As a pet care business owner operating a dog daycare or boarding facility, when you think about dog, it’s important to remember that you have control of the dog behaviors you allow in the dogs that use your services. In fact, creating a list of the appropriate and inappropriate behaviors from dogs for the services you offer is the first step to formalizing your behavior management system.
The first goal in creating your list is to think safety first. This is for your staff and the other pets in your center. Behaviors that cross the safety line need to be on your inappropriate list.
The second goal should be ensuring all dogs in your center are enjoying the services they use. This is where the inappropriate list can get more challenging as we recognize behavior happens on a continuum. You will need to indicate the level of barking or humping, for example, that is considered inappropriate. You’ll also want to consider the level of inappropriate behaviors that make the job of your staff members excessively challenging as well.
Creating a formal system to track dog behavior, especially during dog daycare or playgroup services is highly recommended. You will likely focus on observations of inappropriate behavior and create a tracking system to note the behavior and level on the continuum. If you are looking for ideas to creating your system check out Kari Campbell’s description of the system she created for Dog Tired in the video below.
An important part of managing dog behavior includes having discussions with clients. It’s easy to share news of good and fun behaviors observed during a dog’s visit. The challenge comes when you need to share what is perceived as bad news with a dog parent. This is where your lists and scale make things easier. You will have data to share the first initial occurrences and work as a partner with the parent to hopefully prevent the behavior from escalating.
Your formal system does need to include your plans and recommendations for situations where behaviors do escalate. It’s great if you can provide alternative services for large playgroups like enrichment activities. You’ll get lots of ideas for that and tips on communicating behavior observations to parents in our video discussion with Kari.
For more information and to see how your facility measures up, check out our free Dog Daycare Standards Summary Guide.