Post # 1
Hi dog-loving bees! I’ve had my puppy for a couple of months now and although I have had some time off my work is picking up again. I work from home some, but not always. My schedule is weird — I can have a whole week where I don’t work at all and then have a week with four or five 12-hour days away from home. Thus far I’ve only worked half days, and I’ve left the dog in the crate and a dog walker comes about at the halfway mark between my leaving and coming home. That’s working out okay, but the dog clearly doesn’t love it. Fiance works long hours, leaves around 7:45 and usually gets home between 7 and 8.
I hadn’t looked into doggy daycare because the dog trainer I consulted with when I got my pup (she’s also our puppy kindergarten teacher now) said “I don’t like doggy daycare–the little ones get exhausted and they learn bad habits. The crate and dog walker are better.” While I get what she is saying, I’ve come to the conclusion (with some help from a coworker who has dogs and does rescue so knows a decent amount about dogs) that doggy daycare might not be wrong for all dogs … and my dog might be one of the ones it is right for. We are talking about an attendance of 2-3 days a week max for my dog — not everyday.
So … I took little Lucky (18 weeks) for an evaluation at the doggy daycare near me today and she loved it there. The dogs aren’t in play group all day. They are crated until 10:30, then play for awhile, then have a crate nap/rest, then play again until 4pm and then are crated until pick up. The crate thing is actually good, in my opinion, as my dog likes her crate and it gives the dogs a break. They separate play groups by size/energy/temparament and are careful with puppies and always put the puppies together. The facility was great, the staff knowledgeable about dog behavior, and there are regular outdoor on-leash potty breaks. I think it is a good place as far as doggy daycare goes.
So … experienced dog owners … yay or nay on the doggy daycare and why? Thanks in advance!
Post # 2
Personally I’d not write off all doggy daycare “just because” — I think from the looks of your research, the place you found looks like a great option!
I recently had to get daytime care for my dog, and in doing so I actually found someone who comes and plays with my dog in our own back yard for a half hour. Sometimes they’ll bring other dogs, so I know she’s getting socialized. I much prefer this to a simple dog walker who basically takes them around the block with no stimulation, but we didn’t want to pay the expense of full on daycare. It may be another option for you to look for.
Post # 3
When I was single and couldn’t get home on lunch every day during the work week, I would send my dog 2 days to doggie daycare. She seemed freaked out at first, they would have to kind of force her into the back where all the dogs were and it broke my heart. After a week or 2 she seemed to like it, and it really tired her out. Then, she ended up getting really sick, like fever, wouldn’t eat, could barely walk. She caught some type of illness from the daycare and needed two antibiotics, the poor thing. After that, I never sent her back.
The daycare she went to got wonderful reviews but I just don’t think it was for her. I am sorry to give you a negative story. I would say it is certainly worth a try and if you know your dog well (which us dog lovers do) you will be able to gauge how much she is enjoying it. Good luck.
Post # 4
alamana: I have a long commute, so my puppy would have been left home alone 10+ hours each day. He was in doggy daycare two days after we brought him home (I took off the first day to get him acclimated) and did fantastic there! My Fiance has a weird schedule where he’s home some weekdays, but our little guy was in daycare 3-4 days a week for a few months. I think it was great for him because he learned from the other dogs that you go potty outside and had constant supervision. He’s also extraordinarily sociable with people and other dogs and I give doggy daycare most of the credit for that. Our little guy is 10 months old now and pretty well behaved. I strongly recommend daycare! If you’re in the U.S. you can often find good people to watch your pup on dogvacay.com. We found ours there and he’s amazing, plus it’s a lot less expensive than a daycare facility in my area.
Post # 5
But I can say that doggie daycare was a godsend for me when I had a dog as a single woman. It was nice to have a place that could groom, feed, walk, and provide adequate space and playtime for my pup while I was at work. A little warning though…just like when kids go to daycare and they run the risk of coming home with more colds, your pup is more susceptible to little annoyances like fleas so keep up with the Frontline applications and vet visits. Other than that, go for it!
