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Dog Fights

At The Good Dot Spot, we are fully committed to providing your dog a fun, safe place to socialize. We differ from other dog daycares because we focus on ensuring all dogs are playing safely and improving their dog and human manners through specialized playgroups, positive reinforcement and frequent breaks. We utilize all our playrooms to keep groups small and require a staff ratio of 1 staff member per 10-15 dogs.

All new staff go through extensive training, which includes learning canine body language, how to and when to intervene during play and operant conditioning. New staff spend time shadowing Senior Pet Care Technicians so they can observe how to properly interact with the dogs, while also getting to know the dogs we care for. As we feel they are ready, the Senior Pet Care Techs begin shadowing and observing the new staff member to see how they are progressing. Only when new staff members are confidently and effectively managing playgroups are they left alone in a room. We frequently review our procedures to ensure we are meeting the needs of our clients and to ensure all staff members are consistent in their dog interactions.

Staff members are trained to carefully observe dogs and to intervene as needed. We watch for specific body language cues and interrupt play frequently to refocus attention. We encourage good behavior by praising dogs that are exhibiting it and discourage bad behavior with interruptions, time outs and gentle leaders. Each dog is different, so each dog may be rewarded for different behaviors, based on what our goal is for that dog. For example, younger dogs that are wild are frequently and heavily praised for giving themselves breaks and vocal dogs are heavily praised for being quiet. Dogs who need help learning to play properly get more staff-interruptions or may be kept on lead with a staff to be given more individual attention.

By keeping low-arousal play groups and encouraging good behaviors, many fights can be prevented. Fights are always preceded by body language cues, which is why our staff spend a lot of time learning canine body language. Sometimes, certain dogs just do not get along. For this reason we give a lot of thought to our playgroups. We ensure our staff members are given the tools necessary to stop a fight before it even starts.

In the rare occasions fights occur, all staff members within earshot are required to stop what they are doing and help. Any dogs involved are removed from the playgroup for the rest of the day. The situation is reviewed by senior staff to determine what caused the fight, which dog instigated it and how. We use each opportunity to further train our staff as needed, or to review our color-coding for each dog involved. Lastly, we ALWAYS involve the pet parent when these situations occur. If we recognize a behavioral change in your dog, we want you to know immediately so you can be involved in our plan to turn the issue around.

For the Love of Dogs

In honor of Senior Pet Month, here is a letter that is extremely touching. It is a letter from musician, Fiona Apple, to her fans. She asks them to forgive her for having to postpone some tour dates so that she can be home with her dying dog. It is wonderful that someone as famous as her has this big of a heart, to want to stay home with her canine companion when she needs her most. It is something that many of us can relate to. We have copy and pasted the letter below, but you can also visit her Facebook page for the original post, which is a hand-written letter.

It’s 6pm on Friday,and I’m writing to a few thousand friends I have not met yet.
I am writing to ask them to change our plans and meet a little while later.
Here’s the thing.
I have a dog Janet, and she’s been ill for almost two years now, as a tumor has been idling in her chest, growing ever so slowly. She’s almost 14 years old now.I got her when she was 4 months old. I was 21 then, an adult officially – and she was my child.
She is a pitbull, and was found in Echo Park, with a rope around her neck, and bites all over her ears and face.
She was the one the dogfighters use to puff up the confidence of the contenders.
She’s almost 14 and I’ve never seen her start a fight, or bite, or even growl, so I can understand why they chose her for that awful role. She’s a pacifist.
Janet has been the most consistent relationship of my adult life, and that is just a fact.
We’ve lived in numerous houses, and jumped a few make shift families, but it’s always really been the two of us.
She slept in bed with me, her head on the pillow, and she accepted my hysterical, tearful face into her chest, with her paws around me, every time I was heartbroken, or spirit-broken, or just lost, and as years went by, she let me take the role of her child, as I fell asleep, with her chin resting above my head.
She was under the piano when I wrote songs, barked any time I tried to record anything, and she was in the studio with me all the time we recorded the last album.
The last time I came back from tour, she was spry as ever, and she’s used to me being gone for a few weeks every 6 or 7 years.
She has Addison’s Disease, which makes it dangerous for her to travel since she needs regular injections of Cortisol, because she reacts to stress and to excitement without the physiological tools which keep most of us from literally panicking to death.
Despite all of this, she’s effortlessly joyful and playful, and only stopped acting like a puppy about 3 years ago.
She’s my best friend and my mother and my daughter, my benefactor, and she’s the one who taught me what love is.
I can’t come to South America. Not now.
When I got back from the last leg of the US tour, there was a big, big difference.
She doesn’t even want to go for walks anymore.
I know that she’s not sad about aging or dying. Animals have a survival instinct, but a sense of mortality and vanity, they do not. That’s why they are so much more present than people.
But I know that she is coming close to point where she will stop being a dog, and instead, be part of everything. She’ll be in the wind, and in the soil, and the snow, and in me, wherever I go.
I just can’t leave her now, please understand.
If I go away again, I’m afraid she’ll die and I won’t have the honor of singing her to sleep, of escorting her out.
Sometimes it takes me 20 minutes to pick which socks to wear to bed.
But this decision is instant.
These are the choices we make, which define us.
I will not be the woman who puts her career ahead of love and friendship.
I am the woman who stays home and bakes Tilapia for my dearest, oldest friend.
And helps her be comfortable, and comforted, and safe, and important.
Many of us these days, we dread the death of a loved one. It is the ugly truth of Life, that keeps us feeling terrified and alone.
I wish we could also appreciate the time that lies right beside the end of time.
I know that I will feel the most overwhelming knowledge of her, and of her life and of my love for her, in the last moments.
I need to do my damnedest to be there for that.
Because it will be the most beautiful, the most intense, the most enriching experience of life I’ve ever known.
When she dies.
So I am staying home, and I am listening to her snore and wheeze, and reveling in the swampiest, most awful breath that ever emanated from an angel.
And I am asking for your blessing.
I’ll be seeing you.
Love, Fiona

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