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Behavior Management

 How we manage the behavior of our guests.

Behavior Management Policy

We operate transparently and encourage you to ask questions and discuss any concerns so that we have the opportunity to address them. You will find us open to reasonable and mature dialogue.

 

People often comment about how quiet and relaxed our facility feels. The calm, fun energy is no accident. Dogs get into more altercations and become sick more often when living in a loud, frantic, out-of-control environment. This is why we work very hard to manage the behavior of our guests so that everyone is happier and healthier.

 

Although we are maniacal about health and safety, anywhere dogs play in groups there is the potential for fights, injuries, and even death. Our handlers cannot have eyes on every dog every second; however, they have been trained to keep an active lookout, to observe body language, and to intervene at the first sign of a problem. 

 

Problem behaviors, to list just a few, include jumping on people, playing too aggressively, showing domineering body language, barking, chewing or scratching on bedding, doors, etc. The same behaviors a responsible dog owner would correct at home.

 

Because we’re focusing here on negative behaviors, we point out that our main focus isn’t on correcting negative behavior but on rewarding positive. We don’t use treats because with dogs in a group they can cause disagreements and altercations. Instead, we use lots of verbal praise and physical affection.

 

Striking or Kicking

We never use physical violence—striking, punching, kicking, etc. If an employee is observed abusing an animal physically, he or she will be fired on the spot.

Sometimes we have to use our bodies--arms, legs, knees, elbows, hands--to protect our personal space and keep us from being knocked down, scratched, bruised, etc. or to intercede on behalf of a dog. We might push a dog back with our foot, bump him with our knee to keep him from jumping on us, or clear him away from a dog. We may use our hands to bump a dog and stop it from digging or posturing toward another dog. We often use a walking stick or pole that extends the reach of our arm and allows us to tap or poke a dog or, say, place a barrier between it and another dog. Those sort of things, not violent striking, kicking, or punching, anything intended to hurt or harm.

 

The exception: If, for example, two dogs are fighting or are showing aggressive body language and at risk of fighting which could lead to injury to a dog or staff member. If no other methods have worked to prevent or stop the altercation, we have no choice to do whatever we must to prevent or minimize the risk of injury or death. Because of how we screen new guests and manage the behavior of our pack, this is extremely rare.

Voices, Energies, and Bodies

A person always has his or her voice, energy, and body to use as tools to correct inappropriate behavior. This is our primary tool for discipline. We will say, “No!,” clap our hands, stomp our feet, perhaps use a finger or thumb to give a poke to redirect his or her attention to us and away from the behavior. We might slap a rolled-up newspaper on a counter, rap on a wall or door, etc. The main idea is to, without causing physical or mental harm, show the dog he or she is doing the wrong thing.

 

Water Bottles

We use water bottles as a benign but effective method of correction when a dog is behaving poorly. This works especially well when dog is several feet away and able to otherwise ignore us. Spraying a water bottle is a way, without causing stress or physical harm, to get a dog’s attention and stop bad behavior.

 

Bark Collars

If you've ever stepped inside a dog boarding business or an animal shelter only to hear the overpowering sound of dogs barking, or tried to sleep while your neighbor's dogs bark incessantly you will understand why we work hard to foster a quiet, relaxed environment. If a dog continues barking and ignores all appeasement and correction, we use a bark collar. Our is a specific model that gives an audible warning and then, if the dog keeps barking, the collar emits a slight static electricity akin to someone dragging his or her feet on the carpet and touching another. If the dog continues to bark, the correction level increases slightly until the barking stops. If a dog does not stop, the collar resets and starts over from the beginning with the audible warning. If the barking still continues, having exhausted all options, we remove the collar and grin and bear the barking until the dog's stay concludes and then we politely decline to host him or her again.

 

We encourage anyone with questions or concerns to have us show them how our bark collars work and feel.

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