As I alluded to in an earlier post, our puppy Piper can be hyper. After she wakes up from a nap she wants to chase toys, pounce on things and generally chew the crap out of whatever’s on the floor. In other words, I need to constantly monitor her so I can correct bad behaviours (growling at her hippo squeak stuffie, digging in houseplants) and take away toys she’s trying to “kill” (by shaking her head spastically with them in her mouth). Plus, she now whines by the door to go out. At first I thought, “Great, she’s housetrained! She must have to go pee!” but now I realize she mostly just wants to go into the yard where she can chase balls, pounce on leaf litter and generally chew the crap out of the cedar chips. My point is: it’s impossible to get any work done with hyper Piper on the prowl.
So I was pretty excited when our neighbours told us about Hounds Lounge, a dog daycare in Inglewood. You can drop off your pooch for the day or half day where she plays hard with other dogs and comes home completely exhausted. Staff there are also on top of doggy interactions, putting the kibosh on things like barking, growling and other dominant behaviours. The price is right too (way cheaper than human daycare), with a full afternoon (up to six hours) costing just $20.
Since we’d institutionalized our children early on I figured 10 weeks old was a good age to cut the apron strings with the puppy. I sent her into the giant indoor playpen with 12 big dogs and let her run with the pack for an afternoon.
When Blake picked her up five hours later the woman in charge had some interesting observations about our confident puppy. Evidently Piper is a very dominant dog and spent the day trying to get on top of all the big dogs. She showed reckless initiative (and no fear at all) when engaging them to play. This is a good thing insofar as it means she’s probably a good dog for Bennett (she doesn’t cower from him when he tries to pick her up by the neck, or back leg). But it’s also a bad thing because it means more work for the family to make sure her dominant tendencies don’t turn into aggression toward smaller dogs or children when she’s an adult. The whole incident had me wondering what Cesar Milan would make of Piper.
Beyond this strange world of dog socialization, where a butt-sniff equals a handshake and pinning another dog is akin to staring someone down, my main priority with doggy daycare was realized: I got a lot of work done for the first time in three weeks. As a bonus, Piper returned home exhausted and slept for 12 hours straight. Thank goodness for doggy daycare.