You've just brought home a new puppy.
As you begin to familiarize your puppy with their new home and routine, don't forget to have a plan in place for when you're not around.
This is especially important for new puppy owners who work full-time away from the home.
A great way to put your worries at ease as well as meet your growing puppie's needs is to enroll your them in a local doggy daycare.
Doggy daycare is essentially the same as regular daycare for children. Pet parents drop their puppy off at the daycare center on their way to work.
You can also use doggy daycare for other activities that would otherwise have you away from your puppy for a long period of time, such as a day trip or event.
Doggy daycare has an entire staff dedicated to watching and caring for your pet. In most instances, doggy daycares have a dedicated veterinarian on site in case of medical emergencies as well.
Dogs are usually grouped by size, age group, and temperament. Puppies are separated into their own group, to reduce risk and injury with larger dogs.
This post highlights three crucial reasons why you should think twice about leaving your dog or puppy home alone.
Enough cannot be said about the importance of socializing your puppy as early as possible. Puppies go through three key periods of development while growing up. One of the most vital and formative period's relates to new experiences and how they interact with those around them. This study conducted on the impact of socialization says puppies become less "fearful of unfamiliar environments" and "demonstrate increased approach behaviors towards humans and other objects provided that they have been exposed to humans and new experiences beginning early in this period." Socialization is critical as it applies to both their canine counterparts and guests of their owners. You want your puppy to feel at ease in their surroundings as soon as possible, learning how to peacefully adapt their to changing situations and guests.
Doggy daycare is a great way to introduce your puppy to a host of new social experiences, puppies, and people. In a safe and controlled environment, your puppy will learn about the basics of interaction at their own pace. In most doggy daycare facilities, dogs are engaged from the moment they arrive to when their owner picks them up. From greeting their handlers to playing with other puppies, sensory input is on high. An added bonus is the amount of exercise your puppy will be getting. Doggy daycare's usually have large outside play-areas. Some have huge pastures where your puppy can really let loose. When you pick them up, prepare yourself for a tuckered out puppy!
Puppies love to get into any and everything. They are little mess-making machines. While I'm sure you've already puppy-proofed your apartment (Right?!), do you really want to take that risk on your new carpets? There are so many things that can go wrong when you leave your puppy alone. According to this article by Jennifer Kyzer, Master Trainer and Behavior Specialist, "Puppies should be treated like toddlers, in the sense that they do need constant supervision, a safe environment, rules and rituals." Instead of biting your nails all day or rushing home to take your dog out, just drop them off at doggy daycare and know your puppy is in capable hands.
Generally, doggy daycare's have staff supervising the dogs all day. A certain number of dogs are delegated to a caretaker for the day. This person is responsible for them throughout the day, a familiar face for your puppy to learn to trust. This is great for pet parents who want to check in on their puppies progress as well. Having a clear and intact picture of your puppies behavior all day allows their caretaker to better meet their needs. It also allows them to targeted recommendations for you based on your puppies observed behaviors.
An Anxious Puppy - Leaving Your Puppy Alone
Leaving your puppy alone can have adverse effects on their well-being. This includes their short-term happiness and long-term development. As we mentioned earlier, dogs are social animals and thrive in the pack mentality. Isolating them for long periods of time can cause their stress and anxiety levels to escalate. This study on behavioral indicators of separation anxiety in dogs says "Regardless of their SA (separation anxiety) status, all of the dogs in the study showed behavioral signs of increased anxiety when their owners left the room." Puppies needs companionship and that's exactly what they'll get at doggy daycare.
You can guarantee that your dog will never be alone when they're at doggy daycare. With doggy daycare gaining in popularity, your puppy will be sure to have many companions to play with. Most doggy daycare's have designated play times and themed rooms. Under their watchful eye, your puppy will be kept engaged and entertained.
Downsides of Doggy Daycare
There is much to be said about the benefits of doggy daycare for your puppy, but let's take a look at the negatives. Pricing in particular is a factor, as each doggy daycare charges their own daily rates. I personally have paid $15 a day all the way up to $38 a day for doggy daycare. Some doggy daycares charge based on the weight of your dog. This isn't so much an issue with puppies, but the dollars do begin to add up as your puppy grows up.
Some other complaints about doggy daycare are the limited hours, as well as the lengthy application process. In my opinion, I'd feel more confident about putting my puppy into a doggy daycare that takes the time and consideration to thoroughly vet their applicants. At the very least, you should expect to provide proof from your vet that your puppy has their latest shots. There's the risk of placing your puppy in a daycare that may not have the best reputation, so be sure to do your research and review before choosing a facility.
At the end of the day, you are the one that ultimately decides what is best for your puppy.
Doggy daycare is a great option for meeting their social, physical, and psychological needs.
An engaged puppy is a happy puppy!
There's other alternatives for when you're thinking about leaving your dog home alone. You could use pet sitting services, dog walking services, etc.
Make sure to explore your options and pick the one that is best for you and your puppy!
Comment your experiences with doggy daycare or other alternatives to leaving your puppy home alone!