Our Assessment Process and Why It Makes Us Different

Imagine being dropped off at a place you’ve never been, with a group of people that don’t speak your language, taking you and putting you into a room with others who all know each other and they all come running up to you at once yelling in your face. Do you think you would feel overwhelmed and want to leave? Do you think you might snap at the people, or maybe shut down completely and want to hide in the corner?

This is what Doggy Daycare could feel like for dogs without a proper slow introduction based on the needs of their unique temperament, which we identify in our Doggy Daycare assessment process.
At AdelaideVet Doggy Daycare we don’t just chuck a new dog in the playpens and hope for the best. We have a particular set of steps that allow us to get a thorough picture of the dog's temperament and read their behavioural signs. No matter the size or breed of the dog, whether it be a bouncy and confident Labrador puppy or a timid and shy Maltese, every dog goes through the same process to ensure the safety of all dogs and staff.

There are 4 stages to the assessment process. For every step, there are green, yellow and red scores. There is a lengthy checklist for positive and negative behaviours shown, then at the end of each step a summary of how they went.
  1. The dog is taken into a pen alone with a Canine Educator. Here we let the dog sniff around and do what they want. We positively reinforce the dog with treats, pats, cuddles and encouraging words. If the dog is too shy for any of this, we wait! Step 1 is to get the dog comfortable and desensitised to different noises, smells, sounds and bond with our staff. 
  2. When then introduce the dog into a pen where they can see other dogs through the fence. We look to see how they react to the other dogs. When polite behaviour is shown, such as a sniff nose to nose and walking away, we positively reinforce this behaviour to let them know this is good behaviour. This is where we can see if a dog is timid and if it's appropriate to introduce them to their first dog. 
  3. The new dog and the dog that has been carefully selected based on temperament are put in a pen together, both on lead and each with a Canine Educator. Polite interaction is encouraged with treats, pats and words. This step can take a few minutes, 10 minutes or even multiple tries until the right dog is matched.
  4. Leads are dropped, and dogs with matching temperaments are gradually 1 by 1 trickled into the pen.

The ultimate goal is for the new dog to feel comfortable, play, socialise and want to be there. Some dogs can take a few times to warm up to Daycare, but with the careful and experienced eye of the Canine Educators, we are able to see the potential in timid dogs and watch them blossom over time.

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