Your dog has been going to daycare for a while, but his/her behavior has changed – your dog is suddenly aggressive at daycare. Understanding what is causing the change in dog behavior and learning how to stop the aggressive behavior is important. Dog Ownership Guide is here to help with both.
Why a Dog Is Suddenly Aggressive at Daycare
There are many reasons a dog is suddenly aggressive at daycare. As you go through the causes below, try to consider each one even if it doesn’t seem like it applies. Many dog owners are surprised to learn the reason their dog is suddenly aggressive at daycare.
If your dog often plays with other daycare attendees, there may have been a fight that staff members didn’t see or forget to tell you about. Now, your dog is scared, which is why your dog is suddenly aggressive at daycare.
Dog aggression often results from fear or anxiety. If your pup fought with another dog, fear or anxiety that it will happen again is likely the cause of the dog’s aggression.
Contact the doggy daycare to ask a staff member to inquire if there were any issues the past few days. If there wasn’t, consider the other reasons your dog is suddenly aggressive at daycare and if none of the other reasons is a good fit, this may be why.
Learn More: Reintroducing Dogs After a Fight
Injuries can cause dogs to become aggressive because they don’t want to be injured further or again. Examine your dog by placing your hands all over his/her body to see if there is any flinching or a sound that indicates pain. If there is, contact your vet immediately for an examination.
Just like with injury, an injury can cause a dog to exhibit aggressive behavior. If your dog is experiencing any other symptoms in addition to the aggression, such as:
- Lack of Appetite
- Fatigue or Lethargy
Contact your vet’s office to schedule an appointment.
Learned Problem Behavior
Aggressive dogs can teach your dog to become aggressive, especially if it’s emotionally reactive. In other words, the problem behavior causes your dog to become scared, anxious, or weary.
It could also be because your dog has learned it from the pack leader at the dog daycare. If dogs are together to play, especially when there are young dogs and adult dogs together, the pack leader may be aggressive. The others learn this behavior and start to act that way too.
The best thing, in this case, is to contact a professional dog trainer for behavior modification. Your pup has learned that it’s okay to act this way, and now you’ll have to teach him it is not appropriate.
Separation anxiety is the most common cause of aggression at doggy daycare. Some dogs get used to daycare and become less aggressive over time, but there are some that continue to be that way. That’s why many pet parents find themselves looking for a dog daycare for reactive dogs.
Bad Experience at Doggie Daycare
It’s possible that your dog’s aggression may be from a bad experience at the daycare. A staff member may have scared your furry friend in some way, and now he/she feels threatened and needs to protect him/herself.
Speak to the doggie daycare to see if there were any incidents. If nothing comes up and you can’t find any other reason for the aggression, it may be time to find a new place.
Resource Guarding Due to Feeding Issues
Resource guarding is a type of aggression some dogs have when they are worried their food is going to be eaten by another animal or taken away. If this is happening at the doggy daycare, it’s important to speak to the staff to let them know it’s causing your dog to be aggressive.
Usually, dog daycare is accommodating to pet parents who request that their dogs be fed alone and have as much time as possible to eat. If your dog daycare isn’t open to doing that, it may not be a good fit for your pup.
The other issue may be if you have a new dog in the home that has been stealing food for your dog suddenly aggressive at daycare, the anger of that could be flowing over into that environment, too.
Learn More: Dog Guarding Food But Not Eating
If there’s been a lot of new dogs and new people at the dog daycare center, your dog may be overstimulated. An overstimulated dog can become aggressive because they are stressed out.
Again, call the dog daycare center to ask if there have been new dogs or people working that may be the answer to your dog’s behavioral issues.
If your pup has just started doggie daycare, the new environment may be causing behavioral issues. This is also a reason for overstimulation as well. With a new environment, there’s a lot to learn and take in, so it causes overstimulation. An overstimulated dog almost always acts differently after daycare.
Ask the daycare if your dog can have a safe space to calm down throughout the day. This may be a kennel that is away from other dogs for a little while, just so your furry friend can ease into being with all of the other dogs.
If your dog’s daycare often has loud noises, such as construction, constant barking dogs, or people yelling, that could be the cause of canine aggression. This is especially true if your dog is used to being at home in a quiet, peaceful environment.
If the daycare environment can be changed, that’s great. If not, it may be a good idea to start looking for a new one. It may take you a little bit to find a new daycare environment, but it will be worth it.
Having a Baby
If you’ve recently welcomed a new bundle of joy into your home, your dog may be acting out at daycare because of it. A new baby is a big deal to dogs. They may feel as though they have been replaced or they may feel as though they should be at home to protect the baby.
You can make the transition of having a new family member better by giving your pup as much extra love as possible. It may take a while for your dog to become comfortable with the baby (3 months for some dogs), so hang in there.
New Dog in the Home
There’s also a chance that your dog is suddenly aggressive at daycare because of a new dog or other pet in the house. Just like with a new baby, your furry friend may believe he/she has been replaced. The added stress of the daycare environment can cause aggression to come out.
Give your first pup some time to get used to another dog (or pet) in the family. There’s an adjustment period that most dogs have to go through. The good news is that it will get better.
Also, remember that a new dog may bring along some new behaviors your dog may adopt – that includes aggression. A local trainer may be needed to help both dogs stop their aggressive responses.
Another Way to Help Your Dog Suddenly Aggressive at Daycare
In addition to contacting a local trainer to help with your dog’s behavior, you may want to consider reaching out to a canine behaviorist. A canine behaviorist is skilled at understanding the reasons for dogs’ behaviors.
You can also try CBD for dogs. CBD is a safe and effective way to lower anxiety in dogs, which can then reduce a dog’s aggressive tendencies. You can learn more about that here: Does CBD Help with Dog Aggression? and Best CBD for Dog Aggression
Alternatives to Daycares for Dog Care
If you’ve tried some of the suggestions above to help your dog that’s suddenly aggressive at daycare and they aren’t working, it may be time to find a better option. The good news is that there are many alternatives options for dog care available.
Dog walkers can come to your home throughout the day to let your dog(s) use the bathroom and play. Many dog walkers will take dogs to the dog park for extra playtime.
Dog sitters are better for long-term care. They can stay at your home to tend to your dog’s every need. Dog sitting includes the services dog walkers provide. In a way, dog sitting is like daycare but your pup receives individual attention.
This option isn’t the best for dog owners who are out of the house 9 hours or more a day. However, those that work 8 hours or less may want to consider letting their dog stay home. Many dogs do this and do well. It doesn’t provide the benefits of daycare, but it does help with the aggression and its causes of it.
Solving Your Dog’s Aggression at Daycare
The reasons for a dog suddenly aggressive at daycare have to do with a change. It’s either a change at home or daycare. Identifying where the change has occurred is the first step. The second step is to know what the change is and either try to eliminate what is causing it or modify your pup’s behavior with training.
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