View Full Version : Concerned about Doggie Daycare

Ginger's Mom
4th April 2007, 11:33 PM
I've been sending Ginger to a doggie daycare ever since she was old enough to go (4 mos). Ginger is the only non-human in our household and I thought this would be a really good chance for her to socialize with other dogs.... Also this is a good opportunity for her to realize that she's a DOG not a HUMAN, because her owners treat her like a human baby... ;)

The daycare is really nice but we can only afford to send her once a week.... It even has this webcam set up so I can log on anytime during the day to make sure that she's doing good... a really great feature!!

Anyhow today, as usual, I logged on to their website to see what she was up to and I was mildly worried to see that two male dogs of her size, a bichon frise and a pomeranian, were giving Ginger some very SPECIAL attention... I thought it wouldn't be a big deal because Ginger's spayed and these guys are neutered as well... So I decided to log off and get back to my business.

But when I logged again 2 hrs later to check on Ginger, I was absolutely horrified... This time it wasn't just two dogs, it was an entire gang that was after her... About 7-8 of the male dogs were vigorously chasing after Ginger, constantly knocking her down to the floor, each taking the turn to do that male thing on my poor little baby..... I could tell that she was trying to get away and definitely didnt' like what was happening..

I called the daycare immediately and told them what I saw and they said that all morning the supervising staff has been trying to correct the male dogs on their behaviors but for some reason they are just going nuts on her.... They weren't sure what the "trigger" factor is..

I wished I could just go to the daycare to pick up Ginger but I wasn't able to.... The person I talked to said that she would put two of the most aggresive dogs (Pomeranian and Bichon Frise who were after Ginger the entire day) in a secluded area so they wouldnt' be attacking her.... For the rest of the day I saw Ginger on the supervising staff's lap...

Maybe I overreacted to all this.... I know she's just a dog and this kind of stuff is expected where dogs gather, but I don't want her to get traumatized in anyway and become a fearful dog.... It would defeat the whole purpose of why we are sending her to that place...

Anyways to end my very long post, I'd like to ask these questions:

1) Could it be something that Ginger is doing or has that's causing these male dogs to go crazy? FYI Ginger was spayed three months ago and there are at least 10 other female dogs in the small dog area...

2) Should I stop sending Ginger to the daycare because of this? What would you do if this happened to you??

Thanks all... :flwr: :flwr: :flwr: :flwr:

5th April 2007, 12:22 AM
I wish I had an answer to your questions....I just wanted to tell you that if that happened to Molly, I would be just as upset as you were.

So sorry that Ginger had a rough day at day care.

5th April 2007, 12:22 AM
This could be sexual but also equally (and I think, far more likely) could be behavioural, resulting not from Ginger doing anything at all but from a whole gang of males being allowed to form and act as a pack. :x.

1) Spayed or intact females can still be attractive to neutered or particularly, intact males, regardless of whether they are in heat -- but I hardly think a whole gang suddenly found her sexually appealing.There is a tiny chance that she is going into heat even if spayed -- this can happen if some ovarian tissue is missed -- but this seems pretty unlikely.

2) Mounting behaviour can also be (and here I would believe, is) a sign of dominance/aggressive behaviour -- one dog (or in this case, several) picking on a dog they feel is lower ranking than they are or which they are trying to assert themselves over. Basically it is rude and unpleasant (at best!) for the dog on the receiving end and can develop into much worse...

3) A whole gang of dogs doing this is particularly nasty -- they are ganging up into pack behaviour which can become unpredictable and DANGEROUS.

In any of these cases, and particularly the latter, there is no way that there should have arisen a situation where so many males were ganging up on her and going at her for so long that you had to make a phone call! Is no one actually watching the dogs? This kind of thing could have degenerated into a violent attack as the domineering dogs got more excited and pack behaviour took over. The mildest dog can do a 180 degree turn in behaviour when part of a pack.

I would question whether this facility is adequately watching dogs or understands the need to avid such a scenario even STARTING much less happening twice. You are absolutely right to be disturbed and angry by this.

You can tell them:

The TRIGGER is YOUR EMPLOYEES who are supposed to be minding a large group of dogs, but apparently weren;t and also were not close enough or attentive enough to see immediately what was happening and then break this up befaore it ever reached a gang assault. Where were they all?

The TRIGGER is a lone small breed female being left alone in a group of males (and how many are intact making this even more predictible?).

The TRIGGER is not knowing enough about dog body language to have seen this developing (I mean come on -- one or two, maybe that is acceptable happening as you first saw, as a once off lack of attention, but an entire gang of dogs? :sl*p:

I think I'd move to a different daycare situation or see if you can instead put the costs towards having someone stop in to walk her maybe a couple of times a week, just to split up her day. I'd join a fun class to keep her well socialised and avoid this particular facility -- and I'd file a formal complaint about lack of supervision that could have easily resulted in an attack on your dog.

In general it is not a good idea to have that many dogs mixing anyway unless there is a very hogh ratio of supervision. If they are just normally lumping all the dogs into a common area -- that IS risky.

