Is Your Dog Ready For Daycare? Look For These Key Signs

Dog pawrents of the 21st century have access to dog care that allows for more flexibility than ever before. 

Whether you desire for your dog to have one on one playtime, a special feeding schedule or indoor/outdoor play options, you can shop around to find a daycare that suits your unique needs. 

Some dog owners have no issue signing up for dog daycare right away, while others may grapple with whether or not their pup is ready for the transition. Perhaps they’ve never left home before or have never stayed with unfamiliar people. 

It’s a smart play to assess your dog’s personality before making a decision. You might be ready to jump right in, but your dog might not be. It all depends on socialization.

Two small dogs socializing together

Why is dog socialization important?

Many dog owners have this idea that all dogs are happy when playing with other dogs. But, like with humans, dog sociability is not so black and white. 

Does your dog prefer to be alone? Does she prefer the company of one or two dogs? It’s important to note exactly how your dog behaves when other canines are around. 

A good way to start is by visiting the local dog park once a week. You can then begin to pick up on social cues, like how your dog reacts to various personalities. Otherwise, by just throwing your pup into group play at daycare, you can risk causing her stress and anxiety.

As well, it’s imperative to note that dogs' social tastes may change as they grow older. You might’ve enjoyed the bars and clubs in your 20s, but now prefer quiet small gatherings with close friends. The same can be said about a dog growing out of the rambunctious puppy stage to prefer less rough housing.

How does your dog like to play?

Dog sits with a smiley ball in his mouth

The life of the party

Typically, this is a younger dog who is high energy and very sociable. They do well in group play, but sometimes they might overwhelm other dogs who are less social, lacking consideration and bordering on the edge of being a bully. Generally, a highly sociable dog will calm down once they reach sexual maturity (around 6 months).

The tolerant one

This dog has been carefully socialized from a young age, remaining calm in high energy situations and displaying excellent communication skills. They also do well in doggie daycare, but won’t be bouncing off the walls like a pup. This type of dog listens to the body language of others, avoids confrontation and knows to adjust “playing” according to the cues of their pals.

The selective one

Some dogs tend to be choosier when it comes to who they want to hang with. For example, they might match up well with one dog, but need help to warm up to another. This type of personality can do well in daycare, but with limits. If they feel uncomfortable with a particular dog, it might cause them to overreact or overcorrect to deal with the situation. Generally, a smaller daycare group with constant supervision is best.

The aggressive dog

Snapping, lunging, baring the teeth- these are all signs of canine aggression. It doesn’t mean aggressive dogs are bad dogs, it just means they might harbor fear or insecurity. Daycare is not the best option for an aggressive dog. This dog needs your help to gently introduce them to other dogs and teach them how to socialize. Start with walks in the park, where they can sniff with other dogs while on the leash. Letting this type of dog into a high energy group session can cause fear and anxiety.

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