5 Ways To Tell Whether or Not Your Dog Likes Going to Daycare

A happy Beagle running on green grass with a white fence in the background.

Dog daycares provide dogs with routine, exercise, and socialization. While there are many benefits of dog daycares, they may not be right for every dog.

How do I know if my dog likes daycare? The best way to determine if your dog enjoys daycare is to watch his reaction when you drop him off and pick him up. Your dog should seem excited to be there, should show an interest in his surroundings and the other dogs, and should not exhibit any negative behaviors when you return home.

Unsure whether or not you’ve made the right decision in taking your dog to daycare?

In the following, we’ll explain what clues you should look for when determining if your dog is happy or not. We’ll also examine the advantages and disadvantages of using dog daycare services. 

5 Ways To Tell If Your Dog Likes Daycare

If you want to take your dog to daycare regularly, you want to make sure he enjoys it and is happy. Here are some ways you can tell.

1. Watch Dog’s Reaction When You First Arrive

Dogs don’t hide their excitement well, and if they enjoy daycare, they will likely have a strong reaction of happiness when they arrive.

If your dog doesn’t like daycare, he will likely have a negative reaction, such as whining, not wanting to get out of the car, or hanging his head and tucking his tail.

2. Observe How Dog Interacts With Others

Your dog should be socializing with other dogs at daycare, and you can tell if he likes the daycare experience by watching him interact with other dogs.

If those interactions seem to be positive and your dog plays an active role in initiating play, it’s safe to say he enjoys the daycare.

If the dog reacts in fear or with aggression, daycare is likely not enjoyable for him. 

3. Speak With Staff Daily

Be sure to talk to staff members at the daycare daily to see how your dog is doing.

The staff members should be able to provide you with plenty of updates to help you decide if your dog is doing well there.

4. Note Dog’s Body Language at Pickup Time

When you pick your dog up from daycare, you should be able to tell by your dog’s body language whether or not he has had a good day at daycare.

If your dog seems tense or stiff, he could be nervous or scared. A drooping tail, ears held against the head, low head carriage, and an overall depressed demeanor are all negative signs. 

If he seems relaxed, playful, and reluctant to leave, he probably enjoyed himself. 

5. Look for Any Major Behavioral Changes

If your dog is unhappy at daycare, he may start to have negative behavior changes. He may act out, seem to be scared or nervous, or stop listening to your commands. 

Some dogs can even have bathroom accidents if they are not happy with something in their life, such as daycare.

If you see no issues or only positive changes in your dog’s behavior, it could mean that daycare is a good fit for him. 

Front view of happy, panting Golden Retriever walking outside.

Pros and Cons of Doggy Daycare

Doggy daycare can be a good thing for dogs, but it’s not the best option for every pet.

It’s important to consider the pros and cons of doggy daycare before you decide if it’s right for your dog or worth continuing.

Dog Daycare Benefits

Dog daycare can help keep pets busy and occupied while their owners are at work.

It can help fight separation anxiety. It can also help your dog become better socialized and even learn new commands.

Dog Daycare Problems

Dogs that attend dog daycare can develop some issues and problems. They may feel scared by some of the dogs at daycare and start to show aggression.

It can sometimes even make stress and separation anxiety more severe and can cause your dog to act out when he misses you.

Dog daycare is also a great place for your dog to learn unwanted behaviors, such as jumping on people, playing roughly, and acting on instinct instead of training.

Dog Daycare Alternatives

If your dog is not doing well at daycare, there are some other alternatives. You may decide to hire a pet sitter who can come to your home while you are away and take care of your dog.

This allows your dog to stay in a place where he is comfortable without being alone.

You can also hire a dog walker who will come and walk your dog once or twice a day to ensure he is getting exercise and socialization while you are away.

Check with sites like Wag! and Rover to find trustworthy dog walkers and sitters near you.

Related Questions: 

Why Is My Dog Acting Different After Daycare?

Your dog may be acting differently after daycare because he has picked up new behaviors from other dogs or is trying to adjust to the changes.

If the behavior changes last more than a few days or becomes worse, your dog may not enjoy daycare. He may not be getting along with other dogs there, or he may not like the staff.

You owe it to your dog to find the reason for the behavior changes so that you know how to properly address them.

Will My Dog Get Used to Daycare?

Most dogs do get used to daycare within a few days of going. It can take some dogs longer to adjust.

You can help your dog adjust faster by making sure your dog goes to daycare on a regular schedule and by making sure the dog is happy there.

Conclusion 

If you are worried about how well your dog is doing at daycare, it’s a good idea to observe him while he’s there if possible.

When you take your dog to daycare, try to hang around and pay attention to how he acts. You can also tell if your dog is enjoying daycare by observing his behavior when you drop him off or pick him up.