A Day In The Life

 

A Day of Enrichment

Here at Doglando we offer a unique style of day care, one which challenges our dogs not just to sit around at day care, but to practice behaviors that will aid them when dealing with other situations.

On this page we will follow two separate paths: the path of a “Red Card” dog and that of a “Green Card” dog.  Our Red Card dogs are newer to campus, who are still learning and need more one on one attention with the basics.  We practice skills with them to practice behaviors we want them to exhibit later in different situations and environments. These Red Card dogs will have more stops placed in their day to practice. Green Card dogs are dogs who have be on campus a while, or who have already mastered the skills needed. Green Card dogs are offered more responsibility to practice behaviors without our assistance.  Being a Green Card dog or a Red Card dog does not define your dog, it is simply to let the coaches know how much assistance each dog needs.  The two designations ebb and flow based on the dog, the day, and the environment.

No two days are ever completely identical; we strive to respond to each dog on each day.  For the purpose of this example, we are going to show the most typical Red and Green Card days.

aerialmapIt is 8 am and both dogs arrive on Campus.  Their humans bring them out of their vehicles on leash.  They are walked into our office where they are greeted by name. We know to expect them today because each of our dogs come on specific days of the week, each week. This allows for the dogs to become comfortable with the staff, and with the other dogs that attend on those days.  Each dog will be unleashed one at a time and called to the door that leads to our back porch. They will encounter 3 doors to get to the yard; at each door, the dog is asked to sit.  Once the dog is sitting, we open the door and then release the dog, repeating this sequence until we get to the back porch.  Each dog is individually let onto the back porch to go to the bathroom if needed.

This is where the two dogs’ paths split.

Green Card

Once given the opportunity to go to the bathroom, our Green Card dog is put onto the rock yard, which is a pathway separating our pool yard from our sand yard.

Once the dog gets to the gate at the sand yard fence, they are again asked to sit while the gate opens and they are then released into the yard.  They are now given the opportunity to begin socializing, interacting with the Handler, playing in the lagoon, or digging in the sand.

greencard01

 

 

Red Card

Once our Red Card dog has been given a chance to go to the bathroom they are brought back inside.  We go into our boarding room and we ask the dog to go into a crate. Here we practice entering the crate on command and remaining in the crate without trying to barge through the door. They are rewarded, given water and are given 5-10 minutes to calm down. Most dogs are very excited, for obvious reasons, when they arrive on campus.  Crate exercises like these are a way to encourage them to take a breath and focus before moving on.

After their break, during which time they need to be quiet while in their crate, our runner will come into the room, and open their crate door.  We reward our dog for waiting inside the crate without barging out before we release them to us.  We reward the dog then close the crate door and walk with them to the back porch door. Starting now we expect our dogs to be in the “heel” position, on our left side and with their head level with our body.  We only use leashes on very new dogs, with whom we need to foster a relationship; we do this to limit the stress on all the dogs, and to prevent the new dog practicing and refining inappropriate behaviors.

Our Red Card dog will sit at each door and gate we get to and despite the distraction of dozens of dogs running about and playing, remain with us. We promote this behavior with ample rewards, whether that happens to be food, toys, praise, or anything else we find motivates the dog.  We will travel to where the other dogs are at that time.  Typical mornings will find us out in the back field, stretching our legs and playing fetch. Once in the back field, we practice several different behaviors with our Red Card dog, including sits, downs and recalls, before walking them over to a tether.  Our dog is asked to sit while we attach the buckle to their collar, they are rewarded again, then the runner leaves the field to bring back the next dog.  Now it is the handlers’ turn to reinforce the dog laying down and being quiet, then release them from the tether and practice more recalls and play engagement games to ensure the dog is responsive to the handler before being released to play with the other dogs.

Green Card

It is now 10:00 am and our Green Card dog is on our swim list.  During swim time, we bring dogs whose owners have requested they swim to our pool. We have a regulation length dock, and a swimming pool where our dogs can practice dock diving or just swim in the water to retrieve their toys.  These dogs are broken up into groups of 4. They are escorted out the play yard gate into the rock yard, sitting at each gate until released into the pool yard.  Then they wait at the bottom of the dock stairs until one by one they are called up by name.

Once on the dock, each dog picks a toy to retrieve during this session. Each dog will only retrieve that one toy, and will only go on their turn.  The toy will be thrown as we release the dog verbally to fetch the toy.  Once that dog has gotten their toy and is on their way back, we will throw the toy for the next dog, making sure the dog in the water already is not going to be jumped on by the dog now entering the pool.  Each dog comes up the ramp, drops their toy and then awaits their next turn.  Things here move pretty rapidly, each dog running, jumping and paddling then having a short break before their next turn. Each group goes for about 15 minutes, which tends to be more than enough for most dogs.

After swimming, each dog exits the dock and sits by the gate to the rock yard.  They are released into the rock yard and then back into the sand yard.  Now they get to roll in the sand, dive into the lagoon, sunbathe or whatever they’d like until lunch time.

Red Card

Our Red Card dog is not on the swim list today, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t swimming!  Once we move into the sand yard all the dogs have access to our lagoon.  Many dogs prefer the lagoon if they are not confident swimmers yet, since the lagoon has gently sloping sides and they can wade in rather than jumping.

