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Hi everyone. I work 9-5 every day and often have to leave my 3-month-old pup, Luka, crated at home, as he is not trustworthy to be left unsupervised yet. He is always left with a chew to keep him busy, but I suspect he mostly sleeps during the day since the chew is only lightly nibbled on when I get back. I employ dog walkers to come in twice a day to walk Luka for half an hour at a time, and my partner comes home for lunch every day to spend an hour with him. He is never left in his crate for more than 2-3 hours. He is not fearful of the crate and goes in willingly, but whines and barks for a bit when he knows he's being left alone. This usually lasts only a few minutes.

Recently, I found a doggy daycare near my work with excellent reviews. It is a crate-free facility, and they have little “rooms" separated by 4-foot walls where they keep dogs of different activity levels in (high energy dogs are all together, puppies are kept together, older dogs, etc.) Each room has couches, beds, and other furniture the dogs can play and rest on. It is a very clean facility, and each room has a staff member supervising at all times. Dogs are also tested for aggression before they are allowed to be enrolled in the daycare.

I have never had a dog in daycare before, so I need some advice. My pup is not a “‘social butterfly” with other dogs he doesn’t know. He is not fearful at all, and is curious about other dogs, but he’s not the type to go nuts when he sees another dog. In our puppy training classes, he will calmly play with other puppies and sometimes roughhouse slightly, but for the most part it’s manageable. When we're out and about, he will approach and sniff adult dogs, but is usually more interested in saying hello to people. He does, however, chase our roommate’s adult Pug around, nipping at him, and we try to consistently discourage this behavior. The Pug does not do anything to “correct” our pup’s behavior, and instead just runs submissively, which encourages chasing. Again, we try to stop this as soon as we see our pup get the look in his eye that he's about to pounce/chase/nip. He's getting better at it, but still has many instances of misbehaving in this way when he wants to play. We're trying to be as consistent as we can.

My question about daycare is that if Luka is left with other puppies, will he learn what is “acceptable” play, and what isn’t, or will be become more rambunctious? I also want to make sure this is an environment he will be comfortable in before I make the leap. I think this would be a good outlet for all of his energy instead of being crated most of the day, but I also don’t want him to develop bad behaviors. I would only need daycare about 2-3 days a week, as my partner has two weekdays off every week and is home Luka all day. We still go for our long evening walk every day and do mental stimulation with nightly training. He is all tuckered out by 8:30-9 p.m., but it’s the daytime energy I worry he doesn’t have a great outlet for as he’s very energetic when I come home which can sometimes get him into trouble (let’s just say he’s very mouthy... typical land shark stuff.) Thoughts?
 

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I could never do it..... Someone is home mid day to give him an hour out of his cage is enough for me. Run him @ lunch and put him in his cage. He is learning that when home alone it's chill time all good IMO...
 

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Hmm, so it sounds like he goes in crate when you leave for work...
then, midmorning dogwalker (30 min)
then, 1 hr with your partner at lunch
then, midafternoon dogwalker (30min)
then at 5pm or a little after, you are home?

That sounds like a fine schedule to me! :)
Especially if he can get some activity with you BEFORE you leave for work?
He is probably sleeping a lot of the time then...

My dog visits "doggie daycare" sometimes. The main reason we started is that they told us to bring him by for a couple of day visits before we actually boarded him for a whole week (we had to, last Christmas). They separate the dogs into yards by age/energy levels and he has been fine there. He actually has a favorite friend, a female Great Pyrenees who outweighs him by a good 10-20 lbs, ha ha. The two of them tend to hang out together...I've seen photos. In the afternoon from 12-3, the dogs have "quiet time" in individual kennels.

If you wanted to give him a break from "crate life", I might start by trying it for a half-day (your partner can pick him up during her lunch hour?) or one day per week and just see how he does...
 

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My boy Zeus has been going to daycare since he was able to. I didnt like leaving him just sitting home all day. He loves it. He also has had training so he knows what behavior is acceptable. He goes twice a week from 7am - 7pm. And he is worn out by the time I pick him up. I think it makes a big difference. He is getting exercise all day and not just sleeping. I see pics of him posted online during the day and I have never had a problem. I will always take him there. I think its worth a try for your pup. Its great for socializing and exercise. Good luck to you :smile2:
 

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Personally I have done daycare, both in home and at a facility. The facility is where I do most of my training though, so I'm confident they are caring for my dog to the best of their ability. I am considering daycare for my puppy now or a dogwalker during the day (a close friend who is overjoyed with puppy breath). At least until 6 months of age.


There are chances of your pup getting sick in daycare, regardless of how clean the place is. So I would take that into consideration. And there are always chances of picking up bad behaviors as well.


I agree with GSDchoice. If you want to try it, see if they do half days. If not, maybe just try it for one day to see how it goes. Katsu wasn't a huge fan, she'd go and maybe wander around the room or sleep the entire time so it didn't seem worth the money.
 
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I don't care for the cage free type places....so those dogs never get a break? No dog wants to play for 8 hours straight. They need rest.

After a point they will get over tired or over stimulated. Or both.

I think daycares vary wildly as to how well they are run and what type of behavior the pup will learn and practice. I've seen a few videos from daycares that were upsetting. Puppies being hounded by more precocious dogs, running and looking for a place to hide with no intervention by staff who thought it was cute.

Groups of big dogs chasing a little dog. Yikes.
 

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I think you're already very lucky to have your partner able to come home and play with him for an hour and then someone else to come in to walk him - not just once but - TWICE! I bet a lot of people here are jealous of you. I wouldn't dismiss what a great setup you already have.

