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  1. #1
    Road Dawg rx4bills's Avatar

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    Default Day camp for 7 month female pyr mix

    Hi Everyone!

    Our Kali is almost 7 months now, doing great! Still has that pause button effect when giving her a command, but she is sweet, been clean in the house for months, lost her shark type puppy teeth, completed 2 dog classes... yeah!

    Maybe it's the shepherd in her, but she has quite a bit of energy, at 7 months I realize she will likely slow down as she gets older, but for now I am trying to give her enough activity to get her a bit tired, so she can be a little angel in the evenings, rather than bounce of the walls and our old Golden Retriever.

    1-2 walks a day, some Frisbee/tennis ball fetch, flirt pole activity, started her swimming last week. Wow, teaching her to swim was interesting! She really enjoys it now, apprehensive at first, but then just like her personality she suddenly does a leap/belly flop into the pool! She was a motorboat after that.

    I would still say my biggest concern for her still is the rough play she exhibits to our old Golden, jumping onto him, mouthing his head/ears/legs. Not aggression, not serious biting, just acting like a puppy, a 60 lb puppy. Now with the swimming, I worry she could drown our Golden because she does the same thing in the pool, swims up to him, climbs on his head or back. She now even leaps off the edge of the pool right onto him, sinking him for a moment. Its almost funny, but I am concerned. My Golden swims well, and seems to know not to suck in water when submerged, but still...

    Anyway, looking into day camp, maybe a day or two a week, get Kali some other big dog play time. Burn off some energy, get some social skills with other dogs. Our Golden is just so old and sweet natured. They really adore each other, but the physical energy/play levels are quite different.

    Tough to find good/trustworthy day care/camps. Of course, I am a bit obsessive and controlling (look, I acknowledge it), so due diligence is basically vetting for dogs. I worry at 7 months if Kali has a bad experience she might be traumatized, or worse become aggressive. She's a fairly large dog now, but still a puppy. The dog camps seem to evaluate all dogs for appropriate social skills, some don't accept Bully dogs (Pits), really not fair, but that's what I've seen. The idea of her having 6-8 hrs of dog play with 8-10 other dogs of similar size sounds good, but like a new parent sending a toddler off to preschool, I worry about conditions that I cannot always see.

    Any thoughts on day camp for a older pup? This won't be for ongoing, but perhaps a month or two, see how she responds and matures.

  2. #2
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

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    Make sure you visit the places and check out whether it is outdoor or indoor, the number of staff and number of dogs and type of dogs. A place with not too many dogs and a webcam would be a good start. That way you can watch how she does all day.

  3. #3
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    Daycare was great for both Sebastian and me. He got to play with friends, learn important social skills, and learn that good things happened when I wasn't around. I got to spend the day doing things that were difficult to do with an oversized puppy at home. If Sebastian and Chester still got along well with new dogs, they would still be going to daycare from time to time.

    Jewel is right, though, about doing your research. I yanked Sebastian out of his first daycare after he apparently fell off of a table, scraped up the insides of both of his thighs, and not only could they not tell me exactly how it happened, they tried to claim that he had arrived at their facility with those scrapes that morning, and I somehow didn't notice. They made that claim while his thighs were still bleeding, as was pointed out by another client from across the lobby.

    His second daycare was much, much, better. They had two huge outdoor play yards, as well as a large indoor playroom for when it was too hot, cold, or rainy for extended outdoor play. The dogs spent a total of about four hours in play group, and spent the remaining time in their suites, so that they didn't get overtired and cranky. They had cameras so that I could check in on Sebastian, and then Sebastian and Chester, in their play groups. The times that I boarded the dogs there overnight, they were sad to come home.

    During busy times, we had to make reservations for daycare, which was nice because I knew that the play groups weren't going to be overcrowded. Every time I checked the cameras, there were at least two attendants in every play session.

    For me, the most important things to look for were: adequate indoor and outdoor play space, cameras that I could view, adequate supervision, and good communication from the staff - whether it's about your dog misbehaving, another dog misbehaving towards your dog, or an accident in which your dog was involved. I was informed about none of those things by the first daycare, and all of those things by the second one.
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  4. #4
    Road Dawg rx4bills's Avatar

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    Thanks for the tips! Looking for a day camp (vs. a dog sitter) is pretty frustrating. Looking at Yelp reviews, seems all the choices have some issues at various times. Not a single good consensus pick. Checking around a bit, talking to friends, it's apparent to me that most of the doggy day campers are small dogs, lots of small dogs. I guess owners of large dogs don't bother with daycare for dogs, maybe just leave them in the yard. The emphasis at the few facilities I looked into seem more to cater to the masses, the small dogs. Some get very few large dogs, and don't allow certain breeds.

    I will continue researching sites for day camps for large dogs. Kali needs to romp with the big dogs.

    You guys in TX are fortunate to have good choices. I'm thinking California has priced out so many useful services for residents, due to crazy high property costs. I could give the public dog park a try, when Kali gets more dependable on recall and other commands. Had a bad experience at the dog park before, so we haven't been there in years.

  5. #5
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by rx4bills View Post
    I could give the public dog park a try, when Kali gets more dependable on recall and other commands.
    I take Ren to the dog park now and then. Try to go during off peak hours so there isn't a overwhelming number of dogs. Ren doesn't have good recall at the dog park. I simply follow him around (ok, granted, even at just 8 months, Ren doesn't go off running like a nut very much). If there is a dog that is not playing appropriately with Ren, I step in between them and force the other dog away. I've not used verbal corrections with other people's dogs, I just walk into the dog that is not acting the way I like until it backs off. I don't use voice, I don't use hands. I just keep walking into that dog assertively. If it's in a too excited state, I have no issues simply pulling the dog off and then shooing it in another direction. But all this require me to be right close to him wherever he goes.

    edit to add: Do you have any neighbors with young dogs of a size that would play with Kali? We have at least a couple of neighbors that would let Ren play with their dogs just to expend energy. I met these people while walking Ren.

