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I've searched the forums, and found a few threads on this topic, but was hoping others that have used it might share their thoughts and experiences on doggy day care. Maya just started attending a facility this week, 2 days per week, for a half day session. I am really just doing this for her to get some extra exercise, as she is a very high energy dog and prone to destructive behavior. The winter months in the midwest limit our outdoor time (I know, I'm a wimp when it comes to cold!), so this seemed like a perfect solution to get some energy out. I'm impressed with the facility, they have indoor and outdoor time on every hour, lots of play time, good staff to dog ratio, clean facility, require all dogs to be on preventatives year round, etc. I see that some people have had health issues with their pets--I'm a bit concerned about this aspect. I have to admit that Maya is like a different dog in the afternoons and evenings following that half day session. Big naps and lots of rest time. She still wants to play and interact with us, but she's not a maniac like before. So, looking for any and all feedback, positive or negative on your experiences!
 

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Anabellesmom
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Doggy daycare is a Godsend for us and Anabelle! She will turn 1 this Friday and we sent her everyday for a full day from about 5 months until 8 months, or until she grew up enough to be left at home by herself when we are at work. She came home exhausted and happy and learned to socialize with every kind of breed of dog and learned to listen to other people (her daycare workers) and most importanly she learned some doggy manners with other dogs. Before daycare she would just run up to any dog and love on them and didn't get their "cues" to settle down or back off, and now she interacts much better with them. Most of all, now we don't ever have to worry about her not being able to interact well with other dogs in any situation be it a dog park or a boarding facility. (Whether she listens to us or not is a whole different issue :) ).
She has had a couple experiences when she has been bullied but if you have a good daycare, like we do, they mediate and make it all better. And really that is just a part of dog pack dynamics anyway. She has never left scared or unhappy and she always freaks out from happiness when we get close to the building. We would take her everyday still if we could afford it (if she didn't have a human sister on the way we had to pay for). But we still send her when we can afford it.
I would say that if you kind find a place you like that you can afford by all means do it and be leary if she doesn't approach the place with happiness or great the daycare workers like they are her best friends.
 

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It's going to depend on the dog...Some dogs love the interaction and activity. Others shy away from it and it stresses them out.

I'd go and watch other dogs at the place you want to try. See how the dogs interact with one another, see how the staff interacts, if they break up skirmishes (they happen) and just observe.

Our Toby enjoyed it as a younger dog because the day camp (as our vet called it) had a pool he could wade in and the staff threw balls for him. We always opted for the day camp when we boarded him for travel. Unfortunately, the last time I felt two bumps on his head a few days after we returned. Thinking it was something serious I took him to the vet and after a thorough physical exam of the bumps she got out a ruler, gazed at their location, and informed me they were from another dog's fangs. Since we are a one dog family it happened at day camp. Right after this he had a double cataract removal surgery so day camp is no longer an option since we must protect his eyes.

I've seen a dog at the vet clinic severely injured from a doggie day care fight elsewhere. The owner told me the other dogs ganged up on her poor dog and the staff couldn't handle it. That sent shivers down my spine. That's why I suggest observation. Things can happen quickly and you need to be sure the staff is equipped to handle things!
 

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We went once and though I was impressed with the cleanliness and I felt the staff seemed very knowledgeable about temperament (the split the dogs up generally by size but told me they often pup young more submissive breeds with the midsized dogs...which was perfect for Ozzy.). He had a blast and wrestled with a lab the whole time. However, the place I went did not have outdoor time at ALL and it bothered me. I didn't like Ozzy having to go the bathroom inside. It seemed confusing and based on how badly he had to go after I picked him up after 5 hours I don't think he went when there.

I would like to look into some other facilities but since Ozzy isn't neutered and won't be for awhile I know it will be a problem. Usually being neutered is a requirement. Ozzy usually does great with other dogs but he sometimes seems to get a bit picked on in groups. Other dogs (particularly males) seem to HAVE to show they are dominant. I get that it's pack behavior but sometimes I have to intervene or he spends long periods of time being pinned down. It's important to me that the staff are watching what's going on.

I would just go into the situation with you eyes wide open and keep an eye on things.
 

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Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I'm going to keep a close eye on her demeanor over the next few weeks--we're only doing two 1/2 days per week. I'm a bit worried about Maya being bullied, and in particular this facility has alot of dogs 60-80 on any given day, facility is 11,000 square feet and while they seem to have a good staff ratio, I'm afraid it may be a bit overwhelming for her. They do seperate the dogs into seperate areas (puppies, seniors, small dogs, larger dogs), but it seems like there are alot of bigger dogs. The other thing I noticed is as soon as I bring her home she is drinking ALOT of water. I'm told that they have outdoor time every hour at this facility, specifically becuase they keep the dogs watered often with all the play, but now I have to wonder if Maya is getting any!!!! She's my "newest" baby, so I'm not surprised I'm stressing about this as much as I did when I dropped my daughter off at day care for the first time!!!!
 

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That sounds like a lot of dogs in one place. I am not a fan of daycare. I think owners like it because it tires their dogs out. I see what happens when all do not "play nice".... My clients pets have lost eyes, broken legs, broken ribs and punctured chest, gotten abscesses, etc and learned how to be dog aggressive at daycare.....
 

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That sounds like a lot of dogs in one place. I am not a fan of daycare. I think owners like it because it tires their dogs out. I see what happens when all do not "play nice".... My clients pets have lost eyes, broken legs, broken ribs and punctured chest, gotten abscesses, etc and learned how to be dog aggressive at daycare.....
and I bet you could relate horror stories about dog parks too. Our vet is about a mile from a big one here and they get emergencies weekly from bad dog fights at the dog park as well as diseases caught from the dog park (ringworms, fleas, stuff from feces owners don't pick up, etc). She said it was good for their business.;)
 

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Mandy's Mom
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I am sorry that some have had such bad experiences or heard of bad behavior with some dogs at day care.

