Socialization: A key factor in your dog’s health and happiness, and dog daycare can help.
Your dog would spend every waking and sleeping minute with you if they could, but as owners it’s important to remember that socialization with other dogs and the pack experience is necessary for your dog’s health and happiness.
Dog daycare isn’t just a great option for active dogs with working humans. It’s also a fantastic resource for dogs working through some pretty common issues including anxiety, shyness, and fear due to being unsure. Sometimes it’s amazing to see what the Canine to Five pack can do for an unsure dog that trainers, behaviorists, etc. couldn’t do.
There’s nothing we enjoy more than to see an anxious dog transform into a confident and playful pack member. And the change isn’t just in the pack… it’s felt at home too.
“George had not been socialized (much) with other dogs or strangers,” said George’s human, Amanda, of his experience prior to visiting Canine to Five in Detroit. “When he did encounter either he was very nervous, and in turn that made me nervous to take him out in public.”
“When George first started he was hesitant and unsure of the handlers, and would show his teeth and growl when approached,” said Keeley Fuller, now Canine to Five Ferndale’s manager. “He was fearful and not being aggressive, but instead letting the handlers know that he was unsure.”Canine to Five Detroit’s Playroom Supervisor, Cullen Perry, works with our team on working one-on-one with dogs.[/caption]
“Initially, dropping him off was difficult,” said Amanda. “He was scared and would not go through the first set of gates, and once I closed the gate he began to bark and whimper.”
It’s a normal reaction we see a lot from dogs on their first visit. Our handlers take an active role in introducing a new dog to the pack, and most often we see a dog that was nervous at first come out of their shell during the day, make new buds, and play their heart out. But in George’s case, the anxiety and nervousness that was effecting his quality of life at home was holding him back from enjoying the pack.
“We wanted George to have the best possible chance at adjusting to daycare,” said Keeley. Keeley along with the amazing team of Pack Leaders (Handlers) developed a strategy to work with George, which included a lot of one-on-one time with each Pack Leader. “There is a certain way to approach dogs like George (fearful dogs). Each handler would need to sit with their body positioned to the side while not directly facing or looking at George. They would hold their hand out and give him an opportunity to smell them. Dogs get to know the world with their noses so smelling is always a positive sign that a dog is open to meeting other dogs and people too.”
Bit by bit, George made connections with the Pack Leaders and gained more and more confidence within the pack. Once fully integrated into the pack, George’s progress sped up with the help of his new friends. George gained more confidence and became playful showing he was enjoying his experience. The change we saw was seen at home too.We are constantly working on our skills as dog handlers and pack leaders at Canine to Five. Here’s the team observing techniques for working with dogs one-on-one.[/caption]
“Over the next three months, he changed,” said Amanda. “During the summer when I took him to the dog park, I saw him engage with other dogs. At home he was more relaxed when strangers would come to the door, or visitors would come over. He is better with commands, is more playful, and much happier.”
“He is a great dog and we are all so happy to have helped George,” said Keeley. The amazing team of Pack Leaders at both the Canine to Five Detroit and Ferndale locations understand the transformation that can occur in a dog with proper socialization, pack structure, and a little effort/patience, that’s why every day they go out of their way to work with new members of the pack understanding every dog matters in the pack and has something to bring to it. “After all, George has helped us to learn how to become even better dog handlers.”
Even if dog daycare isn’t a weekly necessity for you and your dog, remember that the pack experience and socialization are huge factors in their quality of life and their ability to be balanced. Even if your dog visits only once a month, it’s a great thing you can do for your dog’s happiness. Not sure what frequency is right for your dog?