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    Road Dawg rx4bills's Avatar

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    We have a few friends with fairly young dogs that would likely be appropriate, but not conveniently near. My concern at dog parks, like in swimming pools, I just can't keep up with her. Swimming tires her out pretty well, but when our Golden is also in the pool, she swims over to him, and puts her paws on his head, putting him underwater. She has jumped off the side of the pool into the pool right on his head. She is pretty athletic. Other than possibly drowning our old Golden, Kali is pretty fun to watch swim. I now go into the pool with a long pole, keeping them separate and they both swim around. I wear flotation vest so she doesn't drown me too. I will look into dog parks with smaller fenced in areas, at least I can be closer to the dogs, though she really is like a lightning bolt in speed.

  7. #7
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    Typically, daycare and boarding facilities require you to have your vet send proof of immunization before their first visit. Your vet might be able to help you find a facility that fits Kali's needs. I know our vet's office has a list of recommended facilities that they hand out to interested clients.

    My experience with places that don't allow certain breeds, is that the decision is driven by their insurance companies. Our daycare facility "didn't allow" bully breeds, but welcomed Chester the "retriever mix", even though he definitely looks like he has quite a bit of pit bull in his mix. There is also a restaurant with a private dog park in our old neighborhood that wasn't allowed to admit pit bulls for insurance reasons. There were plenty of "American Bulldog mixes" there every time I took Sebastian there. As long as the dog's were well-behaved, no one really had a problem.

    If you're really worried about Kali accidentally drowning your Golden, you might want to consider getting them each a doggie life jacket. There are several brands that make them big enough to fit each of your dogs.

    I know when Sebastian was still an overwhelmingly high-energy boy, several people suggested that I try puzzle toys to help drain some of his mental energy. He didn't really have the patience for them, and either ignored or destroyed the ones we tried. Chester, on the other hand, loved the Kong Wobbler. It might be worth trying with Kali.

    On days when Chester has a whole lot more energy than Sebastian does, I like to give Chester a "head start" before sending the dogs out to play in the yard. It usually involves a high-speed game of fetch around this staircase. Click image for larger version. 

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    I take his favorite soft toy for fetching, throw it over the railing so that it falls through the open part of the stairs, and watch Chester tear around the stairs to get it. It usually takes about 5 or 6 repetitions at top speed for him to need to catch his breath. Granted, he is almost 4, and out of shape. He is also very toy motivated. Kali may need a different kind of head start, and at least for now, one a bit longer than 5 or 6 repetitions.
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  8. #8
    Road Dawg rx4bills's Avatar

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    I love the idea of fetch up and down stairs. Seems like a good workout. I ordered a swim vest for Kobi (our Golden), who swims great but with a 60 lb puppy hanging on his head, my worry. Kali doesn't need a vest, she is the bulldozer, goes over everything on land or by sea. Always in a playful way, not nasty.

    Just hoping Kobi lasts long enough to see Kali mature and slow down a bit!

  9. #9
    Young Dawg (Member)

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    edit to add: Do you have any neighbors with young dogs of a size that would play with Kali? We have at least a couple of neighbors that would let Ren play with their dogs just to expend energy. I met these people while walking Ren.


    Click image for larger version. 

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    We actually use all three methods to keep our dogs exercised and happy depending on the situation.

    Playing with the neighbors dogs have been a great outlet for both of ours as they react very differently to meeting new dogs and to daycare. The Saint approaches new dogs with caution and he may be quite vigorous in the meeting process. but not to the point of being aggressive. The Pyr meets every new pup as a future friend, however, both love the dogs that they have gotten to know. The neighbors little Pitty mix waits outside the house for them to go out an romp. We love this as they both come in exhausted.

    The different reactions to new dogs also has pushed us in different directions with daycare. Since Moose is not really great a meeting new dogs, daycare can be a bit of an issue if there is another dog like him in the facility. Our daycare does experience this often and has different areas to keep these potential conflicts separated, but that means he does not get the full socialization and exercise experience. Gracie, the Pyr, is so sociable that the daycare use her as a greeter for the new animals. She romps and plays with the general population all day and comes home ready for a long nap.

    While Gracie is at daycare, we have a dog sitter stop by for an hour or so while we are at work. If the Pitty is out then they can play. If not Moose likes to sit outside and be with the sitter while she reads or gives him attention.

  10. #10
    Road Dawg rx4bills's Avatar

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    Ok, and update. Kali has been to daycare for 3 days. Been good so far, no issues, she pulls hard to the front door of the camp so I assume she is ok with the place. I checked her over carefully after the sessions, no odd signs of rough play. She is pretty clean at the end of the session, and seems somewhat tired. Yeah! Sleeps in the car going home, about 20 min drive. Still gets her burst of energy in the evening, but overall seems more calm. The people running the daycare seem caring, dogs like them, met some other owners dropping off dogs and they seem happy with the place. We will continue with this, at least for a month or so, see how things go. Kali is at such a curious age (7 months) that any additional activity for her is good. She must be popping some molars or a back tooth, as she suddenly has increased her chewing habits, and also urinated in the house yesterday. First time in several months. Last time was I believe also because she has several front teeth coming out. She has tons of chew toys, but apparently prefers our area rugs and door molding. Bit of a brat right now, but so much good in her. Just such a tough age!

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