11 November 2009

{10nov2009: adventures in doggy daycare continue}

OMG.  We're horrible puppy parents!  We take our dog to doggy daycare AND SHE HATES IT!!!  Is this normal?  Did we start taking her too late (at 8.5 months)?  Now that it gets dark at 5 (and she's scared of the dark) and it's been raining for the past week (which she hates) our best option to get her exercise and tire her out is doggy daycare at least once a week.
I dropped her off this morning and she did not want to get out of the car.  Other dogs came and she got excited to see them, but as soon as they went inside she sat down in the car almost shaking.  I literally had to drag her out of the car.  When we get inside, she does not want to go back to where the dogs are.  Owners can only go into the airlock gate and not in the actual play area, so we get her in the airlock gate and I step out and she starts crying and barking not wanting to go in any further.  The guy working there had to put a leash on her to get her to walk in further.  I don't get why.  They say she had fun last time playing with the other dogs, and it was only when it was time for dogs to get picked up that she freaked out.  
I know danes are very attached to their people, but daycare can't be that horrible can it?  I don't think it's the daycare itself, I think she's just a scaredy cat.  How do we fix this?  She needs to go, but we can't have her having a hissy fit everytime.  I imagine this is like having a child who doesn't want to go to school and throws a tantrum outside the school doors. 
Any advice out there?

***update: After 2 calls to the daycare to check on Darwin (one by me at 1030, one by Jason - that I told him to make so I didn't look like the crazy overconcerned mom - at 130), it seems like Darwin is enjoying herself.  She was a little stressed out for the first couple hours and had to be kenneled to calm her down, but she's now walking the grounds with a pack and having fun.  Let's hope she doesn't have a 5:00 panic attack like last week.
I'm still debating if I should switch daycares and try another one, or keep taking her to this one.  We paid for a 4 visit a month package so maybe we'll do the 4 and then re-evaluate. 


  1. Momma says I am a big scaredy cat too. Tell momma those daycare people need to figure out a way to for her to spy on you to see if you are really having fun or not.

    As for walkies at night. I do not do them. Period (well, I have a nice big fenced yard anyway). But it is just way too scary.

    But listen. It is much better to work on getting over your fears than to be forced into something super scary like having mom leave you at daycare.

    Also, there are ways to get tired and entertainments inside, you know. You can play hide the liver treat, or chase or even do stupid intellectuals stimulations games.


  2. Oh no! That does not seem right. Is it possible something bad happened last time? Maybe she did not like the person that came to get the doggies at the end of the day last time? What is the air-lok gate? Does it make noise? That sounds kinda scary to me... Poor pup! I definitely don't think it is too late to introduce her. She hangs out with other dogs and goes to lots of 'strange' (i.e. new) places so she is not a sheltered doggie. Not sure how you fix it, maybe honey's human knows. I have heard that it is important not to inadvertently re-inforce their fear with attention. Obviously that is not what started it, but maybe it will be easier to fix if you are careful to not reinforce it in the mean time. Good luck!

  3. An air lock gate is just a double gated entry way. Its nothing new to her, we go through them to go to most dog parks.
    I'm debating if we should try a different day care... or if its just all day cares.
    She does fine going with her brother's mom for all day play dates so I don't think it's all about us leaving her.

  4. I have not been to Daycare yet because mommy and daddy are mean, but I bet Darwin will love it once she gets used to the other dogs and the new smells. If not, I could go in her place :)

  5. Mmm My girls have never been to day care... shilohs fear is water and I was told the peak socialisation period was 3weeks to 3 months which didnt help as she was five months ... we got through it by constantly going to the beach and acting like it was no big deal (so we didnt reinforce her fear)

    I know with kids the schools say just drop em and leave them theyll be fine (and dont moddycoddle them) but thats hard to do as a child can verbalise whats wrong...

    Maybe its too many dogs at once... noise.. large buildings would amplify sound.. maybe a smaller establishment? Im not sure what to do but I am a strong believer in going with your gut instincts.. you & Jason are with Darwin 24/7 and know her best...

  6. Remi's been to daycare 3 times now. The place we go has a webcam, so paranoid moms like me can sit and watch their babies all day while at work (and not get any work done!) When I watch him on the webcam, it looks like he's having fun, now that he's on the big dog side. Remi usually does fine when I drop him off until having to go through the double doors, then he freaks out a little (pulling against the leash, etc),but I think he'll get used to it. I think it's just forced into a tiny room by some stranger that's kindof scary.

  7. We were visiting Moose and he mentioned you and that you live in Seattle. So do we. It has been wet. Darwin you are handsome. When M & D got us we were afraid of stuff too. Sasha was not socialized and was afraid of lots --- people, bags on the street etc. I Ernie had to be tough when I was littler and was abandoned. M & D were very patient and kept introducing us to people & new things. We go for lots of walks & hikes and try to meet new pups and stuff. Now we are much happier. We bet with time you will be too Darwin. Come visit us sometime.

  8. Am probably coming in on this a bit too late (sorry, we're behind with visiting blogs!) but I'm going to go against the tide of comments here and say that I think she just needs a bit more time to adjust and that humans tend to get a bit too paranoid/over-neurotic when it comes to leavign their dogs.

    Sure, you should check out a place and make sure you are happy with how it is run, etc but after that, I think you have to just let go and let your pup deal with it. If she is still havign trouble after several visits, then maybe rethink but at least give it some time. It is normal for a dog to be freaked out by change and strange environments (unless they have been socialised from very young to constant changes and strangers and are used to this - eg, dogs of travelling salesmen! :-) ) -

    I have heard that a lot of dogs kick up a big fuss when the owners are there but the minute they are out of sight, it's out of mind - and they just get on and have a good time. Dogs do really live in the moment.

    I know a lot of people disapprove of daycare but I think it depends on the temperament of the dog (and also how you socialised it) - we have no qualms about putting Honey in daycare or kennels. We actually put her into kennels on purpose overnight when she was just 4 months old - not because we were going away but because we knew we would want to kennel her when she got older and we wanted to introduce her to it as early as possible. She went for a 1/2 day first - and then an overnight stay. And she has never had any problems with staying in kennels since - no barking, anxiety, nothing. She gets very excited when we arrive, actually. I think because it was introduced from young as a positive place - and also because I make a great effort not to "baby" her too much - I think that is the main mistake a lot of people make - over-protecting and over-fussing their dogs. We've tried as much as possible to do the opposite and Honey has turned out a very stable, sociable, confident, happy dog.

    It is a shame that Darwin wasn't introduced to a daycare set-up when she was younger but I don't think it is too late, as long as she continues to have positive experiences there. Also, very important YOUR behaviour and reactions when you drop off & pick her up - you should just be very calm & matter of fact - no big tearful scene or anxious checking - dogs pick up on that. She'll take her cue from you. If you act like it's a scary big deal, she'll think it is one.

    OK, am off to read the latest post - will probably find this is all irrelevant and I've just been rambling rubbish! :-)