Should I Take My Dog To A Daycare | Good Idea or Not

Should I take my dog to a daycare, is that the right answer for me and my dog?

There are many things you want to consider before deciding if this is the right decision for your dog. Did you just get a new dog recently? Are you tossing around the idea of taking your dog to a daycare.  Everyone has to go to work, some of us get to work from home, but for most of us it means leaving our house.  Routinely it can be an 8 hr day away sometimes even 9 or 10.

should i take my dog to daycare
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Well now what are you going to do with that new puppy or new dog that you just got.  We all know that you can’t leave that dog in a kennel or alone in the house for that long, especially if it is a puppy.

The great thing about owning a dog these days, is we have options.  One of those options is dog daycare.

Don’t rush a puppy to daycare

Puppies when we first get them have had limited socialization.  Yes they have had time with their litter mates and maybe even some extra socializing to get them ready to be adopted.

In the overall scheme of things though, they still haven’t had as much as they could.  Well thinking about taking them to daycare may seem like the perfect solution.  But honestly that may not be the best decision.

puppy daycare

Taking your dog to daycare can be to intense and just too much socialization at once.  Your dog can become overwhelmed with all the action and even become scared.  They can get skiddish and unsure how to properly behave.

Any type of daycare can be a high energy situation.  From the moment you get there it is go go go.  Constant playing, running, wrestling and overall high energy.  This high level of energy can be extremely hard on a puppy.  Just like young children, they are still growing and still require much more sleep than an adult dog.  On average a puppy sleeps 12-14 hours per day.

If they are at daycare, they will not be getting the right amount of rest and naps that they need.  Yes some daycare’s do allow kennels and nap time, but I am hesitant to think that it still isn’t as restful for the dogs like being at home.

When a puppy doesn’t get enough rest, they are far more susceptible to getting sick or even injured.  Let’s not forget the size of a puppy, they are much smaller than a full-grown size dog.  It is easy enough to imagine a small dog amongst a group of much larger very excited dogs.  They can certainly steam roll a puppy pretty quickly.  It can happen in the blink of an eye.

Your puppy could even be injured and cost you a trip to the vet.

A puppy can also easily become manipulated or inadvertently copy another dog’s behavior like mimicking them.  The problem with this is that what if that dog is behaving badly and your puppy picks up on it.  You then will have a puppy that has developed bad manners or behavior that can be tough to deal with.

We always want to make sure that we give our puppies the best training and the best experiences when they are young to help them develop in a positive way.  Setting them up for successful behavior.

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Personality

We have talked a lot about puppies and daycare’s, but what about adult dogs.  Well when it comes to adult dogs, obviously there are many of the problems with puppies that you just don’t think that you have to worry about.

Even though the dog maybe used to being socialized throughout their life, a daycare that has a lot of dogs all at once can still be overwhelming to a dog of any age.  Something that I think makes a huge difference on whether daycare’s are a good idea for your dog, must come from you.  What I mean by that is you know your dog best.

You see how they react around chaos, excitement, lots of people and especially a lot of dogs all a once.  Your dog for example, may have a completely different personality than my dog.  Just to give you a better idea of what I mean, my dog Finn was a standard size Labradoodle.  He never fit in very well at any kind of daycare or park, for whatever reason, he was always chased obsessively by other big dogs who wanted to generally hurt him.

dog sitting

I am not sure what it was about his personality that warranted that kind of treatment from other dogs, because he was the sweetest and most lovable dog.  But if he was put in a large group of dogs, he was never left alone.  This would cause him anxiety and he would get stressed out.  For us then, that meant we would never leave him at a daycare. Even dog parks could be a tough situation for him.  Our poor boy, I am not sure to this day what it was. Maybe they could just see his sweetness and they wanted to stomp on it.  Who knows.

I like to look at the situation as if we were talking about humans.  Not all humans are great at socializing and being put in party type situations.  Many of us prefer smaller groups and less overall excitement.  Dogs are exactly the same.  Not all dogs are the same and thrive on the same thing as the next one.  Approaching the situation by evaluating each dog individually is the best approach.

There are also reasons that assessing your dog’s personality will tell you if daycare is a good idea or not.  Dogs that already have bad behavior like excessive barking or aggressive type behavior towards other dogs, should not go to daycare.  Adding one badly behaved dog to a pack of dogs can easily turn that group to behave differently.

By not doing these recommended tips, you could actually be putting your dog in danger.

Exercise

Exercise we are taught is the number one thing that we need to make sure to provide for our dog daily if possible. When we aren’t always available to do that, we need help from other sources to make sure we give our dogs what they need.

Funny enough, some things we talked about with puppies can apply .  Obviously not the tired sleeping issue with a puppy, but an older dog can get tired too.  Especially when it is something that they haven’t done before.  Now that doesn’t mean that they can’t get used to it, but what it does mean is that you may want to try breaking them in slowly to daycare.  One or two days a week maybe.  Don’t go full blast with 5 days a week right away.

doggy daycare

Just like us if we start something and don’t go at it slowly, we can risk injuring ourselves.  Well the same thing can happen to your dog from over exercising to quickly.  Nobody wants a serious dog injury for their pup on something that can be averted with just slowing things down a little.

Now if you have a senior dog or dog that has health issues for example, this amount of exercise may also be too much for them to handle.

There are many other ways to provide exercise to older dogs, dogs with behavior issues and senior dogs.  Walks or short hikes is always a good idea.

Who are the best candidates for daycare

The best candidates for doggy daycare are dogs that get along well with other dogs.  Dogs that are happy, even tempered and well-behaved are the perfect choice.

Another great fit is a dog that has boundless energy to burn and behaves well in a high paced environment with a lot of dogs.

Dog owners have busy lives and more times than not, putting a dog into daycare is a great idea.  A dog that is a good fit for dog daycare, can do very well there.  There are many dogs that come home absolutely exhausted from their daycare day, which is great for mom and dad.  Coming home to a tired dog means that we get to hopefully relax for the night and not worry about needing to exercise our dog.

dog personality

I talked about puppies and leaned more towards not taking your puppy to a daycare.  Now that being said, a young dog can go to daycare, just not too young.

We always want to be mindful of a younger dogs immune system and making sure that they are protected from contracting anything at a daycare like Parvo.

Young dogs without proper vaccinations are at risk of being around other dogs.  Make sure that your dog is healthy before going anywhere.

What to look for in a daycare

All the information I have provided up to this point, is about whether or not our dogs should go to a daycare or not. Now what about the daycare’s.  What if I think a daycare is perfect for my dog. What am I looking for in a good daycare.

Some of the most important things that you need to seriously look into when shopping for a dog daycare are :

  • proper supervision
  • proper safety
  • security measures
  • how educated is the staff
  • emergency protocol

When interested in taking your dog to a particular place, make sure to go and check it out. Get a tour of the place and check out the facility.  What kind of space is there. Is it a nice large space that has an anti-skid floor.

Is there a good ratio of dogs per human.  Some states have specific restrictions when it comes to the right
ratio.  In Colorado for example that number is 1 human for every 15 dogs. The actual preferred number is 1 adult for every 10 dogs. This option allows for the employee to enough time and be able to payattention to 10 dogs at one time. Especially if the dogs are all high energy.  On a quieter pace style of daycare 1 adult to every 20 dogs is an acceptable ratio of humans to dogs.

dog at daycare

Check out to see if all the large dogs are mixed in with the puppies or smaller dogs. Sometimes facilities will have to separate areas for different dog sizes. Try to find the best fit for the size and age of your dog.

Have you ever heard of a temperament test?  Well some facilities have established this particular test to administer to your dog, to see if your dog is suitable for daycare.  This can be a great thing for everyone involved.  The facility is protected because they did some background on your dog, and you are protected as they realize if your dog is a dog that will fit in well at their location.  It is a win-win for everyone.

All staffers should have the basics of body language training, signs of animal care and distress at the least.  The overall behavior of dogs and how they communicate is something that is also a great thing to see if the facility uses to train their staff.

Should I take my dog to daycare is more times than not a great idea.  Just make sure to do your homework with where to go, what they offer and also be sure your dog is a good fit for their daycare.

Best of luck!

12 thoughts on “Should I Take My Dog To A Daycare | Good Idea or Not”

  1. Great infomation and things to consider when deciding about whether to take a puppy or dog to a doggy daycare. It’s great to hear that you need to consider your own pet’s personality and situation as there is not a single solution that works for all dogs. While there can be some benefits to a daycare trip, a pet owner should consider the experience as a whole in order to make the best informed decision for their pet(s).

    Reply
    • Hi Aly,

      Looking at the big picture as a dog owner is super important. 

      You are so right, that what is good for one dog, isn’t always good for the next one.  Each dog is an individual and has their own unique personality, just like us.

      I always found that really knowing your dog, can help figure out what is best for them.

      Thank you so much for commenting on my post and sharing your thoughts.

      Coralie 

      Reply
  2. Great article by the way to start. 

    But personally if I know I’m going to be gone for 8 hours a day, everyday. I say yes to doggie daycare.

    They could have great interaction with other dogs and being spoiled all day while you are work, working 8 plus more hours a day. especially if I know my husband won’t be coming home anytime soon either. 

