Yesterday was Milo's first visit to Coventry Doggie Day Care.
This Columbia facility is open 7 days a week for day care, boarding, training and grooming. Today Milo was evaluated for suitability to enroll in doggie day care. And, of course, his grandmother went with him just be sure that they were TOTALLY aware of all Milo's wonderful qualities, intelligence, and good looks. I also wanted them to know that Milo had strong extended family ties, a magnificent pedigree and a great wardrobe.
So we put on Milo's best sweater - the one his grandmother knitted for him and off we went. But first he needed to "stop and smell the flowers" and "water" them before getting in the car with his mom.
After talking with the owner of the center, the exam started. She looked at his teeth and did a brief physical exam. He passed!
Then Milo went with the owner into the open play area to see how he adjusted to a strange environment, other dogs and being crated. Dogs are divided into basic groupings: puppies, adults, seniors and special needs. Three puppies were selected to meet Milo with each puppy entering one at a time until all 3 dogs were interacting with him. It appears he failed that little test, because he was playing too rough. Too much in charge! Too Alpha! Too Milo! What is remarkable is that these 3 puppies were all bigger than him. In fact, one of the puppies we a Rotweiller puppy that was 3 times Milo size. Never let it be said that "attitude" can't carry the day. So 3 adult dogs were selected and the test continued to see just which group Milo did best with. The adult dogs held their own with Milo (who has a pretty large impression of himself - in the mirror he sees a Great Dane.) And so he passed that test - he will be grouped with the adult dogs.
My daughter and I were watching this series of tests through a glass door (unable to participate in any way, offer encouragements or advice - damn). Like a nervous parent and grandparent, we watched Milo interact with 6 dogs total, hoping he was doing the right things, not being tooo overbearing, but wanting him to handle the situations well. The center owner had her own check list - checking off various observations while we watch anxiously. And at no time did the facility owner ask about his pedigree or his wardrobe! :-) *sigh*
Other than the omission on the wardrobe question, I was very impressed with this woman's ability to "read" the body language of the dogs as they interacted with each other. Her approach is based mostly on ignoring undesirable behavior and rewarding acceptable behavior. She used her own body language - rather than her voice - to communicate with the dogs. And her desire to pick the right group for Milo - for his benefit as well as the benefit of the other dogs was very assuring. Her actions and comments spoke of confidence and experience.
Milo's first daycare session is schedule for a 1/2 day one week from today - a Saturday. If today is any indication of how this will go (he has been soundly asleep since we returned several hours ago - after only one hour at day care), a 1/2 day of doggie day care should make him unconscious for a full 48 hours!!
Hopefully he will learn to pace himself.