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Last Sunday we had our first staff retreat/training day. All new hires go through extensive training on sanitation practices, dog behavior, dog body language, stress signals in dogs and pay group management and we meet monthly to discuss various topics.

But last Sunday we met for a full day to do a deep dive in play group management, emotions in dogs , play some fun trivia games, share some meals and have fun!

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Taking care for the dogs is a serious responsibility. They are living creatures each with their own personalities and emotions. The staff needs to know all these dogs, know what their preferences are, what is normal behavior for them and what is unusual. Since dogs can’t talk, they cannot tell us directly if they are uncomfortable or not feeling well. They talk to us through their behavior and their body language. Our staff is trained in reading the body language of the dogs, they know what interactions are appropriate and when they need to redirect.

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As I mentioned before, dogs don’t have a lot of choice over what happens in their life. That includes when their owners decide to lodge the dog. All of a sudden the dog is away from what is his normal; his home, the people he lives with. We are very focused on what the experience is for the dog. Being familiar with the ranch and the staff is paramount. Having the dog come over and meet the other dogs is very arousing, we don’t need to add any anxiety to that because the dog doesn’t really know where he is. Therefore, regular attendance is required for the dogs to be able to thrive in an off leash environment. We also need to see your dog regularly to know what his normal behavior is, so we can recognize when there is something abnormal going on.

We will organize these staff retreats a couple of times a year and we will announce them through newsletters. On those days, there will be no daycare. Dogs that are lodging with us will be hanging out with us. On those days the lobby will be closed from 8AM till 4PM.

Dirk Broersma