Doggy daycare centres or dog creches are something that were quite uncommon in the UK up until a few years ago, but they have been popular in the USA for much longer. Today, all of the UK’s major cities and plenty of smaller towns and villages also have their own dedicated doggy daycare businesses serving them, and the good ones are hugely popular and much in demand.
People use doggy daycare centres for a whole range of different reasons, such as giving their dogs company and something to do when you’re at work, to help take care of your dog if you are unable to on certain days, and to provide exercise and entertainment for dogs of all shapes and sizes.
Doggy daycare centres aren’t the right fit for every dog – some dogs that are small, shy, or nervous around strange dogs and people may not get on very well with them, or may need several visits to get used to things and begin to come into their own.
However, for many dogs, daycare centres are hugely enjoyable and good fun, and something that they actively look forwards to attending. For dogs that thrive within a doggy daycare environment, there are lots of benefits that regular visits can achieve, and lots of good reasons why dog owners might want to consider using a doggy daycare facility for their own pets.
In this article we will outline six of the benefits of using the services of a doggy daycare centre, and share some tips on how to help your dog to get the best out of them. Read on to learn more.
One of the main advantages of doggy daycare centres and why so many dogs love going to them is because they provide an instant opportunity to play with a wide range of other dogs of all sizes, breeds and ages, and in a variety of different environments and situations.
For well socialised dogs that are excellent with others and that are outgoing and confident in a pack situation, doggy daycare may well soon become their favourite part of the week. Even for dogs that are shyer or not as quick to get involved, regular visits and seeing the same dogs regularly can really help to bring a shyer dog out of their shell, and give them better social skills for the future.
Responsible, well-run doggy daycare centres are very vigilant about supervising play and ensuring that the groups of dogs playing together are not too large or aren’t a good match for each other, so talk to the centre before you leave your dog to find out about how they plan and supervise play, to ensure that you are happy with their arrangements.
Generally, doggy daycare centres are places where you drop your dog off and leave them under the care of the centre, although some will also allow owners to stay if they want to.
Using a doggy daycare centre is a great way to get your dog used to being supervised and handled by people that they don’t know, and to help to teach them about following commands and trusting other people when their owner is not present to intervene.
Most doggy daycare centres are indoors, although some also have access to outside areas too for when the weather is nicer. Having indoor facilities means that doggy daycare centres can provide both physical exercise and mental stimulation to dogs whatever the weather, and dogs that spend a few hours at a daycare centre will probably spend most of their day active and playing, which is a great way to burn off excess energy.
Doggy daycare is mentally engaging too, and so a great fit for really smart dogs that need things to keep their minds as well as bodies occupied.
Most dogs have lots of toys at home to play with, both with their owners and when left to their own devices – but most dog owners will be all too familiar with the novelty appeal for dogs of playing with someone else’s toys!
Good doggy daycare facilities spend a lot of thought and money on equipping their centres to provide a huge range of toys and activities for the dogs in their charge to enjoy, and this will often incorporate larger equipment such as agility obstacles and other games too.
All of this can provide a valuable opportunity for your dog to enjoy playing with new toys and equipment, and it may help you to find a new favourite or even a special skill your dog was hiding all along!
If you use a doggy daycare facility regularly (such as a couple of times a week or for a few hours on your work days) this will help to set your dog’s routine, and allow them to understand the normal parameters of what they can expect from their lives.
Routine is important for dogs to help them to feel secure and confident, and attending a doggy daycare facility regularly can help to reinforce this.
Dogs that are left alone for too long at a time or that don’t have enough stimulus are apt to develop behavioural problems. These can take many forms, such as barking, inappropriate chewing and separation anxiety, but all of these things cause problems for both dog and owner.
Using a doggy daycare centre can help to provide the diversions your dog needs to avoid behavioural problems, and they can be particularly useful for helping with separation anxiety.