Our Red Card dog gets a call from our Handler and is rewarded for stopping what he was doing and coming over to them.  Once there, we lure our Red Card up onto a platform and into a sit position, then reward them.  We then ask for “shake” and begin teaching our dog a new trick. After a few repetitions we release our dog to go play again.

Our Red Card dog catches sight of the Green Card dogs swimming in the pool in the other yard, and gets excited.  The Red Card dog then runs up to the fence and starts barking and jumping up at the fence.  Our Handler comes over and slides their body between the fence and the dog and walks towards the dog, backing the dog away from the fence.  Once the dog is backed away from the fence, the Handler redirects our dog’s attention by playing an engagement game of Touch — the Handler will hold their hand in front of the dog’s nose and when the dog curiously touches their nose to the hand, they get rewarded. Once the dog gets the hang of it, our Handler moves the hand from the left to the right making the dog turn their body to touch the hand.  After a bit we release the dog again to go play now that they are not focused on the swimming dogs.

dog jumping into swimming pool dogs in lagoon

Green Card

It’s 11:15 am and that means it’s time to go in for lunch. Once all of the dogs whose owners brought them lunch, and all Red Card dogs, have gone inside, our Green Card dogs follow the Handler through the rock yard and into the house.  Green card dogs will stay with us during lunch, lounging in the kitchen and keeping us company.

Red Card

Our Red Card dog is ready for a break.  After a morning of playing, a nap is in order!   Our Red Card is called to the gate and asked to sit at the open gate until the Handlers inside the house have a space ready for them.  Once they are ready for the dog inside, the Handler releases the dog to walk through the rock yard, where they will be asked to sit at the gate to the porch. From there they are released to the back porch door where they again sit, and then are released to go inside.  Our Red Card dog will then be called into the boarding room where a crate and a bowl of water has been waiting for them. We again practice the “crate” command, asking our dog to enter the crate and then rewarding them.  Our Red Card dog will now have a 1 hour nap time and cool off period during lunch.  We will reinforce our dog for being quiet while in the crate.

dogs walking in gravel yard in to lunch coach asking dog to sit at gate

Green Card

12:30 pm and lunch is over.  We wake everyone up and our Green Card dogs are let out onto the back porch one by one to go to the bathroom.  Then each dog sits at the gate to be released into the rock yard, then sits again at the gate into the sand yard.  The lagoon was cleaned and emptied before lunch, and during lunch it was refilled, so lots of dogs like to make their first stop the lagoon, and dunk themselves up to their heads before rolling in the sand.

dogs and coaches at lunch

 

Red Card

Waking up after lunch, our Red Card dogs will go through much the same routine as they did in the morning: waiting while their crate door is opened until they are released, and then sitting at each one of the doors.  They will be walked out to the sand yard and then tethered, in the shade, with a bowl of fresh water.  Within 5 minutes our Handler will come to our Red Card dog, and if they have been calm and quiet, release them from the tether and practice skills and engagement again with them before releasing them to play.  If our dog is not quiet, we will return to the dog each time they offer quiet, no matter how short a time, and reward that behavior.

dog tethered in back yard

 

Green Card

2:00 pm, and our Green Card dog is scheduled for their weekly bath.  Our bather will go into the yard and collect a set of 4 dogs at a time to come in for their baths.  They are led into our grooming room and each one is led into our grooming tub. They will be rinsed down, shampooed, and have their ears cleaned out.  Here, we utilize the training we did in the yard of “Touch” to get the dog to turn so we can do their other side, without having to pull them around.  Then the dog is rinsed off again before being towel dried.

After that, our Green Card dog is led out of the tub and up onto our grooming table, where we will apply our Leave in Conditioner before utilizing our “shake” command to trim and Dremel their nails smooth.  Then we blow off any excess water from their coats.  Next the dogs they are led into a penned area with towels and a floor fan which will circulate the air in the room to help dry them off further.  After the Green Card dog has had time to dry, they are brought back onto the table and are brushed out, their collars are cleaned up and a spritz of perfume finalizes the groom.  Our Green Card dog is then brought back over to the house and will have time to relax.

nails done

 

Red Card

Our Red Card dog is not on the bath list today, but that doesn’t mean they are leaving dirty.  At 2:30 pm we begin bringing dogs inside for the afternoon.  Red Card dogs, senior dogs, and brachycephalic dogs (dogs with short, “smooshed” muzzles, like Pugs and Boxers) come inside first.  In groups of 4 the dogs are brought up to the porch and we ask them to hop up onto our table using the same command for hopping up on a platform which we already practiced in the yard.

Once the dog is on the table we use an air blower to blow off any sand, dirt, twigs or grass that may be in the dog’s coat as well as dry them off, and we look over their whole body for signs of fleas, ticks, scratches, scrapes, bumps or anything else the owners should know about.  We utilize the “Touch” command to turn the dog without having to pull them around so we can do their other side.  Once our dog has been completely blown off, we release them off the table and let them inside, where they will again practice going into their crate, be rewarded and given a bowl of fresh water and time to relax.

blowoff

 

At 4:30 pm, any dog still at the facility is taken back out onto the back porch and given the opportunity to go to the bathroom.  From here, some dogs will depart home on our Dog Bus. Those dogs will have their harnesses put on and will be walked to the bus and tethered safely into their seat.  Others will be picked up by their humans directly from Doglando.  As these dogs exit, we ask that they again sit at each doorway before being released to their human who is happily waiting for them in the lobby.

coach walking to the dog bus dog riding on the bus


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