"What’s THAT my dog is wearing?" A quick reference guide to our positive reinforcement tools!
Here at Canine to Five, we believe that positive reinforcement is the best way to get enduring behavioral changes in a dog, while simultaneously building up the relationships we have with them. Of course, not every dog is magically prepared for group play daycare before they arrive. We see the same traits in humans, too! It’s not uncommon to have a friend who thrives on being in crowds, while another may naturally prefer smaller groups.
So, while some dogs may be comfortable meeting and interacting with a large group of dogs, others may take longer to adjust. Breed traits play a role in behavior as well. For example, shepherds have a tendency to experience some stress around groups of dogs because they want to herd, herd, and do some more, you guessed it, herding! Having an instinct to herd doesn’t make them a bad dog, in fact, it makes them a great shepherd! However, being herded can be startling to other dogs, so we work through this behavior by redirecting it and encouraging different, more appropriate choices. It’s not a matter of labeling a dog “good” or “bad,” instead, we advocate for the dogs in our care by creating realistic expectations based on their current behavior and level of socialization and help them increase their level of comfort and success in our pack through kindness, leadership, and our vast breadth of science-based behavioral knowledge.
On occasion, we employ a variety of tools that are backed by evidence-based research and recommended by our team of dog experts. If you are ever concerned by something you see on the camera, feel free to make a note of your question and ask our supervisors when you pick up your dog!
Here is a quick reference list of tools we employ at Canine to Five:
- Gentle Leaders. We’ve written pretty extensively about gentle leaders before. By applying pressure where a mother would to a pup, we are able to engage the naturally soothing component of a dog’s brain. This allows dogs to have the edge taken off their anxiety so they can focus on just being a dog!
- Backpacks. Not only are they impossibly cute, backpacks are an excellent tool for dogs who want to WORK. Particularly with working and herding breeds, dogs can feel anxiety when they don’t have a job. Wearing a backpack can give them a sense of purpose that frees them up to focus, play, and exert their energy in positive, constructive ways. Plus, if you enjoy hiking, you can take your dog along with you and they can carry the essentials!
- ThunderShirts. These vests are vet-recommended and have an over 80% success rate! They give the impression of a tight hug, which creates a soothing sensation and relaxes the dog. This allows them to play with freedom, as well as look faaaabulous.
- Adaptil. This is a synthetic copy of the pheromone released by a mother dog from her mammary area after her puppies’ birth. This pheromone is a comforting message, providing a strong signal of security and safety to puppies, which is why we use this frequently in our puppy program, spraying them in blankets or in a bandanna, to assure our little adventurers that they are safe here with us!
- Lavender. Aromatherapy works wonders for humans, so unsurprisingly it works wonders for dogs as well! When the pack starts to get a little too rowdy, a couple of spritzes of delicate lavender creates an “aaaaahhh” moment that returns all back to normal.
- Rescue Remedy. This is another fantastic natural cure to a dog’s anxiety. They have so many different concoctions to help our animal friends!
- Through a Dog’s Ear. Studies show that consistent patterns of music relax dogs and allow their brains to traipse happily along. Canine to Five has speakers throughout, allowing us to play dog friendly music for dog while they play, sleep overnight, or get their style on in our salon.
- Leash walking creates a bond between the pack leader and the dog. It is a positive way to encourage desirable behaviors. It helps provide dogs with a sense of direction and purpose and encourage them to check in with humans. They know that there is a human who has their back!
- Breaks function as a reset button for a dog who may be in need of a nap but has serious FOMO. It is completely natural for dogs to need their own space, even our most extroverted dogs. On occasion, a dog’s distance increasing body language cues may be ignored by a well-meaning dog who wants to play (we all have that one friend who just doesn’t get it sometimes). Giving dogs breaks allows us to advocate for them by giving them the space they are asking for.
Ultimately, we employ these tools because your dog’s safety and happiness is of utmost importance to us! Our business exists to create a place for your dog to have the time of their life. Using these tools allows us to help every dog in our care be the best they can be!