The term "doggie daycare" has become a panacea in recent years for all manner of canine behavioral ills. Does your dog engage in destructive chewing? Nuisance barking? Rude greetings? Poor canine social skills? Mouthing and biting? Separation anxiety? Just send him to doggie daycare, and all will be well. You hope. I'll admit I'm as guilty as the next trainer of suggesting a daycare solution for a huge percentage of my behavior consult clients. The fact is, many of today's canine companions suffer from a significant lack of exercise, stimulation, and social time with their own kind. A good daycare provider can go a long way toward meeting those needs.
You've got a new puppy and are about to start puppy classes (or are planning ahead for your new pup even better!). You know good puppy classes are an integral part of helping you and your dog invest in a long and harmonious future. Puppy classes aren't magic. Just signing up, paying, and attending aren't enough. You have to train and practice and build your relationship with your puppy. It will last a lifetime and the effort you put in now will pay off multifold. But keep in mind that the bad habits that you and your puppy develop now will also give you payback many times over! So let's assume you have really committed yourself to rearing a puppy well, and talk about how to get the most out of your puppy classes
There are many things to consider when choosing to share your life with a dog. Knowing who will care for your dog or dogs when you have to be away from home is just as important as knowing how you’ll provide for their everyday needs. Even if overnight travel isn’t part of your regular routine, it’s wise to think ahead and have a plan for overnight care – just in case it’s ever needed. You never know when a family or local emergency may force you and your pets to spend a night or two apart. Fortunately, today’s dog owners have several choices for pet care, ranging from in-home care provided by visiting pet sitters, to a wide range of commercial kenneling options. Each comes with its own unique list of pros and cons and no one choice is right for every dog. It’s important to do your homework when considering boarding. After all, you are literally putting your dog’s life in the hands of another.
When deciding what to do with your dog while you are out of town, be honest with yourself about his or her personality. Does she have special needs, such as health concerns, exercise requirements, or behavioral issues? How does she handle change? How does she react to strangers? How important is her daily routine?
Enter the rapidly growing phenomenon of commercial doggie daycare. Our ancestors would have laughed heartily at the notion, but an increasing number of dog owners are realizing the benefits of paying to provide their dogs with a day full of activity and supervision. Imagine the relief of owners who realize (often too late!) the difficulty of housetraining the new puppy when no one is home to take her outside regularly; now they can happily drop Puddles off at daycare in the morning, knowing that the staff can further the pup's understanding of proper potty behavior. Those who have dogs with separation anxiety can stop administering tranquilizers (and stop taking them themselves), knowing that their house is not being systematically reduced to toothpicks in their absence.
So, you're leaving town for a few days. What ARE you going to do with Fido? Experts agree that the best situation for your dog's health and happiness would be to have someone stay in your home, maintaining the dog's regular diet and exercise, and preserving his comfort and sense of security, but this is not always possible. And while we know people who haven't taken a dog-less vacation for the life of their dogs, we think this is a little extreme.
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