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While we have hosted dogs of all shapes and sizes for years, it became apparent to us some time ago that a bespoke offering for little dogs was required. Most daycares enroll all small breeds together and large breeds together. Why is a custom space for tiny breeds necessary? 


 

We're all about the dogs, so let’s consider it from the little dog’s point of view. 


If the little dog weighs 5kg, and is accidentally stepped on by a slightly larger dog weighing 10kg, it’s equivalent to a 60kg person being stood on by someone weighing 120kg. Likewise jumping and falling. A kiddie’s plastic table is 40cm off the ground. Relatively speaking, that’s like a human jumping from a second story balcony. Tiny little bones and joints are not made to withstand such concussive force. Accidents happen in the blink of an eye - through inadvertent crashing into one another during play, or knocking one another off a platform. A group of dogs together are not much different to a group of toddlers in a playground. Accidents and deliberate injuries occur.

  

Physicality aside,  we need to consider the psychology of dogs. Many signs of discomfort that are given off by little dogs are entirely missed by humans. Often, fear is seen to be “aggression” or “cheek”. Little dogs do what they can to defend themselves from a potential threat. It is exceedingly rare that a tiny breed of dog is actually aggressive. However, the more the dog is forced to defend itself, the more the seemingly aggressive behaviour is rehearsed, and then it becomes the little dog’s “go-to”. On the opposite end of the scale, some tiny dogs have no concept that they can get hurt, and approach larger and stronger dogs in a manner that may be misconstrued. They also open themselves up to coming across as “prey” for some dogs as they scurry around. Tiny dogs need to learn appropriate “dog” behaviour in order to be safe in the world.  



Why is it important to have a small area? Imagine being the size of a cooldrink tin, and being placed into an area the size of the Atlantic. You’re going to feel overwhelmed. As such, Tiny Town has been developed to feel safe and almost underwhelming for its participants. The result is that their confidence grows day by day. Tiny Town is their familiar home-away-from-home. Furthermore, the smaller and more sterile space makes it much easier to reinforce obedience cues, such as recall. Combined with experienced, professional management, these things added together makes for a comfortable, educational space for tiny dogs. 



Doggy Daycare is unregulated in South Africa. As such, good doggy daycares will follow International Best Practice when it comes to how we host our dogs. There is not a whole lot of literature to follow, but good daycares will stay abreast of what internationally-renowned behaviourists, trainers and vets recommend. 


Here are a couple of links to what you should be looking for in selecting a doggy daycare.


Victoria Stilwell

Preventive Vet 


We are proud to check every single box when it comes to international standards. 



But what is daycare, really? And how do you know if daycare - any daycare - is right for your dog?


The truth is, not all dogs enjoy daycare, and those that do may enjoy one daycare and not another (luckily there are plenty of daycares to choose from, so you can do thorough research and find the perfect fit for your dog).



There are numerous benefits that come from the exposure dogs get at daycare. Here are a few examples:


●      Contributes to Better Behaved Pets – Dogs respond to different situations based on their overall training and socialisation (habituation). Being in a well-run, experienced daycare facility can train your dog to recognise behaviour patterns in other dogs and even humans, and adapt their own behaviour accordingly.


●      Improved Fitness for Your Dog  All dogs need regular physical activity. Obesity in pets is a major concern and can significantly reduce the life span of your dog. Supervised daycare play provides the physical activity dogs need, at their own pace.


●      Provides Structure – Being in our daycare can help your dog with destructive behaviors that they may exhibit at home. Just like children, dogs learn from others and will adapt well to routines and schedules. It’s easy to hype a dog up but a lot of dogs struggle to relax. A big part of daycare is down time – learning to relax with others. Our resident dogs are excellent role-models!



The earlier a dog starts daycare, the better for the dog long term. However, even older dogs love attending daycare!