General Many day care facilities turn dogs loose in an enclosure and leave them to their own devices. Our day care facility is run by experienced dog trainers who closely monitor all the dogs in a large variety of fun, social activities that take place in a variety of indoor and outdoor locals. Dogs attending our day care are learning to behave indoors and out in social groups of dogs and people on every visit. Since training dogs are worked in the same locations with day care dogs, the day care dogs have the opportunity to pick up some of what the training dogs are being taught. Day Care dogs constantly repeat basic obedience skills at the park. They enter and exit crates, go in and out of doors and gates, come and wait, learn not to jump up, move with groups of other dogs and people over large areas including, woods, creeks and fields. Structure Although we make our canine guests time with us as enjoyable as we can we also provide structure that focuses their activities on things that compliment and improve behavior at home and in the park. Dogs learn to play in indoor and outdoor environments as a loosely organized social group. The group moves together with a qualified dog trainer who interacts with them much like a shepherd with a flock. They learn to play, potty, exercise, eat and rest on a schedule. Activity Learning to participate in vigorous, off leash activity within groups of other dogs and people is a social skill set that requires time and positive experiences for our dogs to master. Left to their own devices our dogs revert to satiating their instinctual prey drive, which in nature would occupy most of their time. We focus each dogs prey drive on socially beneficial and acceptable pass times. Our clients frequently tell us that their dogs immediately put themselves "in bed" when they get home.
Social Social or pack drive is the motivational component of a dog's natural instincts that we feel is most often ignored in traditional training and dog care. By working with our day care, training and boarding dogs as one social group we are able to demonstrate the positive benefits of working with a human pack leader. The natural competition that develops among our canine pack members can be used to both motivate and teach group social graces. The constant flow of dogs and people into and out of the park neutralizes our canine quests to the kinds of social interaction and change that often stresses them in more closed home environments. Day Care dogs learn to accept an extended pack (social group) and extended territory which makes them more social with other dogs and people in environments other than their home. Training We do a major part of our training in day care. In a day care training day at WolfBrook we get to work with each dog in the full range of activities that it engages in at home and in a park setting. We typically focus each day on a specific scenario that targets specific challenges the subject dog is having difficulty with. In a days time we can introduce a new scenario and work through the harder initial phases of training the scenario. When the owner picks the dog up we go over how we handled the dog and the owner gets the opportunity to try the scenario themselves with our help. We find this to be the best system for insuring the owner will be successful practising the scenario at home.
We find that dogs and handlers do better when they only have to deal with a single piece of training that we have taken the time to introduce to both parties before they work on it together. By using a group of day care days that can be spread over a quarter (3 months) training can move at a more comfortable pace. Day care training packages make it easy to do age appropriate training over the 3 year canine maturational cycle instead of guessing at some "ideal" short time frame to force feed each dog's complete education within.