Friday, November 29, 2013

Do dogs age out of daycare?

It all starts with an adorable puppy. You decide to bring them to a dog daycare facility, and they love it! They enjoy playing with the other dogs, are always eager to get there and come home tired but happy. You continue to bring your dog to daycare as they age and grow, but is there a point where your dog may “age out” of the daycare environment?
Daycare should be an overall fun and rewarding experience for your dog. The question many clients ask is, when does daycare stop being fun for an older dog? It’s important to remember the structure of daycare as a whole, that your dog is given time to play in a room with other dogs. When your dog is a puppy or youthful adolescent, they want to play with everyone. The idea of having so many other dogs to play with excites them. At this point, new dogs mean new playmates and they love and crave time spent in their company. However, as your dog grows from a puppy to an adult dog, things can slowly begin to change.
As they age, your dog might still love playing with other dogs, but daycare can start to get slightly overwhelming. Your mature adult dog is now in a room with energetic youths who are looking to bounce around and play for hours. While your adult dog might enjoy being there, countless hours with rambunctious younger playmates can become overwhelming and not as fun as it use to be.
Picture it this way: to us, adult dogs playing with adolescent dogs would be equivalent to a 35 year old being invited to a 15 year old’s birthday party. According to WebMD Pets, a one-year-old dog is about 15 in human years and a four-year-old dog is about 36. In that time period, like us, dogs mature and start to play differently. 

The Dog Guru’s Susan Briggs and Robin Bennett recently published an article called “Ask the Experts – Is my dog happy in off-leash play?”, where they address the issue of age in daycare dogs. They say, “Generally speaking, dogs over 5-6 years of age will have a shorter tolerance level for off leash play with other dogs. This is true even if your dog grew up playing in dog parks and attending daycare. This doesn’t mean that older dogs shouldn’t play off leash with other dogs, but it does mean that shorter periods of play may be more fun for your older dog. If your dog (of any age) attends a dog daycare, make sure he gets some down time where other dogs allow him to rest or he is separated so he can sleep.”
It is important to remember that dogs do change as they get older. It is normal for you or staff at a dog daycare to notice a change in your dog’s behavior as they age. If daycare staff informs you that they have noticed a difference in your dog’s behavior, it should not be cause for concern. Instead, listen to what they have to say. They have your pet’s best interests in mind! Maybe your pet isn’t enjoying daycare like they used to, or the environment seems like too much for them. This does not mean that they dislike playing with other dogs, (they probably still love it!) but it does mean that your dog may be ready for a different environment.
At Morris K9 Campus, our goal is to make daycare a fun and engaging environment for all of our pets. Our visitors are all given down time to rest between play sessions, but for those aging pets who might prefer a lower key environment, our sister company Morris Animal Inn offers private daycare dedicated to personal one-on-one play. Each dog receives play sessions with a person, who can cater their playtime to whatever activities they like best. This could be a suitable alternative if your dog begins to tire of the daycare environment but you still need a place for them to visit.
If you get to a point when your dog’s daycare facility no longer recommends daycare for your older dog, remember that this is normal. Not every dog will like this type of play forever, and every dog will be different. Some older dogs can still enjoy their time in daycare. It’s up to you and your daycare to devise a plan that would work best for your older dog.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dog Daycare vs. Dog Park

Dog daycare is not a dog park. While the concept of the two can seem similar, they are in fact unbelievably different. While both daycare and dog parks allow off leash play, that is where most of the similarities end.  This means that your dog might be excellent in daycare, but doesn’t do well at the dog park, and vice versa. There are several reasons why daycare could be perfect for your dog, while the dog park might not be a good fit for your pet.

When bringing your dog to daycare, you drop them off knowing that there are trained professionals there supervising your dog’s behavior the entire time. The professionals are there to read and interpret the body language of your dog and other dogs. They are trained to address anything good or bad before it happens. If something is about to happen at a dog park, as well as you may know your dog, you might not be able to understand everything he or she is trying to tell you. 

