Many pet parents are interested in enrolling their dogs in a reputable dog daycare program, whether they want a safe and social place to leave their furry children while they work, an occasional day out, or to give them more. opportunities to have fun while in the accommodation. . To participate in doggy daycare or group play, most high-quality facilities will require their canine children to be spayed or neutered, up-to-date on vaccinations (vaccination requirements may vary by area of ​​the country), in routine flea and tick control. and in good health. They will also typically require your dog to pass a temperament test assessment to determine if he is a good candidate for social play with other dogs.

So what happens during a temperament assessment? While the exact process may vary between different installations, most will include the following steps:

1. A preliminary application, where you may be asked to provide information about your dog’s basic personality, his home life (particularly additional pets), how he responds to new people, how he responds to new dogs, and what he likes to do. The app can also address any aggression issues … for example, does it protect food or toys? Have you ever bitten someone? The answers will not necessarily prevent you from being accepted into a program, but they do give the nursery staff an indication of things to keep in mind during group play.

2. A scheduled time for your dog to enter the test. Some facilities will allow (or encourage) you to stay and watch so that you can see for yourself how your dog reacts. Others prefer that you not be present since, like children, dogs may respond differently to the situation if they know that their mom or dad is there. Both views have merits, and you should be open to whatever protocol that facility has established.

3. During the test itself, again, the exact procedure will vary between facilities, but generally includes the following stages. They will usually start your dog on a “long” leash, so that he feels some freedom of movement, but the staff can still control the situation. Your dog will be able to explore the test area (room, yard, etc.) without other dogs present. The staff will then begin introducing your dog to other previously approved daycare dogs. A general rule of thumb is that they will start with a submissive personality of the opposite sex (on a leash) and will look for their dog’s reaction and the dog’s presentation skills. Approaches gently in a circular motion, with sniffing and other appropriate behaviors? Are the two dogs properly interacting with each other?

If the first presentation goes well, they will take the first test dog off the leash (with their dog still in the long line) and bring a second dog, usually submissive of the same sex, and repeat the introductions. If things continue to go well, they will stick with a more dominant personality of the opposite sex followed by a more dominant personality of the same sex. If your dog is doing well, displays appropriate behaviors with all the dogs in the group, and appears comfortable, then they will start adding several more daycare dogs to the playgroup and again judge your dog’s reactions and comfort level. The process can be fairly quick, if your dog responds appropriately and happily, or it can take half an hour or more if your dog shows signs of discomfort. The behaviors they want to see in a daycare dog are appropriate dog introduction skills, fluid play between dogs with a lot of movement and change of position, knowing when to “back off” if another dog gives a signal that your dog is too much on his ” Bubble “and appropriate warning behaviors from your dog to tell another that you are uncomfortable, without resorting to aggression. It’s also important that your dog responds to your name when called (you’d be surprised how many don’t!). Come when called and respond to “shut down” or “leave” commands if staff need to get you out of a potentially dangerous situation. Inappropriate behavior includes overt aggression towards other dogs or staff, too much protection from particular toys, or sometimes being too submissive or intimidated by a large pack. In the latter cases, your dog may be approved for daycare, but the attentive staff will probably let you know that you can enjoy a smaller group or individual play with the staff rather than a large group setting … assumes that daycare is fun and not stressful!

Once the staff is reasonably certain that your fur child has good dog-play manners and is having a good time, they will remove your pet’s leash and continue to closely monitor his off-leash behavior during the testing period and the rest of your first day. Most facilities that follow the recommended dog daycare guidelines (see Pet Sitting Services Association Standards and Practices) will have a rule that a dog is always on probation, which means if your behavior changes over time and becomes aggressive towards other dogs or staff, can be removed from the program for everyone’s safety.

So why do some dogs do well in some nurseries and not others? Like people, different dogs may respond differently to each other, to different staff members, and to different program settings and structures. Some combinations of dogs (for whatever reason) don’t mesh well with each other. Just because your dog is not doing well in a certain program on a certain day does not mean that he cannot participate in another program … or even the same program on a different day of the week with different dogs. Well-trained staff who understand dog behavior, breed characteristics, and pack dynamics should be able to tell you if your dog could do better in a different group, in a different facility, or with a different group of dogs. or if it really isn’t. a good candidate for group play based on fear or insecurity, aggression, or the fact that you would simply rather be with people than other canines.

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