Living at an animal shelter is stressful to any dog that enters our doors.

Luckily we have several ways to help these dogs relieve stress throughout the week.

One way we help them relieve stress is through playgroups.

Playgroups give dogs the chance to expel their energy and interact with other dogs in a controlled setting.

Playgroups are monitored yard play time between groups of dogs.

You may ask, “How can you make sure they will all get along?”

By determining their play style, and testing them 1-on-1 before they enter the yard!

What are playstyles?

Playstyles are what we use to categorize a dog’s level in play. The same playstyles generally do well together. Categories that we use include Gentle + Dainty, Rough + Rowdy, Playstyle Varies, & Playgroup Rockstar.

Gentle + Dainty dogs

Dogs that are categorized with gentle + dainty playstyles have mutually engaging play, are relatively quiet, and can become nervous. These dogs do best when matched with other gentle + dainty dogs.

Rough + Rowdy dogs

These dogs have mostly mutual play, are typically very noisy and vocal, have a wrestling play style, chasing and tumbling other dogs, & grabbing and holding other dogs. These dogs can ramp up and escalate in play but also deescalate play to avoid conflict. Rough + Rowdy dogs love to play together.

Playstyle Varies

These dogs can engage in both rough + rowdy & gentle + dainty play. They can choose their playstyle by how the other dog plays. Some days they may be gentle + dainty and others rough + rowdy. It depends on how they are feeling that day.

Playgroup Rockstars

The dog may have a certain playstyle they stick to but they prove to do excellent in interactions with all dogs despite their playstyle. They tend to read body language well and get along with all dogs.

Why is it important to identify their play style?

To help make sure their fur-ever home will be a good fit. By identifying a shelter dog’s playstyle, adoption counselors can help you identify your current dog’s playstyle to help you find a good match.

Playgroups in action!