PLAY SESSION MANNERS
The play sessions we offer can benefit your dog both physically and mentally.
In order for our play sessions to run smoothly, we have offered some helpful tips below that we ask you to read through and follow whilst at Ryecroft Meadow.
✓ Arrive on time at the start of the session or part way through, if we have let the dogs off and are still near gates you will have to wait to come in!
✓ Park in the designated parking slots. (Near the cones).
✓ Only have a maximum of 2 dogs per handler.
✓ Keep your dogs on a lead as you enter the field and at all time outside of the field.
✓ Pay attention at all times to your dog(s). We ask you to watch your dog at all times to check what they’re doing if you feel uncomfortable or feel there is a problem call your dog back to you.
✓ Watch their body language. Dogs playing should be relaxed, signals may include wagging tails, play bow, relaxed ears.
✓ Leave if you think there is a problem. If you don’t feel comfortable and believe your dog is being a bully or being bullied, playing too rough or not happy with how other dogs are playing with your dog.
✓ Speak to your Vet. Ask about your dog's overall health before attending. (This is really important for young puppies please seek veterinary advice on whether it's suitable for them/how long they should attend for).
✓ Clean up after your dog. We have a bin for any dog waste. Any rubbish must be taken off-site.
✓ Be polite to other owners, we do not tolerate any rude behaviour at our sessions. If you have a problem speak to the staff.
✓ Think about how your dog feels. Watch your dogs demeanour and consider whether they are happy to be at the session.
✓ Spread out. Please don’t crowd one area of the field we have enough room for you to move around and to give your dogs space.
✓ Learn about what to do if a fight breaks out. We hope this does not happen, however, it is important owners are aware of what to do in this situation. There is no 100% safe way to break up a dog fight, however, we have offered some suggestions below; we also suggest you do your own research on breaking up dog fights, that don't involve deliberate dangerous methods.
Stay calm, many fights will only last for a few seconds. Dogs often figure out loud fights (barks, snarls etc) for themselves. This will probably result in little harm to each dog, at most a few small puncture wounds around their face, ears and neck may be visible. In this situation, once they have stopped they will likely 'shake off' and walk away. The dogs then need to be taken away separately by their owners to prevent another, more serious fight.
If a serious fight were to break out, often these will be far quieter, with one dog making most of the noise. These fights may require your intervention. As stated above, their body language must be considered and any persons involved must understand the risks of intervening. Some methods that have shown to be effective include
Spraying water towards the dogs, it can distract them for long enough to get them under control.
Loud bangs such as air horns, the majority of owners will not carry these but we do suggest loud bangs should help distract them. Whilst screaming and clapping can sometimes work, it has been shown to be less effective.
Throwing a blanket, jacket, coat or something large enough over each dog can help reduce their arousal and cut off sight as it becomes a physical barrier. Likewise, this will cushion the effect of teeth on the skin. In such a situation, you could consider moving in and physically separating the dogs by picking up or moving them as they are wrapped up.
Picking each dogs hind legs up so that they only have their two front paws on the ground. Each dog should be picked up at the same time (like a wheelbarrow) and then pulled back to separate them. The dogs should be pulled back in a circle slowly so that they have to sidestep to stop themselves falling, this will help prevent the dog from turning back to bite you. The dogs should then be placed under control and not released as the fight will most likely continue. Quick removal from the situation once under control is vital and each dog should not have the other in their sight.
Once the dogs are under control we suggest you do not check the dog over immediately as they will be highly aroused and may turn on you, allow them to calm down.
To avoid a fight breaking out please watch your dogs body language and remove them if you are concerned. We also ask, if you know there is a problem please leave the session, being a responsible dog owner will help avoid any problems.
X Allow a dog to bully another.
X Use treats when other dogs are nearby.
X Be rude to other owners.
X Allow humping. Distract the dogs rather than grabbing them if possible; redirecting them to a more appropriate behaviour is best!
X Bring a female dog that is in season/heat. Please wait at least 4 weeks from the start of their season before bringing them to a session.
X Bring a dog with a pre-existing behavioural problem that will specifically be affected by putting them in a situation with strangers (both dog and human), loud noises (barking), cars in the parking area and so on.
X Bring food for humans.
X Be afraid to remove your dog if you have any concerns.
Be sure to ask the staff if you are concerned about any of the body language you are seeing, whether it be your own dog or another.