At The Good Dot Spot, we are fully committed to providing your dog a fun, safe place to socialize. Our team focuses highly on evaluating each dog and do our best with planning to eliminate any negative interactions between dogs during their stay with us. We pride ourselves on our focus to ensure all dogs are playing safely and improving their dog and human manners through specialized playgroups, positive reinforcement, frequent breaks, and utilize all our playrooms to keep groups small.
All new staff go through extensive training on learning canine body language as well as how to and when to intervene during play. New staff spend time shadowing our senior staff members so they can observe how to properly interact with the dogs, while also getting to know the dogs we care for. As we feel the new team member is ready, the reverse roles and our long term team members begin shadowing and observing the new staff member to see how they are progressing. Only when new staff members are confidently and effectively managing playgroups, are they left alone in a room. We frequently review our procedures to ensure we are meeting the needs of our clients and to ensure all staff members are consistent in their dog interactions so that dog fights can be avoided.
Staff members are trained to carefully observe dogs and to intervene as needed. We watch for specific body language cues and interrupt play frequently to refocus attention. We encourage good behavior by praising dogs that are exhibiting it and discourage bad behavior with interruptions or time outs. Each dog is different, so each dog may be rewarded for different behaviors, based on what our goal is for that dog. For example, younger dogs that are very energetic are frequently and heavily praised for giving themselves breaks and vocal dogs are heavily praised for being quiet. Dogs who need help learning to play properly get more staff-interruptions or may be kept on lead with a staff to be given more individual attention.
By keeping low-arousal play groups and encouraging good behaviors, many fights can be prevented. Fights are always preceded by body language cues, which is why our staff spend a lot of time learning canine body language. Sometimes, certain dogs just don’t get along. For this reason, we put a lot of thought and preparation into planning our playgroups. We also ensure our staff members are given the tools necessary to stop a fight before it even starts.
In the rare occasion dog fights occur, all staff members within earshot are required to stop what they are doing and help. Any dogs involved are removed from the playgroup for the rest of the day. The situation is reviewed by senior staff to determine what caused the fight, which dog instigated it and how. We use each opportunity to offer additional staff training and learning lessons, or to review our color-coding for each dog involved. Lastly, we ALWAYS involve the pet parent if a situation occurs. If we recognize a behavioral change in your dog, we want you to know immediately so you can be involved in our plan to turn the issue around.
If you have any additional questions, please know that The Good Dog Spot in both Chicopee and Northampton are always available to answer any questions you have!