Taking your puppy to Doggy daycare is a choice you have as a modern pet parent – but is it the right one?
I want to be talking to you guys about your puppy and daycare, because it’s one of those subjects that comes up a lot. And it’s a real grey area that I think you guys need some guidance on.
So some of the questions I get asked very, very often are things like:
- What age can my puppy go to daycare
- Will it be goof for my puppy?
- Will it help with socialisation?
And the answers to these questions are quite in depth. But they kind of simmer down to a similar rebuttle:
It depends on how good the daycare is.
This will cover all of those things and give you hopefully, all the answers you need about taking your puppy to daycare.
Not all daycares are made equal! I am aiming to not diminish the efforts of pet professionals, but inform new puppy parents about their choices and decisions! This is aimed to help puppy parents to sort the wheat from the chaff.
The Dog Kicked Out Of Daycare…
I want you guys to learn from what I did, what I should have done. And what I’ve learned since having helped quite a few dogs to overcome problems with daycare, or that daycare has instilled because we’ve all heard of that dog that’s been kicked out of daycare, right?
And you just don’t want that dog.
These things can all be avoided.
And again? It boils down to finding the right daycare provider.
I’m going to set this up with a little bit of your questions are from sort of commonly asked questions as well as ones that I’ve actually got from the people in my on my social networks and clients of mine. So then we’re going to go into talking a little bit about how we actually find a really great daycare.
How Old Does My Puppy Need To Be Before They Go To Daycare?
Well, this is really, really subjective question. And to be very, very honest, it depends on your puppy. Your puppy may not be the same as somebody else’s puppy and almost actually certainly won’t be the same as somebody else’s puppy.
I want you to encourage yourself to think about here is “is my puppy confident enough to deal with this?” or “Is my puppy too confident for daycare?”
And confidence again, same with people right is a very subjective thing.
Some dogs are very gregarious, some dogs are very out there and outgoing and they really love to be the centre of attention. Other dogs are much more shy, much more reserved, and they may not enjoy. They care. So yeah, try and think about that.
I would much rather that you focus, certainly with to be honest with all dogs. But puppy, I mean, obviously puppies. I want your puppies to enjoy this experience. I want your puppies to come out of this going. Yeah, we did the right thing. And if you don’t feel confident that your daycare is going to provide that don’t go is kind of the bottom line.
As a reminder, daycare means that you’re giving your puppy to somebody else to cover that for you without you.
Just because they work with dogs all day, every day, does not mean they know more about your puppy than you. Okay, and that’s really important.
I realise that’s not like a definitive answer, but that’s probably the best answer I can give.
If you want to discuss it with me, by all means give me a shout particularly if you’re one of my one of my puppy parents.
Does my Puppy Need To Be Vaccinated To Go To Daycare?
You know when you go to school or you go to college or you go to a new mixing of new people, and then everybody gets sick?
Same a daycare because you have all sorts of different families, all sorts of different routines, all sorts of different parks being used. It means that when they go to daycare and they spend however many hours in one place in one general location using X amount of water bowls, using X amount of sofas, are coming in contact with various objects that are all the same.
It means that if any one dog gets something, it spreads like wildfire, okay, so do make sure they they are up to date on their vaccinations.
Normally, your daycare will check. Normally they will make you sign a thing to say I agree that my dog is being kept up to date with all my with all his or her vaccinations, blah, blah, blah.
This post has been mainly AI Generated from the video below! If you notice any weird phrasing?
Ping me an email and let me know, because I clearly missed it when editing!
But I would also in, ensure that you talk to your vet about the optional vaccines, such as kennel cough, because that’s like a plague.
That also goes for fleas. So do make sure they are up to date the whole time on their flea and tick medication. Because again, you don’t want to be that puppy parent that brings the fleas into this is not very nice as it is more socially responsible.
Will Doggy Daycare Help My Dog Or Puppy With Socialisation?
Do they get socialised?
Yes, they absolutely do.
However, I think I’ve said before, but it’s very easy to do socialisation, wrong.
Socialisation is one of those things that is tough actually, to get right. So entrusting that to somebody else who may not be quite as diligent as you are, is a risk. Let’s say that way.
We know that socialisation, particularly amongst dogs, we want to make sure that all of their interactions are about quality, not quantity. And in daycare, you’re definitely going to get a lot of quantity, which would be great, provided they are all quality interactions.
