As a professional Canine behaviourist and owner of a Dog Daycare I am often asked questions like; how often should I socialize my dog? Or, I’ve been told that owners want help with their dog so that they can take them to a dog-park or daycare. Well, I have an answer, and some questions for you to help make the right decision for your dog at home.
Yes socialization is important, especially at a young age. However, this doesn’t mean just throwing your dog in a park and having strange dogs meet it so they can play.
Socialization should be custom to each individual dog’s needs. Whether meeting people of various heights, looks, smells, and sounds, or various dogs.
Just like some people, dogs have differing personalities, and it can be unwise to give dogs the wrong type of socialization just because you feel like it needs it.
I’ll give you a more relatable example; some people like to stay at home on Friday night with a good book and a glass of wine, and some people truly enjoy having hundreds of people around them at a loud night club dancing the night away. If you were to take these examples of people and role reverse their life choices, chances are the person who enjoys peaceful and quiet nights would feel uncomfortable, irritated, and possibly anxious. The same goes for the social butterfly! If you took them out of their element chances are they would feel completely bored and under-stimulated.
So how do I know if a dog is suitable for the daycare environment?
Well, it depends on a variety of factors but temperament is likely the best indicator of which dogs might be perfectly happy sleeping on their bed at home and waiting for you to return from work or taking advantage of a dog daycare scenario.
- Age: If your dog is slowing down physically a daycare may not be the right place for him or her. Most daycares take on dogs of any age. But, for your consideration the average age of Dharma Dog Daycare’s attendees is usually around two and a half years old.
- Temperament: Which category does your dog fall under? Timid? Shy? Fearful? Dominant? These types of temperaments may benefit from a slower transition to an active daycare like environment, or perhaps they are simply more comfortable on their own with humans. There are other choices if your dog is unable to attend daycare or the dog-park safely but needs the exercise; Try hiring a private dog walker. Consult your veterinarian or canine industry professionals such as your groomer for recommendations.
Dogs that fall under the following temperaments are usually better suited to attend a daycare: submissive, or middle of the pack. Most people have a good idea of what type of personality their dog has, but if you don’t there’s no need to worry because A good facility’s director or a professional trainer or canine behaviour therapist will be able to properly assess your dog’s needs. When in doubt, trust a professional!