There has been a huge explosion in different services for our dogs in the past few years. There are dog walkers, doggy day-care, adventure programs, pet sitters, dog boarding, secure dog fields along with dog trainers, dog behaviourists and dog counsellors, and of course our Groomers and Vets. I am wondering how this affects our dogs? In some cases we are removing our dogs from any socialisation by using a secure field, but what about day-care? What is that doing?
I had a phone call the other day from a lady whose young dog had been attending a day-care for the past few months. She was so upset because the young bitch was starting to show totally unacceptable behaviour. When she had been walked by the family that weekend, all she wanted to do was to get to other dogs. She did not want to be near any of the family or play nicely with friendly dogs nearby. No, she was intent on getting to dogs that were rushing about on the other side of the field. Why had she become like this?
On speaking to the owner, it appears that although she had tried to prevent this happening, not a lot could be done and because the young dog was unsuitable for group dog walking due to her behaviour, the lady didn’t have a lot of choice. She still had to work, and it was hard to get home at lunchtime every day. She thought that by sending her dog to day care, she was giving her the best. I am sure the care is very good, but it is impossible to monitor what each dog is learning from this experience.
Put a young dog into a large group of different types of dogs and unless this is always fully supervised, then what the dog learns will depend on their experience and what age they are. Young dogs are like sponges and learn by what happens to them. This is why it is so easy to teach them – they do a behaviour and get a reward, they will repeat. If the experience isn’t so nice, they may show fear and not do it again but if that happens when surrounded by a pack of dogs, then the end result is a chase down and then every dog in that group has learnt something – and perhaps not the right thing.
Sadly, this is not the first time I have had this type of call and I am sure it won’t be the last. I am sure that some dogs just do not do well in day care. It has reminded me of when we first set up our Walkabout service, it was principally for dogs from working lines or breeds, who needed to do something during the time they were being left by parents who were at work.
To help dog owners in selected areas, I am delighted to say, we are reintroducing the service with a slight twist. Rather than leaving your dog at day-care all day, where they may learn either that all dogs are bullies, or how to become one, you can book a weeks lead and train service with me and I will teach your dog how to behave around other dogs.
My older bitch is well used to speaking “dog” and her example will help your dog to learn better behaviour. At the end of the week, I will have trained your dog, and exercised it in several different locations, I will then take you out and show what to carry on with. But then what? Well, then I will introduce you to a reputable dog walker who will take your dog on and visit each day to carry on the training and help your dog to fulfil its true potential.
Not every dog will be accepted for the training as we have only a few spaces per month and in selected areas only, but if you would like to be considered, please apply to me through the website, clearly stating that you want your dog assessed for a Lead and Train service. Look forward to hearing from you soon. Contact me today