Do you have a timid dog or one who doesn’t seem to like other dogs, but you want to use a daycare service? This a common question we hear that deserves a responsible and fair answer; however, it is not the cut and dry answer we would like it to be. While every dog should be given consideration without jeopardizing the well-being of the handler or other dogs in the facility, it must be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Understand this begins with an open and frank conversation with a professional day care service.
We like to think we know our dogs best in any given situation. Truth be told, they are animals after all and will respond according to basic instinct in stressful situations where they are uncomfortable. As much as we might not want to hear this, experts in the field of canine behavior are ultimately a better unbiased opinion to trust rather than ourselves.
There are Do’s and Don’ts
Unforeseen mishaps can lead to a temporary, or even permanent dismissal from any day care program. These “red flags” are usually spotted and addressed during the behavioral screening. However, there are times when the unexpected can occur.
Don’t use a daycare if these 3 items apply to your dog:
- The Repeat Offender – These dogs bounce from daycare to daycare without resolving their behavioral problem. Initially, they seem improved or cured until something triggers the behavior. This is often seen in cases of separation anxiety.
- Dog Fights – Dogs will quarrel as a normal behavior without concern. Yet an unsocialized, timid, or mildly aggressive dog can easily be triggered and lash out as a result from over-stimulation that produces fear, anxiety and anxiousness. Strict management and supervision, training, and accommodations combined with proper facility planning greatly limits the risk.
- Increased Behavior – Dogs displaying special need behaviors are highly stimulation sensitive. The normal dog will usually handle changes with stride, undergoing minimal stress, while an unsocialized or timid dog can act out and even regress. Pay particular attention to increased symptoms and discuss them with your provider immediately.
Doggie day care has its advantages for unsocialized, overly anxious or timid dogs. Even the persnickety loner dog that doesn’t seem to like other dogs can benefit from a well balanced day care plan.
DO use a daycare if these factors will benefit your dog:
Stimulating Puzzles, Games and Exercise– Help distract and reduce pent up anxieties and fatigue.
Supervised Professional Socialization – Socializing with other select compatible dogs in a controlled environment with monitored stimulation.
Human Socialization – Dogs are naturally social creatures. Emergencies happen making it imperative to be human friendly.
Choosing daycare providers is an excellent idea and can be a wonderful addition to your dog’s life. But, it is important to remember daycare is not a sole source for training and behavior modification, socialization and exercise, as well as love and affection. You are the first and foremost responsible party to plan and manage an appropriate program for your dog.