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Did you have a good summer? Find some time to relax, have some fun? We had a great summer here with the dogs. The summer is when we get to be outside, fill the pools and bring the garden hose out. The dogs love it!

Just like us, dogs need to be able to do things that are fulfilling to them. When you think about doggie daycare, you might think of dogs wrestling and chasing each other. That is great physical exercise and social interaction, but dogs need more than that to have their needs met.

Puppies and young dogs are very active, but they also need a chance to unwind. Rest is just as important as activity. As dogs get older, their preferences can change, and often they like to hang out more than wrestling and chasing each other, although they still might do that.

Besides playing with each other, dogs like to relax, investigate their surroundings and get some mental challenges, just like us. We like the dogs to use their nose, since this is such an important sense for the dogs. Let them sniff their surroundings!

We use different equipment to create an interesting environment for the dogs, elements that they can explore by climbing on them or going through them. We like to use puzzles to have them think and try find solutions and we use toys to keep them engaged.

Dogs are living creatures, they are aware and they have emotions. Just like us, they get stressed when their emotional needs are not met. We suffered during Covid lockdowns, when we couldn’t go out to see family and friends, when we couldn’t go out to shop or go out for dinner, all activities that are meaningful and fulfilling to us, activities that we enjoy.

So what is fulfilling to dogs? It depends on the individual dog’s background, his breed, his age, and his unique personality. Dogs are social animals that, if they hadn’t adapted to living close to humans, would have lived in a group consisting of family members. They will interact with dogs that are not related, especially when they are young, but not all dogs are going to play with every dog they meet. Because of how we bred the dogs, some breeds tend to be less social. Young dogs are usually very social, but as dogs get older preferences can change. Some remain social and enjoy interacting with other dogs as they get older, some do not.

Different breeds have been bred for different tasks, meaning that parts of their natural behavior have been accentuated or repressed. This will determine the needs these dogs have for different activities and environments. Some breeds like the sporting breeds tend to be more social while some working breeds will be less so.

We want to help all dogs succeed and offer different playgroups for dogs to make sure they do well in daycare. We have separate playgroups based on size. Small dogs need to be protected from accidental injury if they get run over by bigger dogs. We also take into account the age of the dogs. Adolescent dogs, just like human adolescents, can be boisterous and behave quite rudely, as they are in a stage of their development where they are testing boundaries and seeing what they can get away with. Adult dogs are more serious and less tolerant of inappropriate behavior. Each group has their own human supervisor to monitor behavior and make sure all dogs are doing well.

We offer a lot of space for the dogs with our 150.000 sq. ft. yards. Space is important for dogs, having plenty of space offers them an opportunity to get away from tension and offers peace of mind. We use the yards year round. We have large inside playrooms, but even in the winter we make some time for the dogs to run outside!

Our staff receives intense and continuous training. We train on group management and canine body language amongst other things. Dogs are communicating through their facial expressions and body language. We can see when they are stressed and intervene to make sure everyone stays comfortable.

But even when we make sure dogs go in the appropriate playgroup, even when we supervise and set up targeted activities, some dogs will grow out of daycare. However, that doesn’t mean they no longer have any interests or needs! Some dogs were bred to perform specific tasks and they like nothing more than performing those tasks! They want to work with you! For these dogs, a training class might offer the outlet they need. Don’t think of these classes as getting a certain certificate or passing any specific tests, but as an activity you can partake in with your dog that is meaningful to him.

We will continue to develop and offer activities that are a physical, mental and emotional outlet for your dog. We will resume our weekly group walks in the Metroparks this fall, so stay tuned! Whereas different dog rescue groups have it as their mission to find homes for homeless dogs, we feel our mission is to keep these dogs in the homes they have found. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions or are struggling to provide your dog what he needs. Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us at 419-475-4101 and leave us a voicemail.

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Dirk Broersma
https://awalkintheparkoftoledo.com