I found a great place for my Flirty, if I could afford it she'd go M-F but for now it's just one day a week. I send her for two reasons: I feel bad having her home alone for so many hours during the week; and secondly for canine socialization. She loves humans but is very indifferent to other dogs. (She has made great strides, however, and even initiates play now!)

It is a smaller operation than the one you talk about, on a busy day I think they have maybe 30 dogs but on Wednesdays when Flirt goes, they only have maybe 20 dogs. Sounds like a lot but the facility is big enough and they have great staff. They have indoor and outdoor play time, they have nap time (rest time), too. They also separate the dogs by size, etc.

Flirt is tired when we get home and she does drink a fair amount of water. You are wise to watch her actions when you first get there, if she is skiddish, that may be a sign to watch for. Flirt practically busts out of the car when we pull into the lot to drop her off so I feel good about that.

The place I use carefully screens the dogs (and owners) prior to allowing them to attend. No aggression is tolerated, I have been told of a few dogs that were "expelled" due to unruly behavior. They also don't allow certain breeds that are known for aggression.

Are you allowed to drop in and just watch what goes on? Our place has an open door policy, although we can't sit and play with all the pups (safety and legal reasons) but I have gone in at various times to watch, both indoors and out. I have the utmost confidence that Flirt is well cared for there.

I am south of Chicago, do you take your pup somewhere in the Loop area? A few co-workers take their dogs to places in the city, I could ask for recommendations if you'd like.
 

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hmmm, well that's truly a shame that many here have been involved with, or witnessed these bad experiences with doggy day care, as well as dog parks. Guess it just reinforces my opinion that one needs to do their research. I have not been brave enough to venture to a dog park for those reasons you mention above. We have a few dog parks locally that require no registration, evidence of shots, etc. that are "free" and open to everyone. There are others that require an annual fee, vaccinations, etc, but that doesn't mean the dogs are socialized properly, because anyone can buy a membership. I actually felt doggy day care was a better option for us, because of the temperment testing and zero tolerance policy on agressive behavior. Sally's Mom, why do you think they learn" to be dog agressive at doggy day care?
 

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Overall, my experience with Doggy Daycare has been positive. We take Ryley to DD 3 times a week and he is always excited to get inside the door. Usually when we pick him up at the end of the day he's so tuckered out all he does is sleep most of the evening. I don't suspect he naps much during the day... knowing Ryley its play, play, play.

Where we take him he has both a large indoor and outdoor area to run around in and play with other dogs (indoor when the weather is bad and outdoor when its nice).

Here's a video showing Ryley at his former daycare... as you can see in the video all the dogs are laying down and sleeping or at least resting... til you get to the end of the video where you see one solitary Golden Retriever moping along looking sad because nobody wants to play anymore... thats my Ryley!

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=2355945737722
 

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I am sorry that some have had such bad experiences or heard of bad behavior with some dogs at day care.

I found a great place for my Flirty, if I could afford it she'd go M-F but for now it's just one day a week. I send her for two reasons: I feel bad having her home alone for so many hours during the week; and secondly for canine socialization. She loves humans but is very indifferent to other dogs. (She has made great strides, however, and even initiates play now!)

It is a smaller operation than the one you talk about, on a busy day I think they have maybe 30 dogs but on Wednesdays when Flirt goes, they only have maybe 20 dogs. Sounds like a lot but the facility is big enough and they have great staff. They have indoor and outdoor play time, they have nap time (rest time), too. They also separate the dogs by size, etc.

Flirt is tired when we get home and she does drink a fair amount of water. You are wise to watch her actions when you first get there, if she is skiddish, that may be a sign to watch for. Flirt practically busts out of the car when we pull into the lot to drop her off so I feel good about that.

The place I use carefully screens the dogs (and owners) prior to allowing them to attend. No aggression is tolerated, I have been told of a few dogs that were "expelled" due to unruly behavior. They also don't allow certain breeds that are known for aggression.

Are you allowed to drop in and just watch what goes on? Our place has an open door policy, although we can't sit and play with all the pups (safety and legal reasons) but I have gone in at various times to watch, both indoors and out. I have the utmost confidence that Flirt is well cared for there.

I am south of Chicago, do you take your pup somewhere in the Loop area? A few co-workers take their dogs to places in the city, I could ask for recommendations if you'd like.
You bring up some good points--the veterinarian clinic that has the doggie day camp Toby went to limits the number of dogs in the program per day and the owners fill out a very detailed questionnaire before about their dog's temperament, behavior with other dogs, degree of socialization, medical history, etc and they will tell you if your dog is a fit based on what you put down. Then the staff observes carefully and makes adjustments based on what they see with your dog, including expulsions. Owners can see the dogs (can't play with them) and the outside area is visible to the public. Many times we walk down for vet appointments and see the dogs that are doing the outside activities. Toby really enjoyed it and the staff took photos for me to show him having fun....then the "fang" incident....Due to Toby's precarious eye issues, we can't risk it anymore, but, he will be 8 years old next week and may not enjoy it as much as when he was younger.
 

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Lucy went for the first time this week - we're starting with just one day a week for now. We were very lucky to have a very small boarding and daycare very close to us. When Lucy went this week she had only 6 dogs there and they are separated by size into 2 play areas. When I got there to pick up, Lucy and another dog were cuddled up on the couch with the daycare lady. She also sent me a picture during the day & a message to let me know how she was doing. Lucy was absolutely wiped out for the rest of the day - and even still a little tired yesterday. So far we are happy.

Lynne & Lucy (4 1/2 mos)
 
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