Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Doggie Day Camp

It's the newest thing- owners work all day, and Fido simply cannot stay home all by his lonesome!  The solution?  Drop them off at daycamp, where they can play with their canine pals all day long!  Isn't that Fun?!

Actually, for the majority of dogs it isn't exactly a blasty blast.  If toys are allowed, the competition can be a little much between the labs and the shepherds.  Some dogs are too timid, others too bold.  The older dogs get cranky and the young ones learn to hump, eat poop, and play rough from their pals.  Sure they mostly have fun, and fights are few and far between, but it isn't Disney for dogs.  Take a closer look at your daycare... how much time to the dogs spend in play?  How many dogs are in that group?  I personally have supervised groups of 40 dogs, and was very lucky nothing went wrong.  I worked at another location where the dogs spent 20 minutes out of crates for every hour they were in them, and many incidents were never passed on to the owners.  Minor behavior problems became full blown aggression because nothing was done early on.

So is daycare worth it?  Sometimes I think the money spent is far too high, but in the long run 75% of those dogs are better off. Parker loves it- running around, peeing on everything he possibly can, splashing in the kiddie pool.  Skylar... tries.  She is easily overwhelmed, plays too rough, and barks too much.  Daycare attendants dread her because if they overreact at her and grab her, she never goes near them again.  She will jump away and bark defensively at them, which is not exactly the greatest behavior in a pit bull.  We're working on it, but it will be a long time coming before she is a happy go lucky pup that does everything right in that setting. 

There is a big adjustment for dogs to be in that large a group,  and any minor personality issues seem to become exaggerated.  Most daycares now offer training in that setting, which is what I'm beginning to do.  It is a great concept, look into it!

Like I said, Parker loves daycamp.

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