Dog Aggression or Resource Aggression, fights and bites in off-leash dog play. It’s one of the biggest issues for anyone in the Dog Daycare Industry. The owner of a local Child Daycare allows us to take care of her dogs. We discuss the similarities between children daycare and dog daycare. While we often see children able to learn and move on, with dogs, they often times require some sort of time-out period, to reflect on the incident. Aggression can occur with a simple glance or a desire to have a tennis ball. Things humans believe as trivial. But to a dog, that is the most important thing in their life.
Dog Aggression or Resource Aggression
As a member of the Dog Gurus, we have pledged to maintain a facility that provides excellent Dog operations. As such, one of the main goals of The Dog Gurus is to reduce the risk of injury in off-leash play by helping all in the facility raise the bar of safety in a playgroup. The first step to minimizing injuries to dogs and people is to establish a safe environment. The following safety factors should be considered in any off-leash play area:
- Space – A good recommendation that provides dogs with enough space without overcrowding, is 75-100 square feet of play space per dog. If you have a small dog area (dogs under 25 lbs) you may be able to get away with 40 square feet per dog. Overcrowding can result in more frequent incidents between dogs. They don’t have enough room to get away from other dogs when needed. (Just as people can get grumpy in a crowded space).
- Amount of time on the floor – Dogs are on and off the daycare floor every hour. We are constantly moving dogs to allow them to use the outside facilities. Dogs consume 4x as much water as humans. Even in an 76 degree facility, your dog is drinking a lot of water. While accidents do happen, we practice with the dogs on their listening. Commands are used daily such as waiting and come and off.
- Supervision – To provide the safest supervision to the dogs playing, always have someone physically in the same room with the dogs. This staff member should be properly trained in understanding canine body language. Should also use humane management techniques for handling the dogs. Watching only through video cameras or windows will not provide staff with enough time to best control and manage the dogs while playing to prevent escalations.
- Staffing – A safe staffing ratio is one person for every 15-20 dogs, depending on the size of the dogs and the experience of the staff. Having an inexperienced staff person handling dogs puts both the dogs and people at risk. However, even an experienced person will have trouble managing over 20 dogs in the event of a fight.
Because we feature anopen floor, we are able to segment the floor to allow for certain dogs on certain sides of the floor. Big energy dogs with like, and lower energy dogs together in their own area as well. Just as kids tire over time with interaction, so do dogs. While a dog may be in our care all day, they may also be in a dog kennel area in back or in a time out section. Dogs need their down time too. We are thankful to have 15,000 square feet of space to allow us to move dogs around our facilities.
Dog guarding something from the intruder
Dog Aggression or Resource Aggression can happen in an instant and when it does, the staff needs to be trained to break up the incident, separate the dogs, and then allow for play to resume. This happens daily with new dogs coming and going and is a great part of a dog’s socialization. Life after all is all about the experiences and there is NEVER a dull moment at Happy Hound Dog Resorts.