Another difference is that with supervision from a trained professional, the dogs will experience interrupted play. Play should be interrupted in intervals so the dogs understand the human in this equation is not going to let things get out of control. It is our experience that dogs that go to dogs parks typically aren’t used to interrupted play. Interrupted play is important because it makes sure the play is well balanced, and that both dogs are enjoying interacting with each other. Dogs that have the ability to “check-in” with their owner or daycare attendant understand that play has boundaries.  Over-stimulation can cause dogs to react in a negative way, even towards their friends.  

A huge benefit to daycare is dogs are screened before they are allowed to play. At the dog park, any dog is allowed and it is ‘play at your own risk.’ At a reputable daycare facility, trained staff will carefully screen dogs to make sure all dogs in the group are appropriate and are having fun. With the dog park, you can’t always guarantee that all the dogs there are dog friendly and would enjoy the attention of your dog.

Dog daycare and the dog park both give your dog an outlet to burn off lots of energy. However, it is important to always be prepared. Educate yourself with what appropriate body language looks like when dogs are interacting to make any experience a safe one.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

WINTERTIME Holiday Pet Etiquette

The holiday season is quickly approaching, and that can mean plenty of visitors to your house. The question is, how do you keep your dog calm and behaving appropriately during the festivities? Creating a preparedness plan for your dog prior to the season can help make holiday get-togethers less stressful for you, your dog and your guests.

There are a few simple steps that can be critical in order to ensure a safe holiday season when visitors are over. However, some of these things take time for your dog to learn, so start early and be prepared for when the door bell rings and when your guests begin to arrive.

Keep it simple, just remember WINTERTIME and you and your dog can safely get through the holiday season.

Walk. Even with company over, your dog needs to go outside. Take them out for frequent potty breaks. An extra long walk before guests arrive can also burn off some of that extra energy. 

Interactive Toys. Have plenty of toys on hand to keep your dog busy. A frozen stuffed Kong or a stuffed Monster Ball could be the perfect way for your dog to stay busy while guests are over. 

No Tolerance. This goes for both humans and dogs alike. If you tell people specific things about issues your dog may have, be sure to enforce your rules. As for your pet, you are your dog’s voice for the night, so it's your job to speak for them and keep them comfortable.

Think Ahead. Just as you want to think ahead as you plan a party, you should have a plan in place for your pooch. Know what to expect from your pet and how to react to their behavior in advance.

Exercise. Your dog needs to get more exercise than usual leading up to a big event. Exercising your dog will keep them calmer with the arrival of your guests. This could be as simple at taking them for longer walks or playing a long game of fetch before the party.

Reward. Reward your dog for anything good they do. This would mean keeping approved treats handy so your guests can reward your pet as well. Put out treats for your dog that visitors are allowed to give them, that way they will not be tempted to feed them table food or scraps. 

Time Away. Remember that your dog doesn’t need to be out the entire time when guest are over. Create a nice spot for them in a quiet room, with their crate or bed. This gives them a place to go when they are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Soft music in the background can also help drown out the noise of visitors.

Identification Tags. The holidays tend to see a spike in dogs that run away from home. With guests arriving and the door constantly opening and closing, it is easy for a dog to sneak out unnoticed, no matter their size. Make sure your dog is wearing up-to-date ID tags in the event they get out.

Management. This is important, be sure to manage the behaviors you haven’t had time to train. For example, if a party guest is coming over who has a bad hip, and your dog likes to jump, have your dog in a crate or enclosed space when that guest arrives in order to prevent problems. 

Etiquette during Greetings. Not all guests want to be bombarded with a jumping dog when they enter your house. Teaching your dog to go to their spot or playing the "four on the floor” game with them can help make your dog’s greetings proper. If you have a dog that jumps, try “four on the floor,” it’s simple, you can practice this with your dog long before guests arrive. Ignore your dog when they are jumping, once they have all four of their paws on the floor you can reward them with a treat. Have your guests do the same thing with your dog when they arrive.

