Nobody wants to think that their pup is a troublemaker. Unfortunately though, sometimes when your fur baby is exposed to a circumstance they aren't used to, they might react in inappropriate ways.
For example, your dog might be perfectly well-behaved at home, on walks, and at the dog park, but when they don't have you at their side they may respond differently.
Do they respect their commands, or do they only respect you? This is a constant challenge for one situation in particular: the doggy daycare.
In this blog post I discuss what to do if your dog got kicked out of doggy daycare. From why to send your dog to day care to how to do some root cause analysis to great alternative options.
If you are looking for more how to dog guides, make sure to not miss the read more section at the bottom. I'm sure you will learn a thing or two that will help you improve the life of your fur children. Happy reading, pinning and sharing.
Doggy daycare is an important resource for those of us who have busy lives and can't always bring our fur babies with us.
Just like daycare for human kids, doggy daycare is a place we can trust our fur babies to be well cared for and supervised while we go on trips, visit places where dogs aren't allowed, or even just run errands or go to work.
But what’s the point of doggy daycare? Most pet parents will bring their pup to a daycare for the following reasons:
They suffer from separation anxiety
They are destructive when left alone
They have a lot of energy
By bringing your pup to daycare they will get to play with other pups, interact with other people, and expel that excess energy that they would otherwise have pent up from lounging around all day.
Now I don’t mean to imply that dog daycare comes completely risk-free. Not at all, but in most cases the benefits will outweigh the risks.
Just like when you send your child to daycare, some risks may include exposure to viruses and parasites, and there is even the potential of getting injured by a bully.
Doggy daycares vary in the services they provide. Many even have webcams so you can pop in to check on your pup throughout the day. Others offer different services like giving meds or special one-on-one time.
Options can be endless, so when you find a place that works it’s a win-win for you and your pup.
But what happens when you find that great place that seems to work for you and your pup and then he they get kicked out of daycare?
Step 1: Learn Why Your Dog Got Kicked Out of Doggy Daycare
The first thing you want to do is learn why your pup has been kicked out of doggy daycare.
One thing to remember is that if your fur baby is kicked out of doggy daycare, it may actually be a good thing!
If nothing else, it means that the daycare is more concerned about the health and social wellness of all of the dogs involved (yours included) than they are with making a few bucks and forcing your dog into a stressful environment.
Most of the time, it's not a bad reason; it's just due to disruptive behavior. Here are some common reasons why dogs have been kicked out of doggy daycare:
My niece Luna is an interesting case of a safety concern to other dogs. While she hasn’t been kicked out of doggy day care, she does require more supervision and has at times been separated from the other dogs.
The problem is she likes to jump on other dogs while playing. She gets so excited and doesn’t take her size into consideration (she’s a Great Dane) – and that can be a safety concern for the other dogs.
If you have some time and want a good laugh, check out this video with a ton of funny reasons other pet parents had their pup kicked out of doggy daycare:
Ultimately, understanding why your fur baby was kicked out of doggy daycare can help you determine what your next steps should be. Generally, there are a few commonalities between causes.
First, the daycare might not be appropriate for your pup. For example, if you have a St. Bernard or a Great Dane, but the doggy daycare specializes in small dogs like Chihuahuas, Pugs, or Terriers, they may not have the tools, capacity, or training to handle such a large breed. There's nothing wrong with the daycare; it's just not appropriate for your dog. Larger dogs also need more space to expel that excess energy, so an indoor “room” layout probably won’t work.
Second, you may need to look into further socialization. Whether your fur baby is a young, bright-eyed puppy or an older adult, it's never too late to work on socialization if they're having trouble, especially in new environments.
Likewise, a young puppy may not be well-behaved. That's normal! Puppies are energetic and new to the world, and they often let that get the better of them. There's nothing wrong with that, but you need to know whether the daycare you've chosen does training and socialization or if they expect your dog to have a baseline level of training and behavior.
