Pet Empowerment During Petropolis Daycare Parties
In addition to explaining the steps our Petropolis Daycare team is taking to make our facility a fear free environment, we wanted to share the steps we are taking specifically for our daycare parties.
Daycare parties are a fun way for dogs to socialize, exercise and celebrate current events! During parties, just like during a regular day of daycare, your pup is the boss. This means that when dogs are showing us signals that they are too tired, overwhelmed or don’t want to take a photo, we will make appropriate changes for that day.
One of our favorite parts of party day is each pup getting a themed photo taken. Photos are typically taken right when a pet arrives; in a small room located in our lobby. We use this room so that your pet is not distracted by all the activity of the lobby, but the room can also make pets stressed or fearful. To help ease this stress, we spray the soft surfaces in the room with Adaptil. The Adaptil pheromone is unconsciously detected by pups and affects their behavior, helping to calm them. We also started using a soft bed to ensure pets are comfortable when posing for their photo.
Our daycare party team uses positive reinforcement to make picture taking fun. This includes high value treats, positive body language, encouraging speech and toys. During photo time we often use props or costumes to help make the photo fun for parents but our staff only uses these items when they do not cause fear or stress.
When a pet tells us no to picture time, we listen and will try a few options. Our team will try after play time. Sometimes after having fun outside, your pet is more comfortable and relaxed, making picture time less stressful. If your pet is still telling us no, we will try our best to get a photo of your pup during playtime.
During regular daycare, treats are used as positive reinforcement for a dog’s good behavior such as come and sit. When we incorporate small treats on our daycare party days, such as hot dogs, we will include these as rewards for good behavior. If we are incorporating larger treats, such as pupscicles, into the party we may use our different yards to dispense the treats to each pet safety. Our team may also use the holding rooms to ensure each pup gets its party treat. We never make a pet try or eat a treat they are not interested in.
Due to the number of dogs that attend our party days, our team uses holding rooms throughout our all season pavilion and outdoor play yards when dogs say no due to fear or stress. A holding room is a fenced area inside of the yard that is used when dogs enter and exit the yard. This area is still under supervision and allows your pet to still be around the other pups with a barrier.
If a small amount of break time does not reduce the stress or fear your dog is feeling, we can also provide a break in our condos. Our lodging rooms are spacious, raised rooms where pups are able to feel safe. Our team also have alternative rooms available, including our luxury villas, quiet rooms and ranch rooms. Our team uses these areas at their discretion, often only on the first or second visit, until the pet is familiar with Petropolis.
Staff Training and Fear Free Certification
To ensure all pups have fun on party day, our daycare staff is trained in animal behavior. This not only allows them to know the signs of fear and stress, but gives them the tools to deescalate and prevent fear.