Friday, January 10, 2014

Dog Daycare Lingo - How to describe play

When you take your dog to daycare, you may hear specific words used to describe your dog’s day during off-leash play. Knowing what the staff means by using these words can be essential to understanding what your pooch is trying to “say” when they are at daycare. Here are five words or phrases that every owner should expect their pet professional to know about off-leash play:
Loose, curvy bodies indicating comfortable dogs.
Appropriate playtime body language between dogs.
Play Solicitation: This term refers to how a dog attempts to get another dog to play with them. It’s a behavior or series of behaviors that a dog will display in order to communicate to the other dog. There are appropriate and inappropriate ways that dogs communicate with each other:
Appropriate: Play bow, light muzzle nudging, wiggly movements
Inappropriate: Humping, growling, barking, incessant muzzle nudging, or nipping
Body language: The way a dog uses their body is like the way people talk to each other. A dog’s ability to read this language is a critical skill for dogs, especially in off-leash play. Dogs need to be able to interpret another dog’s body language as well as being able to clearly display these behaviors themselves. Another dog will recognize stiff body posture as a dog being uncomfortable. Loose, curvy body language indicates that a dog is very comfortable.

Play bowing - a comfortable posture between dogs.
Tolerance: Dogs will do best in the group play environment if they are tolerant of all kinds of dog behavior. This may include some roughhousing with more high-energy dogs or puppies. Tolerance is a skill that is built over time, so attending daycare will help your pet become used to these behaviors. Regular exposure will help increase tolerance, especially as your dog gets to know the other pets in daycare.
Relationship: When dogs get acquainted and have a better understanding of each other, they can form a bond. Daycare essentially creates a virtual home environment, as if the dogs are living together, so they learn to treat each other with affection, love and trust.
Dogs who know and understand each other can enjoy play.
Stiff Body Language indicating that a dog is uncomfortable.
Socialization: Socialization is essential to a dog’s experience in daycare. Forcing a dog that isn’t comfortable with other dogs to participate can actually do more harm than good.  Daycare is best for dogs that love other dogs, as it presents an opportunity to “fine tune” their social skills. They will be exposed to many different breeds with all kinds of personalities. A dog will learn that maybe one friend likes to wrestle but another would rather run around and play chase.
Knowledge of these few daycare terms makes it easier to understand what your furry friend is experiencing. Since our pups can’t speak directly to us, it is through their body language and the application of the terms above that we figure out how they fit into the daycare environment.

The goal of our daycare program is to provide a fun, happy and safe environment by recognizing these terms and behaviors. Think your dog would enjoy off-leash play at Morris K9 Campus? Visit our website or call 973-252-5100 to learn more about doggie daycare.
 

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