes.
It's not unusual for dogs to grieve the loss of a person they've bonded with who is no longer present. While they might not understand the full extent of human absence, dogs do understand the emotional feeling of missing someone who's no longer a part of their daily lives.
We get asked this question all the time! Please rest assured that your dog has clean water available 24 hours a day. Some dogs don't drink as much while in daycare due to the extra amount of mental and physical stimulation they experience.
Licking is a natural and instinctive behaviour to dogs. For them it's a way of grooming, bonding, and expressing themselves. Your dog may lick you to say they love you, to get your attention, to help soothe themselves if they're stressed, to show empathy or because you taste good to them!
Dogs also have associated memory which mean they can in fact remember people based on their experiences associated with them. Your dog may have a memory of you leaving the house and due to the strong positive association with you mean they'll celebrate when you get home.
If your dog follows you everywhere then it's a sign that they trust and love you and that you make them feel safe. Following you very closely can be a sign that they're bored, they want something, they're feeling scared or are just being nosy.
Should you alpha roll your dog? No. Alpha rolls are a debunked and dangerous training technique, which do not accomplish any training goals and have been shown to increase a dog's aggressive behaviors.
- Try and Ease Your Dog into It. ...
- Take a Comfort Toy in from Home. ...
- Speak to Your Veterinarian in Denton, TX about Medications and Anti-Anxiety Tools. ...
- Ensure Your Chosen Boarding Service Can Offer Plenty of Physical and Mental Stimulation.
Walk your dog during “slow” times of the day, rather than when everyone else is out and about. Keep your dog close to you when passing others, turning corners, and going through doors. Leave your dog alone while she's eating if she's aggressive around her food.
Rough Collies are the most aggressive dog breed, a new study of more than 9,000 pets has found.
Dog growling is simply a method of communication – it's your dog trying to tell you something. Dogs growl to communicate lots of different things, from fear and aggression to encouraging play.
Is training an aggressive dog possible? Yes. Aggression in dogs, whether it be toward a dog's owner or other dogs, is a serious behavior that should be adjusted with the help of a professional dog trainer.
Here are some of the most common behavioral indicators that your dog isn't fully socialized. Fearful behavior when around strangers and/or other dogs. Behaviors might include flattened ears, lip licking, yawning, cowering, avoiding eye contact, and tail tucked between the legs.
- Take a different route. ...
- Learn to recognise how your dog is feeling. ...
- Keep moving on the walk. ...
- Distract your dog through training. ...
- Teach your dog to pay attention to you. ...
- Take your dog to a training class.
To stop your dog from barking at strangers, let it bark 3-4 times, then stand over it and calmly give it the command, “Quiet.” Go to your dog and gently hold its muzzle closed with your hand and say “Quiet” again, then release its muzzle and step back.
Conclusion. A dog coughing like something is stuck in their throat is usually caused by kennel cough, a highly contagious but also usually self-limiting infection. This is generally not a cause of big concern in dogs that do not present other symptoms.
Kennel cough is caused by a number of bacteria and viruses. Most of them can't be passed on to humans. The main bacteria (Bordetella bronchiseptica) can infect humans, but only those with weakened immune systems. Even then, it's very rare.
Signs of heartworm disease may include a mild persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss. As heartworm disease progresses, pets may develop heart failure and the appearance of a swollen belly due to excess fluid in the abdomen.
YES! Dogs can catch a stomach virus just like you and me. In the veterinary field, this illness is called viral gastroenteritis. In fact, not only have dogs been found to suffer from this universal malady, there's also been a lot of discussion in the medical field of humans being able to pass it on to their dogs.
Many times when you reunite with your dog after being away they can get very excited, bouncy, and overstimulated causing them to be extra thirsty when they get home. Also, if your dog is active in daycare or private plays, it can be a very physical workout.
Scientists agree too, with 2019 research suggesting that dogs have the cognitive and emotional capacity to hold a grudge. An alternative reason for your dog ignoring you after boarding can be to do with stress. Boarding kennel stress afflicts many dogs in the short-term, with them being anxious due to their stay.
Kennel nose is a phrase used to describe minor abrasions on a dog's nose after rubbing it against a surface. It's referred to as kennel nose due to the fact that many dogs acquire this injury during their time away from home, often at a kennel or boarding facility. What is this?
So as scary as it sounds, vaccinated dogs can still get parvo, though it's highly unlikely. You should still get your dog vaccinated for it since parvovirus is a serious, scary and life-threatening disease, and the vaccine is normally incredibly effective.
Can vaccinated dogs carry parvo? The act of vaccinating your dog does not make him a carrier of parvo. However, any dog or object that comes into contact with the shedding virus can be carrying parvo. Example: A vaccinated dog steps in a pile of feces contaminated with parvo.
– Parvovirus, the highly contagious, and potentially deadly, virus which attacks the dog's gastrointestinal tract, has the highest prevalence in New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, Arizona and Mississippi.
The PDSA says dogs shouldn't be left alone on a regular basis for more than four hours. Modern Dog Magazine says crated dogs shouldn't be left home alone for more than three or four hours. PAWS Chicago, a nonprofit no-kill shelter, says five to six hours is the max for an adult dog.
Should you alpha roll your dog? No. Alpha rolls are a debunked and dangerous training technique, which do not accomplish any training goals and have been shown to increase a dog's aggressive behaviors.
Your options include:
- Popping home in your breaks;
- Having a friend or neighbor called in;
- Employing a dog walker or puppy sitter to drop by;
- Leaving pup with a friend;
- Doggie daycare.
- Take Your Dog Out to Observe Other Dogs. Go to a dog park but don't go in. ...
- Resist Tugging While Walking. ...
- Go to Dog Training Classes. ...
- Ignore Your Dog's Unwanted Behaviors. ...
- Act Like Everything is Normal When He Acts Out. ...
- Introduce People Slowly. ...
- Read more dog training tips on Dogster.com: