Is Daycare Right for my Dog?

beagle playing with chew toy

Daycare can be a great way for dogs to burn energy in a productive and social manner so that they go home feeling both well-exercised and well-stimulated. However, not every dog enjoys the daycare environment. Identifying if your dog would be receptive to the benefits this environment can provide is key to a successful doggie daycare experience.

Many modern media and dog-related publications have recently emphasized the importance of socializing your dog. The big thing many owners fail to realize, however, is that every puppy has a critical socialization period that lasts until they are about four months old. During this time, they are like little sponges, ready to soak up all the information in the world. This is the perfect time for puppies to be positively socialized to both people and other dogs, as well as all the different sights and sounds they may encounter. As the puppy ages into adulthood, they become less adaptable and more set in their ways and may never find the same type of gratification from a daycare environment. So, it’s important to realize that an adult dog may not truly be “socializing” in this setting, and you will not be changing their ingrained behavior around other dogs by forcing them to attend a social daycare.

Doggie Daycare is a lot like a dance club full of partygoers having a great time and, in this case, wrestling and running around. This is great for active dogs who like to go-go-go all day long. However, much like a more mature adult may be a bit overwhelmed by the dancefloor at midnight, your twelve-year-old dog might find the daycare environment to be a bit too much for them. Dogs are a lot like people. As they age, they transition through different periods of sociability that parallel many of our own. Puppies love to play with their friends all day, while teenagers prefer being rowdy and wrestling. While some dogs retain this type of energy as they reach adulthood, many mature and don’t enjoy the same type of rowdy play they may have used to. By the time a dog is older, they are, much like many of us, ready to spend more of their time relaxing than partying. Many older dogs find daycare environments overwhelming.

Typically, the dogs that do best in the daycare environment are those that have attended since they were puppies or those that are already well-socialized and confident pups. Shy, fearful dogs, or even just dogs that prefer humans to other dogs, can find the daycare environment to be a bit overwhelming. But some will warm up after attending a few times and realize how fun it can be. Luckily, Bark U has many Certified Professional Dog Trainers on staff who can evaluate during our Temperament Assessments whether your dog will be a good fit for the type of environment we offer. We are always happy to give the shyer pups some time to adjust and get used to the environment, and we also provide services for dogs who may need even more stimulation than the group play yard can offer. These more active dogs can take advantage of our Exercise Enrichment program, which offers focused one-on-one time with one of our handlers. They will build a customized playtime for each individual dog that will offer them a bit more direct physical and mental stimulation.

At BarkU, we pride ourselves on always maintaining open and honest communication with our clients and ensuring that the dogs coming here are still happy in our environment and receiving properly curated care directed towards their individual needs. If they are no longer feeling comfortable here or are no longer benefiting from the services, we are always happy to provide recommendations for the best alternatives for your pet.

If you’re interested in having your dog enroll in Bark U – Register here and request a temperament assessment. To learn more about our other services, visit us online or call us at 215-486-2200 today!