At Central Bark we blend socialization, enrichment, and exercise to promote a healthy balance of play, learning, and rest. We want to share with you why this blend of activities can be crucial for dogs to live healthy and happy lives!
“A tired dog is a good dog”. This is a phrase you’ve likely heard before, but did you know that it’s a bit misleading? There is a fine line when looking at just enough or too much exercise. In part because a dog needs to have energy to make socially healthy choices! When you’re overtired after a social event, an intense workout, or a long day of work/travel, inadequate rest means that you’re likely less sociable; meaning you’re less likely to seek out social interactions and less tolerant during them. You probably just want some time to chill at home and recover!
To have the best social experience, it’s important for dogs to rest throughout the day. Keep in mind it’s healthy for most dogs to get about 12+ hours of sleep each day, with a few more hours spent being awake but inactive or passively engaged (e.g. self-entertaining with toys, self-grooming, observing their environment).
At Central Bark, we have strategically scheduled rest periods throughout the day. This practice is just like nap time for kindergarteners, it fosters appropriate play behaviors, better retention and rehearsal of skills, and healthier bodies during physical activity. In addition to impacting their social behavior, without adequate rest, dogs, just like people, are more susceptible to physical injury due to decreased coordination and motor control. Because our goal with structured rest periods is to facilitate relaxation and promote positive associations with rest and confinement, each dog attending day care receives an enrichment item with a bit of food frozen inside of it. This enrichment item allows dogs to wind down, decreasing heart rate and respiratory rate through the act of licking, which is a self-soothing behavior.
More is not always better! The quality of social experiences and practicing appropriate play behaviors matters much more than playing with an ever-changing group of dogs, large quantity of dogs, or for hours on end without rest.
With our small group play model we can prioritize building and practicing useful skills such as recall, sits, stationing, and play pauses, the building blocks for emotionally and socially healthy day care participants. These playgroups are carefully structured, with considerations for the energy level, playstyle, and physical size of each dog in the group, to create the most appropriate social atmosphere possible, prioritizing safety above all else.
Since every dog loves different activities and has the capacity to solve problems and learn tricks, we also have add-on options that stretch their brain, helping to strengthen that powerful organ through dynamic enrichment activities.
Because the foundation of all we do is focused on supporting dogs with living their happiest, healthiest lives, we delight in seeing new pups on their first day blossom into dogs who bound through the front door each week, eager for their day! The weekly participation commitment that we require of all our daycare clients allows us to get to know every dog’s unique personality, their likes and dislikes, who their best friends are, their favorite games to play, and their favorite spot to receive petting. By getting to know each dog, we’re not only able to set them up to be as successful as possible in our environment, we’re also able to offer our expertise when it comes to grooming, training, and enrichment recommendations tailored to each individual dog and family.
Central Bark Philadelphia