A lot of what we do is manage how the dogs are interacting with one another. We have terms for different behaviors you may or may not hear us use like: fence fighting, third-partying, anxiety, demand barking, and constructive. We would like to use this blog to shed a little more light on these terms so if you notice behaviors at the dog park or home you can react appropriately.
“Fence Fighting”. As scary as that sounds, it is not two dogs fighting next to each other inside of a play area, it is actually a very common behavior known as barrier frustration. Barrier frustration can come out on a walk when your dog can’t get to the other dog or object because they are on a leash. How this behavior translates to the daycare is at our fences, a dog is walking down a hallway and a dog in a play area is following them barking. We do not allow this behavior for a couple of reasons: 1. the barking dog is not paying attention to the dogs on the same side of the fence they are on and will run the dogs near the fence over, potentially causing a scuffle; 2. it is highly disruptive to all of the dogs in the room no matter how close to the action they are. We keep dogs with tendencies to run the fence in an area where the hallway is not a distraction and use our training to control times when we use the hall. A positive play time helps ease the feeling for dogs who run the fence and enjoy their day.
“Third-Partying” – when two dogs are playing and one or more try to join in the fun. While this is usually a harmless activity, we keep the dogs from engaging in third-party behavior for safety reasons. One of the dogs playing can start to feel overwhelmed and react negatively to all of the attention. We will redirect the dog that came in after the first two have started playing by calling their name or giving them another activity to do.
“Demand Barking”. This is when a dog will bark at a dog lying down or at a dog who has a toy they want. This behavior is also something we redirect because the dog being barked at could become scared or reactive. This along with fence fighting gets the other dogs’ attention negatively because they are not sure what or who is the cause. We watch closely for resource guarding and will remove a toy if needed or move either of the dogs to a different area to avoid any issues. Dogs prone to doing this are usually puppies just learning the ropes, but it can happen with older dogs who were not taught to offer a different behavior than this previously in their lives.
“Constructive”. We use this term to express behaviors such as your dog resting on it’s own when needed, playing appropriately with others, going in an out with the group well, and overall being a well adjusted member of our group. This is the main goal of our day – to work with and redirect dogs and help them learn how to be constructive!
“Anxiety”. This is a term we use to explain and understand why certain other behaviors happen here but maybe not at home. The dogs may bark uncontrollably, sigh, pant unnecessarily, and become more reactive than normal. We are very keen to the signs of anxiety and take steps to ensure we discuss it with the owners and possible ways the dog can get more comfortable. All of the above behaviors can sway one way or the other based on a dogs anxiety level so keeping them happy and calm leads to a happy day for all.
We strive to give each customer our undivided attention when discussing their dog’s day. If you ever go home and have more questions, or if you have questions about behaviors you see at home or here at the daycare, please let us know and we would love to talk with you more!