And, of course, sometimes dogs just don't fit in with the rest of the crowd. Your dog might be bullied or might be the bully; they might be stressed and anxious around all those other unfamiliar dogs. Sometimes a little more exposure is all they need to settle down, but other times you may want to find a daycare with a smaller roster or with dogs they're more familiar with.
Always remember that it's not your dog being a bad dog that gets them kicked from doggy daycare. More likely, it's just a bad match. It's the same way you and a neighbor might not want to hang out together; they aren't a bad person; you just aren't compatible socially.
In most cases, when choosing to ban your pup, doggy daycares don't take the decision lightly. They have to put the safety and health of all of the dogs first.
If your dog is unusually aggressive, inappropriate, or disruptive, it can lead other dogs with more anxiety or other issues into more inappropriate behaviors and can even result in fights.
It's better for them to avoid triggering an incident, and that means not letting your dog come back.
Just because one doggy daycare kicked out your fur baby doesn't mean they all will. You dog isn't blacklisted from the whole town!
Unless your pup is truly problematic (which is really rare to be honest!), you just need to find a daycare with an environment where your dog fits in.
Sometimes, you might just want to look into a daycare that specializes in your breed or your size category.
For example, a doggy daycare that typically works with shy dogs will be a better fit for an introverted and human-centered dog than a daycare that focuses on fun-loving, extroverted breeds.
A daycare that specializes in herding dogs and working dogs will be a better fit for your Aussie than a daycare that specializes in larger, lazier dogs.
Of course, depending on where you live, there may not be very many options. Sadly, that's just a fact of life if you live in a small town or rural area where there aren't many daycares available.
Another thing to consider is that sometimes, a doggy daycare just isn't very good or is heavily focused on a specific kind of dog with a specific kind of personality.
Keep in mind that not all daycares are capable of handling every kind of dog, and many end up overworked with too few supervisors and too many dogs. You might just need to look elsewhere, even if it's a little further away or a little bit harder on the budget.
If you haven’t already, a great option to consider is a traditional boarding facility. While they are typically known for their overnight care, many also provide day camps.
The great thing about most of these businesses is that they have a large dog run to allow the dogs to exercise. If you have a larger dog or one that is particularly active, this can be a great choice.
Step 3: Reconsider Doggy Daycare and Look into Other Options
If you have some flexibility, an alternative is to just skip doggy daycare entirely.
Now, of course that doesn't mean skipping care for your fur baby. Sometimes it's unavoidable that they need special care while you fulfill other obligations, but, there are options other than doggy daycare available.
"Far too often, we try to force our pets into environments they may not like. And when we do, the dog suffers. I've seen shy dogs taken to crowded parades. The dog is not happy. I've seen sound-sensitive dogs taken to fireworks displays. The dog is not happy. And I've seen dogs who don't particularly enjoy the company of other dogs taken to dog parks and daycares. The dog is not happy." – Robin Bennett, The Cheshire Pooch.
So, what other options might you look into?
1. A trip to the dog park.
Some dogs don't need a whole day at a doggy daycare. Many dogs that are more comfortable at home and prefer surroundings they're familiar with won't do very well at a doggy daycare.
But, if you just leave them home, they'll have too much pent-up energy and can be destructive or willful when you get home.
This likely isn’t a good solution if you work a more traditional 9 to 5, but we a few more suggestions, so stay with us.
A trip to the dog park might be just what the doctor ordered.
Taking your pup down to the park and letting them run around, explore, and play to wear themselves out can leave them perfectly calm and prepared to lounge about the house and sleep the rest of the day away, leaving you free to go about your responsibilities.
If this becomes a routine, they will likely be extra excited to see you when you get home, and hopefully less likely to have torn up the couch or broken into the pantry while you were out.
One potential downside of dog parks relative to daycare facilities is the potential exposure to parasites and diseases.
Most doggy daycares will have a minimum vaccination requirement for pups to participate. No one is checking each pup’s history at the dog park.
“Dogs at these parks may be exposed to more fleas, ticks, and mosquitos carrying diseases like Lyme, Anaplasma, intestinal parasites, and heartworms. Some of these parasites that infect animals cannot only infect your pet but also pose a risk to transmission to other human family members. Intestinal parasites like roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms can potentially be spread to humans.” - Brook-Falls Veterinary Hospital & Exotic Care Inc.
