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Hello & Welcome to Great Dog…

Thank  you for submitting your dog's behavior and temperment application

Thank you for your interest in our services and programs at Great Dog! To best serve you and to meet your specific needs we invite you to review this guide and investigate the Great Dog Online Portal and account. This will ensure the best possible experience for you and your canine companion. Great Dog has been a leader in Seattle’s pet care services since 2001. Our experience, best business practices, safety procedures, training, and our dedicated staff combine to make this an enriching and exciting place for your pet’s “home away from home”. We are passionate about the dogs that come to Great Dog. We want to make sure they all have a great time and that you feel great about leaving them in our care. We are equally passionate about our dedication to safe interactions between dogs who are here with us for play and care. For that reason we require an evaluation process for your dog(s) prior to acceptance for daycare, overnight care, and/or Enrichment Activities. We hope that you and your canine best friend will be enjoying all that Great Dog has to offer in one quick wiggle of a puppy dog’s tail!

 

The Great Dog Management Team,

Leslie & Judi Co-Owners

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What You Can Expect Next

Now that you have submitted your application thru our Great Dog Portal and completed the behavioral/tempermental component, we will review all the information.  There are a lot of moving parts to our application process... we want to ensure  the best fit for your dog, when your dog might use our services and where their temperment might fit best with our pack.  

Our evaluations are scheduled Monday through Friday at SPECIFIC morning drop off times at a cost of $60.  A staff member will get in touch with you to schedule your evaluation.

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What Your Dog Should Expect on Their Evaluation Day

Great Dog has four specific play spaces available:

  • Annex (for puppies, small and shy dogs)

  • Rumpus Room (for adolescent and adult dogs with higher energy)

  • Big Dog (for more mature dogs that are comfortable with a larger pack)

  • Enrichment Room (cognative games and learning and fee)

 

This gives your dog the opportunity to play with like minded canines with similar play styles and also provides puppies with a safe place to interact with adult mentor dogs that understand puppy antics. We also have an area dedicated to senior dogs, or those who are physically not as active or athletic. We will introduce your dog to the area that we feel is best suited to their temperament, age, play style and overall play skills, and then provide them with the opportunity to try other spaces over the evaluation process.

 

The evaluation day begins with introductions to our staff in a separate area without other dogs. This allows your dog to adjust to the new environment and get to know the human who will facilitate the evaluation process. A brief standardized social skills inventory is given to make sure your dog is ready to meet a large group. The first group your pup meets will be several dogs that are lower to middle status who have good play skills and excellent canine communication. Your dog will have a chance to settle in and make a friend, do some unchallenged “sniffy meet-and-greets”, while the staff is able to observe and monitor interactions. If all goes well, we will continue to introduce your dog to more dogs from the group, slowly adding in higher status dogs until finally your dog has been introduced in a supportive supervised way. After these introductions have gone well, your dog will be escorted onto the daycare floor with their human partner who will help them join the group at play.

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Ten Things You Need to Know About the Evaluation Day

  1. Your dog will need to spend a minimum of four hours with us, but we encourage you to let your dog stay for 6-8 hours if that is what you will be generally doing.

  2. The evaluation day is considered the 1st day of the evaluation process; it can take several visits to fully understand your dog’s play-style and behavior. That is why we continue to conduct our evaluation (as needed) for the first three or four visits in order to have a complete understanding of your dog’s true temperament and play skills. We will discuss this aspect with you at the end of your first day with us.

  3. Daycare dogs are required to have a clip collar for their time on the daycare floor. For pick up and drop off, they may use a standard flat leash, harness, martingale collar, and/or gentle leader/halti. (NO flexi/retractable leashes, prong collars, or choke chains for safety in our high-volume facility.)

  4. SAFE PLAY is our priority. We embrace the concept that dogs in daycare should reflect the LEAST-RISKY play style while in our care. If your dog displays risky play behavior during the evaluation we may elect to refuse participation in our programs. (An information sheet describing play styles is included in the welcome packet provided at the end of the evaluation day.)

  5. AGGRESSIVE or OVERLY REACTIVE dogs are not allowed. If your dog has a history of biting, fighting, injuring or harassing dogs or people, please do not apply.

  6. We are located in a multiple-use community area. Our play spaces and outside areas border a residential neighborhood. Because we have neighbors whom we respect and who work cooperatively with us, we will not accept dogs with excessive barking or howling behaviors.

  7. We are an open-space daycare and overnight care facility. Cozy beds and blankets are available around the perimeter of the room, giving dogs lots of available locations to self-regulate and snooze. However, we DO crate all dogs for feeding. This ensures safety while making sure dogs have time to digest after a meal to guard against bloat. All dogs attending the Adventure Park are also in their own crates for transportation in the park truck. .

  8. We are a 7 day-a-week, 24 hour-a day supervised care facility. Day-time and overnight staff are 100% engaged in caring for the dogs. Our overnight staff cuddle, comfort, and watch over the dogs all night long.

  9. PUPPY SOCIALIZATION: Current research has proven that the early development of social skills is one of the most important aspects of puppyhood. We will accept puppies into our general daycare pack as soon as they have completed their first round of required vaccinations. “The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior believes that it should be the standard of care for puppies to receive such socialization before they are fully vaccinated.” Go to www.avsabonline.org for entire position statement.

  10. Spay/Neuter Policies: All dogs (over 6 months) must be spayed or neutered at the time of evaluation. NO exceptions for show dogs, breeding dogs, or owners who do not want their dogs to be altered. This is for the safety of all the dogs in our care. This applies to all breeds and sizes of dogs.

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How much is that doggie in the window?

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Why Our Process Works

  1. The on-site evaluation is specifically designed to assess play style, social skills with dogs and people, and compatibility with our current group of regulars. We are especially interested in how safe your dog is at play within a group and how well your dog is able to respond to direction from our staff members. Our process, designed by experts in canine behavior, training and enrichment, includes several days of getting to know your dog, observing, and determing who your dog is, and what services will best meet their needs. The process is conducted over a four visit period. If your dog comes once a week the full process may take a month to complete. However, at the end of the first day of evaluation we will give you a complete overview of your dog’s day and, if the day has gone well, we will offer you the opportunity to set your schedule with a provisional approval. We will also tell you if your dog is not a good match for us based on any behavioral or temperamental issues that we observe. At that time we may request that you bring your dog back for several more visits to see if more time with us can help get them settled into the group. Sometimes a dog that behaves perfectly on the first day will become more open to showing their naughty traits as time goes on. This will usually happen by their 4th visit, which means that some dogs may initially gain approval but could end up not being suitable as time goes on. We will be open and communicative so that no one is surprised by any of the feedback you receive. This may seem like a very rigorous process but over the 10 years we have been in business we have learned that providing safe and enjoyable group play experiences requires this process. Your dog’s safety is our priority and this process works! Dogs are amazing animals, they are highly adaptable and social beings. We will update you at the end of each evaluation day as to your dog’s progress. If your dog shows signs of fearfulness, anxiety, risky play behaviors, or challenges within the group play environment we will most likely ask you to schedule another day of evaluation. We will discuss a plan for continuing the evaluation process at that time. Remember it really is a PROCESS designed with your dog in mind. Keeping that process in mind, if we do not see your dog in daycare or our overnight playcare for longer than 6 months we require a re-evaluation day with your pup before we can schedule them for our daycare or overnight service.