Is Doggie Day Care a Good Fit for Your Dog?

By March 2, 2016Pet Resources

Guest post from City Bark owner Nicole Delmoro

When I started City Bark in 2002, there were very few doggie day care options to choose from and most dog owners had never even heard of the concept.  In fact, when I told my family that I was leaving my successful CPA career and opening a doggie day care, they nearly disowned me!  I mean, paying for your dog to play with other dogs is a crazy idea, right?  Fast forward nearly 15 years and most people are aware of doggie day care and understand that for many dogs it has a huge benefit on the quality of life both for the dog and the owner. 

Will your dog enjoy it?

However, before you sign up for doggie day care, you must first ask yourself if doggie day care is a good fit for you and your dog.  There are many benefits to doggie day care, primarily exercise and socialization.  As the saying goes, “A tired dog is a good dog” and socializing can help your dog feel confident and comfortable around other dogs.  BUT… doggie daycare is not for everyone.   Some dogs really don’t want to interact with other dogs and while many new doggie daycare dogs quickly realize that they enjoy the company of other dogs and/or their human supervisors, not every dog will come to this conclusion. 

Start ‘em young!

I have found that the younger the dog is when they start doggie day care, the more likely they are to enjoy it especially during their puppy and adolescent years.  Starting your new puppy in doggie daycare around 3-4 months (once they have received the ok from their veterinarian to be around other dogs) can make a big difference in the confidence your dog will have with other dogs and can reduce tendencies towards aggressive behaviors later in life.  The more positive experiences a young puppy has the more well-adjusted they will be as an adult.   I don’t want to discourage older dog owners from bringing their dogs to daycare as we’ve successfully had many older dogs that have never been to doggie day care before.  Older dogs that are naturally social and enjoy the company from other dogs and people should do great in daycare.  Every dog is different and that is why most day cares have an “interview” process to get an initial understanding of whether doggie day care is a good fit for your dog.    

Risky business

Assuming your dog will benefit from doggie day care, you also need to consider the inherent risks of social play.  There is always the risk of injury or illness when dogs participate in a social environment.  I tell people to think of doggie daycare the same way you think of playing a contact sport or having children on the playground at school, except these “athletes” or “children” are running around playing with their teeth and their claws and sharing their water glasses all day long.  They also are not very good at telling you that their ankle has been bothering them, so maybe they shouldn’t play so hard today.  I like to make sure that all dog owners understand and are comfortable with these risks. 

If doggie day care is right for both of you and your dog, it is time to do your research.  You have so many doggie cay cares to choose from in Denver, each offering different levels or types of services and amenities at different price points. There are great choices available to find the right fit.

Guest post from City Bark owner Nicole Delmoro

Author Tender Touch

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