The PackPro Dog Sociability Scale

Did you know that all dogs have an innate level of sociability that is wired into them from birth and either strengthened or weakened through various environmental factors and exposures.  A dog’s sociability will also change throughout her lifetime, with most dogs being born very “dog social” and typically maturing into either “dog tolerant” or “dog selective” by adulthood. 

Dog Tolerant 

The majority of the dogs who succeed at doggy daycare would be classified as “dog tolerant”; this means that they are typically accepting of most other dogs and are able to give and receive corrections from their packmates appropriately.  

Dog Selective

About forty percent of dogs that come in to be evaluated for daycare can be described as “dog selective”; this means that they have a few good friends and socialize well in a small pack with their owners, but require a lot of handler intervention to have good interactions with a large group of dogs when their owner is not present.  While a number of “dog selective” dogs will succeed at daycare during their “honeymoon period” (more on this later), their innate tendencies to overcorrect or police other dogs, stalk or mount, or third wheel in play often become apparent after a few weeks.  These dogs typically do better in enrichment programs that offer a higher staff to dog ratio.  Sometimes additional training with a professional trainer can help these dogs assimilate better in a pack environment.  

Dog Social 

Ten percent of dogs – and this is typically just very young puppies who have yet to reach adolescence – would be described as dog social.  This simply means that they want to interact with and play with EVERY dog they meet!  These dogs do well in daycare provided they are able to receive “corrections” (non-verbal indicators between conspecifics that signal communications such as ‘I’ve had enough’, ‘I don’t like what you’re doing’, ‘I’m done playing’, etc.) from other dogs.

Dog Aggressive

The final ten percent of dogs on our sociability scale would be described as dog aggressive; these dogs typically don’t even make it into pack for an evaluation because it’s often clear to their owners and/or staff  that they have poor social skills and are not comfortable around other dogs.  Behaviors common in dog aggressive dogs are growling, snapping, lunging, and a deep, low bark that is on a different audial scale than what could be described as a playful bark that tends to be more high-pitched.  These dogs can still make great pets, but it’s best to keep their interactions focused on humans instead of other dogs. 

As would be expected, the dogs who do best in a dog daycare environment are the dog social and dog tolerant dogs; however, as mentioned previously, dog selective dogs can do well in smaller pack environments or in enrichment programs that have a high staff to dog ratio.  It’s important to remember that traditional doggie daycare is not for every dog; the key is to figure out where your dog lies on the sociability scale and then to tailor their outlets based on what is best for them.

We understand that our clients have a wide range of reasons that they seek daycare – many of them work long hours and need a place for their dog to be during the day, others simply want a place where there dogs can socialize and/or exercise – for these clients, daycare is less of a need and more of an accoutrement.  Remaining cognizant of your own needs, whilst keeping in mind your dog’s individual temperament, will help you create a care program uniquely suited to your four-legged family member.

We’re here to help.  In addition to traditional doggy daycare, we also offer dog walking and smaller weekend playgroups for the dogs who need to work on their social skills.  Wherever your dog falls on the sociability spectrum, you can rest assured that our team of trained staff will be there to support you and your family with him/her.  After all, it takes a village. 

Know thyself.  Know thy dog.    

Wag more.  Bark less.


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