From a lot of my experience with daycares, and like I look at some pictures on life I follow. I go through these sort of almost masochistic phases of following daycares on Instagram, and they post up these these pictures and I just sit there and analyse every dog in that picture and go stressed, over aroused, scared, doesn’t want to be there.
You can read it on the dogs when you know the body language.
But not everybody who works in daycare is a body language expert. Body language is very, very easy thing to miss. And I mean, really, really easy to miss. You’ve not you’ve got to know hundreds of breeds, because every breed is different. You’ve got to notice things that are a split second, and a mean split second, that like the signals that a dog might give that they are uncomfortable might happen only for like, half a second. You’ve got to be watching.
The daycare have got a real pickle on their hands. It’s a real challenge!
When we talk about socialisation, because we want interactions to come by, like I said, they have to come off positive time after time after time to ensure that we come out with a confident, balanced dog.
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How To Find A Great Daycare
All in all? It’s very, very dependent on the daycare itself – the way they teach their staff to the beliefs they hold about dogs. Which is why that question leads really nicely into how do we find a great daycare?
The first thing I want you to look at is your goals.
What Are You Aiming For Daycare To Achieve?
Your goals for daycare, is really, really important.
Do you want them to go there specifically for socialisation? If so, is there a better way that you can achieve that goal with more reliable results and control?
Secondly, do you want them to go there to give you some free time, if that is the case, do not feel bad about this because dogs are intense. And particularly if you’re say, raising your dog yourself, or your dogs plural, yourself, by your by your on your own, it can be an incredibly intense experience. And sometimes you just need a break.
Doesn’t matter how much you love them. Sometimes you just need a few hours to watch a movie. Eat your lunch without seeing your pup drooling! I mean, don’t get me wrong, you can train all of this. But sometimes while you’re in the process of training, you need time to decompress too.
Decompression is not just for dogs decompression is for people too.
So if you do need time away from your dog, don’t feel bad about that there is a great reason to use daycare.
Do you just want to back up? Do you want somebody that can cover your dog for you when you are able to and you just want to ensure that they’ve already got that relationship with said person.
It’s what I used to use in the UK with nd because it was so much easier for me to be able to drop him off, and then pick them up and bring him home. It gave me the space I needed to, you know, either work, do housework, or whatever.
Maybe you just need it while you’re going to work in which case, you know, take care is a wonderful option for that.
How Long Should They Go For?
Start with shorter periods and build up is my very best advice here!
What Types Of Daycare Are there?
The different types of daycare depends mainly on the environment.
- Home Environment
- Indoor (Warehouse or barn style)
- Outdoor (Usually hikes)
So Indie’s these old daycare, which was fabulous, was a home environment. So it was literally done in somebody’s house. And it was also because it meant that a lot of the training crossed over it meant a lot of the it just it was a much smaller environment. There was a lot less dogs there was a lot more personal attention paid to him, which went in is an awkward little muffin.
when he is awkward that that’s very, very useful, because he he had his own little requirements. And they knew him on an individual basis, the staff didn’t change day to day. So it meant that they could get a really great bond, they understood him, he understood them and it just worked.
Then you’ve got sort of indoor daycares. So like a generic one. And they can be like a warehouse or sometimes like a barn environment. And they can be quite, they can be quite fun. But the only thing I would encourage you to think about if it is a big, roomy environment, is whether your puppy is going to get cold.
In environments like that, when dogs running around a lot, and they expend a lot of energy, it becomes very difficult them for them to monitor their own temperature. So like the homeostatic systems in the body, can’t bring them back to normal.
So it means that they can actually get chilly, really, really quick. In that sort of environment, which is a really quirky thing, and it’s not something many people consider. And then you’ve got like outdoor daycare.
You’ve actually got people that will take your dog on like an all day walk or all day hike, and that one’s not going to be suitable for puppies. So please do try and avoid that if you are looking for a place for your pup.
My final words on this is that getting a good daycare, I know that I’ve put in a lot of stuff that says it’s going to be tough. I know that I’ve said that they are like a diamond in the rough. And sometimes finding them is is like takes time. It takes patience. But it is totally doable. Okay, you can find a fantastic daycare they are out there.
They are just hard to find. Make sure you check documentation so that you don’t just take their word that they’ve got these things because the word of stranger is the word of stranger. And when it comes down to your dog, they show a bit of diligence is is worthwhile. Please be picky is kind of the bottom line.
Let’s face it, if you’ve invested all this time, all this effort in your puppy so far, don’t blow it all away with a really rubbish daycare.
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Author, Ali Smith
Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.
Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ best pet blog!