Did you get a new puppy over the holidays? Thinking about doggy daycare? Even when your puppy has met all of the daycare requirements, starting daycare too soon can be detrimental for young dogs, especially puppies under the age of 6 months.
Here are the top reasons people rush into doggy daycare, why you may want to wait, and puppy-friendly alternatives.
One of the common reasons people bring their dogs to daycare is because they want their dog to be socialized. It’s true, daycare is very social and there are lots of dogs to socialize with.
Why you should wait. For a young puppy that has had limited social interactions, daycare can be overwhelming and intense. Puppies are quickly introduced to social norms among their peers and not always in a positive way. Frequent negative interactions can cause long-term effects on a dog’s personality.
People love the idea of wearing their dog out during the day at daycare. Since puppies have a lot of energy, it seems like the perfect solution. The daycare environment is stimulating and puppies will have tons of play pals to choose from to keep them busy and tired.
Why you should wait: Puppies need around 12 to 14 hours of sleep per day. Daycare offers so much stimulation that puppies have a hard time self-regulating for naps and downtime. If your daycare doesn’t require puppy naps, it means your dog could be wearing himself out and not in a good way. Overtired puppies are more susceptible to getting sick and injured.
Better alternative: Try sending your puppy on active outings, like beach trips, agility sports, and hikes. These will offer quality exercise and engagement (so your dog will still be tired) and your puppy can be home to get the rest he needs for optimal health.
Frequently people use daycare as a means to combat behavioral issues such as separation anxiety, excessive barking or destructive behavior. Daycare will prevent your dog from annoying your neighbors and destroying your furniture simply because your dog is not home.
Why you should wait: Besides creating a pattern where your dog can never be home alone, forcing you to use daycare every time you run an errand, the source of the problems and the behavior will continue.
Better alternative: Seek professional dog training from a dog behavioral specialist (not an obedience trainer). Behavioral specialists will determine the source of your dog’s issues, figure out ways to correct them or modify behavior and implement long-term solutions at home.
At Fitdog, we would love to see your pup come to doggy daycare, but only after they have been given a solid foundation so they are ready for the daycare environment and can really enjoy it.