THE BENEFITS OF playgroups
– A Dogs Playing for Life Manual Preview -
In addition to exercise and social interactions, playgroups provide opportunities for enrichment, assessment, training, and behavior modification. The benefits of daily playgroups include:
MORE ACCURATE ASSESSMENTS
Playgroups help determine social skills more accurately.
Evaluating dogs for inclusion in playgroups and observing them interacting with one another will give staff a better, faster understanding of the dogs in their care. Staff will learn that a dog’s behavior on-leash or in their kennel (such as leash reactivity and barrier reactivity) is not an accurate indicator of a dog’s social skills. A dog that may be labeled aggressive because of kennel behavior may exhibit healthy social skills in playgroups.
INCREASED FREEDOM & REDUCED STRESS
Playgroups support physical and mental health.
During playgroups dogs burn off physical energy and, due to the intensive social interactions, they burn mental energy as well. This type of interaction feeds their senses and supports their overall health. Spending time off-leash and out of their kennels reduces stress and allows them to relax in and outside of the runs.
Playgroups make the most of every moment.
In shelters, every second counts. Playgroups can provide the fastest way to attend to the largest number of dogs in the shortest amount of time. Rather than walking singularly, a playgroup team can attend to many more dogs in the same time period. If dogs need to be removed from their kennels for cleaning, they can be brought out to playgroups, instead of being tethered or crated. Empty kennels can be cleaned more humanely, efficiently and effectively. Once the dogs are returned to their kennels, they have had ample time to exercise and relieve themselves, which translates into fewer cleanups for the staff.
For example: At the Longmont Humane Society, they are able to rotate an average of 80 dogs through their daily playgroups (with each dog receiving approximately twenty minutes of play time) in just 2.5 hours every morning.
At Indianapolis Animal Care and Control, cleaning time was dramatically reduced when playgroups were demonstrated during the seminar. When full, the kennels typically took 3-6 hours to clean. During playgroups the kennels were cleaned in just 1.5 hours.
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