My dog gets overstimulated at daycare, what can I do?

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dog overstimulated at daycare

Do you send your dog to daycare? Are you worried about how he acts when he gets back home?

Daycare can be overstimulating for some dogs. If you’re concerned that it’s too much for your dog, this article has everything you need to know.

How can I tell if my dog gets overstimulated at daycare?

Taking your dog to daycare is a great way to keep your dog busy while you’re away and socialize with other dogs.

But if your dog is getting overstimulated from daycare, that can make things a lot more complicated. When dogs get overstimulated, they tend to be bad at listening and may forget their manners.

You might be wondering if your dog is getting overstimulated at daycare. If he is, how can you tell?

In a nutshell, an overstimulated dog behaves differently. He might not be able to settle down afterwards, display reactivity or aggression, or even get into fights with others. You can work on his training and socialization, but not all dogs enjoy daycare—and not all daycares are run properly.

As you can see, there are a few ways to tell if your dog is overstimulated. Before we move on, make sure you take a look at these related articles:

My dog is acting different after daycare

Does your dog seem different when you pick him up from daycare? Perhaps you’re wondering why your puppy is overtired after daycare?

One of the biggest ways to tell if your dog is getting overstimulated or overtired from daycare is the way he acts when he gets home.

Overstimulated dogs will have trouble listening to you. Your dog might be jumping around and refusing to settle down.

There was a lot going on at daycare! That’s why your dog might be having a hard time calming down from it.

this dog was overstimulated at daycare and now can't settle down
Overstimulated at daycare? If your dog just won’t settle down after, that could be the reason!

He is suddenly aggressive at dog daycare

Aggressive and reactive dogs can be extremely difficult to deal with. In many situations, they can even be dangerous.

If the workers at your daycare tell you that your dog is getting aggressive with other dogs, that’s something you should address right away.

Aggression can be a sign that your dog is getting overstimulated. Working on training with your dog or finding alternatives to daycare can help. You’ll find tips farther down.

Learn more about aggression in dogs and puppies by checking out these articles:

He got in a fight with other dogs at daycare

When dogs get overstimulated, they stop being in control of themselves. The stimuli around them can set them off, making it easier for them to get into fights with each other.

Fighting with another dog can also contribute to the cycle of overstimulation.

If your dog is getting into fights with other dogs, this is something you need to work on immediately. Using positive reinforcement dog training can help.

You may also want to think about working with a professional dog trainer.

My dog got kicked out of daycare

Dogs that are overstimulated will have a hard time listening to commands. That means that the staff won’t be able to control the dog, which could result in a dangerous situation.

If your dog is getting overstimulated and putting other dogs and people at risk, then he might get kicked out of daycare.

While daycare can be a great way to keep your dog busy while you’re away at work, it isn’t the right place for every dog. If your dog gets kicked out of daycare, look for alternatives to care for your dog.

a dog walker can prevent your dog from getting overstimulated at daycare
Hiring a dog walker is sometimes better than daycare.

Dog daycare problems

If you are concerned about your dog’s behavior at daycare, then knowing what some common daycare issues are can help.

Here are a few common problems that dogs might experience, either because of the daycare or the dogs themselves.

Too much activity at the dog daycare

A main reason why dogs get overstimulated is because there is too much going on around them.

Your dog’s senses get overwhelmed, and your dog isn’t able to regulate his feelings or actions anymore.

Different dogs have different thresholds. Some dogs get overstimulated very easily, while others have a higher tolerance.

Whatever your dog’s threshold is, if there’s too much going on around him at daycare, he’s going to get overstimulated.

Unprofessional dog daycare

The daycare itself could also play a huge role in why your dog is getting overstimulated. If the daycare isn’t run professionally, then they won’t be able to manage the dogs properly.

A daycare is unprofessional if they don’t provide handlers with the proper training or separate dogs from each other properly. If there aren’t enough handlers to care for all of the dogs at the daycare, that’s a major red flag.

When you are choosing a daycare for your dog to attend, remember that you are your dog’s advocate. It’s your job to take the time to interview the daycare and ask questions. Your dog’s health and safety is your number one priority.

Your dog just isn’t dog social

Some dogs really, really enjoy playing with other dogs.

Other dogs, however, just don’t.

If your dog just doesn’t enjoy socializing with other dogs, then it’s going to be easy for him to get overstimulated.

If this is the case with your dog, then you might just need to find an alternative to dog daycare. Making sure that your dog is properly socialized will also help him get used to being around others.

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He’s high-arousal

A high-arousal dog is a dog that’s more easily overstimulated than others.

Some dogs naturally have a higher tolerance for things happening around them. Other dogs struggle more when there’s a lot going on.

If your dog is high-arousal, then being around so many other dogs, people, smells, and sounds are going to be overwhelming.

Some dogs can be trained to have higher tolerances. Desensitizing your dog by building up to being around lots of dogs and people can help.

