What is this I hear about an assessment?
Barx Parx offers no-charge behavioral assessments of every dog before any services may be purchased. Assessments take approximately twenty minutes per dog. Common practice for many day care and boarding facilities is to simply put your dog into the play area with other dogs and see how they do. That sort of "trial by fire" assessment isn't fair to your dog and doesn't provide the level of safety that we are committed to offering for our two legged and four legged guests. At Barx Parx, we understand what safe canine play means and we are committed to ensure that dogs that we allow into the park are comfortable around both humans and other dogs. Once our assessor establishes a level of comfort with your dog's social skills, we will introduce your dog to other dogs in our play area. As we go through the assessment we will communicate many of the behaviors that we see along with pointing out many of the communication indicators <link to stress infographic page> that your dog is trying to communicate.
Does every dog pass?
No. Every dog does not pass our assessment. About ten percent of dogs that we assess don't pass and that is totally fine. Barx Parx is a great environment for a great many dogs but some dogs will thrive better in large open spaces and some dogs simply wouldn't be great candidates for dog parks in general. They aren't bad dogs, they simply may be lacking social skills that would prevent them from having a safe time. A private training session with one of our Barx Parx trainers would be an excellent option if you want to work on improving social skills.
What if my dog doesn't pass?
Not passing the assessment is not the end of the world. If your dog doesn't pass, we are more than happy to do another assessment at no charge. This is a new environment and everyone has an off-day. Sometimes it isn't a black or white pass or fail. We may approve your pup for the park while accompanied by you but because of owner separation concerns, we may not approve for daycare or boarding services.
What if I don't want to do the assessment?
No problem. Although you would need to leave your four-legged friend at home, human-only Barx Parx passes are available for a nominal fee. <link to page about human-only visitors (need to create)>
Some dogs are protective of their owners.
Dogs are a social species and pack animals. When they feel like a member of their pack is in danger, they protect their own. When in a social setting, some dogs can exhibit protective behavior even when no danger exists. Some dogs don't like people in hoods/hats/jackets/glasses. Rather than have a strict dress code for our human guests at Barx Parx, we test to ensure that dogs are not reactive to certain apparel.
Some dogs don't like other dogs.
We use decoy dogs as a preliminary indicator for potential interaction concerns. We never let dogs into the dog park without first doing an individual assessment.
Some dogs bark frequently.
During the assessment we get a good understanding of the reasons behind your dogs barking. Brief play barking and greeting barking are normal and acceptable however some types of barking can indicate trouble to other dogs and increase the level of stress in the park. With an indoor dog park, additional scrutiny must be placed on barking because it is amplified when inside a building. More information on barking can be found here.
Some dogs get anxious when their owner isn't present.
Dogs exhibiting separation anxiety when their pet parent leaves the room may not be good candidates for daycare or boarding. Even leaving the play park for a short time can upset some dogs so we ask that you stay with your dog at all times. Please note that we do require at least a half day of daycare before leaving your dog for boarding.
Are we too strict with our assessment?
Safety is one of our core values at Barx Parx and we are committed to being the safest dog park that you've ever been to. At Barx Parx, we provide trained human supervision in the dog park and a free assessment of each dog before they enter the park. We also require current vaccinations for every dog. We take every reasonable precaution to ensure that the safety and well being of our guests.
We ask that you not record our behavior assessments as the additional distraction can upset your dog and get in the way of the interaction between you and our assessor but rest assured that all of our assessments are recorded for staff training purposes. If you wish to review the recording at a later date, we offer a 30 minute follow-up consultation with a trainer to provide context to the video and an action plan for any trainable behaviors observed during the assessment. We even offer this service for dogs that do pass, even the most socialized dogs have room to grow. Our dog training services can be found here <link to training services page>.
Now that you know what to expect, let's do this!
If you haven't already, the next step is to create an account and upload your pup's shot records at our registration page
and let's get this party started.