    This is a helpful articles for loving pet owners, that could really help debate whether or not they should consider doggie daycare as long as the daycare has the best reviews. 

    Great article, Keep up the great work~!

    Reply
    • Hi Genia Ashley,

      Your comments were so sweet and thoughtful, so thank you.  I am glad when dog owners read my post and find the information helpful. 

      It is great news that you use doggie daycare and that your dog likes it.  They can be a real life saver.  Reviews are important and can really help dog owners make the right decision. 

      Thank you

      Coralie 

      Reply
  3. I have never considered the downsides of doggy daycare; I always imagined a bunch of happy dogs lounging around and getting lots of pets from the staff all day. It made sense when you compared them to people, not all personalities mesh, and that is ok. I have a 13-year-old terrier who has gotten grumpy in her old age, so it would be a terrible idea to have her in this type of environment.

    Reply
    • Hello,

      Sad to hear that your terrier is a bit grumpy.  It does happen sometimes with senior dogs.  Getting old is tough dog or not. LOL!

      You are right that daycare isn’t for every dog, no matter what age.  Some dogs do very well, while other dogs not so much.

      Thank you for reading and commenting on my post.

      Coralie 

      Reply
  4. I agree. Puppies shouldn’t go to Day Care too soon, especially if they haven’t got all their vaccinations yet. They are still vulnerable unless they have all their vaccinations, it is so important. And it is true that they can likely pick up bad behaviors from other dogs … They’re at that age 😉 

    There are some good day cares and some are not that great … It all depends, it’s like you say, do some research about the facility. I have taken my dogs to a Day Care for a while and they always came home exhausted, they were also happy to go back there which is a good sign. Dogs don’t lie 😉 

    A friend’s dog was attacked at a Day Care. He defended himself, but didn’t do anything major, because they were separated immediately. My friend’s dog (Jerry) ended up with small injuries, the other dog had nothing. Although the bigger dog attacked first, Jerry was blamed because he is a Pit Bull mix … Typical, right? The Day Care staff who was present during the attack stood up for him though and told the bigger dog’s owner that their dog was the aggressor and not my friend’s Pittie. I am not sure what happened later, whether the large dog was not allowed to go there anymore… it happened a year ago. I know that Jerry is still going to the Day Care and that he has many friends there.

    Reply
    • Hi Christine,

      I am so glad that you have had positive experiences at a dog daycare with your dogs. 

      Yes it is always a good sign that they want to go back.  Otherwise, that’s a big indicator that they don’t love it. You are right, does tell the truth. 

      So sorry to hear about your friends dog.  It is so frustrating that a dog’s breed, comes before the dog and the situation.  Glad to hear that the daycare stepped up to tell what actually happened. 

      Thank yo so much for sharing your stories and for commenting on my post, I really appreciate it.

      Coralie 

      Reply
  5. I have always struggled with the idea of leaving my poor dog alone all day while we were all at work or at school. He is almost 3 now, so I do not have to worry about the puppy issues as much, but he’s never really been around other dogs to much, so I would be nervous about that. I will look into this though, at least try the temperament test and see how he would be with other dogs. Excellent information, thank you so much for sharing!

    Reply
    • Hi Travis,

      Congratulations on your 3 year old dog.  They are so much fun at that age.  Having to work always gets in the way, doesn’t it? LOL!

      I agree that testing out the temperament test, is something that would provide a great insight into how your dog is around a bunch of other dogs.  For some dogs that have a lack of experience being around a ton of other dogs, it needs to happen at a slower pace to start.

      Best of luck, if you do decide to check it out.  Thank you so much for sharing your dogs story with me.  I love hearing from dog owners and their experiences.

      Coralie 

      Reply
  6. Thank you for your very thoughtful article. I’m not sure why but I never gave a lot of thought to some of the points you mention regarding whether it is the best idea to take my dogs to daycare. It can be a difficult decision since my two dogs have very different personalities, not to mention they are several years apart in age. I see now the best solution for one of them may not be the best outcome for my other dog.

    I’m sorry to hear about your dog being bullied by other dogs in social situations. This also happens to one of my dogs but oddly enough it only happens about half the time. I have no idea what it is about my little guy that sparks such behavior in other dogs. Thanks again for your thoughts and input!

    Reply
    • Hi Shan,

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments on my post. I love hearing from other dog lovers, especially 2 dogs at once. I know what a committment that it.

      It is so odd, that your dog also gets bullied. I never understand it.  My Finny was the best dog that everyone loved, except certain dogs. LOL

      Sorry to hear that your dog faces the same situation at times.  I am going to go with the idea, that they are just superior dogs that some dogs can’t handle. HA HA!

      Best of luck with your dogs and thanks again.

      Coralie 

      Reply

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