Last week I began looking for a place to board my dog for 5 days. (I've never had to board my dog before. My parents always watched my dog for me. But this time, they're in the late 80s and they can't handle this adolescent pup.) I went and visited more than 10 places. I live in one of the wealthiest counties in America and I wouldn't take my dog to any of the boarding businesses that I visited last week. Between the bad reviews (one luxury pet hotel which has marble floors...a dog died in their care. it was in the news) and word of mouth between neighbors, it scared me enough not to consider any of those places. Some of the places have weird costs. One place wanted 150 bucks for an orientation class for boarding and daycare. Many dogs go home with scratches, cuts, bruises, etc. I sound like Debbie Downer, but I wouldn't take that chance with my dog. Maybe in your area, you've got a really great pet daycare. But not around me. So my breeder suggested rover.com and I looked into it and it looks like a better option for me. Not many people wanted to deal with a 8 (almost 9, will be 10 when he is boarded) months old active rambunctious GSD pup.

Anyway, my 2 cents...like I said above, don't do it. You've got a great thing going right now.
 

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Based on your post... I think your dog has more than sufficient human interaction WITHOUT the daycare. IMO, I would use daycare as the last resort. Unnecessary waste of money and too much liability. And your pup doesn't need anything more than what he gets daily with your partner and the dog walker.
 

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Hello,

My puppy is going to daycare since he was 8 week old. Initially it was 2-3 days per week till he was 4 month old and but now it is 1 day per week (he is 7 month old now).

I go to home during my lunch time to feed and play with him till 5 month old but now he can live alone.

He enjoy going to day care, I think it is good for him as he gets lots of exercise, socialization and best is pack experience.

Thanks.
 

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“He also has had training so he knows what behavior is acceptable.”

Zeus...Isn’t this the dog who bit someone at the dog park?
 

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I just checked out a new day care facility in our town to see what people are using. Not for our own use. The people are nice but it was strangely designed. Two large fenced adjacent areas, separated by just chain link so dogs could see each other; one for large dogs and one for medium sized dogs. The flooring is fake grass and the place smelled like a urinal. No clue how they try to keep it clean. There is a walk way for people to check everything out so I did, as a stranger, and several dogs were aggressive towards me; charging the fence, jumping onto the fence while snarling. Handler didn't interfere.
Within sight of the day care is the boarding area with chain link see-through kennels, accessible to visitors. Boarded dogs don't have any privacy as there is no solid wall in any of the kennels. It was plain chaos.
Before you ever bring a dog to a new day care please avoid situations where strangers can come and browse around as it is very disturbing to many dogs. We also have a good dog day care in our town; no access to the dogs by others than staff and a secret viewing window for visitors and owners. And it doesn't smell.
 

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Pepper goes to daycare three days a week (all we need with our schedules)and she LOVES it. They only charge 22 dollars for a whole day of play, whereas a dog walker would charge that for an hour. Its cage free, but they feed her lunch separate from the other dogs, and give her plenty of time for a nap afterwards so she can digest.

All daycare dogs must have all their vaccinations, including canine influenza, and be on a vet prescription flea and tick topical, so I’m not worried about her picking up anything. Also, all dogs are temperament tested, no aggressive dogs allowed.

It’s done WONDERS for her socializing. She was a little timid around other dogs before, now she loves to play! She’s learned manners from the other dogs, how to approach them in a proper greeting, and how to engage in play by bowing and with happy little hops. Also, i was struggling to teach bite inhibition, but the other dogs have helped her learn rapidly. She no longer bites me.

My daycare is done at the owners Home (HUGE house and even bigger yard) so she gets to play on real grass, not AstroTurf. And I get sent videos periodically throughout the day of Pepper playing with all of her friends.

Best part? Even with her naps through the day, she comes home good and tired. Not pass-out tired, but calm tired.

I can’t praise daycare enough. I love that I can provide it for my girl.
 

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As you can see from these posts, SO much depends on how the daycare is run!

There's one daycare I know of that advertises "They aren't dogs -they're kids with fur!" Personally, I wouldn't trust them to look after my pet hamster! They have NO toilet facilities for the dogs. They have to load them all into a van, and take them to a nearby park/greenspace. Just imagine what THAT does for your puppy, if it's not fully housebroken yet!

So many of these places are a doggy free-for-all: the more aggressive dogs bully the weaker ones, and they come home traumatized. There is no place they can escape to to feel safe.

Another daycare I know is one that has an e-friend of mine on staff. She is a long time breeder, and would not work at a place where the dogs were not well-cared for. They do a temperament evaluation before a dog can be left there, and the ratio of staff to dogs is kept high enough to prevent any problems. Dogs are allowed rest periods during the day, where they can relax in crates or kennels.

That's the sort of place I'd look for, if I were going to use one of these facilities.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you for your input, everyone. I'm going to check out the facility in person next week and ask some questions that many of you have raised (staff size, rest periods, etc.)

And thank you to all who said my current schedule with him is sufficient. Sometimes I just feel so bad leaving him in the crate for a couple of hours at a time during the day. While I think he's getting sufficient exercise, I can't help but to "humanize" him and feel like he needs more social stimulation during the day than what he already has. We still do a lot of playtime and bonding when I get home from work, but it's just his limited daytime activities that I feel bad about. If the day care isn't a good fit for us, I'll continue with his current routine with the dog walkers. My first and foremost concern is his safety and wellbeing at the daycare.
 
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