Preparing Your Dog for Dog Daycare
It is nice to see a dog attend daycare and really enjoy it. However, most dogs can benefit from some prep work to help the process along so they do well in this environment. The daycare environment can be a challenging place. The more prepared your dog is, they better he will be able to meet the expectations of this environment and have a really good time.
These are the main points you should be able to "check off" on your list and if your dog has great challenges in one of these areas - work on them first. The Fur-Get Me Not dog training team can help you get on the right track.
What you can do: Handle your dog's body a lot and make it a pleasant experience, associate it with massage and treats. Check ears and treat. Check paws and treat. Check mouth and treat. Rub your dog all over as a friendly and pleasant interaction. A lot of things are forced on our dogs. Grab the collar and offer a treat. This is "a handle" on our dogs we often use. Make sure it has plenty of positive connotations to your dog and not just negative ones. Make sure your dog enjoys these things at home and it will make it a lot easier for the staff to do the same in the daycare.
What you can do: Whether you crate your dog or not. If you want your dog to attend daycare, get a crate and make it a comfortable and pleasant place for your dog. You do this by putting your dog in the crate for brief moments and gradually increase the time. Begin first when people are around and later with no company. You can feed your dog in the crate, offer Kongs and bones in the crate. It is also recommended to hide treats in the crate when your dog is not looking to build incentive to go in there even when there is no need to. Many dogs learn to just go into their crate to sleep if there is comfortable bedding.
Comfortable with people
What you can do: With a puppy early socialization around new people is key. With an adult the same applies but the process needs to be a bit slower. If the dog is fearful, there needs to be lots of planned interactions where the new person will ignore your dog while the dog receives lots of treats. You will see the increase in comfort level when the dog relaxes and maybe even seeks interaction with the stranger. This is not something that can be rushed. Note: We offer people reactive classes if you need assistance with this particular issue.
Well socialized with other dogs
What you can do: Socialize your puppy with other dogs from early on. This socialization includes moderate amount of play INCLUDING just chilling out in the presence of other dogs. The latter being a very important skill. With an older dog the socialization process has to be more planned and at a slower pace to properly assess the new dogs comfort level since we often know very little about their past. You can do this with friend's and neighbor's friendly dogs and after some time visit the dog park if you only see friendly signs and if that goes well and your dog really enjoys it try daycare. You can also skip the dog park and go to daycare. This can in some ways be a safer approach, but understand that the space is smaller, which creates a more intense experience. Make sure when you bring your dog to daycare initially, it is for short periods before you leave your dog in daycare all day. The key is to build lots of pleasant experiences of other dogs that your dog can be shaped by. AVOID leash greetings on the street. It can easily backfire. Note: We have free puppy socials on Saturday mornings and dog reactive classes for the older dogs who need a more targeted approach in this area.
What you can do? Some dogs are more stress resilient than others by nature. However, you can greatly impact this in your dog by making sure your dog has built lots of positive experience around people, other dogs, new places, experiencing novel sounds and visuals and has learned a variety of tasks (problem-solving skills) by the guidance of people. These experiences will prepare your dog tobe much better equipped to deal with the daycare environment.