Post # 6
I personally think it’s great to give dogs the chance to socialize with other dogs. I never found it had a negative impact on our dog….although he’s got a little napoleon complex, and was probably the Regina George of his daycare, sooo…
Post # 7
Two 3 year old German Shepards. They go to doggie daycare a couple times a month. They love it. We have not had any issues. We used to crate them but now they are kept in the house when we are not home. They just lay by the front door, Daycare has been better for them
Post # 8
Our 2 year old Boxer goes to daycare approx 2-3 days a month and we love it. Our daycare is similar in that they are crated in the morning, play, take a break, play and are crated from about 5 til pick-up. We don’t take him more often due to costs and his having a heart condition (I don’t want him running around like a maniac for hours for days on end). He’s gone home with a couple scratches once in awhile but nothing we ever needed a visit to the vet for. They’re also really vigilant about shots/flea medication so he’s never caught anything there. He LOVES it, he can tell when we’re driving there and gets so excited.
I don’t think he’s picked up any bad habits… he may think that all dogs want to play with him but he thought that long before daycare.
Post # 9
Like anything, there are good daycares and bad daycares. The one I use has a intake eval. they separate according to activity level/size/age. They require up to date vaccines/titers and it’s a pretty stable group so (I think) health risks, while present, are an acceptable risk. If you take them in to pet smart, or the dog park there are health risks as well. It’s schedule: roaming / playing in indoor playrooms and outdoor supervised fenced yard in the morning, lunch/naptime from ~1200 – 14:30. Back to the playrooms and yard. then Pick up for home.
They do get socialization. They get potty training reinforced (some daycares aren’t good about this). They get some training – mine has them trained to come in from outside as their names are called, so they don’t all crash the gate at once.
They will also board overnight, and when my dog needs to be boarded it gives me some reassurance that she likes where is.
My daycare posts daily facebook photos and videos of the dogs. Some have webcams where you can tune and watch.
My dog will start vocalizing excitement about a mile away from daycare in the mornings because she’s excited to get there. We went thru a phase when she was a pup where she didn’t want to come home in the evening. She does come home tired, and a tired dog is a good dog.
If it’s a “hands off” daycare I think they may come home with bad habits. But it’s been great for us.
Post # 10
I bring my dog to day care at least once a week. He gets out so much energy there and had not picked up any bad habits. It will be really good for with socialization too. Your dog will be much happier being able to play during the day than just stting at home in a crate.
Post # 11
This is all great to hear. I think I found a particularly good daycare (although it sure is expensive). They have private dog training there, too, which I might take advantage of (the dog is taken out for an hour or so during crate time to work with a dog trainer).
Post # 12
alamana: Extra training is great, but as you would if taking a class or using this private trainer, I would confirm that they only use postitive reinforcement training.
Post # 13
We love doggy daycare! There is a nice doggie bed and breakfast not far from our home and our dogs get so excited when we take them there. We send them there when we want to go on day trips or long weekends away from home. It has worked out beautifully.
Post # 14
fascinated: Oh yes, it is 100% positive.
Post # 15
I have had my dog in doggy day care since she was 16 weeks since both Fiance and I work longer hours and I did not love the idea of leaving her in her crate, plus she is a large breed dog and needed socialization. She absolutely loves it there and tries to run in every morning once I get her out of the car. She comes home tired, has made great friends there, the workers absolutely love her and look out for her, and I do not think she has picked up any bad habits. She has gotten Kennel Cough, but as a PP pointed out it is like daycare for kids, germs get passed around.
My dog has been out of doggy day care and at home for the past 2 weeks due to a surgery and is dying for some social interaction and dog interaction besides Fiance and myself. I know how excited she will be when she gets to go back on Friday.
Our Doggy Day Care has webcams so I can watch her interact wtih the dogs and check up on her all the time.