The dog daycare and off-leash play industry was created because dogs like to play and busy dog owners loved having a dog as tired as them at home in the evening. It seemed like the perfect solution and our industry exploded. As a result there are many providers offering off-leash play services, but the quality of dog daycare care varies widely.
As the industry matures it’s the perfect time for Doggy Daycare 2.0 – a focus on quality off-leash play interactions.
How do you recognize quality dog play sessions and what does it take to keep play safe?
Safe play sessions require trained staff that understand dog body language and appropriate play. However, we know that training staff members does not mean they will automatically lead quality play sessions. That is the reason we created the Playgroup Schedule that is this month’s bonus gift. When The Dog Gurus conjure up a quality off-leash play session it includes:
- Dogs playing and interacting in appropriate play together with green body language
- Staff leaders initiate games with dogs keeping arousal levels low while everyone has fun
- Staff leaders use verbal cues, body blocking and proactive intervention to manage group interactions
- Dogs are challenged mentally during games, movement to and from the playgroup and use of leadership exercises
- Staff leaders spend time interacting with each dog individually and sets dogs up for success by knowing their limits, play styles and help signals
The Dog Gurus have outlined five different types of activities (Games, Observation Exercises, Relaxation exercises, Leadership Exercises, Dog Engagement Activities) that are scheduled throughout the playgroup sessions. It’s important to understand the reasons behind each activity type so you can expand on our list. Adding new activities keep sessions interesting for the dogs and your staff leaders.
We love this quote from Karen London and PatriciaMcConnell in their book: Play Together, Stay Together, Happy and Healthy Play Between People and Dogs:
“Just like beauty, the joy of play is in the eyes of the beholder. Every dog is different and every dog enjoys playing in different ways.”
Learn how to transition your daycare program into Daycare 2.0 using our Daycare 2.0 Toolkit.