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My dog is mental after day care-should I take him out?(13 Posts)
Help needed please!
My one year old cockapoo has always been quite good, but he goes to day care one day a week and afterwards is VERY highly strung. Barks, won’t settle, won’t let me rest, howls when I’m away putting my child to bed etc. I always attributed this to a bit of over stimulation and could cope one day a week but recently this has been spreading to other days too.
He seems to have developed separation anxiety. He howls when I leave him, he howls when I’m upstairs and he’s down. This is all new in the last few weeks. Nothing has spooked him here, I wonder if he’s had a bad experience at day care as he didn’t want to go in the last few times (I am told he’s fine all day) and he’s much, much calmer on days he’s home and has walkers come in (this is assuming he doesn’t howl all day, I have a monitor set up for tomorrow 😬).
Interestingly he doesn’t howl when I go to work.
I am at my wits end today, pregnant and exhausted. (Actually, could he sense the pregnancy?). Worried how I will cope with baby if he doesn’t chill out a bit, although have 6 months to work on this.
Anyone else’s dog gone mental at this age?
I’m thinking to take him out of day care to gain more control over his environment?
I like bucket analogy which is similar to one for people where many little stresses & overstimulation make bucket overflow rather than a specific incident and then can take time for it to empty/calm again. Which is why sometimes having day with no walks & doing training/playing at home instead to assist bucket emptying isn't such a bad thing.
Hopefully he'll gradually settle back into normal routine with Dogwalker again & someone can advise on how best to tackle separation anxiety increase his confidence.
I think your right to pull him from daycare. It doesn't suit all and depends how well its run to make sure dogs interact suitably & can get time out to rest. My dogs like to sleep a lot of the day so walker works for us.
My dog has been to a few different daycare settings. Some he loves, some he hates (terrified) and some he likes but doesn't get any downtime and is clearly overstimulated because when he runs around rubbing himself on beds and carpets before crashing which has always been his 'overstimulated behaviour' as an adult.
The ones my dog loves and goes to and isn't overstimulated in are quiet calm ones.
If I was you and you still wanted to use daycare find one that is a dog walker that only has a couple of 'daycare' dogs for a quieter environment.
My dog (poodle cross but not cocker) gets picked up for daycare once a week 9-3.30 - I'm at home every day apart from that. He simply loves daycare, but whether it is good for him is another matter. I saw a behaviourist who mentioned that sometimes with young dogs it can increase anxiety and poor behaviour because they don't learn human rules but "dog rules" - the ratio of adults to dogs is simply too low. So all the training you would naturally do on a walk is not there because they are trying to control (or not control) too many dogs.
Personally I think he gets a lot out of it, and is extremely good with other dogs when we meet them out and about, not too pushy but plays when he gets the chance, mostly good at coming back to me and not getting sidetracked.
He is just 11 months and very exuberant.
But I noticed in the last few days he was behaving quite oddly with me, my hormones are all over the place (peri-menopause) not wanting me to leave at bedtime (usually sleeps very happily downstairs by himself and has for last year) - it is not related to daycare and more to just his relationship with me. He definitely needs a lot of interaction and to be reassured in a calm way what is happening when - it is a bit like the puppy stage overagain in that he is quite demanding and needy yet needs a lot of positive stimulation/input.
So in short (in in long ) I would say it is the age, and the hormones AND possibly he needs a different sort of set up in the evenings - a short walk with just you morning and evening perhaps if you can find a way to get out to reinforce in a positive but not neurotic way the bond between you. At the moment he is getting your attention by howling and following you when you want him to get your attention in a more positive setting, like on a walk, following you, or a bit of training.
I'm not sure how long he is left on the days you work though - could the "changes" be contributing, lot of different carers and dogs/types of day be confusing him?
I would also take with a pinch of salt a daycare or indeed a walker telling you he is "fine". It is in their interest to keep your dog on their books as long as he is not aggressive...they don't have to deal with the fallout at home.
The other thing you could do is have a very very fixed routine when he is home from daycare - which is a proper sleep (I sit next to my dog when he is back from daycare and do some admin enforcing calm and stillness and he sleeps a long time but he basically needs to go to a darkened room at that point, after a day of hyperness, just expecting him to chill by himself whilst I went back and forth and up and downstairs wouldn't work)
I’m hoping that not all daycares are like the one I experienced (I went for a work placement trial). 10-15 dogs of varying sizes in an outdoor pen, nowhere near large enough for them to run and play properly. Disinterested staff members standing around not engaging with the dogs or giving them any sort of stimulation. Some of the dogs would play a bit with each other but for the most part they were just milling around, and one playful large dog kept following this little one around, who clearly didn’t want anything to do with it and actually was acting quite submissive. The most exciting part of their day seemed to be when someone new would walk past the fence - the dogs would be squirted in the face with a hose by the staff members for being curious!
I just think, behind closed doors you have no idea what is happening to your dog when they go to these places. I would never leave my dogs in day care after visiting that one, never again!!
* I just think, behind closed doors you have no idea what is happening to your dog when they go to these places. I would never leave my dogs in day care after visiting that one, never again!!*
Day care centres can be very different so it's important to try a few.
The ones run by dog walkers in their own homes often have only a few dogs and are generally quiet.
Whilst my dog hated the big ones in large commercial buildings I can't fault the staff. They were very clear that my dog was extremely stressed when with them and tried to find solutions for him but after a couple of attempts they said it would be a very slow process taking many months to get him to settle e.g. just to drop him in a short time only.
My mini poodle tolerated day care but I don’t think he enjoyed it. We tried it for about six sessions and the staff seemed very good about keeping him with the calmer dogs, removing him or another dog if things were getting too much for him etc. But in the end they told us it probably wasn’t the right place for him - it was quite a big building with echoing sounds and barking dogs.
We didn’t need the day care part of it for as long. Just would have been nice to have somewhere to leave him for a day if we needed. I work from home though so he can stay home with me or alone for small amounts of time. He’s much happier doing that. He was hyper and exhausted at the same time after a day care session.
I think as a pp said - maybe a mix of sensing changes in you, adolescence and being slightly overwhelmed at daycare. I’d also stop the day care.
He could be overtired. We describe our dog as behaving like an overtired toddler when she's exhausted, but refuses to sleep or rest. When she gets like that and we're out somewhere, we can't do much except take her home and basically put her to bed
Seperation anxiety can be worked on by you giving the dog things to distract/stimulate their brain with a toy, lick mat or snuffle mat and make it less obvious you are leaving by not saying bye or having a really obvious leaving routine. Our rescue dog had destructive seperation anxiety for about a week and the it was gone like magic. She goes to daycare but it proper tires her out - its fab. I hope it gets better for you
I think I will take him out for a while and see how it goes. (Fingers crosses the walkers can do those days too!) He is alone for 3.5 hours at a time the days we work and seems calmer for it. I don’t need the day care on a regular basis, it would be nice to find one he can go to when walkers on holiday etc, but I think that this one is not the one for him.
Have all the lick mats etc, guess it will just take a while.
My brother's dogs go to daycare & their behaviour is terrible when they go more often than the odd day. I saw a video of the place they take them to & seeing what they do all day it is no wonder. There were at least 20 dogs hurtling around a large area, no discipline or organised activities, for 8 hours a day, it's no wonder they are loopy when they come home. Better to find either a dog walker or sitter who can give them individual time & attention.
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