Friday, August 1, 2014

Doggie Daycare - The Report Card

Barry, Husband, and I walked the 1 mile trip to Tucker Pup's for his first day at "school". Barry was beyond excited as we walked in the doors (just as he was the day we toured the facility). We were greeted with smiling faces and a few other people with their dogs for daycare or boarding. We were given a few pointers, were able to watch Barry for a moment in play, and we were off. I felt good about the situation, thinking that Barry would do just great as they gave him the thumbs up on our way out.

At 12:38 PM I was getting a Chicago area call coming in and I knew it had to be Tucker Pup's. I answered the call and was told several things.

  • Barry has a dominance issue (mounting - this we knew was an occasional issue)
  • Barry has been in time-out 3 times (he was in when I spoke with the guy & could hear Barry wailing)
  • Barry is starting trouble with other dogs (mounting other dogs and the other dogs don't like it)
  • Barry is normal for a first day of daycare and everything is okay (i.e. Barry's not kicked out yet)
  • Barry plays really well with other dogs... until he starts mounting them.

None of those things were how I imagined Barry's first day would go. We've seen Barry mount other dogs in play a few times but once he's called off he stops. He also typically plays with smaller dogs and he's great with them. I did mention that to the guy on the phone as well, but doubted Barry would ever be placed in the small dog play group. Just imagine it... There would be horrified dog owners for sure - their small dog in a play group with a big pitbull!

The guy told me not to worry but he wanted me to know because he wasn't sure if he'd be able to speak directly with me when I came in to pick Barry up since he'd probably be off work by then. I was pretty upset with the news but also felt good about Barry being in good hands. I have no doubt about their honesty as I know how Barry can be.

There were no fights at that point, just Barry riling up the crowd and mounting all his new friends. So it's a dominance issue... The guy said that Barry would be put in time out each time it got to be too much so that Barry could associate his rude (my word) behavior with time out. In a daycare setting it's unacceptable for a dog (Barry) to upset and anger other dogs. Dogs can handle only so much. Just like people. There is a point where we explode, just like dogs. It was for Barry's safety (and so he can learn) and also for the the other dog's sanity.

I feel bad that Barry had to be put in time out, in a crate, BUT I would rather that than Barry start a full on fight. The people watching the large active dogs play group (that's the play group Barry was placed in at first) need to protect themselves and all the dogs.

For the rest of the day until I went to walk to pick Barry up I was nervous and anxious. Wondering if anything else had happened or if he would be in time out when I got there.

When I got there I was assured everything was okay. Barry was a bit rambunctious but was good with the small dogs. Yes, Barry got to play with the small dogs for a while. I was told that it was normal for some dogs to act this way and that Barry was probably overwhelmed. He continued to get time outs throughout the day and one such time out included an alone time in the outdoor play area with a Tucker Pup's employee. She said he needed a moment by himself to regroup and just breathe. I like that they did this for him. Barry does get quite overwhelmed with things going on around him. It's part of his anxiety issue. We work through it and he does well around us but around new people and new dogs I'm sure it'll just take time.

Photo taken at Tucker Pup's. This was probably taken when he was by
himself outside with a Tucker Pup's employee in a timeout.
Overall he did well for his first day and it was recommended we bring him again in a week or so to get him acclimated and used to playing with dogs one on one and in a group setting. It'll be good for him to learn the basic playing skills and enjoy himself a little more. We're hoping that his next visit will be a lot better and that he won't try mounting all of his new friends all day long.

This was Barry after he ate a little dinner. He was pooped after daycare.


  1. Hang in there! It'll get better. :-)

  2. Barry is so handsome! I hope his dominance issue can be resolved soon. He's probably just insecure around other dogs & expressing dominance. The time out is the right action to take. Once Barry gets it that mounting equals being taken away from the fun he will hopefully stop the behavior. They may also spritz him w/ water to quickly stop his action, which is not uncommon. Stopping the action immediately every time he does it everywhere he does it should help a lot. Good luck!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Cathy, Isis & Phoebe

    1. Hi there! I know Barry will figure it out. In fact, after three time outs he knew what he was doing wrong - that is what the guy told me. He said that when Barry was called out for mounting Barry would immediately lay down on the ground but they still put him in time out to be consistent. He continued to mount after he 'got it' but I think with time he'll realize that not starting that behavior in the first place will allow him to play all day.

      We took him to a dog park yesterday evening (just as a side I never recommend taking pitties to a dog park because if anything happens it's automatically his fault) and there were only a couple of other dogs there whom Barry got along with so well! Not a single mount! We will take him to daycare again next Saturday and find out how he does. The more play time and quick correction he gets the sooner he'll get it.