Is day care right for my dog?

Dogs are generally social creatures, so for lots of them spending time at day care is heaven. But that isn't the case for all dogs. Here is our guide to working out if day care is actually right for your dog.

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Some dogs enjoy spending time with other dogs, playing, sniffing and having their companionship. Others just prefer the company of their humans. So it is important that you accept that day care isn’t for every dog and here is our guide to working out if the day care environment is right for your dog.

1. How does your dog act around other dogs they meet?

.Are they relaxed meeting new dogs at the park, or are they fearful? For some dogs the experience of meeting new dogs is very stressful and if they feel that way with you, their trusted owner, then the chances are very high that they may find the day care experience too much.

On the other hand - is your dog bursting out of their skin to meet every new dog they see? This could actually be a signal that they might find the biz of day care too stimulating and arousing.

Dogs who enjoy meeting new and familiar dogs can benefit in so many ways from going to day care.

2. Is your dog happy meeting new people?

Being at day care will mean your dog will be spending their time with a team of new people, who should be doing their best to help a new dog joining their group feel safe and relaxed. If your dog is nervous or anxious when meeting new people with you, then they might find the day care experience to stressful.

If your dog enjoys meeting new people who can read and understand their signals, then they will definitely enjoy spending time at day care.

3. Is your dog used to spending time away from you?

Lockdowns have had numerous and profound effects on our dogs and separation anxiety is one of the main ones we are seeing in young dogs and pups who have never been away from their owners. Spending time at day care means spending time away from you. Some dogs will be quite happy to trot off, not looking back to see their fur-friends. Others will find being apart from you very difficult and therefore find it extremely difficult to settle at day care.

If this is the case for your dog, start practicing some ‘alone time’ now! The RSPCA have wonderful resources here ,to help dogs with separation anxiety, and there are wonderful qualified behaviorists who specialise in this area of work. 

4. Can day care be TOO exciting for dogs?

YES! Overstimulation which can lead to stress and becoming more anxious, possibly leading to behavior changes at home, can seem like excitement.

Usually what we look for is a happy-go-lucky dog when they arrive in the morning and the same when they leave at the end of their visit. We want a dog who's excited to be here, but not bouncing off the walls and showing stress signals. And this can go back to overstimulation, which can happen to some dogs within the day care environment.


To you they might seem very excited to be arriving and seeing their friends, but this can actually be stress signals for us to note. They are shaking with excitement, stressed, panting, jumping about. You might see them breathing heavily, or exhibiting a weird energy level that you don't normally see from your dog, and to us this can be a red flag.

A lot of people see that as, 'Oh my dog is so excited to be coming to Tails, but I worry when I see that in a dog because it's almost like they can't control their excitement and so their body just starts shaking and over-exaggerating everything.


So we do want a dog that exhibits really happy, loose body language coming and going. That they show some interest in the staff and other dogs, and they enjoy that kind of interest from the staff and other dogs as well.  But that depends on the dog some dogs don't love human contact as much as others, but you want that tolerance of staff there.

5. Signs your dog is finding day care stressful

Things to watch out for either before or after daycare that signal they are finding the experience stressful are -

  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Obsessive self grooming, such as licking their paws over and over
  • Stress panting, or excessive amounts of drool
  • Any sudden changes in behavior or personality
  • Falling into a deep dense sleep when home, almost like a recovery sleep, where their bodies are having to shut down to digest the stress of the day. 
Our NUMBER 1  priority is that the dogs who join us here at Tails of Tranquility are having an enjoyable time. That we are in no way causing or contributing to stress in any dog. 

If we feel that this is the case we talk to the pet parent straight away, and all good day care providers should do the same.

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