All dogs joining our day care are assessed to ascertain that an open plan, cage free environment is right for your dog and that your dog is a suitable candidate for Dog Day Care.
As a Clinical Animal Behaviourist, Carrie is aware of the importance of your dog’s emotional state. Here at Carrie’s Dog Day Care each dog’s individual needs and requirements are a priority, as such our assessment is carried out as follows:
- Meet & Greet
- In-House continued Assessment
During the Meet & Greet we observe your dog’s reaction the moment they walk through the door. How does your dog respond to the noise of other dogs barking? How does your dog engage with our team? Is your dog relaxed or tense? In our purposed designed behaviour consult suite, we will observe how your dog behaves when introduced to individual dogs presently attending day care.
If your dog is deemed suitable to progress to the next stage they will be invited to attend day care to undertake a thorough in-house assessment over 40 hours over 4 weeks.
During this period, you dog is closely monitored by our Play Leader, we will assess their engagement with other dogs, play with team members and volunteers, dog to dog play, formal handling by team members, response to commands (sitting at doorways is not only polite but causes less issues in large groups of dogs). We will monitor your dog’s response to stimuli such as the door, noises and ease of management in these situations.
On their first day, they will be initially introduced to dogs of a similar temperament, for example if your dog is slightly shy, we will choose quieter, placid dogs, whereas if your dog is bouncy and playful we will choose similar matched dogs.
Once settled with these dogs, we will gradually introduce the other dogs attending day care that day. The aim is to ensure your dog is making lots of canine friends and is not overwhelmed. This might happen in the first hour or over several day care visits.
Here at Carrie’s Dog Day Care it’s important that we go at each individual dog’s own pace.
If at any point your dog appears uncomfortable we would immediately address this by removing your dog from the situation, even if this means asking you to come and collect your dog.
That does not mean it’s the end! Working out why this happened and looking at ways to work with your dog in helping them enjoy day care and reinforce the right behaviour is paramount. Only in exceptional circumstance would a dog be excluded permanently, and a reason is always given.
Once your dog settles into day care, our Play Leader will closely monitor how they engage with all our canine charges. Is it appropriate play and engagement? Which toys does your dog like and how does your dog play? When we use treats and food, how does your dog behave? We know not all dogs love attention, it’s important to us to ensure your dog does not become stressed when being handled and fussed. Some dog’s can also be over confident around people, in this instance we will consider ways to manage your dog safely and effectively.
Canine manners are encouraged and reinforced consistently, over excitement is immediately addressed and managed, jumping up at people and doorways is discouraged and playing rough and bullying other dogs is not allowed at all, after all not everyone likes hugs, even us humans.
Dogs very quickly learn the boundaries in day care, as children learn rules at school.
Throughout the assessment period, the owner is given a “report” of their dog’s behaviour on each occasion, what canine friends they have made, who they have played with and the activities they have engaged with. Where, there are any issues or difficulties, advice is offered, and information provided on the management strategies we have adopted in Day care, this might include the use of trailing lines or temporary use of calming bands. On occasions, we may suggest a one to one with Carrie to discuss in more detail how behaviour at home could impact more positively here at day care.
At the end of the assessment period, your dog will receive a certificate, to acknowledge their achievement. Remember, each dog is an individual as such in some instances some dogs can take longer than 40 hours to reach their certificate, and that’s ok!
If a dog is not suited to this type of setting – perhaps he or she is just too shy or nervous and doesn’t enjoy a day care environment, our assessment process gives us the opportunity to advise you the instant we see the signs that your dog is not relaxed and happy in day care.
Here at Carrie’s Dog Day Care your dog’s emotional state is important, making sure they are happy and contented and you have complete peace of mind knowing that your dog is in safe hands.