Getting the phone call that your dog is no longer welcome at the doggy daycare can stir up a rollercoaster of emotions. It floods over you when you hear that your dog has failed at something! You’ve been told our dog is no longer welcome. What does that mean? Have you failed your dog? Does this make your dog a bad dog? You might feel disappointed. You might feel embarrassed. And you might even feel angry, embarrassed and frustrated. Does this mean you have a bad dog? Or does it mean that you have failed your dog?
The truth of the matter
There are large numbers of dogs and the facility usually has limited staff. The staff often do not have a thorough understanding of dog behaviour for starters and often can miss the beginnings of serious problems. If the facility decides that they will not correct a dogs’ bad behaviour then this leaves only a very small group of dogs that are suitable for that environment. The modern view that dogs cannot be corrected for bad behaviour will be a recipe for disaster with a dog that needs a little more than a timeout. So, the reality is that not every dog suits a daycare environment.
The majority of dogs that I see are either daycare failures or would never be suitable for a daycare environment. Even my own dogs fall into this category. I generally like working with and owning difficult dogs. Dogs that are either too bossy with other dogs (and people), dogs that don’t have a good concept of personal space and even dogs that are sensitive about their space being invaded. Even dogs that are easily offended and others that need very strict rules and boundaries. There is nothing wrong with these dogs. If your dog is like this, you do not have a bad dog, you or your dog is not a failure or dysfunctional – it sometimes is a case of genetics. Your dog can learn to function very well in everyday life, but daycare might just not be an option, depending on the daycare, your dog’s genetics and the other dogs at the daycare.
What is Normal?
Many breeds have actually been bred to have a distrust for strangers. They were bred to protect stock from wolves, foxes and other dogs. They were bred to keep their families safe at night from strange people. So having a dog that is not a social butterfly is normal. Social dogs are actually not normal (except for retrievers in general). It is up to you to teach your dog how you want them to behave. But you cannot turn a genetically suspicious German Shepherd into a love-the-world-and-everyone-in-it Labrador. Labradors are not German Shepherds, and German Shepherds are not Labradors. Labs generally don’t understand the concept of personal space and German Shepherds don’t like their personal space invaded or that of their family. And they will watch you like a hawk to make sure that you’re going to play by the rules.
The truth is, your dog does not need a doggy daycare and other doggy friends to be happy (ok, maybe except if they’re a Labrador, it’s just in their DNA). Your dog needs you. And if you work long hours selecting a laid-back breed like a Ridgeback or a Greyhound can be a great solution. These breeds generally like to laze about (please note, this is a generalisation, not every member of these breeds are like this). Selecting an older rescue or knowing what the parents are like will give you a better idea of what to expect.
Does Your Dog Need a Doggy Daycare?
If you have a more active breed of dog, or a young pup (under 24 months), you can employ the services of a dog walker to ensure your dog gets a mid-day walk, especially if your dog is kept in a kennel or crate, like mine are. However, if your dog is in a large run (with enough room for them to toilet in) or has your whole backyard to themselves, this might not be necessary. There are many ways to keep your dog occupied so they don’t get up to mischief.
Don’t despair if your dog is no longer welcome at your local daycare. Your dog doesn’t need other dog-friends to be happy. Your dog needs you. For more information, check out our upcoming seminar on Bored at Home, How to Keep Your Dog Out of Mischief to help your dog lead a more fulfilling life!
Hey, I’m Luzelle!
I transform dogs – whose owners are totally over their dog’s bad behaviour – by coaching the dog’s humans to bring out their dog’s inner sparkle! While having a ball and feeling in control!