The guilt of leaving your dog home alone is real, especially when you are a working pet parent!

You want to always be there for your precious little pup, but you gotta go to work!

In this situation, many pet parents look for doggy daycare services.

Dog daycare facilities are a good choice if you often stay away from home.

In fact, there are now over 400 dog daycare centers in America to choose from!

Instead of stressing out about leaving your dog alone, you can give your dog a chance to socialize at daycare. But does your dog like it?

Sadly, daycare is not optimal for every dog. You will have to look for signs to see if your pet likes the daycare!

So, how do you know if your dog likes daycare?

If you are a first-time pet parent of a cute pup, you probably have a lot of questions about daycare.

Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

Does My Dog Like Daycare: But First, What is a Dog Daycare?

Dog daycare has the same philosophy behind it as child daycare.

It is a service where you can drop off your dogs whenever you are too busy to watch them.

Many dog owners have found relief in dog daycare services as they don’t have to leave their pets home alone.

The daycare facility gives your dog a chance to socialize, play and release energy while you are away.

Some services also offer overnight boarding if you must go on a vacation!

Dog daycare offers plenty of play activities and facilities for your canine buddy.

Here are some things you can expect from a good dog daycare center:

dog daycare exercise for dogs

Play Activities

Most daycare facilities give your dog a spacious indoor room or outdoor play area (depending on the weather conditions).

Dogs in the daycare are allowed to roam freely and even play with toys.

Dogs are usually divided into 2 or 3 groups depending on their age and breed.

Small and large dogs are grouped separately, and your dog’s activity level is also taken into consideration.

Feeding

Your dog’s time at the daycare will include at least one meal. The staff will feed the dog as per your instructions.

You can even request the dog food you have at home and inform the daycare about any food allergies your dog might have.

Naptime

Time at daycare can also include nap time, especially if you have to leave your dog for more than 10 hours.

The daycare centers provide comfortable spaces for the dogs to rest.

Some daycares use kennels and others have separate nap rooms.

walking two dogs

Walking

Many daycare facilities also provide walking services for your furry friend.

You will need to bring a leash for your dog and ask them to make sure your dog gets their evening walk.

Potty breaks on the walks are also the responsibility of a good doggy daycare.

You must visit multiple daycare centers to find one that is suitable for you and your pet.

Does Every Dog Need Daycare?

Daycare is a great way to ensure exercise and proper care for your dog when you are not available.

But wait! Is daycare suitable for your dog?

Sadly, doggy daycare is not meant for every dog. You will need to figure out how your dog responds to the daycare as several factors can play a role.

These factors include:

  • Age
  • Breed
  • Personality/temperament
  • Energy level

dog daycare selective dog

Is Daycare the Right Choice?

To determine if daycare is the right choice for your dog, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does my dog have good social skills?
  • How well does my dog get along with other dogs?
  • Is my dog high energy or low energy?
  • Does my dog get intimidated in large groups?
  • Will my dog find the noise in the daycare overwhelming?
  • Can my dog get adjusted to the activities of the daycare facility?
  • Does my dog have any special needs that require careful supervision?

Daycare is probably not a good choice if your dog:

  • Gets aggressive or reactive around other dogs
  • Is not good at socializing (especially in large groups)
  • Tends to get sensory overload
  • Has any food allergies or shows food aggression

Are you parenting an anxious dog? Check out our article on dog daycare for anxious dogs!

Will My Dog Enjoy Daycare?

happy dog likes dog daycare

Most dogs are very social, and at daycare, they get to make a lot of new friends.

Plus, you can also check in with your daycare provider for updates so it’s a win-win scenario.

Ask yourself the following questions to learn if your dog will enjoy their time at daycare.

Does Your Dog Belong to a Social Breed?

Some dog breeds are naturally more social and like to play in groups. These breeds include:

Your dog will likely enjoy daycare if they belong to any of the breeds mentioned above.

Is Your Dog Too Young to Go?

Are you a parent to a cute young pup?

Young puppies enjoy daycare, but you must ensure they are not too young to handle all that excitement.

Personally, I never considered daycare for the first 6 months of owning my dog.

Your young fella should be at least 12 weeks old and completely vaccinated.

Also, you need to ensure that your dog can follow basic commands. If not, your pup might not be ready to go to daycare!

Are You a New Parent?

Have you recently become a pet parent? If that is true, you should give it time before sending your doggo to the daycare.

Pets need time to get adjusted to their owners and families. Sending them to daycare early on might scare them.

Has Your Dog Reached Their Senior Years?

If you have a senior dog (7 years and older), you will notice that your pet is less active than before.

Senior dogs like their rest and comfort just like us humans.

You need to see how much activity is enough for your dog and decide accordingly.

Moderate activities in daycare will help your senior dog stay in shape!

Best Doggy Daycare and Boarding in Hawaii

How Do I Know If My Dog Likes Daycare?

