"I'm concerned my dog won't mix well with the pack?"
I often get this question from potential customers, which is great. A dogs welfare should always be paramount and it's nice to see dog owners understanding their dogs needs.
Prior to taking on a new customers dog. contact is usually made by the owner to me via email or telephone. During this contact I like to have a conversation about what is it the customer wants from the service (dog exercised, dog to socilaise more etc) and some information on their dog, (breed, age, castrated, friendly etc).
If suitable after this I like to meet the customer at their home so I can meet them and their dog in person. Here i also carry out a pre-consultation where I ask lots of questions. Everything from their dogs behaviour to emergency contact details. I also fill out forms and get the customer to sign forms such as; off-lead form, booking form, vet release form, key release form, service agreement, policies and procedures etc.
I also assess the behaviour of the dog around and with me while asking the questions and filling out the forms. If there is any aggression I'm afraid I cannot take on the dog. I also only allow dogs who are friendly with other dogs to my pack.
I am awear dogs will be dogs and the introducing of new dogs to a pack may spark some tension. This is why they are gradually introduced by myself and watched under my supervision. IU'm there ready to correct any bad behaviour. A pecking order is usually reached without any confict. I also have dogs who are friendly but can be particuarlly boystrus when play fighting, I watch this very closely as it may get alittle over board and spark a disgreement between the dogs. Dogs fighting is a behaviour that I do not tolerate.
It is understandable for any dog owner to feel alittle nervous when leaving their dog to play with new dogs for the first time especially is they are worried that their dog may have a tendancy to snap, be over boystrus, thier obidence isn't great, be dominant or if they haven't been castrated.
I offer a service where the owner can come along with me to Mutt Meadow and supervise their dogs with me. This is great for the owner to see how their dog plays with other dogs and is a great chance for the dog to stretch their legs in a safe environment.
I also offer a service where the owner can come along with me to Mutt Meadow and supervise their dogs with me the first couple of times and then slowly phase the owner out so that eventually it will be just me taking the dogs out.
I have a lovely customer who wants their two dogs to come to Mutt Meadow once a week, so they have have a good run around off the lead and learn to be more social. The owner knows one of them is fairly shy around new big dogs and the other hasn't been castrated and likes to be the boss.
Me and the owner have agreed a 4 week plan where we are 2 weeks in already:
1st visit: the owner met me at Mutt Meadow with her gorgous two little dogs at 11am where we introduced them to my regular pack of dogs. They were let off the lead to run and play. Me and my customer had a good natter for the hour, walked around, played fetch and tug of war, watched the dogs play, sniff around, them walk with us etc.
2nd visit: Same as above.
3rd visit: This will be where the owner drops off her dogs to Mutt Meadow but then leaves them with me for the hour without the her present. The owner can go shopping, go home etc and pick them up in an hours time from Mutt Meadow. I will supervise all the dogs like normal. It will be interesting to see if their behaviour changes when the owner in't there.
4th visit: I will pick up the dogs from the owners house and take them to Mutt Meadow, along with the rest of the pack and spend the hour with them like normal. After the hours play session I will take all the dogs home to their owners.
Beyond: Same as above. Regarly updating the owner on their dogs adventures.
I want the dogs to enjoy their time with me and see it as a good chance to relax and play with their friends in a safe environment.