Group of puppies. Photo by Jametlene Reskp

The Following is a list of the top 25 reasons to Not put doggie daycare on the “back burner”. For the purposes of this article we’re using the arbitrary age of 4 for being too old to start doggie daycare/group play. What is not included in the list is

Exclusion from a more enriched boarding/daycare environment. Your pouch that may only be used to being around humans and the occational other dog may end up sitting in a solitary kennel: Sloped concrete floor, 3 walls and a gate – while you get to enjoy your vacation your dog is sitting around barking all day, or listening to all the other caged dogs bark. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you start early.

Here are the 25 Reasons to start your dog early in daycare.

  1. Lack of Socialization

    Waiting until a dog is over 4 years old to attend doggy daycare can lead to a lack of proper socialization with other dogs, which is crucial for their development.
  2. Difficulty in Adjusting

    Older dogs may find it harder to adjust to a new environment, especially if they haven’t been exposed to group play settings before.
  3. Behavioral Issues

    Without early exposure to doggy daycare, older dogs may exhibit behavioral issues such as fear, aggression, or excessive shyness when introduced to new dogs and unfamiliar situations.
  4. Missed Learning Opportunities

    Doggy daycare provides valuable learning experiences for dogs, such as how to communicate and interact appropriately with other dogs. Delaying this exposure may hinder their ability to learn these skills effectively.
  5. Reduced Energy Levels

    Older dogs tend to have lower energy levels, which may not align with the high energy and playfulness commonly found in doggy daycare settings.
  6. Limited Playtime

    Older dogs may tire more easily and require more rest, limiting their ability to fully participate in the physical activities and playtime offered at doggy daycare.
  7. Missed Exercise Opportunities

    ssDoggy daycare offers opportunities for dogs to engage in physical exercise and burn off excess energy. Waiting until a dog is over 4 years old means they may miss out on these exercise benefits.
  8. Reduced Health Benefits

    Regular exercise and social interaction at doggy daycare contribute to a dog’s overall health and well-being. Delaying their participation in daycare may limit these health benefits.
  9. Increased Anxiety

    Dogs that have not been exposed to doggy daycare at a younger age may experience increased anxiety and stress when introduced to this new environment later in life.
  10. Limited Exposure to Different Breeds

    Doggy daycare allows dogs to interact with various breeds, promoting tolerance and understanding. Delaying this exposure may result in limited socialization with different types of dogs.
  11. Missed Mental Stimulation

    Doggy daycare provides mental stimulation through interactive toys, games, and social engagement. Delaying attendance means missing out on these mental enrichment opportunities.
  12. Difficulty in Separation

    Older dogs may be more prone to separation anxiety when left in a new environment, such as a doggy daycare facility, without prior exposure.
  13. Reduced Immunity

    Dogs that haven’t attended daycare at a younger age may have reduced immunity due to limited exposure to different environments and potential pathogens.
  14. Delayed Training

    Doggy daycare often incorporates training and reinforcement of basic commands. Delaying attendance means postponing the opportunity for structured training sessions.
  15. Limited Supervision

    Older dogs attending daycare for the first time may require extra supervision to ensure their safety and well-being in a group setting.
  16. Missed Bonding Opportunities

    Attending doggy daycare from a young age allows dogs to form bonds and friendships with other dogs. Delaying attendance may result in missed opportunities for social bonding.
  17. Difficulty with Routine Changes

    Older dogs may struggle with adapting to new routines, making it more challenging for them to adjust to the structure and schedule of a doggy daycare setting.
  18. Reduced Exposure to Different People

    Doggy daycare provides exposure to different people, helping dogs become comfortable around new faces. Delaying attendance may limit this exposure.
  19. Increased Stress Levels

    Older dogs may experience higher stress levels when introduced to a new daycare environment, especially if they haven’t had prior exposure to similar settings.
  20. Limited Supervised Playtime

    Doggy daycare offers supervised playtime, allowing dogs to engage in appropriate social interactions. Delaying attendance means missing out on this structured playtime.
  21. Difficulty in Sharing Toys and Resources

    Dogs that haven’t attended daycare earlier may struggle with sharing toys, resources, and space with other dogs, leading to potential conflicts.
  22. Missed Opportunities for Positive Reinforcement

    Doggy daycare provides ample opportunities for positive reinforcement of good behavior. Delaying attendance means missing out on these reinforcement experiences.
  23. Reduced Energy Outlet

    Older dogs may still have bursts of energy that need an outlet. Delaying doggy daycare means they may not have a suitable environment to release their energy.
  24. Limited Exposure to Different Environments

    Doggy daycare often takes dogs on outings to various locations, exposing them to different environments. Delaying attendance may result in limited exposure to such settings.
  25. Delayed Adaptability Skills

    Attending doggy daycare at a younger age helps dogs develop adaptability skills, allowing them to adjust to new environments more easily. Waiting until they are older may hinder the development of these skills.
Avoid if possible

Standard Boarding – Solitary Kennel

For a variety of reasons not all dogs can have a highly entertained boarding experience. Dog aggression, under-vaccinationed, not spayed/neutered, too young, too old etc…are just a few of the reasons not all dogs are a good fit for boarding with a social dynamic. Most traditional kennels have add-on features that include staff-dog interaction times for additional costs – add them to help break up the monotony.