When Your Dog Just Isn’t “Into It” Anymore

One of the hardest decisions we have to make at Suite Paws is determining which dogs to remove from the daycare pack, and which dogs will fail their temperament tests. Often times we’re heart broken and just plain torn up emotionally over removing a dog. Especially if it’s a dog we’ve known since they were a puppy and they have been coming for years! We get highly attached to each dog. Adulthood in canines can bring on personality changes. Sometimes the scared or timid puppy will grow into a confident, well behaved and outgoing adult. However, sometimes the confident and outgoing puppy can mature into a short tempered bully who is a bit too rough. We document every dogs behavior each day in their notes, and will makes notations if their personalities are starting to shift in time. This is also why we re-temperament test a dog if we haven’t seen them within 6 months!

If you search "Dog Shaming" and "Daycare" you get many, many results of poor souls facing exactly what we're talking about here!

If you search “Dog Shaming” and “Daycare” you get many, many results of poor souls facing exactly what we’re talking about here!

First, and foremost, let me get one thing out there. Just because your dog doesn’t like daycare anymore doesn’t mean 2 major things: 1.) It doesn’t mean they are anti-social or dog aggressive now! 2.) It also doesn’t mean they will hate the dog park now. If your dog loves the dog park, but hates daycare that is okay and perfectly normal!

 

Last year, I read a blog from Robin Bennett of The Dog Gurus that I shared on our Facebook page and this is a great blog to mention it in. Head over and read what she had to say about it here:  My Dog Got Kicked Out Of Daycare Today. I’m going to quote her here because two paragraphs she wrote really speak to me in regards to this dilemma:

When a dog doesn’t do well in off-leash play it is not necessarily a symptom of a problem, or a bad dog or a dog in need of behavioral modification.  This might be the case, but more often than not, it’s just a dog who prefers people.  It’s a dog who would rather hang out with the people he loves than dogs he doesn’t know. It’s a dog who would love a hike in the woods but doesn’t enjoy off-leash play with a group of other dogs.  This doesn’t make the dog bad.

But is this normal? Don’t all dogs want to play with other dogs?  Shouldn’t I socialize him so he gets used to it?  I get asked these questions all the time.  The truth is, there are far more dogs who do not enjoy off-leash play, than there are dogs who love it.

 

Let us put this in a different perspective for you. Imagine you are a (human) kid, and you get to play at the playground with your friends all day long. Sounds like fun, right? Now, imagine you are an adult and you get to sit in a playground all day and watch kids play. Are you still going to have fun? Maybe if you are a kid loving adult who still wants to play off and on (like a teenager), otherwise you may get tired and cranky. This is one of the most common reasons a dog is kicked out of daycare after loving it for so long. It’s very simple “They just aren’t into it anymore.”  Lets head back to that adult sitting in the playground for a second: how many kisses do you want from a random 2 year old stranger that is obsessed with sitting on you? (Hopefully your answer is none!) Puppies can be a huge annoyance for an adult dog who cherishes their personal space, and unfortunately, puppies and adolescent dogs are one of the largest populations of daycare attendees!  And they can’t help it, it’s in their genes to try at all cost to bond to the confident dogs in the pack! And how do submissive hyper puppies choose to show their affection? Non-stop puppy kisses!

But I just want to kiss you. Non-stop. For 8 hours. What's wrong with that?

But I just want to kiss you. Non-stop. For 8 hours. What’s wrong with that?

We truly try to find the happy place for each dog, and unfortunately sometimes that “happy place” is having a playtime with our staff or a belly rub instead of attending daycare! We also understand that daycare costs money, and we want to make sure you aren’t paying for something your dog isn’t enjoying!

 

While looking up information online I found another great article to read if you’re still trying to figure out the “why” your dog doesn’t care for daycare anymore, especially if your dog is outgoing, social and playful and you are just completely confused!  Head over and read this blog post on jabulavip.com. I’ll share with you here what I liked in this article:

My lab is a perfect example of poor doggie daycare fit. She is active and loves to run, swim and play. Though she can race around with a group of dogs without an issue, she generally does not care to interact with other dogs. Her focus is running to the ball, Frisbee, or stick. In this environment she was comfortable with dogs around her. However, in doggie daycare she was overwhelmed. She could not understand why all the dogs were jumping on her as they “encouraged” her to play.

A dog like my lab will gravitate toward the people on the floor, trying to ignore the other dogs. These less dog-focused pups are also often seen growling or snapping at dogs that won’t leave them alone. Their body language will go unheeded by the persistent playmates. For this type of dog the daycare experience is more stressful than enjoyable.

 

This struck me as intriguing because we see it often! A playful, friendly, energetic dog – just not interested in playing with strange dogs. Some of us, even as humans, are selective in our friends, aren’t we? This doesn’t mean we hate people in general, it just means we are picky about who we choose to let into our inner social circle. If we allow our dogs to have these same basic personality quirks, then maybe your super friendly outgoing and playful dog just is picky about who he wants to socialize with. And THAT IS OKAY.

My friends are all FAKE

My friends are all FAKE

So many amazing articles have been written in great detail with what this blog is discussing. If you are passionate about learning more about the way dogs think and feel, please visit and read these wonderful links to great articles that can help you on your search:

Three Dogs Who Shouldn’t Be at the Dog Park or Daycare

Choosing Playmates for Your Dog

Doggie Daycare Can Be a Wonderful Experience: But is it For Every Dog?

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