Just remember WINTERTIME and you, your dog and your holiday house guests can have a comfortable, safe and relaxed holiday season.

Friday, November 8, 2013

‘Tis the Season for Giving

This week is National Animal Shelter Appreciation week, and to show our thanks to the local animal pound we are launching our annual holiday donation drive. From now until December 15th we will be collecting donations for the Randolph Animal Pound in both our lobby and agility room. 

The pound is in desperate need of the following items:

  • Canned and Dry Cat Food
  • Canned Dog Food
  • Cat Litter
  • Dog leashes
  • Dish detergent
  • Cleaning/disinfectant sprays

New or used:

  • Dog and cat beds
  • Blankets
  • Comforters
  • Towels
  • Sheets
  • Pillows

Randolph Animal Pound will also be accepting  monetary donations for spaying/neutering and vetting the pound animals. To find out more about the Randolph Animal Pound, including information about adoptable animals as well as volunteer information, please visit their Petfinder page at

Donations can be dropped off in the bins located in our lobby and agility room, and will continue through mid December.

In addition to collecting shelter donations, we will also be collecting Cloud Star UPC’s. For every UPC that is collected, Cloud Star will donate $1 to the Friends of Randolph Animal Pound.  The Cloud Star UPC’s can be found on Buddy Biscuit Treats, available for sale in our lobby. There is a donation bucket located in our main lobby to deposit your Cloud Star UPC’s. 

As a reminder, our holiday photo shoot that also benefits the Randolph Animal Pound is Sunday, November 17 from 10am-2pm. Photographer Hugo Juarez will be here to take professional photos of your dog in one of our festive winter and holiday scenes. Give us a call at 973-252-5100 to reserve a spot for your dog!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Adopt a Senior Dog Month - What age is right for you?

There are so many dogs up for adoption out there, but the question is, are there benefits to adopting a puppy compared to an adult dog, and vice versa? In honor of Adopt a Senior Dog Month this November, we are looking at the pros and cons of adopting a puppy and an adult dog.



Socialization window: If you get a puppy younger than 18 weeks, you will be getting a dog who is in their prime socialization window. This is the most impressionable time for your dog, which can be great for training and learning about the outside world. It also means that socializing them in every way possible during this time is extremely important. It will help reduce the fears that your dog could have later in life.

A lot of work: A puppy can be tons of work, from housetraining and working on chewing issues to obedience training. A puppy isn’t always easy, so make sure you have plenty of time to devote to your new dog.

Size isn’t always predictable: If you adopt a mixed breed puppy, you truly have no idea how big or little the dog might be as an adult. Keep in mind that adopting a small puppy doesn’t guarantee a small adult dog.



You know what you are getting: If you are adopting an adult dog, chances are you will know a lot about what you are getting, especially if you have a back story on the dog. It’s also good to keep in mind that the way your dog behaved at the shelter isn’t necessarily how your dog will behave when it gets comfortable in your home.

Behaviors can be harder to get rid of: With older dogs, you have to adjust your training and treatment options. Training habits out of adult dogs can absolutely be possible, but sometimes you need to adjust the solution to the problem from how you would train a young, impressionable puppy.

Adult dogs can tend to be a lot calmer: They often like to lounge around a lot more, but don’t mistake this as meaning they don’t need exercise. Yes, adult and senior dogs might not be as active as puppies, but they still need a decent amount of exercise and a lack of it can cause them to go a little stir crazy.

In honor of Adopt a Senior Dog Month, we are featuring a senior adoptable dog from the Randolph Animal Pound. Eight-year-old Indiana might be a senior dog, but she has energy to spare! She loves going on long walks and is outstanding on a leash. She would make a perfect addition to any home, and loves other dogs. We are so looking forward to visiting with Indiana and her new family that with her adoption, Indiana will be automatically signed up for FREE two month training membership at Morris K9 Campus! If you are interested in meeting Indiana, you can find out more information about her here