What happens if your dog gets kicked out of doggie daycare?
It happens even to the best of Labradors, and it happened recently to one of ours.
We were so excited to find a new, outdoor doggie daycare located on over 10 acres of farmland that seemed to be a Labrador’s dream location.
What Lab wouldn’t love to spend the day outdoors with other canine friends on the farm?
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However, after a few short hours on the first day, we received the dreaded “Parent Phone Call” from the staff at the new doggie daycare facility we were trying for the first time.
While our sweet Labrador was a wonderful, friendly buddy to the other dogs, he was unable to maintain his cool composure due to some distractions located on the farm near the daycare’s particular property… and by distractions, we mean chickens.
Yes, poultry. Live and running around nearby on additional acreage where the farm containing the doggie daycare site was located.
Some breeds of dogs wouldn’t mind sharing nearby land with a flock of chickens, but other dogs, especially breeds with a strong hunt drive such as the Labrador Retriever, have a nearly impossible time resisting the temptation to chase, hunt, and try to outrun those tasty creatures located nearby.
This is the same Labrador who managed to run away to Buffalo Wild Wings on a walk one day, so we’ll just point out that he has a definite fondness for chicken.
Our goofy Lab plays well in a group with people and other dogs, but as a rescue Labrador he can occasionally be a bit too adventurous, and if given a little too much freedom can become overly excited and harder to reign back in.
Though our boy has a friendly and goofy nature, and years of experience attending other wonderful daycares, sometimes a certain doggie daycare setting just won’t be the right fit.
This was definitely true for the farm.
Those chickens were just too tantalizing, and we discovered quickly he would be better off attending daycare in another location with outdoor space that did not contain an ingredient found in his dog food.
So if you get the news that your dog has been kicked out of doggie daycare, what should you do next?
Since issues can happen to even the best and most friendly of dogs, here are a few reasons why doggie daycares don’t always work out, and tips on what to do if it happens to you.
Reasons Why Your Dog May Get Kicked Out of Doggie Daycare
1. Fighting or Aggressive Behavior
By far the most common reason your dog will be removed or expelled from a doggie daycare facility is for fighting or aggressive behavior with other dogs.
In an environment where there are many dogs in a pack constantly interacting, it’s important that the dogs participating have a good temperament to do so, and that’s not true for every dog.
Sometimes dogs with different temperaments or history of trauma or neglect will not do well in a large group environment. Sometimes rescue dogs also demonstrate behavior that would not suit them to attending doggie daycare.
Labrador Retrievers in general are not an aggressive breed, but any dog of any age can bite, or be defensive and choose to respond in an aggressive manner. Sometimes that behavior comes out in a group setting such as daycare.
2. Distracting or Mischievous Behavior
This was the category of conduct that got our sweet Labrador in trouble. As the adventurous member of the dog gang at daycare on the farm, he managed to outmaneuver the fence and find his way into Chicken Country.
This kind of behavior causes disruption to the group dynamics of daycare, and when one dog tries to run away and chase something, other members of the group might be curious enough to follow. This can lead to all sorts of issues.
The staff will be required to spend extra time and energy on managing your dog while still maintaining a safe environment for the other guests, and some facilities may have limitations on how much mischief they’re willing to tolerate.
A few instances of this behavior normally isn’t a problem, but if your dog is behaving this way for long periods of time, you might find yourself asked to leave the daycare setting.
3. Fear or Shyness Around Other Dogs
Sometimes dogs just aren’t a good fit for doggie daycare because they are fearful of the environment and do not warm up to the nature of group play.
While it’s normal for your Labrador to act a bit uncertain at first, especially when entering a group environment that’s new to them, it shouldn’t take them long to warm up to other dogs if they’ve been properly socialized in the past.
Labs are typically friendly, social, and easygoing dogs, but every dog has their own unique temperament and personality.
It’s important if you’re dealing with a young dog, such as a Labrador puppy, or a rescue dog with an unknown history, that you proceed with caution in selecting a good doggie daycare and introduce your dog to other dogs correctly to promote a positive experience.
You might observe some strange dog behavior at first when your dog’s in a new daycare environment, but make the staff aware that your dog is new at this, and don’t hesitate to leave if you think it’s not a good fit.
What to Do When Your Dog Gets Expelled From Daycare
1. Keep Your Options Open
Consider that other types of doggie daycare and other settings might be a better fit for your dog. Just because they were kicked out of one doggie daycare doesn’t mean your dog can’t go to daycare at all.
It could mean that environment wasn’t the right fit for them, or for you. After all, when you leave your dog at daycare, you want to be able to relax and know that they are safe and enjoying themselves. That’s the service you’re paying for!
If you haven’t found the right daycare setting yet, don’t panic.
We’ve had our Labradors in many different types of daycare settings, both indoor and outdoor, and we’re still discovering what settings work best for our Labs.
If you have multiple Labradors in your household, as we do, you might find that one environment works well for one or more of your dogs but may not work for another.
The farm setting that proved too tempting for our adventurous rescue Lab was actually the perfect fit for his Labrador sister, who received a glowing report card at the end of her daycare visit and is welcome back anytime.
You may need to try numerous daycare facilities for an “intro day” to allow the staff to evaluate your dog and for you to evaluate if the facility meets your needs.
Remember that sometimes different staff working on different days will also have an effect on how your dog’s behavior is perceived, and whether or not they are allowed.
2. Find Exercise & Activity Another Way
In the meantime, while you keep exploring other facilities for doggie daycare, find other alternatives for your dog to safely get physical exercise and activity.
Take your dog on many walks, create playtime at the park, give them mental stimulation with toys at home, and use dog parks carefully to help your dog burn off energy to keep their behavior managed.
3. Hire a Trainer If You Have Ongoing Issues
If you find that your dog repeatedly is being kicked out of doggie daycare, and you’re continuing to have ongoing problems, you might want to ask the advice of your veterinarian and seek out the assistance of a professional dog trainer.
Sometimes dogs will respond well to training and be able to be candidates for doggie daycare after a few short lessons with a skilled trainer to correct some possibly problematic behavior.
Summary: When Your Dog Is Kicked Out of Doggie Daycare
Finding out your dog is expelled from doggie daycare might be a difficult and cringe-worthy moment for pet families.
But it can also lead you to find a better, happier alternative in a more positive environment that’s a better fit for your dog, and for you.
After getting expelled for chasing chickens on the farm, our wonderful Labrador found a different doggie daycare he loves with higher, stronger fencing (and no chickens) where he earns constant praise for his sweetness and compliments on what a good boy he is!
For more on articles, strategies, and tips for Labrador life, check out our Tips & Training Section.