We know you send your pup to daycare to have a great time - frolicking in the fresh air, playing with friends, releasing their energy, running, sniffing and wagging to their heart's content. But why is rest important?
Rest is a strategic part of our Pawprints service model, and our commitment to ensuring your dog is happy, healthy and behaving while at daycare.
Incorporating play breaks and rest periods into your dog's day when at Pawprints helps ensure your dog's experience is even more enjoyable.
1 - It's healthy for dogs to nap during the day.
As dog care specialists, we understand that most dogs don't need 8 hours of intense physical activity. In fact, too much exercise can cause over exhaustion and even weaken the immune system.
Dogs differ from humans in the amount of sleep their bodies require and their sleeping schedule. It's normal for adult dogs to sleep an average of 8-14 hours a day with puppies who are still growing to sleep anywhere from 18-20 hours per day.
Also unlike humans, dogs don't do all of their sleeping at one time. Dogs are polyphasic sleepers meaning it's more natural for them to doze on and off throughout the day, collecting their 8-14 hours of sleep in frequent naps.
We give rest breaks at Pawprints to allow each dog to get a healthy amount of exercise balanced with the rest their bodies need, obviously tailored for each dog's individual needs based on breed, personality, age and energy levels.
2 - Dogs have their own personal thresholds for social activity - just like people.
In addition to balancing exercise with rest, taking breaks also allows dogs to balance social time with a bit of valuable “me time.”
Daycare is often a highly stimulating environment. Just like you may have a personal preference for how long you’ll stay at a party or out at a restaurant with friends, each dog has their own tolerance level for spending time with their fellow pups.
Some dogs love playing all day with a group of canine pals. Others play with one or two doggie friends before settling down to relax in the sun. And some have a threshold for the length of social time they enjoy, after which they may become flooded — meaning over-stimulated or overwhelmed. Just like mental or emotional flooding in humans, this increases a dog’s stress level and makes it hard to relax.
The pawprints team pays attention to each pups personality, body language and behaviour to ensure they are healthy, happy, and comfortable in the playgroup. If we see signs that a dog is feeling over-stimulated or stressed, we allow them to take a rest break. This often helps the dog to decompress, refresh, and get into a more relaxed state.
3 - Feeling overstimulated can lead to stress and unhealthy behaviours.
There’s another important reason that we pay attention to signs of overstimulation: safety.
Coming to Pawprints is likely the most stimulating activity in your dog’s day. It’s a great environment for dogs to release energy, build confidence, and enhance socialisation — but with so much excitement, it’s easy for dogs to become flooded.
When dogs feel over-stimulated, they enter a state of anxiety, which can lead to destructive or unhealthy behaviours and reduced impulse control. They may ignore another dog’s boundaries or body language during play, hyper-focus on a dog or person, or over-react to their playmates’ behaviours.
In this flooded state, a dog is less able to focus on their dog handler, listen to commands, and redirect themselves toward more positive behaviours. Once a dog is overwhelmed, the best thing for their well being is to take a break from the stimulating environment.
We are constantly guiding dogs to promote positive behaviours and healthy socialisation skills, while redirecting undesired behaviours. Particularly with young puppies who are learning how to engage with other dogs, every social interaction matters.
Our dog handlers work to ensure each dog has a happy experience playing with other dogs, which includes taking a rest before they become over-stimulated, to build a positive association with other dogs and at dog daycare as a whole.
4 - Rest breaks help dogs develop well-balanced skills and behaviour.
Training doesn’t stop when a dog is resting. In fact, taking breaks throughout the day is a valuable part of socialising your dog, helping them to become a more well-rounded companion.
If you’ve ever spent the day with a toddler, you know that transitions can be challenging — the same is true for dogs. Your dog may become agitated when changing pace from a stimulating environment with smells and other dogs, to a cosy dog bed or the backseat of your car (filled with entirely different smells!).
Not every moment of a dog’s day will be highly stimulating or active. A happy, healthy, and behaving dog is one who can smoothly transition between excitement and downtime.
Just as dogs learn how to engage in happy and healthy play in structured rest time helps them develop the skills to self-soothe, self-regulate, and decompress after physical activity.