If you have a busy schedule and a dog, doggy day care is a great option. Your dog gets exercise, companionship, and potty breaks, and you don't have to feel guilty about being gone from home. However, if your dog engages in certain disruptive behaviours, you may find yourself asked to take your pet elsewhere. Here are two big doggy day care no-nos and how to curb them.
All dogs bark, and a bit of normal excited yapping is par for the course at day care. Excessive barking, however, gets on the nerves of day care staff and is ultimately disruptive to other dogs. If your pet's barking gets all the other dogs going too, you risk having your dog removed from the day care.
Many pet owners make the mistake of hollering at their dogs when they bark, but to your dog, this is just you joining in the conversation. Instead, get your dog's attention first--physically, if necessary--and use a low, calm voice to utter whatever word you use for unwanted behaviour ("Ssshhh!" "No!" Stop!" etc.) Don't forget to reward your dog with praise and a treat if it heeds your command.
Dog owners also unconsciously reward barking by giving their dogs what they want when they bark, whether that's being let out of the crate or into the house. Don't give in to this form of canine blackmail! Make your dog sits quietly before it gets what it's asking for.
If vocal commands don't work, you can try the following:
- Use a voice-activated citronella bark collar that sprays citronella (unpleasant to dogs) in the face when they bark.
- Purchase an anti-bark device that emits an irritating high-frequency sound that only dogs can hear in response to barking.
- Toss a can of pennies in the vicinity of your dog whenever it barks to capitalize on its startle response.
- Spray your dog with a squirt gun when it barks. (Many doggy day cares use this method also.)
The first two methods may be preferable, as they work whether or not you are present to observe the barking.
While humping, one dog climbing on the back of another in imitation of the mating act, looks like it is a libidinously motivated behaviour, it may not be. If your dog is attending day care, chances are it will have had to have been spayed or neutered first, which usually quells sexually-inspired humping after a few months.
Usually, humping is an act of domination. The reason doggy day cares frown on it is that it can instigate real fights, especially since domination humping frequently occurs between dogs of the same sex, where aggression is much more volatile. If you think about it, you've probably never witnessed a true dog fight between a male and a female dog.
If your dog is humping other dogs at day care, it's showing that it wants to be the boss. The first step is to instantly stop this behaviour any time you see it away from day care, whether it's with other pets at home, dogs at the dog park, or even your children's toys.
You also need to begin an anti-domination campaign, whereby you show your dog that you are in charge and that they are also not any higher in status than other dogs. This means being strict about not allowing your dog on the furniture or bullying other dogs for toys, food, or attention.
For more information, contact Kritter's Kountry Kennel or a similar location.