It’s been a busy – and chaotic – few weeks for the Slobber team: Jeanne and I both moved house, Jeanne with two dogs, me with one dog and two kids. Anyone who’s ever had to do it will know it’s no easy task to uproot and settle into a new routine. It’s traumatic enough for adults, how much more for beings who have no real concept of what’s going on?
Anyway, with the move complete, it becomes obvious that Jackson is not acclimatising to his new surroundings. He’s clearly missing his big yard where he’s used to roaming free, and, because we’re living farther from town but still driving in and out every day, the house is empty more often and that’s something he doesn’t really know. So, he’s needy and clingy and super high-energy. (Well, more so than usual.)
I had been contemplating taking him to a behaviourist for some time because of his separation anxiety, so because of the new developments, this becomes top priority. I do some research and see there is a doggy day care called Pet-i-ket close to our new home that offers these services. Decision made, I take him and the very friendly Kerry McDonald suggests I leave him there to socialise and see how he responds. Howling ensues, but I push through and leave.
When I go to pick him up later and bring him home, there’s a marked difference. Pooped from hours of play, he’s calmer and clearly happier. The real magic happens the next day: When I take him back, he jumps out of the car and makes a beeline for the gate. He can’t wait to go in. When I leave, he doesn’t even realise it. The next day is the same. And the next, and the next.
So for now I don’t think professional help is necessary. Day care has clearly fulfilled a need in his life. And it’s something I can highly recommend other dog owners try. Dogs are sociable animals and need to be stimulated. I thought a long walk would be enough for Jackson, but clearly I was wrong.
So if this is something you’re contemplating and would like to know a bit more, I asked Kerry to tell us about what a day in the life of a Pet-i-ket day care doggy looks like:
“It’s pretty much play, play, and more play with buddies. If the dog’s parents would extra stimulation, we offer extramural activities such as one-on-one training sessions with our trainers, play and learning sessions, as well as walks.
“After arrival, the dog is grouped into the most suitable play group for the day, where he/she will be with likeminded dogs of a similar energy level. Some dogs prefer not to play all day but rather to lounge in the sun or climb the play apparatus and watch all the activity around them. There is a pen for every kind of dog.
“If we have pups, their lunch is served at around noon; thereafter, the majority of dogs seem to enjoy an afternoon nap until about 2pm, when the play starts up again. Home time starts to progress into full swing at around 4pm until 6pm, when the gates close.” And will your dog ever be sent home for any reason?
“We send dogs home should they show signs of illness that warrants their temperature being taken. Should a dog get injured, we will contact the pet parents and inform them and then decide with them on the severity of the injury and if they would like to collect their dog. We will also send a dog home and "expel" them for any signs of aggression that we warrant unacceptable, excessive, and/or out of context. This does not happen very often as all dogs that attend Pet-i-ket have to undergo an introduction prior to registration.” So, there you have it. While day care hasn’t cured Jackson of all “quirks”, it’s definitely helped him with some of the things I was most concerned about.
Thanks for reading
(Pet-i-ket is not affiliated to Slobber and no goods or services were exchanged for the information supplied.)