Not sure if your little Pawtner is cut out for Day Play? That's what our Howdy-do Day is for! We can test the temperament of your dog to see how they'll do. We will give you an honest assessment about your dog's suitability for the group dog environment.
What we look for:
Can your dog be handled by people? We are structured so that all dogs must be able to be touched in order to move them from their suite to the play areas or taken on individual walks. If a dog is too fearful to be touched, it becomes hazardous for everyone. Not only does the Ranch Hand risk getting injured, the tension transfers to other dogs causing a potentially dangerous situation in a group environment. Not all dogs like all people, but we look for general inclinations.
Is your dog introverted? Dogs, like people, come with many different social personalities. Just like some people do like like big parties, some dogs may not enjoy lots of others sniffing them hello. While some dogs do not take to day play immediately, we can usually tell whether the dog has potential to come out of it's shell eventually. Some dogs just don't like it and while we can "force" them to tolerate it, we do not want to and will not recommend continuing.
Is your dog too high-strung? While this seems like a silly question, it's a very important one for us to know the answer to. A naturally high-strung dog can get a lot out of the day care experience. He/she can also cause a lot of problems if they are not able to be redirected appropriately. Dogs in a group usually decide what behavior will be tolerated and what will not. Rude, hyper-active behavior by the new kid will be addressed by the group. This is done through corrective measures dogs understand - such as barking/growling, air-nipping, neck tagging, herding, humping or even full-on tackling. While the Ranch Hand is always there to ensure things don't get out of hand, corrective measures by the pack is generally far more effective than the human interfering. As you can imagine, if the dog is not able to accept the "criticism" of his/her peers and their behavior down a notch, things could get ugly quickly. Most dogs get the point quickly, others become reactive making everything worse for themselves, the group and the Ranch Hands. Our Ranch Hands will, of course, help guide the dog to appropriate behavior and make a determination whether he/she will gain something positive through the day play experience.
How old is your dog? Young dogs are more playful and have crazy amounts of energy. Older dogs prefer a slower, less strenuous pace typically. Young dogs (under the age of 3 years) are usually the hardest, most active players. They are still learning about their world and how to be a good boy/girl. Usually less reactive to negative situations, a young dog is most suitable for rough and tumble playing. Older dogs (over the age of 5 years) usually prefer a slower pace with less wrestling and nipping. Usually the "police" of day play, older dogs have more experience with the world and help guide the younger ones toward appropriate behavior. We strive for a healthy mix of ages and play styles in our play groups.
Is your dog spayed or neutered? We do not allow dogs that are not spayed or neutered in play group once they show signs of maturity (humping, marking, first cycle, etc.). While an unaltered dog may be perfectly social and well-behaved, we find other dogs pick up on their difference and they tend to become targets of humping or over-aggressive play that could turn dangerous. Dogs usually reach maturity, between 7 and 9 months. We allow unaltered dogs in day play until that time. It is different for every dog and it up to our discretion as to whether day play will be allowed to continue. As more vets are recommending delaying spaying/neutering, this can cause frustration for owner who are wanting to socialize their dogs at this time.
What happens at a Howdy-Do Day?
Dogs are introduced slowly to the play area with a few regular day play dogs that we count on for good behavior. Most dogs are nervous at first, unless they are puppies or have been to day play before. We allow them to smell and explore the play area, both inside and out. Once comfortable, we introduce one dog at a time waiting until the new dog is comfortable until the entire pack. As you can see, there's a lot more to it than just throwing your dog in with an unfamiliar group of dogs and seeing what happens. This is why we require scheduled appointment times for your dog's first visit.
How long does a Howdy-Do Day last?
We prefer that your Pawtner stay with us for at least 1-2 hours without you being present. We offer up to five hours with us for free. After those five hours, we will charge you for a half day or a full day of play, depending on how long your dog stays. An additional Howdy-do Day may be necessary for some dogs but we can let you know that at your first visit.
We provide a safe and rip-roarin’ good time for your Pawtner
while you are away.
Find out about our vaccination requirements, age minimums and our spay/neuter policy.
Really, there is no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to the care of your best friend.