The Benefits of Daycare for the Destructive Dog

As far as I know, the beautiful girl from my last post is still in need of a foster or adopter.

Why do her current owners want to re-home her? They are working long hours and fear she doesn’t get the attention she needs. She has regressed in her training and become destructive.

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Don’t let that description scare you, she can easily be trained again.

Do people not watch The Dog Whisperer?! That is totally a fixable problem! Even if you don’t have time to wake up at sunrise and take your dog on a run, there is another option. Let me take this opportunity to hop aboard my soapbox. This time, I’m actually somewhat qualified to speak.

I may or may not have mentioned on this site, but I spent nearly three years working for a dog daycare and training facility. First off, best first job ever. Secondly, I got to learn a lot and help socialize, train, and tucker out tons of dogs. My boss was an expert, and I was lucky to receive the guidance I did under her wing.

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You see, when a dog is ignored or neglected, he or she often becomes destructive. Like children, they seem to be seeking attention; and negative attention is better than none. Doggie daycare does a couple of things to combat the destructive drive that forms in dogs whose owners are overworked and struggling to find the proper time to care for their dog.

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Daycares most obviously help by getting the dog out of the house! If you feel guilty crating your dog while you’re gone, but fear for walls, carpet, furniture, and basically everything you own when you leave, daycare is your best solution. After all, your dog can’t destroy your home if he or she isn’t at home. So far so good, right?

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It’s also not such a stretch of the imagination to realize dog daycare is a great way to tire out your dog. At least at Doggie Dayz, dogs were given toys and tons of room to run around, as well as a couple of structured walks per day. The dogs would usually play until they were exhausted, nap, and then play some more. It’s way more fun than being in a crate, and instead of a burst of pent up energy greeting you when you get home, you get a dog who is content to eat dinner and then sleep until morning.

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There is another little trick that helps the average daycare dog stay out of trouble at home. Remember when I specified dogs went on “structured” walks? That means the walkers (people like me) are making the dogs show off their good manners. This actually serves to mentally stimulate the dogs by giving them a job to do. (If you watch The Dog Whisperer, you know this is a pretty big deal.)

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Being told to “sit” during their walk emphasizes to Maddie and Ralphie that their walk is working time, not playing time

Daycare is also extremely helpful for socializing dogs of all ages. While there is a “window of socialization” when it is best to introduce a puppy to new stimuli, no dog is “too old” to be socialized. (Please note, full-out aggressive dogs will not be allowed in daycares, for the safety of the other dogs and employees.) Dogs are pack animals, whether their packs consist of people or other dogs. Dog daycare allows dogs to meet other dogs and new people as well, from other customers to the daycare employees.

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Dogs have the opportunity to play with each other as well as the employees.

Dog daycare is more expensive than just going to the dog park, but it is nice to know there are trained employees on the property who understand body language, know CPR, and genuinely care about all of the dogs present. The fact that all dogs are required to be up to date on shots and fixed is a huge plus to me, too. I actually took Lana to the dog park this past weekend and I witnessed a doggie brawl. I’m not saying dog parks are terrible places, but they have their good points and their bad, just like anything else.

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Despite Hannah’s bared teeth, Lana and I knew this was all play. Tail curled up, Lana is displaying her normal, playful body language.

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Here we see Lana’s body language changing as she observes some more dominant dogs. Luckily, Lana learned from daycare to keep a distance from dogs that don’t play very well with others.

Naturally, as a former employee of a doggie daycare, I’m biased, but I am also more educated on this matter than the average person. I was fortunate that Lana was able to be raised in a daycare, and between her and the fosters I’ve taken to daycare (who have made huge improvements since they were first rescued), I’m convinced. Dog daycare is a great solution if you’re “too busy” to give your dog the attention they need. Rather than give your dog to the shelter or an already full rescue (like poor Molly), try something creative. Maybe it feels selfish to have someone else take care of your dog all day while you’re at work, but I can attest that the dogs who go to daycare love it. They don’t hate their owners for being busy and they don’t love them any less just because they love the daycare employees, too. They are given all of the affection, attention, and exercise they need, and they still get to keep their home.

Two of the most tuckered out (and cutest!) dogs I've ever seen.

Two of the most tuckered out (and cutest!) dogs I’ve ever seen.

2 thoughts on “The Benefits of Daycare for the Destructive Dog

  1. Pingback: It’s just a Retriever kinda day | Dream Big, Bark Loudly

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