Separating Play Yards at Day Camp
We get asked all the time how many dogs we see here at Camp each day. The answer is…A LOT! Since we do not require reservations for our day Camp service, the number of dogs “in house” fluctuates throughout the day. When you add in our overnight boarders it adds up to a lot of barking and we wouldn’t have it any other way!
Although the sound of 100 dogs barking may be overwhelming to you, we are trained professionals, meaning we have ear plugs available! Safety is our #1 priority at Camp regardless of how many dogs are “in house” so even during the times we are incredibly busy, such as the upcoming holiday weekend, everyone will be in a safe open play environment. Questions about our process and the open play environment aren’t uncommon and we welcome questions anytime. Here are a few of the most common questions we get asked about our open play environment.
How do we keep the dogs safe at Camp?
- Our Camp Counselors-All our Camp Counselors are required to be dog lovers, however most of us border on insane for dogs! We love dogs. We love their barking, we love their playing, their tail wagging and even their slobber. All of our Camp Counselors are trained in play yard management and dog behavior. We recognize dog behaviors as they are being exhibited and watch for rough play, signs of fear, anger, etc. Our play yards are monitored by Camp Counselors all day.
- Removing opportunity for problems-the phrase “like a dog with a bone” didn’t come about out of the blue. Someone, sometime saw a dog with a bone and coined that phrase. Toys and food can cause even dogs who live in the same household to turn on each other in a heartbeat. At Camp, we remove the opportunity for problems by not allowing food or toys in the play yards. Each play yard has play equipment they can climb on and hide under but their favorite “toy” is usually each other!
- Separating play yards by size and temperament-Having multiple play yards allows us to accept a wide variety of dogs.
- Appropriately introducing new dogs to the pack-Dogs are introduced slowly into the pack one at a time until it’s clear they are comfortable. The play yard is built around the new dog as opposed to the new dog being introduced into an already full play yard.
Separating by size and temperament
Unlike other day Camp facilities, we have four separate play yards. This allows us to offer six to eight hours of open play for your dog, regardless of their size. This makes it extremely important that we make sure all new Campers are comfortable in an open play environment before we accept them for daycare or overnight boarding. Camp is an entirely different environment that a walk or a dog park. There are no dogs on leash in the play yard, no owners to protect, no toys to guard, etc. if your dog is leash reactive you may be surprised to find that he’s perfectly happy playing with other dogs at Camp.
- Teacup yard hosts our smallest campers with the biggest personality. This yard is for dogs approximately 15 lbs and under and is comprised of Yorkis, Miniature Pinschers, Shih-Zus, Malti-Poos, etc.
- Small play yard is for dogs 20 lbs and up. This yard is usually the “starter” yard for new dogs who haven’t been socialized and are a little nervous. Dogs in this yard are mild tempered, some are older dogs that like to just observe, some are puppies who aren’t big enough or ready to run with the big boys yet. This is the perfect yard for dogs who don’t have much experience with socialization in an open play environment.
- Medium and large play yards are in the back of our building and connect through a gate between the yards. The door gives us the option to split the yards (close the door, making it two separate yards) or to open it up for the dogs to come and go as they please between the two play yards.
- The Large play yards are the most highly populated and have a mix of breeds and temperaments. Separating the yards allows us the ability to keep the energy down, divide siblings (when necessary) and give the interview dogs an unoccupied space to acclimate to the play yard before dogs are introduced.
Introducing new dogs
We love welcoming new Campers to the pack but we realize that not everyone likes being the new guy on the playground. We want to give every dog his best chance of successful socialization at Camp and that starts with the introduction process. A dog's senses are far more heightened than ours and their nose is the strongest sense of all. I know what my own tennis shoes smell like at the end of the day so I can’t imagine what Camp must smell like to a dog. The introduction process begins when you park outside. Your dog starts sniffing the minute they are out of the car and probably doesn’t stop until they are home for the night. The dogs can take as long as they like to sniff the leashes and the floor, etc in the lobby area. Some grow curious very quickly and want to see what’s beyond the doors, others need a bit more time to get used to the idea.
The new guy gets the pick of the liter, he gets the play yard build around him, instead of walking into a yard already full of dogs that are raring to go! This gives the new guy a chance to sniff around and check things out before being bombarded for butt sniffing.
Our employee dogs and everyday Campers are usually first pick to be introduced to the new guy as they are most familiar with meeting and greeting, etc.
Each of our play yards have indoor and outdoor access and webcams in each play yard. When you come for your interview day we will give you instructions on how to view our webcams and tell you which play yard your dog is in.
Our dogs are constantly being temperament tested so if a dog starts exhibiting behavior that’s unacceptable for Camp, they can be suspended or removed from Camp. Circumstances change and so can a dog's behavior, so temperament testing is a continual process that we do everyday at Camp.
Which yard does your Camper play in?