08 October 2010

{07oct2010: adventures in daycare continue}

It's been a while since we've talked about Darwin and daycare.  Well, we continued to take her every so often, and every time we picked her up she was always very anxious.  I recently decided to try and switch daycares to see if it was the facility or if it's just daycare in general she doesn't like.  
Today is her first day at the new daycare.  They have a webcam on their website so you can see the action on the floor.  So of course as soon as I get into work I bring up the webcam to see how Dar is doing and I see a blue Dane on the floor!  Woo! And she's playing with a Boxer!  Double woo!  

I'm so proud of her and start telling my coworkers and friends on Facebook, "Hey, look at Darwin at daycare!"  I was wondering where her collar was, but then thought, maybe they took it off because we forgot to put on her quick release collar before we left the house and they didn't want her buckle one on the floor.  
I keep watching and after a while I notice a blue Dane with a pink collar, so I think oh they must be okay with her wearing her collar now.  That's cool.  And then I realize, I was watching the WRONG DOG!  There are actually two blue Danes at daycare, and Darwin was not the one I first was watching and so proud and boastful of.  As I'm watching the right dog, I realize Darwin isn't having much fun.  Most of the times I check out the camera, she's in the middle of the floor, just standing there.  The other blue Dane is playing and having fun, and Darwin just stands there watching all the other dogs run around her.  

When a staff member comes on the floor, Darwin will go over to the person for pets and lean time, but doesn't seem interested in playing.  She'll occasionally sniff another dog, but so far no playing.  

When I realized there was a second Dane there, I was hoping Darwin would play with him, but so far no luck.  He's having a blast, and Darwin... not so much.
I know it's her first day at a new place, but is it possible she's just not a daycare doggy?  Is it possible that because we fostered her from such a young age (5days old) and she spent so much time in the office around people that she's more of a people dog than a dog dog?  Am I just being a crazy over-thinking dog mom and just need to take a chill pill?  
It's only lunch time, so I'll keep an eye on her and maybe by the end of the day she'll loosen up a bit.  We're approaching fall, and the nights get darker a lot quicker, so dog parks after work are going to be out of the question soon, so she'll have to suck it up and just learn to tolerate day care.  


  1. Not all khanines take to it -

    Furiends of mine were like that - one of them thrived on it and the other was kindasorta anxious -

    Paws khrossed woo find a solution all of woo khan handle!


  2. FRED did the same thing at daycare - he would just lie there but take him to the dog park and he is the welcome wagon and full of play and energry. i tried several daycares and it was the same thing every time, they all had cams and it broke my heart watching him. Finally the daycare called and asked if I wanted to pick him up cause he just looked miserable. So i dont know about Darwin but I do know that some dogs just dont like daycare!

  3. Awww!!!! I think Darwin isn't too keen on it. :(

  4. Aww, he's a momma's boy. :) He does look a little sad, but maybe like you said it's just because it's the first day. He's the new dog in school. Kind of like the new kid in school--they're always a little shy.

  5. I think you're absolutely right - I always sort of wondered but as I didn't know all the details of your fostering (will look up that link in a minute!), I didn't want to comment. There is apparently scientific evidence that shows that dogs which are removed from their litters too early don't develope the necessary canine social skills to meld well with other dogs. In some cases, this makes them overly aggressive with other dogs - can't read the peace signals - in other cases, they are overly afraid of other dogs. In all cases, they are never as comfortable around other dogs as with humans. They just didn't get the chance to bond to them. That's why they recommend not taking a pup from its litter earlier than 5 weeks, so it has a chance to play with its littermates, learn to read doggie body language, learn stuff from its mother, etc.

    It's part of the "social imprinting" - you know like how when baby geese are born, they will follow the first thing they see? Usually it's the mother goose but sometimes, it's weird things like a bicycle! They imprint and bond with that and think that's what they are. A similar but less extreme process is believed to happen in dogs (and cats) and so whatever they imprint on in the early stages is what they feel most comfortable with. That's why ideally, you leave them with the litter for some time - but then also get them early enough so that they imprint on you (humans) as well. If you leave a puppy too long with its litter/breeders (and unless it's REALLY well socialised in "everyday life" which is rare), the opposite will happen and the dog will never really bond with and feel comfortable around humans, only other dogs.

    But anyway, what's done is done so there's no point you feeling bad about it now. Besides, some dogs (even if they stay with their litters a normal time) are just not "dog dogs" - they just always like people better and relate to humans better. Same like some kids never play much with other kids but prefer to be with grown-ups.

    I know you feel bad about Darwin being unhappy at daycare but I'm assuming you put her there because you feel she is distressed alone at home. I guess you have to decide which is the lesser of 2 evils. Dogs don't have to be happy all the time, you know - so don't feel guilty. After all, even our own children often have to do things or put up with things they don't really enjoy but they learn to get used to. Same with dogs. So if you think daycare is the best place for her, then even if she isn't having a wild party, don't feel bad. On the other hand, if she is quite content to stay at home by herself and you think less stressful than being with lots of dogs, then maybe leave her at home.

    I know Honey used to enjoy being at creche with other dogs a lot more when she was younger. Obviously, she doesn't have sociability issues but I've noticed that now she is older, she is far happier to be in the peace & quiet of her own home, than out having to deal with a bunch of rambunctious strangers.

    Good luck!