By Donna Sevilla
Being a pet sister and parent to my eight-year-old Cockapoo Miyagi wasn’t easy. Bringing him anywhere near other dogs made my family nervous, which is why he had not been exposed to other dogs previously. We hadn’t socialized him too much until recently when my brother became a pet parent to an Old English Bulldog puppy. We could see that they didn’t play quite well together because their play types were so different from each other, so I brought up the idea of bringing Miyagi to daycare at Dogtopia.
What was the experience like?
It was the first time in a longtime that we brought Miyagi near more than one dog. It was new for him because he was timid and was used to being around just humans so he didn’t quite know what to do at first, but he followed what the other dogs did when he entered the room and began to learn doggy etiquette.
Doggy Etiquette Number One: Sniff each other as a way to say hello. Check!
His tail was down when he went in – a little shy at first – but after the first hour, he was able to move around a bit more with the playroom attendant’s encouragement. He was shy but active, still learning what it’s like to be a dog since he’s been with us for so long and without much socialization. He occasionally played with a Coton De Tulear named Lily, walked around then sat by the door to rest before repeating that routine.
Doggy Etiquette Number Two: Make a friend. Check!
He watched the room a lot, which was fine for him to do, as many dogs that are still new to the socializing experience. It helped him learn what behaviours were acceptable – like mouth play and rolling around – and what weren’t.
What was the end result like?
I could see that he had been exposed to a lot of mental stimulation, to take in so many sights and smells as well as communicate with so many dogs, that he was exhausted! He was a happy dog in the car heading home, and he didn’t show any signs of stress that could probably indicate that he didn’t like the experience. It was the first time he laid down the entire car ride home and was already snoozing before dinner time.
Not every dog’s first day experience is the same and Miyagi is still trying to establish his comfort level but with more visits, he’ll realize he is a dog and will become more confident in the playroom.
He was definitely a tired and happy dog at the end of the day!