Frequently Asked Questions About Enrichment
At what age must my dog be spayed/neutered to enroll in Enrichment?
We require all dogs who are enrolled in our Enrichment program to be spayed or neutered by 7 months of age.
Do we re-instate dogs?
We value our members. We value them for their commitment to our program, and we understand that sometimes life throws a curve ball and disruptions to routines becomes inevitable.
Disruptions throw everyone off. But more importantly, getting back on track requires effort.
Reinstating dogs is done on a case-by-case basis. We may require your dog to get a Behavioral Assessment (based on length of time), and enter in through our Enrichment Reboot program during their probation period, but don’t sweat that… we can determine all of that at the time we meet again! We’re happy our worlds have come together once more.
What is the most important thing i need to understand about socialization?
You have probably heard the term “prey drive”. In short, a dog’s prey drive can be observed when a dog orients, stalks, chases, captures, and kills to eat.
Our companion dogs don’t have to fend for themselves, and we have done a fine job satiating their hunger. However, behaviors observed that are indicative of the prey drive sequence aren’t observed only during hunting.
Some people refer to the prey drive as the “play drive” in domesticated restricted dogs. The prey drive is a biological mechanism that is instinctual to the dog.
The single most important aspect of socialization is to create opportunities for intra and inter-species play-based interactions. Play is essential for dogs and most importantly it is something they must have access to and “do” through out their life.
For example, dogs chase each other during play; chase is part of the game, a skill most wild animals will practice to keep strong and sharp.
It is important to note that the play aspect of the prey drive allows us to see when play shifts to frustration.
If the dog chasing becomes frustrated, a more predatory mode may arise, potentially resulting in aggression. Furthermore, the dog being chased can also feel threatened and switch to a defense drive, and start a fight as well.
This is a complicated series of events, and it’s complicated to write about it… but it is highly observable.
The point we’re trying to make here is, play is integral for dogs. So that they are able to keep their drives in check, the practice of play is crucial.
However, it’s not as simple as taking a few great dogs and putting them in one room or one yard together, and then turning them loose and saying, “Go play!”
Playful interactions are quite intimate. In order for play to happen, careful considerations must be placed on who, when, and where. They will figure out the what (what play will look like for them) and the how (rules of how they will keep themselves in check during play).
It is totally possible to prevent dogs fights amongst groups of dogs. When dogs are at play, they’re not in a state of mind that will lead to a fight. However, when dogs are stressed, they are likely to result to fighting, especially when they have little or no control over the conditions of their environment or space.
Unfortunately, (really no different than schools or daycares of children), space is a limiting factor regarding the spaces created to promote play. The second most important aspect of facilitating play is space.
When dogs have access to large amounts of space, they can exercise so many more options than when overcrowded into smaller spaces like dog parks and many dog daycares.
As a result, such environments induce stress, causing frustration and preventing the dogs from exercising other options; in turn, fights commonly occur.
Going back to intimacy, play is a rich sensory experience and should also invite the possibilities of a whole-body experience. We feel fortunate to witness this every day at Doglando.
In order for dogs to experience this kind of high-level play, they must have a rapport with each other. We refer to this as having a relationship with one another.
Our dogs know what day is it is! They know when it’s their day to come to Doglando. But they also know who will be there. How do we know this?
Some of our dogs have made the connection of their friends’ arrival by the sound of their car. It’s incredible to witness. All our dogs are familiar with each other. This is where our program is far different from all others:
- We require weekly attendance: this might be a turn off for some. But, nothing is a stronger turn off than having to “patrol”, “attend to”, “helicopter”, or “lifeguard” a group of dogs. It’s just not fun! Our jobs would look so different in those roles, than how you will observe our Play Professors in action (they are actually playing and facilitating play… throughout the entire day).
- We require our dogs to come on scheduled days: the initial schedule is based on two criteria: (1) your schedule and (2) your dog’s assessment. Constantly changing groupings is quite frankly negligent. It is extremely aversive to dogs, yet it’s the nature of how dog parks and dog daycares operate. Instead of erecting barriers related to fear, intimidation, threat, and anxiety of unknown situations, every dog can be richly empowered when there is predictability. The Doglando model is based on predictability, stability, and safety. Because of this, the Doglando Dog has the capacity to socialize and experience the richest form of play.
- We require our work to be a unit of measurement to assess quality of life: it’s simple! Our program is designed to powerfully enhance your dog’s quality of life. We are a lifestyle program. We’re not just care during the day. The dog parents who choose us are seeking to provide their dogs with experiences that allow their dogs to be dogs in every way possible by offering off-leash experiences in the great outdoors. Of course, to do this, and ensure the utmost safety, we must have a relationship with each individual dog. Hence, another reason why we don’t take dogs sporadically, randomly, or for our bottom line.
Valuing a dog’s need to be social is important. But, valuing their deeper need to play is critical. We wish for your dog to be beyond a great canine citizen and member of the community, a living being whose purpose, integrity, intelligence, and magnificence gets to be fully expressed.
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