So you are finally ready to send off your dog to the daycare, but you are worried if your dog likes going!

As a loving pet parent, it's normal to be concerned about this.

Well, pets can’t tell us what they’re feeling, so we must determine this by observing their behaviors and actions.

While there is no sure way of knowing if your dog likes daycare, there are some telltale signs.

Let’s discuss them in detail so you can make an informed decision for your paw pal!

Note: It is quite normal for your dog to take time when adjusting to a new routine.

So, we suggest that you look for these signs after your dog has been going to daycare for a while.

Observe How Your Dog Reacts to the Daycare

Monitor your dog's reaction when you mention daycare and when you arrive at the daycare. Dogs are great at showing their excitement. S

o, if your dog enjoys daycare, you will see a smiling happy dog when you arrive. A happy dog will also:

  • Wagg their tail.
  • Run to the daycare frantically.
  • Look out of the car windows with excitement when you arrive at the daycare.

Fully-recovered Happy Dog

Observe His Mood When You Pick Him Up

Observe your dog's mood when you pick them up from the daycare.

Is your dog calm and well-rested? If so, then the stay at the daycare was great.

Here, the body language will say a lot! A smiling dog means fun times at the daycare.

Note: Your doggy won’t be as energized as he was in the morning, and it’s only logical!

Daycare wears out dogs, and they might just be a little tired.

Observe Your Dog’s Behavior at the Daycare

Another important indicator is how your dog interacts with other pets at the daycare.

See if your dog plays with them, initiates activities, and participates in group tasks.

If your dog is positive when interacting with others, then daycare is surely a great experience.

Nearly all daycare facilities have cameras to monitor the premises. You can request the staff to show you footage of your dog at the daycare.

Speak With the Staff Regularly

The daycare staff can provide insight into your dog’s behavior.

Talk regularly and stay in contact with them to know if your dog is enjoying their stay.

Ask them if they have noticed any difference in your dog's behavior.

Is your pet engaging in play or hiding away? You can assess your dog’s fondness for the daycare from what the staff tells you.

Note Down Any Major Behavioral Changes

If your dog is not enjoying their stay at the daycare, behavioral changes are inevitable.

These can include sudden mood swings, fear, nervousness, and even food aggression. These signs will tell you that something is off.

You can be sure that your dog is having fun at the daycare if they show positive signs and have a pleasant mood.

is daycare good for dogs

Signs That Your Dog Does Not Enjoy Daycare?

Certain signs in your dog’s behavior can indicate that they do not enjoy daycare.

It is your job to interpret these signs and make decisions accordingly.

Dogs do the following to indicate that daycare is not a fun time:

  • Make a sad face when you mention daycare
  • Start whining or get irritable when you try to drop them at the daycare
  • Hang their head or tuck their tail at the sight of daycare
  • Seem unexcited during their stay
  • Avoid spending time with other dogs and group activities
  • Show negative reactions like getting angry, acting out, or not following your commands
  • Become nervous, scared, stiff, or tense
  • Exhibit a depressed mood and body language
  • Begin to have bathroom incidents despite proper training

Need to find a good daycare for your dog? Our guide on “what to look for in top dog daycare and boarding” will help you!

Good Alternatives for Dog Daycare

So your dog does not enjoy daycare, no problem!

There are some great alternatives for daycare that will surely get your pet excited. \

These options will help if your dog is shy, gets overwhelmed by groups, or fears a new place.

Pet Sitting

Like babysitting, pet sitting offers an all-day sitting service at your home.

You can find many pet-sitting services in your area. You should also ask your friends and family if someone is willing to pet sit.

Just make your schedule and discuss it with the sitter. They can come to your house, or you can drop off your dog.

Sitting is a great option if your pet dislikes being in a group.

Dog Day Training

Dog day trainers can train your dog and take care of them while you’re away.

This is extremely helpful if you want to teach your dog new skills.

The trainer will use behavior modification to teach your dog to follow commands and be obedient.

You can hire a trainer to come to your place or you can drop off your pet at the training center.

Dog Walking/Hiking Service

You can also hire dog walkers or hikers who will take your dog for a walk.

They can pick them up and drop them off at your place when you are free.

Walking is very beneficial as it provides stimulation without having to socialize in groups.

ALSO READ: The 7 Best Dog Daycare Alternatives for Any Occasion

How To Know If Your Dog Likes Daycare: Final Words

Pet parents often ask, “how do I know if my dog likes daycare?” The answer lies in your dog’s reaction to it!

Although daycare is a great option for working pet parents, it is not meant for every dog!

Young puppies, trained adult dogs, and social breeds are more likely to enjoy daycare activities.

You must observe your dog closely in a group setting.

If your dog is happy and excited, participates in activities, has positive behavioral changes, and is up for socializing then doggy daycare is a no-brainer!

READ NEXT: Is Dog Daycare Good For Dogs?

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