Doglando’s Enrichment Program
For years, we have successfully kept dozens of species of wild animals alive in captive settings. We are now in an era where animal loving people are thoughtfully questioning where or not they’re thriving.
Since 1999, Doglando has intensively studied (and continues to study) the precise needs of dogs that are not easily met when they live with us as companion dogs. This data led to the creation of our model of care called Canine Enrichment that was established in 2003.
Each day’s framework is based on 3 criteria:
We wouldn’t describe our play as “structured play,” and do describe it as “free play” guided by our 7 Golden Rules of Play. Each day has a structure to it, to ensure every dog is given the right dose of exploration, play, rest, and new learning activities.
Everything we do has a process by which we achieve our successful results. For example, the integration of each dog into the group is guided by Doglando’s Traffic Light System; a method used to engage each dog (as an individual) with our play professors in a way they are able to demonstrate team work, trust and compliance.
Doglando’s inner-workings has been described as a “well oiled machine” by many. It’s all our systems that allow us to be organized, efficient and effective despite the differences between people and in dogs.
Unlike the “free for all” experiences dogs get at dog parks and doggie daycare; through out the day, each dog is fully supported in their total wellbeing: mental, emotional, physical, nutritional intuitive and behavioral health.
Our team of highly learned, skilled and passionate play professors are intimately involved in giving your dogs the experiences of the 8 Spheres of Enrichment.
…and provide meaningful interactions that strengthen the human-dog relationship, building trust and life long friendships.
A General Breakdown Of A Day At Doglando
Dogs enrolled in our Enrichment program begin to arrive between 7:30am – 8:30am (no later, unless scheduled). Upon arrival, each dog’s morning routine is based on their position in the Doglando Traffic Light System. “Red” and “Amber” dogs are worked out individually, while “Green” and “Blue” dogs are led into the group.
Our typical morning is spent in Nature Play with the dogs hiking through woods, swimming in the pond, wading through the marsh, and running up and down the dirt mound, “Mount Doglando”.
After lunch, the dogs are divided into two groups: youth and adults in one, and puppies in the other. This allows us to engage with dogs in both groups in different ways.
For the puppies, the afternoon consists of body awareness exercises and an introduction to our 8 Non-Negotiable exercises, including practice of gate exercises, swimming, and cradling.
For our youth and adult dogs, the afternoons are reserved to keep them sharp on obedience, heat checks, recalls, group herding, individual herding, gate exercises and the 8 Non-Negotiables.
Our end-of-day routine begins between 2:15pm and 2:30pm, at which time each dog is prepared to go home. Following our Dry Off System (using a no-heat groomer’s dryer), each dog is grouped in one of ten groups, and one at a time, they are blown off and brushed out.
The purpose of drying off each dog is to:
- inspect the dogs for fleas, ticks, scrapes, scratches, rashes, wounds, scars, hotspots, and irritations
- keep their skin and coat clean and free of sand, pollen, and debris
- use this as an opportunity to teach them to cooperate when in situations that require physical handling, such as at the groomer or vet
There is so much more to our day than we can write about here! To learn more about a day in the life of a Doglando dog, it’s best to experience it for yourself, and see it in action.
HOW DOGLANDO DEFINES WELLNESS
“The quality and state of a being’s mental, physical, emotional and intuitive state, as defined by it’s diet, exercise regimen, physical health, and mental enrichment.” -Doglando
DOGLANDO’S HIERARCHY OF NEEDS
“A system or organization of needs that are ranked one on top of another in accordance to order of priority, to achieve total wellness.”
Required, fundamental, foundational, absolutely necessary, crucial, essential for attaining total wellness.
When referring to Doglando’s Hierarchy of Needs, we begin at the bottom, with “Intuitive”. The foundational criteria for every dog’s development, is the ability to follow their intuition in learning. When a dog is nurtured to follow their intuition, beginning at the earliest phase of life – birth – we believe this puppy has an “advantage” in life.
Following this bottom-up approach, when a puppy’s intuition is nurtured, they are also protecting their emotional fragility. Early removal and isolation fuels their emotional fragility, and more times than not, this has lasting effects. We believe that when the emotional fragility of a puppy or dog is not protected, they are likely to experience fear, stress, anxiety, and aggression – all common behavioral problems reported by dog parents.
Puppies born in restricted captivity are severely impacted by nutrition from the very beginning of their lives, due to early weaning and early transition onto hard food (worse when the quality is poor), creating a massive disturbance to the development of their digestive organs and well-being.
Companion dogs, sadly, are facing so many pressures forcing them to become inhibited and helpless – certainly not free. Our lifestyles for companion dogs do not promote physical wellness; hence, an increase in weakness and obesity in our dogs.
As an Enrichment Center for Dogs, we believe it is our responsibility to initiate advancement and progression for the way companion dogs live, and give them more than just an outlet for “mental” stimulation… we must reconnect them to the great outdoors and allow them to engage with us in a simpler manner.
We strive to consider each one of these needs, by creating an environment that is compatible to each dog as an individual; one in which we can behaviorally observe, measure, and remain unambiguous that every dog in our care is thriving.