Separation anxiety

If your dog goes to daycare already anxious about something, then his arousal levels will naturally be higher.

This will make him more prone to problems like overstimulation.

So why is your dog getting so anxious? If he freaks out when he knows you are leaving, he could have separation anxiety.

This is actually a very common problem for dogs and their owners. Luckily, there are things you can do to help your dog overcome his anxiety and feel more comfortable away from you.

Take a look at these related articles for some more information:


For some dogs, going to daycare is scary.

Your dog might be afraid because you’re leaving him alone. He could also be afraid because daycare is unfamiliar to him.

This fear will likely build up, and your dog will get overstimulated quickly.

If you are dealing with a fearful dog, you should be careful. Fear can quickly turn into reactivity.

For more information on fearful dogs, here’s how to get a scared dog to trust you—12 tricks and tips.

scared dog at daycare
For this little guy, daycare was more fear than fun.

Issues with other dogs at the daycare

If your dog is having problems with other dogs at the daycare, this can be really overstimulating.

Some of the dogs might not be well-trained and shouldn’t be at the daycare. Sometimes two dogs simply don’t get along with each other.

If that’s the case, then speaking to the daycare staff about separating the dogs might help. If for any reason the daycare tells you this isn’t possible for any reason, it might be time to look for a new daycare.

How can I stop my dog from getting overstimulated at daycare?

Wondering what you can do to help your dog when he gets overstimulated at daycare? Here are a few tips you can try out.

Socialize him

Socializing your dog properly is one of the best things you can do for him. This is especially true if your dog tends to struggle at daycare.

There are lots of great ways to socialize your dog. If you have friends or family members with dogs, then ask them to arrange a doggy playdate with you.

Try to have regular visits with other dogs to keep up your dog’s socialization skills.

Choose a good dog daycare

You are responsible for making sure that your dog is healthy and safe. When you’re looking for a daycare for your dog, you need to make sure it’s a good one.

You can do this by interviewing the staff at the daycare. Be sure to ask things like the staff to dog ratio on any given day, as well as how dogs are separated from each other.

A reputable dog daycare should let you observe the dogs currently in their care so you can see how they operate. You may also be able to ask for a trial with your dog, to ensure it’s a good fit.

Look for transparency, honesty, and a good work ethic from your dog daycare.

Unlike this one, not all daycares will suit your dog—or any dog.

Consider dog daycare alternatives

Daycare is a great option for some dogs. But for others, it’s not the best fit.

If your dog is consistently struggling with daycare despite working on training, you should look for an alternative.

There are several things you can try instead of daycare. Hiring a dog walker to come during the day or a pet sitter are a couple of options.

You can also help your dog feel more comfortable spending the day alone at home. Here are 11 tips to keep your dog from being bored when home alone.

Overstimulated dog at daycare FAQ

Still have questions about overstimulation in dogs? Here are the answers you’ve been looking for.

Is my dog going to daycare too much?

Daycare can be a good way to keep your dog busy while you’re away. But you should be mindful about sending him to daycare too much.

A dog should never go to daycare more than around 3 days a week. Any more than that is going to be too much activity for your dog. And that makes him more prone to overstimulation.

Thinking about longer absences? Check out our article on dog boarding!

How can I control my dog in daycare?

If you want to make sure that your dog is well-behaved while he’s at daycare, most of it will come down to what you do at home.

Making sure that your dog is properly trained will ensure that he’s well-behaved when you’re not around. Talking to the staff at the daycare about your dog’s overall training and needs will also help keep him under control.

Remember to keep up with regular training and socialization with your dog even when he’s not in daycare.

Related topic: For dog training in general I highly recommend you get a program that walks you through step by step, such as Braintrainingfordogs. Certified dog trainer Adrienne Farricelli teaches you to train your dog to be the best dog he can by be using mental stimulation! Check out Dogpackr’s review to see if this is a fit for you!

Field Dogs 300 x 600

How do I know if my dog enjoys daycare?

Daycare can be hard on some dogs, while others really enjoy it!

So how can you tell if your dog like daycare? When you pick him up, he should seem generally in good spirits. He might be tired from all the activity, but he should still listen to commands.

Speaking to the staff about how your dog behaves while he’s at daycare can also help you determine if he enjoys it.

How many dogs is too many for daycare?

If there are too many dogs at a daycare, the staff is going to have a hard time managing them all. That means that dogs could wind up getting into trouble.

Ideally, a daycare will have no more than around 15 dogs at any given moment. There should also be several staff and handlers to help care for the dogs.

Why does my dog cry when I pick him up from daycare?

If your dog is crying when you pick him up from daycare, you might be confused.

Your dog might just be feeling overtired or overstimulated. The problem could also be that he hurt himself. Make sure to check him over for any sign of injury.


While dog daycare can be a great option for owners who need to leave their dogs alone for some time, it’s no good if your dog is getting overstimulated! Knowing what an overstimulated dog after daycare looks like and what some alternatives are can help.

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