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Dog Park vs Doggie Daycare

dog running together at dog park in madison, al

All dogs need exercise, mental stimulation, and socialization to make them well-balanced. It’s up to the owner to provide daily mental stimulation for their dog, usually in short obedience training sessions.

Many dogs require 2-3 hours of exercise daily to keep them calm and prevent them from developing behavior problems. Dog walks are fine, but allowing the dog to run and play off-leash with other dogs will provide a much-needed higher level of exercise and socialization.

I have 12 years of experience bringing my dogs to various dog parks and doggie daycares year-round in South Florida. In this article, I will list the pros and cons of each.

One more thing to mention about doggie daycare is to be conscious of them overstimulating your dog. I have seen some doggie daycares encourage the dogs to play too rough with other dogs. In my experience of working with hundreds of dogs, most do not need more stimulation; they need more calmness and the ability to play with other dogs naturally without pushing them.



  • Free or affordable for most

  • Usually separation of a small, medium, and large dogs

  • A lot of space for dogs to run off-leash

  • Socialize with other dogs and humans

  • Outdoors - many dogs love this

  • Exercise for your dog - they can run with other dogs


  • Unsupervised by any kind of dog professionals or staff

  • Very dirty with a lot of contaminated dog poop, parasites, etc

  • Allows unsocialized or aggressive dogs

  • Dog fights happen often

  • Human arguments and fights happen often

  • Outdoors - very hot during the summer



  • Supervised play with other dogs by trained staff

  • Dogs that enter have to be temperament tested first

  • Separation of small and large dogs

  • Inside - Air condition plus some have an outdoor area

  • Socialize with other dogs and humans

  • Dogs usually love daycare

  • Most doggie daycares have webcams to watch your dog


  • Can be expensive for some

  • Locations may not be convenient for drop off

  • Some places over stimulate the dogs


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