I think we’re up to part three of the Anxious Archie series, and this is one of my favourite parts — DAYCARE! If you haven’t read the first two parts, catch up by checking out some background on his doggy anxiety by clicking here and read my thoughts on the Dog Monitor app here.
When I lived in New York, I worked in a doggy daycare. It was an … interesting job, to say the absolute least. But the outcome is that I was a little wary about sending Archie off to ‘school,’ even when lots of the online advice for dog separation anxiety suggested it as a solution. But, determined to make life a little bit easier for Archie, I did some research, looked at locations on the way to and from work, and decided to try out Paws & Relax Doggy Daycare, Training, and Grooming in Eagle Farm.
From the very beginning I was impressed. At the daycare I’d worked at overseas, almost all dogs were accepted and the tactic for dealing with any who weren’t suitable for the highly social environments was to crate them or simply ignore their issues. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time breaking up fights in the short time I worked there.
At Paws & Relax (P&R) however, Archie and I went along for a trial appointment first. I got to have a chat with Tegan, the managing director, about any issues or concerns I had with Archie’s behaviour, the reasons I wanted to put him in daycare. He had a run around in their reception area, and then she brought one dog out for Archie to meet so she could check how he interacted. After he’d had a little play, we got a tour of the daycare rooms and told a little about how the days run.
Here’s what sold me on Paws & Relax:
- Not every dog is accepted, but not being accepted doesn’t mean your dog is bad or had something wrong. Because just like humans, some dogs don’t suit certain environments
- Days at Paws & Relax are structured. There’s training, activities, enrichment, naps, and so on
- P&R runs a lot of training courses and seminars which helps pet owners to reinforce some of the training that’s being learned at school
- All the staff are brilliant (but you know, they’re dog lovers so how could they not be?)
After his meet and greet, I booked him in for some full day trials.
On his first day I was a worried dog Ma the entire time, but P&R has a great Facebook group where the trainers (teachers!) post pictures of what the dogs are getting up to, which helped with the nerves.
I have to admit that I was upset when I went to collect him that first day and found that he hadn’t had a great time, but I also really appreciated hearing how he’d gone — they weren’t telling me he’d had a good day so I’d keep paying to bring him back.
We had another chance for Archie to try things out, and the next time he was a lot more confident, had a good day. While Archie is still working through some of his behaviours, Archie’s been going to P&R about once a week since January. When I put him in the car to head into school, Archie’s always excited, and he barely even looks at me when I drop him off.
|He doesn’t always pay attention in school
P&R also runs some great training courses and seminars, and I’ll write a little about our experience in Calm Class in a few weeks. But overall, I feel that Archie has come a long way with his training and general calmness, and even though I’m working with him too, I know that his P&R attention is a big reason why I’ve got a much calmer dog living with me these days. I’m really grateful to the team there for looking after my not always well-behaved, still a little anxious at the gate, yappy boy.
He’s not completely over all his hurdles at home or daycare yet, but like everything with Archie, he just needs time to keep settling and realising that his life is with me. Always.
Got a pooch you’d like to send to Daycare?
Check out Paws & Relax Doggy Daycare, Grooming and training by clicking here
Or visit their Facebook here
A big thanks to Archie’s teachers for looking after him and sharing these pictures of him at daycare.