Dog daycare can be an essential choice for owners who need to be out of the home for hours on end and don't want to leave their dog unsupervised.
What many people don't realize, though, is that daycare is about more than just making sure your dog has a "sitter"; it can have many positive benefits for your best friend. At the same time, there can be some significant drawbacks so you need to be careful when choosing a daycare facility for your dog.
Of course the primary thing that people think of when it comes to doggie daycare is having someone present to feed, walk, and care for your dog, and that is important.
Having contact with humans is crucial for most dogs as it not only keeps them engaged but also encourages them to behave properly around us. When they are regularly exposed to people at doggy daycare, they are much more likely to be well behaved at home and on walks or trips to the park.
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That socialization doesn't just apply to humans, though. It is equally important for dogs to socialize with other dogs and this can be one of the biggest pros of dog daycare. It's a great way for your dog to interact with other dogs in a supervised environment, allowing him to become comfortable around other dogs and even make doggie friends.
By far the biggest advantage of doggie daycare, though, is helping to avoid boredom. Often, when dogs are left alone they can become destructive, chewing up shoes, furniture, and other belongings, getting into the trash or looking for ways to escape the house. This isn't because they are badly behaved, it's because they are bored.
All dogs need some regular amount of stimulation to keep them occupied and energetic breeds like the Australian Shepherd may need more stimulation than most, which is where doggy daycare can really help.
While dog daycare can have a lot of positives, there are also some potential drawbacks that you should be aware of when choosing a facility. You care about your dog just as if he were one of your children and just as you'd want to be sure that a daycare center you use for your child is staffed by qualified individuals, provides a safe, clean environment and is not overcrowded...the same holds true for your dog's daycare facility.
Dogs can pick up each other's bad habits, which means after taking him to daycare you could find your dog suddenly displaying behaviors like barking and biting. Also, with so many dogs in close contact it can be easy for illnesses like kennel cough to spread through a doggy daycare facility. While it can't prevent everything, it is important to make sure that your dog is up to date on his vaccinations before taking him to daycare.
Finally, while stimulation is a good thing it is possible for a pet in dog daycare to become over-stimulated, leaving him with excess energy to burn when he gets home. Again, this can be particularly true for Aussies and other active breeds that are naturally energetic to begin with.
While there can be potential problems, in general, daycare can be a great option for working owners who have to be away from their dog for extended periods of time. Before choosing a daycare facility for your dog, do your research and take a long look around any potential facility so that you can be sure it will provide the kind of environment you want for your furry friend.
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