Stay or Play? Deciding Whether a Dog Is Right for Daycare

Many pet parents who worry that their dogs are bored or under-stimulated are turning to doggie daycare. For many pups, these facilities are a great option, offering personal attention and fun activities that help keep dogs healthy, active and mentally stimulated. And, as an extra bonus, they usually return home tired and happy after romping with their friends all day.

However, not every dog is cut out for this type of environment, finding it overwhelming or stressful instead of fun. Just like there are certain people who don’t enjoy big parties, certain dogs prefer more quiet and controlled opportunities for play and socialization.

So how does a dog mom or dad decide if daycare is a good fit for their particular pooch? As with so many things, it comes down to knowing the individual dog, his personality and his preferences.

Doggie Daycare Checklist

Daycare may be a great choice if the dog is:

  • Friendly with other dogs and people.
  • Respectful of other dogs.
  • Playful and well socialized.
  • Young and/or has extra energy to spare.
  • Adaptable to new situations.

On the other hand, it may be best to consider other options if he is:

  • Overly pushy with other dogs.
  • Oblivious to signals from other dogs to back off or take a break.
  • Reactive or aggressive with animals or people.
  • Fearful of new people, pets or places.
  • Nervous or uncomfortable around other dogs.
  • Anxious when separated from you.
  • Elderly, ill or has another physical condition that would make it difficult to handle a prolonged period in a noisy, high-energy environment.

If the dog exhibits any of the above, owners should avoid the temptation to take him to daycare anyway, thinking it will help solve the dog’s issues or quirks. All too often, it can have the opposite effect.

Sometimes, however, the decision isn’t so clear-cut, and it can be difficult for pet parents to objectively assess their own pups. If there are any questions or uncertainties, it’s a good idea to reach out to a professional trainer to evaluate whether the dog has the “right stuff” for the hustle and bustle of doggie daycare.

Your turn: What do you think makes a dog a good candidate for doggie daycare? Share with us in the comments below.

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