New clients always want to know what to expect on their dogs’ first day of daycare. The first thing I tell them is that it’s important that they drop their dog off early, ideally, before any of the other dogs arrive. This gives the new dog a chance to sniff around, get the “lay of the land”, meet the “teacher”, and familiarize him/herself with their new surroundings.
The first dog to arrive has the advantage of claiming the space as his own. From there, he can meet and greet the other dogs as they come in. This is a lot less daunting for a dog then being thrown into an already formed and established pack. I hate to anthropomorphize too much but think of yourself as an example – how would you feel if going into a networking event wherein everyone there already knows each other but you know no one? Would you then be expected to act and behave completely like yourself, free of anxiety or nerves? Even the extroverts among us would likely cringe at such a scenario. For most of us, meeting people one on one is much less unnerving then being introduced to a large group. And the first day of school for a new kid is always the hardest.
Amy Cuddy, world-famous social psychologist and author of Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges gives some suggestions about how to put your best foot forward when presenting to a large crowd. I’m aware that her target audience is the homo sapien and not the canis lupus familiaris, but I could not help but draw some similarities in the ways in which both social species interact with their conspecifics. Cuddy suggests, “if you can and when it’s advantageous to do so, arrive before your audience arrives. Get comfortable with occupying and expanding the presentation space. Make the space yours, so your audience is coming to your “home” as opposed to you going to theirs.”
Bottom line: On your dog’s first day of daycare, get her there early. The early bird gets the worm and the first dog at daycare gets the good treats and makes the best friends.
To set up an “orientation” day at daycare for your dog, email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wag more. Bark less. #dingosdogsitting