Good Times: Tips for Making Sure Your Dog is a Good Doggy Daycare Playmate!
January 28, 2013
Doggy daycare is a great way to give your dog extra exercise, socialization, and freedom from boredom while you are away at work. There are a lot of dogs that enjoy doggy daycare and have a wonderful time. It can put stress off you knowing he’s not sitting at home alone all day, and it gives him the exercise he needs when you can’t. However, there are some dogs who just can’t handle the noisy rambunctious atmosphere, and that’s okay, too. Don’t force your dog to go if he’s not enjoying it. There are other options. There are certain things you can do to ensure that your dog has a great time and that he doesn’t annoy the other dogs or the people working there!
- Socialize! Socialize! Socialize!
You’ve got a new pup and that’s great. Now is the time to let him explore the world and meet as many new dogs and people as possible. By the time he’s four months old and he’s allowed at the daycare facility, he should have seen and played with as many healthy, friendly dogs as possible! He should have already met at least 100 new people and been to many new places. Do not make his first doggy daycare experience also the first time he’s seen or played with another dog since his litter mates, or the first time he’s been away from your side. This can have disastrous consequences that could require training with a professional to overcome fear issues. Better to prevent than to fix later!
- Teach Him his Name!
Most dogs will pick this up just through your everyday routine, but you’d be surprised the number of dogs who don’t. Sometimes it’s not that they don’t know they’re name, they just don’t respond to it. This is one of the easiest behaviors to train. Just say "Fido" and when he turns his head to look at you say “yes” and give him a tasty treat. Once he responds to this cue 90% of the time, start to give him rewards randomly. In no time, you’ll have a dog that will look at you any time you say his name. Now, whenever the person working in the play group needs to get your dog’s attention for any reason, they can.
- Leave it, Drop it!
There are items everywhere your dog shouldn’t get, even at a doggy daycare. Dogs can get a hold of boarding tags, dog collars, pens that fall on the floor, or tennis balls. A solid "drop it" cue and the person working there can retrieve the item without having to chase your dog around the play yard. I know it’s gross to think about, but some dogs love to eat poop, and some love to lick up puke. Disgusting, I know! You don’t want to give your dog a kiss after that, so teach a good "leave it" cue! Then, the person in the room simply has to say "leave it," and your dog will. Crisis averted. Feel free to get some doggy kisses when you pick him up.
- Kennels are for Relaxing
Some doggy daycare facilities require a "nap time," or maybe your dog is getting too excited and needs a break. Sometimes, dogs play too rough get hurt and require a time in a kennel or "suite." Teach your dog that being in a kennel or room alone is okay and nothing to stress over. This will make boarding easier if you ever have the need and your dog won't be stressed if the need to take him out of the group arises.
- Basic Cues for Better Behavior
A good understanding of the basic cues of dog training make any dog easier to handle in a group situation. Teaching your dog sit, down, stay, etc. will always help in any situation!
Doggy daycare can be a great time for your dogs. Be sure to talk with the staff and make sure your dog is enjoying it. Ask the staff to be specific, remember it’s a business so be sure the facility has your dog’s best interest in mind and not the money you bring in. I always tell people doggy daycare is like going to a rock concert. It’s fun for sure, but may not be for every dog, and don’t overdo it!