Every Bark U client hopes their dog will have fun, be socially appropriate, and have enriching days while they are busy at work. But as much as we want our dogs to enjoy daycare, some dogs simply don’t- and that is OK and perfectly normal. It is our responsibility as Certified Professional Trainers to assess each individual’s personality to determine if Bark U is a good fit. Each dog has its own social preference, and it is our job to place your dog in an environment they will thoroughly enjoy for their mental and physical well-being.
We can easily compare a dog’s social preference to a human’s. Some people thrive in crowds like birthday parties or amusement parks, while others prefer to curl up in the corner of a low-key cafe, or stay in and watch TV. Our dogs have unique preferences about when, how, and in what context they want to socialize with others, too.
Dog daycare is most like a birthday party, a relatively fast-paced, highly-stimulating environment with many socialization opportunities. So, just like a big crowd can be overwhelming for a particularly introverted person, daycare can be overwhelming for dogs who prefer to be alone, or only hang out with a few close friends.
At Bark U, we emphasize training our staff to read canine body language and behavior to understand what the dogs are communicating. Our staff, which includes many Certified Professional Dog Trainers, assesses each dog’s needs and preferences based on what their body language tells us, rather than what we want. We understand that daycare can’t be a one-size-fits-all experience for every dog, and that’s why our dog daycare facility in King of Prussia has many different playgroups that suit different social needs.
It’s OK If Your Pup Is Shy!
While many of our dogs are able to enjoy and thrive in the level of stimulation and socialization that daycare provides, some are simply too uncomfortable to flourish even in our calmest groups andwith all of the supervision and redirection our staff is able to provide. It is at this point that a dog is dismissed from group play, and we will recommend a better alternative solution for your dog’s needs.
When a dog is dismissed from the group play, it is simply because they have expressed to us that it is not a place where they want to be or where they will thrive. This can be during their temperament assessment, or at any point during their time at Bark U. It is common as dog’s age that they grow out of daycare. As with humans, as we age, our social preferences change, and it is the same with dogs.
What We Keep An Eye Out For
We never want to force a dog into a situation where they are so stressed or fearful that they begin practicing unhealthy behaviors in the group play, especially if it becomes a safety concern. In no way is a dog “bad” for using all of the communication tools they have at their disposal to express that they are uncomfortable. That is why we are here! To help advocate for your dog and find out how to best suit their needs.
Behaviors we monitor:
- Difficulty self-regulating
- Space sensitivity
- Gate fixation
- Barrier frustration
- “Rude” behaviors, like mouthing/nipping/jumping up
- Destructive behavior
- Self-inflicted harm
Behaviors that require dismissal:
- Any behavior listed above that becomes dangerous/unmanageable
- Biting humans
- Injuring another dog
So the next time you hear of a dog getting kicked out of daycare, remember that it doesn’t mean they aren’t great with other dogs, or that they’re a bad dog; it just means that they aren’t comfortable in this environment – and that’s okay!
At Bark U, we love each pup like it’s our own! Our entire staff is first aid and CPR certified, so you can rest easy knowing your pup is safe. We have over 7,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor play areas, including enrichment activities, pools, tunnels, and playgrounds.
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!