Spring is on it’s way and as we prepare to welcome longer and longer and warmer and warmer days –we are also excited to get out there more with our puppies. Yes… puppies!
It’s no secret that puppies are one of the most popular gifts people give to each other (or get for themselves!) for the winter holidays like Christmas and Hanukah. If a puppy wasn’t part of the winter celebrations, Spring is a popular time of year for families to welcome a puppy into the home as we cheer for the leaves appearing on the trees and the crocuses and daffodils blooming.
Whether the little furry bundle of energy and love is adopted from a shelter or purchased from a reputable breeder, all puppies are adorable… and seriously supercharged with energy! Human companions are well advised to consider socializing their new family member with other humans and dogs — early. The first year of a dog’s development is a crucial period for puppies to learn how to interpret and respond to social cues from other canines as well as humans. Good experiences will encourage and reinforce positive behavior while negative or limited experience will likely result in problem behaviors that make life together more stressful for both human and canine.
This time of year, Purr’n Pooch’s Wall and Tinton Falls locations enjoy an influx of puppies looking for the right daycare experience. Some are with families that are familiar to us thanks to other pet guests. Some come to us with their human families for the first time. In either case, we are delighted to greet each and every potential new guest – and of course we have a special place in our hearts for the puppies.
Daycare as a great way to help socialize and exercise your puppy – if the facility you’re working with has the right experience and a philosophy of care that creates the best camp experience for the dogs they care for. At Purr’n Pooch, we’re fortunate to have a staff members like Connor Kelly, a specialist in canine temperament at Purr’n Pooch.
Connor Kelly joined Purr’n Pooch two and a half years ago. Connor’s primary role is conducting the intake and evaluation assessment for first time clients. This includes documenting all the necessary background to make sure we are able to provide superior care and service as well as a thorough evaluation of the dog’s personality and developmental stage. It’s an intensive process, but necessary for each pet to be placed in the best group for them —– one that complements their personality and engages them in a positive, constructive manner.
“Dogs are happiest when they have opportunities to successfully socialize with other dogs,” Connor says. “And the key here is ‘successfully’. I work with each and every new daycare guest to make sure we are setting them up for success. This may mean I try them out first with one, even tempered dog to see how they interact and then slowly introduce them to larger and larger groups that seem to be a good fit. This can take several visits – but it’s worth it to make sure the dog is actually having the best experience.”
Connor actually uses his dog, Speedy, to help determine a new dog’s temperament and comfort level with other dogs. “Speedy’s an English bulldog with a pretty laid back personality – a great dog for a new camper to meet and interact with. Especially puppies. He’s great with puppies. They chew on him, and he just sits there like nothing’s going on.”
Assessing new dogs and introducing them to their play groups takes time and requires an intense focus on each and every dog, but Connor wouldn’t trade his job for any other. “Last summer alone, I must have done over 500 intakes in the Wall location,” says Connor. “It’s one of the most rewarding feelings to watch a dog you helped integrate having the time of their life playing and bonding with their group.”
Connor says that the socialization process at day care is especially important for puppies. “Puppies don’t usually have a great grasp on social skills,” he says. “They are prone to making a lot of mistakes with how they approach older dogs. They don’t have tons of experience interpreting body language and other cues that help them moderate their behavior which means it’s easy for them to get into trouble if they aren’t properly introduced to their play group. A great daycare experience can make the socialization process lot easier and a not-so-great experience can mean they’re going to start imitating the worst behavior in other dogs.”
The Palazzo family, which includes Dick, Mary, Koren and Betsy, owns and operates Purr’n Pooch Pet Resorts. Opening there doors over 45 years ago, Dick has established a reputation of being one of the foremost behaviorists and trainers in the pet industry. His experience and education has led to training and assessing thousands of pups each year. Dick has always taught the importance of a thorough, conscientious, initial evaluation – especially for puppies.
“Connor is doing a tremendous job of understanding our guests that come through our doors. When puppies come to visit us, we allow each pup to demonstrate his own behavior. We then take notes on their communication skills, energy level, and their personality when presented with different situations and changes in their environment. I want to see what his comfort zone is with other dogs and humans. When my staff and I feel we have a good understanding of a pup, then – and only then – do we move forward with integrating that pup into the day camp community at a pace the pup is most comfortable with.”
Interested to know more about Purr’n Pooch’s daycare program for puppies (and older!)? Call today: Tinton Falls Location – 732.842-4949, or the Wall Location – 732.528.8100.