What is a dog behavior assessment and why is it necessary?

A dog behavior assessment is a series of structured interactions with a prospective day care dog that are designed to determine whether the day care environment will be a safe and successful social setting for both the new dog and the established day care dogs. The Enrichment Specialists who provide care for the dogs will spend time observing the new dog’s level of comfort with people, while resting in the nap room, and with gradual introductions to other day care dogs who are specially matched for them. During each part of the Behavior Assessment, the Enrichment Specialist actively supports the new dog by guiding them through interactions and providing positive reinforcement, while also documenting the new dog’s observed behavior and body language throughout the process.

Although behavior is dynamic and can change over time, the first day of the dog behavior assessment gives us critical information about your pet’s comfort in the day care environment generally. Behavior is affected by so many things, like previous social experiences, stress levels, environmental sensitivities, and so much more! Our goal is to ensure that all dogs at Central Bark are having a fun and positive experience that supports their behavioral health, sociability, and emotional well-being. If daycare is overstimulating, stressful, or causing any level of fear or reactivity, day care might not be the right fit and we would not want to put any dog in the position to have their physical or emotional well-being decline due to continued enrollment in day care. Rather, we look for behavior and body language cues that tell us this can be a positive and fun environment for your dog to learn new skills and practice healthy social behavior.

It is important to note, that while some dogs do incredibly well for their behavior assessment, behavior can change! Increased comfort in the space, the progression through normal developmental stages that can affect sociability, and changes in physical or emotional health not related to day care can all have a massive effect on a dog’s behavior. If, at any point, the team at your Central Bark location sees behavior changes, they will have continued follow-up conversations with you. Safety, as well as the physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being of each dog in our care is the driving force behind Central Bark. We will always be an advocate for your dog’s well-being. Our expertly designed Behavior Assessment process, and continued awareness of dog behavior and body language changes that may occur, will help us to determine if Enrichment Day Care at Central Bark is the right fit for your dog.


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