If you have a dog acting different after daycare, you’re likely worried something bad happened or your dog simply doesn’t like it. Knowing what has caused your dog to act differently after daycare will help you move forward toward a solution. That way, you can get your happy good dog back.
Reasons for a Dog Acting Different After Daycare
Dog daycare should be a place where a dog can have fun while away from home. It should be a home away from home.
It doesn’t always happen that way, though. Dogs are just like people. They have their preferences and they are affected by their experiences.
Let’s dive into the reasons for a dog acting different after daycare.
Separation anxiety is one of the most common reasons for a dog acting different daycare. To dogs with separation anxiety, doggy daycare isn’t a great place to be if their dog owners aren’t around.
The reason your dog is acting differently at home after dog daycare is the feeling has carried over. The sadness and fear of you leaving remains, so your dog’s behavior is different.
If your pup suffers from separation anxiety, try the following to help your pup grow accustomed to it.
- Spend time with your pup at the dog daycare. As the daycare staff if you can stay with your pup for just a few minutes before leaving. Your pup will have an easier time meeting new dogs and playing with them when you’re close by. Once your pup is engaged with his/her new friends, you can sneak out.
- Give the daycare staff a blanket or another item that has your scent on it. When your pup is sad, the staff can give it to your pup. This will help your dog feel better about your absence, which will help the reunion, too.
Uneasy About Different Dogs
It can be difficult to get along with other people, sometimes. The same goes for dogs. Being around a lot of different dogs can be nerve-wracking. When you pick your furry friend up from doggy daycare, he/she may be a nervous wreck and that causes a difference in dog behavior.
Usually, dogs will become used to the dogs they see at daycare since it’s often the same ones with a couple of new dogs every now and then. You can wait to see if your dog starts to act like him/herself again or see about a different daycare situation.
Many pet parents hire dog walkers or dog sitters instead of using a doggie daycare because their puppy likes it better. As a pet parent, it can be hard to find the best option, but trial and error is a great way to narrow it down.
Older Dogs Get Overwhelmed
Older dogs can have a hard time with doggy daycare because they are overstimulated. There’s so much that goes on at a doggie daycare that older dogs can either become physically or mentally exhausted.
Once your older dog gets home, he/she is so tired and depleted of energy that you may think he/she is sick. We all know how it feels when we are in environments that overly stimulate us, and that’s exactly how your senior pup feels.
With energy levels being so low for older dogs already, it may be better for your senior pup to stay home and have someone take him/her out several times a day. If that isn’t possible, finding a dog daycare that isn’t so full of new dogs and new people all the time may be the answer. The key is to find a doggy daycare that is a good fit for you and your dog.
You can also ask the daycare facility to give your pup more alone time away from young puppies and adult dogs. That way your dog can get some much-needed rest and not be so tired at the end of the day.
Older dogs aren’t the only ones that get exhausted from being at doggie daycare. Young puppies and adult dogs can get overly tired, too. Since the younger canines can still have some energy left over from doggy daycare, they may not seem like they are tired. Instead, like overtired children, they may start acting out at home. This may mean ripping items apart, running around the house like crazy, or even soiling the house with urine or poo despite being potty trained.
A tired dog often exhibits destructive behavior, but tiredness can also mean dropping down on the floor and sleeping.
There’s a lot of physical activity during playtime at a daycare facility. Playgroups can get rambunctious, which can lead to accidental injuries.
If your dog is acting different after daycare, it may be because of getting hurt. Look for other signs of being injured like not walking as he/she normally does or yelping when certain body parts are touched.
If you suspect your pup has been injured, ask staff members if they know anything about it. It may be a good idea to contact the vet for an exam as well.
Catching a Virus
Dogs can catch viruses from other dogs just like people can catch viruses from other people. That means one of the reasons a dog acts different after daycare is that he/she is sick.
Kennel cough is one of the most common communicable viruses for dogs, but there are also others like the dog flu. If your dog is showing any other symptoms in addition to not acting like him/herself, contact the veterinarian for an exam. The sooner the virus is treated, the easier it will be for him/her.
Uneasy About the New Environment
If your dog just started going to a new daycare or is new to the daycare environment, that can be a reason for the difference in dog behavior afterward.
Your dog needs some time to get used to the new environment. Right now, he/she doesn’t understand it or feel comfortable. After a week or two, your dog will likely return back to his/her regular self.
If your pup doesn’t start acting like his happy self after two weeks and there’s nothing blatantly wrong, such as symptoms of illness or injury.
What to Do About a Dog Acting Different After Daycare
The daycare experience should be a positive one, but there are many factors that can affect it. Being able to identify the factors that are causing a negative experience can help you decide if the daycare facility you’ve chosen is a good fit.
Even if you believe you’ve chosen a good daycare, your pup may not agree. The most important thing is finding a good daycare for your dog because a happy dog is a happy owner.
Dog parents of reactive or aggressive dogs may want to consider a different type of dog daycare center – dog daycare for reactive dogs. You can learn more about them here: Dog Daycare for Reactive Dogs
The Positive Side of Daycares for Dogs
Just because your pup isn’t having the best experience with dog daycare, it doesn’t mean that daycare isn’t good for dogs. Actually, many dog experts and trainers recommend them for better socialization and to help with separation anxiety. For example, Jill Vincent, certified trainer and daycare owner, says that over the long term, daycares build a dog’s self-confidence so they aren’t referred.
Finding the Right Daycare for a Happy Dog
One of the best ways to find a good place for your dog is by asking people about their daycare experiences. You can usually find people to ask at dog parks or by reading online reviews.
Dog owners are usually great about sharing references for dog walkers, doggie daycares, dog sitters, and dog boarding kennels. It’s a good thing to talk to as many dog owners as possible, so you can get a good idea of what the experience is like for their dog.
You can also interview staff members to identify the right daycare center. Ask questions like:
- How many dogs are part of your daycare?
- How big are the playgroups?
- Do all dogs get the quiet time?
- Do you have a dog park for playtime?
- What ages of dogs do you have? Older dogs? Adult dogs? Young puppies?
- Do dogs interact with new people often?
By visiting the daycare and meeting the staff with your dog, you can get a sense of whether or not it will be the best option. Keep an eye on body language to get a feel of how your pup feels about it.
Now you know some of the reasons for a dog acting different after daycare. Get to the root of the issue and then try to resolve it according to the recommendations above. Leave a comment if you want to share your experience and what worked for you or if you have a question.