Tired dogs are easier to train? Maybe. That really depends on the dog. What you should be able to rely on with a quality doggie daycare, though, is socialization.
As a fairly new dog mom, I quickly realized that obedience training and socialization are equally important constants for dog owners if you truly want to live in harmony with your dog.
Our groomer offers doggie daycare for her spaw clients. When Bernie was about five months old, we quickly took advantage of that service. I wasn't comfortable with dog body language yet to take Bernie to dog parks and we wanted him to learn to play with other dogs.
Isn't doggie daycare expensive?
Daily daycare can get expensive, but weekly visits can be priced pretty reasonably. Check or ask for package deals. Our groomer knows that we bring in Bernie and Lizzie every week for a bath and daycare. She charges us a special rate because we're weekly regulars.
DOn't forget to ask for daycare as a gift from friends or family.
Are the advantages of daycare worth the price?
That depends on you and your dog. If your dog gets anxious when you leave for work, then daycare will certainly keep him preoccupied. Your pup will get plenty of exercise playing with the other dogs, which also means you can have a night off from a long walk. You'll also be adding some variety to your dog's routine.
But it's the socialization with the other dogs that sells me on doggie daycare.
When Bernie and Lizzie come home from daycare, they're tuckered, but relaxed. They always have a good time. If your dog seems agitated after doggie daycare, or doesn't want to enter the facility on the next trip, then you may want to reconsider.
Maybe your dog is in daycare too often. Maybe the mix of dogs on your chosen day isn't ideal for your dog's temperament, so ask the staff if a different day might help. Maybe the doggie daycare is not the facility for your dog.
How do I find a quality doggie daycare facility?
Ask your friends. Ask your trainer or groomer. Ask other people at the dog park or in obedience classes. Hearing stories about how much a dog parent loves one facility is quite the endorsement!
Check reviews on Yelp and Facebook. Sometimes I like Facebook reviews because I can usually see if the reviewer works at the doggie daycare facility.
Check Glassdoor reviews from current or past employees. While some businesses may be franchises, some people post the city of the business that they're praising or criticizing. Glassdoor keeps growing, so even if a business may not have reviews this year, they may the next.
Visit the facility and ask for a tour. Even if they won't let you into the dog play areas, you can still ask questions:
- Do they have a screening process or temperament test? Ask for a description of that process.
- How many dogs may be on property at once?
- What are their emergency procedures?
- What's the dog to staff ratio in each play area?
- What kind of training do the staff receive?
- How are dog fights or conflicts handled?
- How is the day structured for activities, games, naps?
- Where do the dogs go potty?
As much as you may want to do everything with your dog, doggie daycare can be such a worthwhile plus. If you find people who love your dog almost as much as you do, then you really can outsource a tiny bit of socialization.
And if you find that your tired dog performs better in obedience classes, then you're truly lucky. You can schedule doggie daycare for class dates to maximize your results.