With so many myths about dog daycare on the internet, it’s If you’re considering taking your dog to daycare, but you’ve heard some unsettling stories from the ethers of the internet, you’ve come to the right place. It’s hard to know just what you’re getting into if you’ve never taken your dog to daycare before, and just about everyone who has ever taken their dog to daycare has an opinion about it.
We’re going to debunk five common myths about dog daycare to help you decide whether daycare is a good fit for you, your dog, and your lifestyle.
The most common myths about dog daycare
1. Daycare is good for all dogs
We wish all dogs loved daycare. Realistically, all dogs have different personalities and preferences, and daycare just isn’t a right fit for some pups!
How do you know if your dog is well-suited for daycare? A few key indicators include sociability, age, and personality. If your dog would appreciate a space to romp around, is generally comfortable with people, and likes being around other dogs, daycare is usually a great fit! If your dog prefers to chill by themselves, they may be happier seeing a dog walker once a day or being allowed to roam their house as they please when they’re home alone.
2. Daycare Solves Behavioral Issues
While dog care attendants can correct unwanted behaviors, they are not trainers. When dogs are at daycare, they adopt a “pack mentality” and can easily pick up the behaviors of other dogs.
Sometimes, owners think that enrolling their dog in daycare will alleviate their separation anxiety, hyperactivity, or aggression. From our experience, daycare just perpetuates pre-learned behavior. For the owner who seeks care to flush out these behavioral issues, training is a better option.
3. Dogs Play Themselves to Exhaustion
Little known fact: Dogs really love to sleep. Some owners come to daycare and believe their dog will play for ten hours. This is silly– imagine staying at the gym for seven, eight hours– you would definitely need some breaks!
It’s recommended that puppies and senior pups get upwards of 16 hours of sleep a day. Dogs are surprisingly good at regulating their play, and usually, lounge or nap as they need! If we see dogs going HAM during playtime, we make them a cozy nap space so they don’t overdo it.
That being said, when owners hear their dogs are getting “plenty of rest at daycare,” it can set off red flags. Owners may assume they aren’t getting the most bang for their buck, or that their dogs are not getting enough exercise. On the contrary, making sure dogs get adequate rest is a huge part of dog care because an over-worked dog can lead to sore muscles, fatigue, and make them more susceptible to illness. Trust that your dog care attendants are keeping an eye on your dog and that they will make decisions based on the best interest of your baby!
4. Human-Aggressive Dogs are good for Daycare
The logic here is that because the dog will be playing with only other dogs, human-aggressive dogs are okay at daycare…
….But the daycare attendants are humans. Therefore, most dog daycares make their prospective members go through a socialization test. This way, they make sure dogs are not only comfortable in a pack setting but also friendly with the employees.
If your dog has had past incidents with aggression, an alternative to daycare might be behavioral training, where dogs are taught to unwind bad behaviors through positive reinforcement. While their behavioral quirks might never permanently go away, there are ways to keep them at bay and encourage the dog to only use their good behaviors.
5. Daycare replaces general exercise
While your dog might get a workout at daycare, this doesn’t replace regular walks or exercise routines. It’s important to vary the stimulation your dog gets so they don’t get bored!
Daycare is not a solution to having someone else take over primary custody of your dog. You must still show your dog you love them in order to maintain a positive relationship with them. Otherwise, they might just want to take up residency in the daycare!
In all seriousness, daycare is just that: care during the daytime. Your dog still needs assurance that they’re going home to a loving space, with humans who care about them. Exercise is one of the easiest and most fluid ways you can communicate to your dog that you love them.
Finding the right kind of dog care can be a bit of a journey for owners. Obviously, we wish we could have all the dogs come to daycare and make it one big puppy party. But we also respect that some dogs prefer a solo setting! Ultimately, you must go with a program that will best suit your dog’s needs and accommodate your lifestyle.