Is It OK to Put Your New Puppy in Daycare?

A doggie daycare, on the face of it, seems like a perfect place to leave your puppy for a few hours without cause for worry.

What to do for your pup while you’re out working is a question an increasing number of owners grapple with these days.

Families are getting younger and smaller, and with no one at home to take care of the little one, daycares are becoming an increasingly popular and important option.

But is it really okay to put your puppy in daycare? A good question, with a bunch of things to consider.

Daycares can be really good for some dogs, but for others, it may turn out to be a really stressful affair. And a daycare with poor staff or facilities could be downright abusive. Here are some things to consider before you put your puppy in daycare.

Will Your Puppy Really Like Daycare?

The foremost question you should consider. For if she doesn’t, the experience could have a really bad impact on her psyche, and therefore on the development of her personality.

Observe your pup…is she playful and friendly towards other dogs? Does she mix in well? Does she like frequent play and activity? Is she cool with hanging out with other dogs for several hours? Or does it stress her out? Does she get into frequent fights or get combative with others?

These are some of the questions you should be addressing.

Another thing to consider is that dogs sometimes tend to pick up on habits and behavior from other dogs in a group. So if your pup is really impressionable, or the staff at the daycare isn’t great on discipline, you might want to reconsider, lest habits she picked up there cause you trouble at home later.

For puppies, especially, this is important, since behavior and habits learned young are harder to change later on.

Is the Staff at the Daycare Made Up of Trained Professionals?

Too many daycare facilities mushroom up without the staff that is competent enough to care for the dogs the right way.

You can’t have that. A largely untrained staff would be unable to deal with situations that crop up fairly regularly where a group of dogs interacts, such as occasional infighting, bullying and other instances where your dog may experience real stress.

They must be confident, and capable of dealing with individual dogs, as well as managing them as a group, to ensure that everyone’s happy with the activities happening.

And then there’s, of course, the matter of maintaining the facilities properly, which isn’t as easy as it sounds.

The staff must clean up on a daily basis, maintain good hygiene in the premises, see that there aren’t unsafe areas or objects lying around that may harm the dogs, and also see that there are regular potty breaks so there are no messes left to clean up.

In short, don’t compromise on the presence of good, trained staff members who know what they’re doing!

Are the Facilities Good Enough?

This goes hand-in-hand with assessing the quality of the staff.

The daycare premises should obviously be roomy enough for a good-sized group of dogs to play and hang out in.

Also, you can’t have cramped places where if your puppy needs a break from the group to get some alone-time, she can’t find her own quiet space to relax in.

There should also have a place outdoors, where the dogs can enjoy and play in the fresh air and sun. Staying cooped up inside for several hours can’t be fun, or good for their health, can it?

Then there are other matters, equally important – whether the place is clean and airy, has the right equipment, be it toys, crates, leashes, feeding bowls, etc. Make sure you check on these too.

How Are the Dogs Treated?

If the daycare personnel doesn’t bother to inquire much into the nature of your dog, whether it be through a questionnaire or interviews – you can be quite sure it’s a red sign.

If they’re not really interested or bothered about your dog’s specific personality, needs, habits and behavior, they probably don’t put much thought into how they group the dogs or plan on what activities may be appropriate for them.

For instance, you can’t have smaller breeds of dogs like chihuahuas or Shih Tzus grouped with mastiffs or alsatians and expect a healthy dynamic. Sure, it might work out every now and then, but in most cases, it’s a really bad idea and can cause considerable stress to the smaller dogs.

Grouping in terms of sizes, general nature or temperament, activeness etc. is something that should be looked at seriously by the staff to see that there’s no trouble and the dogs don’t face abuse.

Daycare can be great for your puppy if you really know that she will take to it well. But be sure to really know that, though, and to properly stake out your options.

It’s a good idea to spend a week or so observing how things are done at the daycare, preferably recording what happens on video, so you can spot any signs of abuse or negligence that’s not apparent immediately.

This might sound a bit much, but it’s better than regretting putting your precious puppy in a bad spot later on!

After all, these places aren’t exactly regulated in any strict manner, and it’s good to make sure.

Do let us know what you think of these tips and ideas about choosing a good daycare in the comments section below!


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