Pet parents know that dogs are social creatures. They bond with us, their human companions, and given an opportunity, they also tend to want to bond with each other, whether their dog companians are those with whom they cohabitate or just hang with regularly at the local dog park.
It’s no surprise to know that they can get lonely, bored, and anxious without quality interaction. Whether its being home all alone during their human’s long working days, or seasonal cabin fever, behavior can backslide into mis-behavior when interaction is minimal.
Can dog daycare help make your dog a happier companion? I believe it can, as long as two conditions are met: 1) it is FUN, and 2) that it is SAFE.
Choose Dog Daycare to Help Shape Dog Behavior
Dogs have different levels of dog-dog sociability and canine social skills. Some dogs are social butterflies and others are social nerds. Breed, age, health, and most importantly past experiences all have a factor in dog behavior. If you are looking at dog daycare as an option – and it can be an excellent opportunity to share behavior know-how as well as fun time for your pet – here are some tips to help daycare be a pawsibility:
- Be Proactive: Canine social skills are best taught by dogs and learned in contexts of play and fun. Offer your puppy plenty of safe early positive exposure with familiar well-mannered dogs.
- Be Safe: Choose your dog’s friends carefully and supervise. Prevent traumatic experiences and physical altercations. Even social dogs have a threshold when it comes to inappropriate behavior. Some dogs are patient while other dogs are not.
- Fair Play: Reciprocity is the key to play. “We Bow. I chase you. You chase me. I stand over you. You stand over me. When I say “Back off” you do.” If one dog is always the “hider” in a game of hide and seek, the game is probably not fun.
- Daycare Trial Run: The first time you bring your dog to daycare, make it short and sweet. The experience is new and can be a bit scary for the new kid on the playground.
Dog Daycare can help alleviate dog behaviour challenges such as resource guarding, separation anxiety, destructiveness that comes from having too much pent up energy with no chance to blow it out, and more. Consider contacting your local dog daycare and book and exploratory visit, your dog may have a whole new adventure awaiting!
by Jill Andrea Goldman, M.Sc., Ph.D., CAAB, Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist