Dog playgroups are supposed to be fun for every dog that attends but that will only happen if you staff does a good job of managing dog play behaviors. Does your staff know good vs not so good play? Do you worry that the dogs are not allowed to have fun at all? Or maybe they have too much playtime and get themselves into trouble? Does your team know when to intervene and how to intervene?
One of the key responsibilities of your playgroup leaders is to understand and manage appropriate vs inappropriate play behaviors. This means a key responsibility of every pet business offering daycare or group dog play services is to have a list of the appropriate and inappropriate behaviors for dogs that attend. Here’s a few to get you started on your lists:
Appropriate Play Behaviors
- Green or relaxed postures and body language
- Balanced play; taking turns during wrestling and chase games
- Ability to modify play to comfort level of other dogs in the group
Inappropriate Play Behaviors
- Red or stiff postures and body language
- Bully or stalking behaviors
- Pushing other dogs to submission or to yellow body language and stress behaviors
There are many benefits to spending time to create these lists and we recommend getting your team involved to help. You can use these lists as an objective tool to:
- Decide if a dog you are evaluating is a good fit for your playgroups
- Determine if a dog should continue in your playgroups after an incident or when staff escalate behavior concerns
- Provide objective specific behavior reasons for excluding dogs from your groups versus breed bans
- Explain to pet parents how the environment is not a good fit based on the behaviors a dog displays
Be sure to watch our video where we discuss how the behaviors you allow in your playgroups can either help you retain staff or contribute to high turnover. We also share a target ratio of the mix of green versus yellow dogs that make your playgroups easier to manage.
Our goal is to help you create the business of your dreams with the dogs of your dreams!!!!! You don’t have to take every dog!