5th April 2007, 12:26 AM
I can understand your frustration and I'd be upset too, Ginger's mommy! I don't know about how to resolve your situation, and I have a hard time believing it's "Ginger's" fault. I'm very glad that they have the webcam so you could see what is happening. I think some of the other dogs need "time-outs". I haven't sent Bianca to daycare yet (she isn't spayed yet) but I'd be through the roof if I saw that. :x -Natalie
PS I posted this before I saw Karlin's remarks...completely agree with her.

brid kenny
5th April 2007, 12:27 AM
A few weeks after I had Phoebe spayed she got a cough. A number of male dogs went crazy for her. I hadn't a clue what was going on until someone on the site said the virus is probably giving out a smell similar to her being in heat. It went after a week or so. So your dog might have
something similar.
Here's a link

5th April 2007, 12:30 AM
Brid, I have never heard of that and would find it hard to believe! But it wuld be interesting if it could be the case! I will have to ask the vets next time I am in (actually I need to ring one tomorrow on something puppy farm related and will see what he says).

Even if this were a dog actually in heat though, a daycare facility should never have allowed a gang attack to happen! I cannot see how if they already knew one or two dogs were picking on her, it ever could then be allowed to KNOWINGLY escalate to a large group. :x :shock:

5th April 2007, 12:37 AM
I would be livid if this were my girl!!! I would not only talk to the general manager of this facility, but I would also inquire as to whether they tape and record events as well.

It would be nice to have proof, when talking with the management, besides the fact that you called.

Did the webcam show other employees engaged in watching and caring for the dogs? :yuk:

Ginger's Mom
5th April 2007, 01:02 AM

Thank you so much... thorough response as always... I was really confused by all of this and now I can see a clear picture...

You're absolutely right w/everything you said... It never occured in my mind to question the fact that there is only ONE person supervising 20+ dogs and that most of the time this person is cleaning up after the dogs' mess...

I was so focused on trying to figure out what is 'wrong' with Ginger rather than questionning how come they allowed this type of bad group behavior to happen...

I'll be looking at other options to improve her socialization skills and stop sending her to a daycare once a week as we have... We just thought this would be a fun activity for her but apparently this could have given her the opposite effect (or already has)... I'll be looking for activities that she and I, DH or both can do together.... In fact, we just joined this Cavalier group last Saturday which meets once a month at a nearby park and it was absolutely fantastic for all of us.... I've been meaning to post some pictures from it after receiving an O.K. from the lady who organizes this event... :p

Lynn, Natalie, Brid & Jenny, thank you all for your kind words and support --


5th April 2007, 01:33 AM
How scary to watch! Even scarier is when you called and they were so casual about "we know it happened earlier". From personal experience, I used to take my eldest to daycare a few times a week and he seemed to love it for a while. Then one day I came to pick him up and he just seemed thrilled to be out of there, the next time I tried to drop him off he would not even let me put him down, he bascially wrapped his paws around me. I got an uneasy feeling turned around left and never went back.

Just a week later I got a hysterical call from one of my friends telling me to meet her at the emergency vet asap her Westie had been attacked. Turns out the owner of the daycare had allowed her Westie to be in the same "play" area as a pit bull! The pit bull didn't like that my friend's dog was a puppy and wanted to play and took a chunk out of his neck. The vet told us just a few centimeters to the left and her dog would have been dead.

The daycare owner told us that we were being "dramatic" about the attack and that it could have happened to anyone. Needless to say we wil NEVER go back and have told all of our friends. I have found a great place since were they watch the dogs constantly (I know because I have done "suprise" drop bys on my lunch breaks, errand runs). Daycares are good if you find the right one for you, now I use a pet sitter who comes and plays with mine during the day and they seem happy and worn out when I get home. :)

5th April 2007, 02:11 AM
I'm with Karlin. It sounds like a behavioural pack mentality thing. Something that starts off as just a bit of sky-larking between 2 dogs can get terribly out of hand when pack-mentality cuts in. I am surprised that the people who run the centre allowed things to escalate to that point.

Love the idea of the webcam, but they need to be more proactive in their approach me thinks. :x

5th April 2007, 03:50 AM
Oh man, I would be absolutely LIVID if that were my Kingston. Is it a requirement at that daycare that all dogs be spayed or neutered? Also, is it really only one employee that takes care of the animals? Most of the daycares I know of have atleast three people working at one time. Someone should have gotten those male dogs away from Ginger long before you called them up. Not to alarm you, but imagine what goes on during the times when you can't be watching on the Internet. I take Kingston to daycare a couple times a week and as of right now I'm really happy with it. However, I am super protective of him and if anything like that happened I would be all over those daycare workers. I'm not a dog psychologist, but I imagine an experience like that could have harmful effects on Ginger's behavior and personality.

5th April 2007, 08:07 PM
Wow, I'm so sorry Veronica - I would have been hysterical on the phone when I called. What a nightmare. I would try to find a daycare of smaller proportion. We send Sofee Marie from 8-12 daily, but it is in the home of our dog walkers/day care owners, and on average they have only 1-2 more dogs and max of 5 on school vacation weeks. With the Cav's temperament, I have found it crucial she is with other dogs that she gets along with and is not afraid of, and luckily our dog walkers/day care owners love Sofee as much as we do, they have cared for her since her third day in our home. Having someone come to your home to walk and play is an excellent idea too, we did this for the first three months she was with us, and then moved to play group as she got older (same dog walkers/day care owners).
I hope you are able to find a solution soon, thank you for sharing your experience. ;)

5th April 2007, 08:34 PM
Oh I would have been furious! I don't think you are overreacting at all! In fact, I think the doggie daycare needs to improve on it's ability to care for the dogs in that situation, they should have done something about that immediately and not let it continue. Even if there was just one person there, that person could very easily have just gone over there and picked up Ginger and gotten her out of there. Wow, I would look for another daycare for Ginger, and if it were me I would write a letter to the manager/owner of the daycare.


5th April 2007, 09:39 PM
I can only imagine how upset you are from seeing this - I was upset just reading it. Poor Ginger. However in all the nasty stuff, I just wanted to point out the amazing thing you did. Having that video is great - its the only way you could have known.

When I read a few wks ago about some people having a webcam set up at home to watch their new puppies from work, it really struck a cord with me. As in my mother next time she is hospitalized. She had rather bad treatment a few yrs ago but was also on heavy pain killers so it was hard to realize what she was telling us. After she still clearly remembers a lot and learned from a nurse that she refuses to work that particular floor because of the heavy-handiness practiced by some nurses :yikes My thoughts after reading about the dogs were if she ever needs hospital care or even at home, its not happening without a webcam!

5th April 2007, 11:15 PM
the fact that there is only ONE person supervising 20+ dogs and that most of the time this person is cleaning up after the dogs' mess...

That's a lot of dogs for one person and especially if they are all loose together -- that is way too many. They should be in groups of maybe 5-6 maximum of same size, in separated areas. I can't imagine trying to supervise 20 on my own even if they were all divided up -- you'd need two people really.

I wonder if there are any guidelines at all for running a professional service. I think I would enquire/complain to the SPCA or Humane Society at any rate (same with the situation where anyone put a potentially aggressive breed in with puppies -- that is asinine -- some bullies are really good with other dogs but you need to be absolutely sure before allowing them to mix as some are by nature dog aggressive). I'd want to find out if there are any regulations at all and at least lodge a complaint. I know here, the ISPCA weould investigate the welfare conditions if dogs were being held in such a way that a pack attack could happen and so many mixed together. Even the Dublin pounds do not allow that many dogs out for exercise at one time in the common pen.

The problem is a lot of people THINK they know everything about dogs simply because they like them but it doesn;t translate to running a business -- they often know nothing about basic dog husbandry. Nothing about breeds, managing aggression, spotting potential problem situations and so forth. There's a lot that people need to know either from coursework and experience, or experience and mentorship.

The webcam is a great idea and exactly the kind of thing you'd think would be the sign of a quality care service unafraid to be under scrutiny but it sounds like tht wasn;t the case here. Don't worry, Ginger will have lots of socialising opportunities just going on walks, meeting friends with dogs, doing your cavalier meeting and so on. Jaspr and Leo are great around other dogs and I never did anything particularly special with them, they just had the chance to meet and greet dogs in the neighbourhood, play with some now and then at friends; houses and so forth. Also home boarding when I was away was great for them to meet other dogs and I think that really got them to be laid back around dogs. It is funny they still get all excited if they meet up with dogs from their home boarding place! :lol:

Julie S
5th April 2007, 11:34 PM
Yikes - I would be furious. This is honestly the big thing that concerns me about doggie daycare, although that definitely sounds like a traumatic case for sure! ACK!!!!!!

I haven't met with the daycare we're planning on using yet, but it sounds great so far ... they have a separate puppy/younger dog daycare, and integrate them over time into the "adult" section. They also try to keep the toy dogs away from the bigger ones. I mean, it's all according to the individual dog, but I LOVE that they understand this. I'll let you all know how it goes ...

You did the right thing. Could you perhaps write a letter or call the manager of the daycare to let them know why you won't be returning? Knowing they're losing business will certainly cause some changes around that place.

6th April 2007, 02:28 AM
Veronica, I would have been hysterical to tune in to a web cam and see my dog being ganged up on that way. I'm sure it's a dominance/pack kind of behavior rather than sexual (at least that's most likely). But I would not want my dog going there any longer.

In your shoes, though, I'd try to handle this so that they won't pull the plug on their web cam. If you take Veronica out and they then pull their web cam after this experience, I would spread the word far and wide that this doggie day care can't be trusted to manage the dogs in their care properly.

Permitting that "ganging up" behavior on the part of the others is not good for them either. If one of my dogs were permitted to behave that way in a pack toward another dog, I'd be just as furious as if my dog were the victim, frankly.

6th April 2007, 03:17 AM
Look for a daycare that temperment tests potential dogs so they know what "play group" they would fit best in. Some of my local daycares have special groups for small dogs only, and some match up by activity level ect...
More than likely the "mounting behavior" is a dominace issue. Dogs in a pack will always try to establish a who's who.
Most communities have several daycares to choose from. I would go else where.

good luck!