Maybe, reading this article, you've been there before: You head to pick up your family pup from daycare, and you're met with an uncomfortable conversation. "Your dog isn't welcome here" is basically the gist of it, and it's totally unexpected for you. It's kind of embarrassing, and you're a little bit offended. Your dog LOVES other dogs. They love playing, enjoy every person they meet, and they need the exercise. They're great with 99% of other dogs. "Did he hurt someone?", you ask. "No, he didn't but it's an accident waiting to happen, and we don't recommend daycare for him". You should be ecstatic. You've actually encountered one of the most responsible facilities out there, willing to be honest about the needs of your pup in lieu of a loss of business.
Daycare is the place for the "extreme extrovert" of dogs. Structure is difficult when you have a large group of dogs in a relatively small and fenced space. Some dogs do well amongst themselves, and some dogs show signs of stress and nervous behavior. Only a small percentage of dogs feel primarily positive emotions from the idea of daycare. Sure, even dogs who do belong there or fall into that range as a puppy, eventually mature and find they need time to themselves- which means either daycare with less frequency or quiet walks with a human and a close dog friend instead. Most healthy adult dogs do sleep often, deeply, and a lot--- and eventually become a little less tolerant of younger, less "well mannered" dogs. It's akin to an adult playing with 50 children and teenagers. You're just going to want to do different things. A quiet dinner with 2 or 3 folks, maybe. You become less tolerant of 10 hours of a wild party as you get older (or- errr, well most of us!). Those of us that still enjoy the party life, we'd probably consider 10%? Maybe more or less depending on who you know?
It's not a secret in the industry that some dogs just aren't cut out for daycare. Many dogs would much prefer to be home on the couch with a less stimulating version of their preferred exercise. Rarely, do adult, moderate-drive, average dogs need more than 2 hours of intense aerobic exercise per day. If they do, "practice calm" is probably a tougher mental exercise and more helpful than any athletic pursuits. Out-exercising them at daycare can be a tough pursuit, and over time will actually increase their endurance for more exercise. Mental exercise and the ability to control their impulses and excitement is much more impressive, and a lot of mental work for these pups. Naturally, they can practice "ramping up" for activity, preferably in a place of more structure than daycare, like a dog sport, enrichment, or training. We're much more impressed with the calmness of a "drivey" border collie in our home life, than we are with how fast they can run.
Do we just hate daycare? Of course not! It's incredibly appropriate with the right amount of structure- especially for young dogs that gain a lot from socializing. However, if you see signs your dog is stressed at daycare (excessive tiredness from stress, holding urination and defecation until you pick them up to go home), you might want to think about scaling back, adding more structured activities and training, and evaluating what would make your pup REALLY happy---- Oh, and go thank that daycare who was upfront about your dogs needs, and kicked you out!