2. A play date with a known doggy friend.
Do you have a neighbor that has a dog that your pup loves to play with? Take advantage of the close proximity and setup a play date!
This can be an alternating responsibility, you drop your pup off one day a week at their friends house, and later in the week the reverse.
Much like the trip to the dog park, a play date gives you an opportunity to let your dog blow off some steam and wear themselves out, which leaves them calmer and more well-behaved when they're left to their own devices later.
P.S. If you're worried that your dog is too old to be socialized, I wrote a guide about that subject! It's never too late to improve your pup's social skills, and this behavior adjustment will likely make trips to the doggy daycare go much more smoothly.
3. Leaving your pup home under sporadic supervision.
Many dogs are perfectly content to hang out at home all day and just need some occasional supervision. Maybe you come home on your lunch break, or you have a trusted friend or neighbor stop by to give them an hour of playtime and feed them.
This is a great option if you have older kids in the neighborhood. Many love to make money simply by playing with adorable animals.
Whoever is stopping by, talk about expectations for the visit, whether it’s just to let your pup in the yard to potty, or if meds or a meal should be provided.
Maybe they have a neighborhood circuit they follow, or maybe they pile everyone into a minivan for a trip to a park or a home with a large backyard, or maybe they just do a few laps around the block.
Whatever the case is, these people are often a good option for dogs that need a regular schedule and structure. It just might be tricky as a long-term solution, as most dog walkers aren't doing it as a life-long career.
Ask a neighbor for a recommendation or do some research to find a walker with good references. Remember this person is going to be coming into your home and you want to make sure they are trustworthy.
5. Boarding your dog with a dog sitter.
Dog sitters are another option. I like to compare these to people who do child daycare out of their homes. They generally only take a couple of dogs at a time, and they tend to provide much more personalized care.
Some will even offer care for a few days at a time, especially if you have something like a work trip or a hospital stay you need to be covered.
You'll want to have a closer overview of the boarder than you might with a formal daycare – after all, an individual has more room for error than a multi-professional business.
Once you find one you can trust, talk to them about the services they provide so you know what your pup will be doing during the day.
Step 4: Consider More Training and Try Again
If your dog has behavioral issues, training limitations, sociability problems, or other similar issues, some additional training might be in order.
While many dogs are perfectly well-behaved with their pet parent, in unfamiliar environments or with unfamiliar dogs, some may act out.
Nine times out of ten, training isn't the problem, and it's not going to solve the issue. It's usually just a matter of personalities that don't mesh, different needs, or your dog is simply hyperactive or anxious.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, the key is learning what the problem is and trying different solutions until one fits.
To conclude, dogs are very much like us in many respects, and there isn't a one-size-fits-all type of solution that will work for all of them. They are all unique with their own personalities and behavioral triggers.
And since they can't tell us what they like or dislike about a given day care or why they behave in a certain way, all we can do as pet parents is keep on trying different approaches until we find one that works.
Has your fur baby ever been kicked out of doggy daycare? Do you have a funny story like one of the ones above? If so, feel free to share in the comments. Plus, you can tell us what you did to solve the problem, so others can learn from your experiences. I'm looking forward to hearing all of your various thoughts and stories!
Additionally, if you are feeling like getting a little special something for your fur baby that is unique, made right here in the USA (or anywhere but in China), 100% pup and cat safe, USDA certified organic and brought to you by a US company, check out Toe Beans online pet supplies store!
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K Marie Alto
K. Marie is an animal lover, wife, kitty mom, dog auntie, writer (https://www.amazon.com/author/kmariealto), and co-founder of Toe Beans, a proud American family-owned online boutique pet supplies store focused on the improvement of the life of furry family members via pet parent education, better products, and advocacy. She has over 20 years of experience as a pet momma. She loves sharing her personal journey and experience as a pet parent via her blog and Facebook page where she currently has more than 45K followers (@furrytoebeans) and counting :-).