The Doggy Daycare Effect

NICK BARNETT
Last updated 13:58 17/11/2011

As I type this, on Thursday afternoon, my dogs lie snoring on a couch. Unusually, I've hardly seen either of them today and the house has been silent. This is the Doggy Daycare Effect.

Phoebe and Connor spent nine hours yesterday at a suburban doggy daycare centre while my partner and I did our respective jobs. The dogs shared a room with five others, apparently making friends with a lively poodle named Thomas.

Tired Connor(They didn't strictly have to go: I worked from home yesterday, as I do most days. But we have other reasons for taking them, which I'll get to.)

Late in the afternoon, when my partner came to pick them up, Phoebe and Connor were in good spirits, but uttered not a peep from their crates during the drive home. Last night, they ate their dinner but otherwise slept laxly on a lap or cushion, flat on their sides because they were too tired even to curl up.

They needed no walk, of course. Which I kind of regretted because it's a high point of my own day too - but it was great to see them in the rare position of having spent all their energy and still processing several days' worth of stimulation. The fun and interaction they must have had!

And this is the main point. Our dogs have become like a self-sufficient couple, keen to play with each other but cool toward other dogs. Connor's attitude to other dogs has gone from uncontrollable anguish to manageable jumpiness, but doesn't yet approach friendliness. The one hour a week they spend at the small dogs' playgroup has been a huge spur to their sociability, especially Connor's, and now the occasional day-long session at doggy daycare will, we hope, help polish their manners.

It's like a finishing school, I suppose. A relaxed, uncrowded finishing school where they have to get on with the other boarders.

And another thing: our finished, polished dogs will be better prepared for stints at a kennel. Which means their dads can actually plan for a holiday together without packing leashes (unless for ourselves).

So the Doggy Daycare Effect is a pretty positive one. Have you experienced it?

Check your phone book or the internet for dog daycare businesses in your area. They range in size. Fees vary but be prepared to pay about $30 a day, per dog.

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61 comments
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G Ollum   #1   02:05 pm Nov 17 2011

My dog goes once a week, he gets picked up and dropped off, it's fantastic. Hes pretty quiet when he comes home.

stellas mum   #2   02:08 pm Nov 17 2011

Our 3 and a half year old German Shorthaired Pointer goes to doggy daycare once a week on a Wednesday just to break the week up for her (we work all day) - Homelands Kennels and Cattery, in Plimmerton, who are wonderful!! (just thought I'd throw that in there for them) - and she loves it. She's knackered on the Wednesday night but each time she goes, she runs in with her tail wagging straight to the staff.

Its been fantastic for helping with her social behaviour, even with the staff, as she has developed a fear of strangers from being at another daycare facility. They are amazing with her.

I would definately recommend anyone taking their dog to doggy daycare!!

actiongirl   #3   02:10 pm Nov 17 2011

I work from home but send my golden retriever to doggie daycare twice a week for socialisation and play time. He gets a big field to run around in all day with his doggie friends. Its been great for his confidence levels and he comes home absolutely shattered! Another plus is that it gives me the time to go out and have meetings and go surfing without feeling guilty that I've left him home alone. Highly recommended. Especially the one at Judgeford which $11/day or $16/day (i think??) for 2 dogs. It doesn't have a to be expensive!

Megan   #4   02:10 pm Nov 17 2011

My dog goes to doggy daycare twice a week and he loves it. It really improves a dog's social skills and they get to use up alot of energy. I did notice that when my dog first started there he would almost be snoring in the car on the way home. Now that he has been going for quite a while he is more fit and, although he gets tired, he is not absolutely shattered like he was before.

Dee   #5   02:13 pm Nov 17 2011

I wish other areas around nz (I live in Hawkes Bay) provided a doggy day care, but I guess there isn't as much a demand. Is it expensive? I'd love to be able to put my puppy into day-care. She has so much energy to burn, although most dogs she ends up trying to play with get sick of her eventually.

Ari   #6   02:14 pm Nov 17 2011

There is a great doggy daycare in Te Kowhai just outside of Hamilton. Called the K9 Country Club!

Definitely one of the best I have seen.

Sharon   #7   02:18 pm Nov 17 2011

Love the picture of Connor, too shattered even to lift his head. It must be so satisfying to know Phoebe and Connor had such a full-on day at Doggy Daycare that they're now worn out. In a good way.

Since there's no Moggy Daycare, I used to feel guilty leaving Alfie each day to go to work knowing he'd be bored out of his mind but since I adopted his little brother Sammy, he's much happier because the pair of them get up to all sorts of hijinx together during the day. Their company enriches not just their lives but mine as well.

Ruby   #8   02:19 pm Nov 17 2011

You make a really good point that the daycare you send your dogs to is relaxed and uncrowded. A few years ago I used to send my dogs to a daycare in Ngaio Wellington. The staff were great, but the owners seemed to crowd more and more dogs in. It was inside so the barking echoed around and the promise of at least one walk a day often didn't materialise. I began to question the level of supervision after a couple of incidents where dogs got injured but no one could say what had happened. It was a pity as what had started out as a great idea and a fantastic facility for dogs didn't,in my opinion, end up being what I'd hoped for.

SK   #9   02:24 pm Nov 17 2011

Our boy goes twice a week and seems to love it - I think it keeps him well socialised (particularly for an only dog), and breaks up a long week of long days in the back yard with working owners. There is definitely a happy, sound, and contented sleep on doggy daycare days - and we get a sleep in as we don't walk him on those mornings. Lovely.

Pickles   #10   02:24 pm Nov 17 2011

* giggle * " Which means their dads can actually plan for a holiday together without packing leashes (unless for ourselves)." Sounds like a good holiday ;)


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