Should my puppy attend dog daycare? What is the right age to enroll? Dog daycare can be a terrific program for an active puppy but there are a few considerations before jumping right into the fun.
Start with Socializing Your Puppy
Early training should include plenty of socialization and new situations for your puppy to experience around the house and away from home. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends beginning socialization between 3 and 14 weeks of age. Once your puppy begins receiving vaccinations, puppy preschool and other social activities can begin. Participating in a puppy social class is a gentle introduction to a larger-group experience.
Holiday House Pet Resort & Training Center in Doylestown, PA holds free puppy social hour classes weekly. Puppies between 8-weeks to 6-months-old can join the program as long their vaccination series have started. Staff with experience in daycare or training supervise the small group and facilitate appropriate play.
As a puppy-only program, puppies have the freedom to explore and play in a safe environment. The program also teaches the puppy that being away from their pet parent can be a positive experience. This helps reduce the chance of developing separation anxiety.
“For some puppies, the experience of meeting other puppies in an unfamiliar space can be a bit intimidating. It’s fun to see the transformation when a timid pup—watching the other puppies playing together and running around the yard—finds the confidence to join the fun. The personalities shine through and the bonds of friendship are apparent by the time the puppies graduate,” said Cheryl Lindley, director of daycare and training programs with the pet resort.
An Introduction to Daycare
Many of the puppies that attend the weekly socialization are either enrolled in a training program, or scheduled for an introduction to the daycare program before graduating from puppy social.
Dog daycare is a terrific program for an active puppy. A well-rounded dog daycare program should include a variety of activities, proper supervision, and social interactions.
Some of the benefits of a daycare program include:
- Reducing boredom through physical, intellectual, and social stimulation
- Building confidence and trust to help reduce fear and anxiety
- Improving social skills with dogs and people
- Reinforcing manners and obedience skills
A program that blends different breeds and ages gives puppies and dogs a broader experience. However, not every dog enjoys the same activities or level of play. At Holiday House Pet Resort & Training Center, safety is a priority. An introductory day helps the staff determine which daycare program is the right fit for a smooth transition into the larger group.
“Much like a student in elementary school or beginning a new sport, a dog can change programs as he grows and matures. For example, a puppy that has not been spayed or neutered but is ready to attend daycare would start in our V.I.P. program. The puppy receives exercise, one-on-one attention, and socialization until it’s time to join the larger group. An active dog that needs more mental stimulation might switch to the program focused on enrichment activities.,” added Lindley.
Daycare and Training: Perfect Combination
When your puppy is ready for daycare, it is also an opportunity to begin a training program. The resort’s Play & Learn training program combines the socialization and activities offered in daycare with a customized training plan. The puppy works with a professional trainer during multiple one-on-one sessions daily. At four months old, Eddie was enrolled in a 10-day Play & Learn program.
Should your puppy attend dog daycare? Yes. As long as vaccinations have begun, your puppy can participate in social activities and classes. Participating in a puppy socialization program before enrolling in a daycare program is recommended. Smaller groups, like a puppy social hour or puppy preschool class, and activities focused on socialization will help build your puppy’s confidence in meeting other dogs and feeling comfortable in a daycare program. Talk with your veterinarian or local dog training center to determine which programs are best for your puppy. Call Holiday House Pet Resort & Training Center at 215-345-6960 for more information.