pranaDOGS Behavior & Rehab Center is located on 20 beautiful acres just outside of Durango, CO. It includes confidence and agility courses, climbing and walking areas, dog obstacles and of course plenty of room to play, train and run.
After working with dogs for decades we’ve found a simple formula that works. It’s not rocket science but it does take effort to implement successfully; to hold routines while also realizing we need to be flexible, because dogs, like us, are all different – and there’s never going to be one answer for everyone.
Adjustment period – KEY STEP (and one most miss) This is where you are ‘holding the space’ for the dog. You’ve invited them into your world, but in order to set up a solid foundation it’s imperative for them to watch and not interact. By doing this, you’re allowing them to learn the routine without walking in with old patterns and behaviors. Dogs absorb a lot by watching. Give them the chance to see how things work; how the other dogs interact with you and most importantly it gives them a chance to let their defenses down.
Identify & Evaluate – Once the dog has settled in (typically after 3-5 days) it’s here you identify what issues are at play; what type of dog you’re dealing with and therefore the best training approach to take. It is also where you identify any problem behaviors. In this step we develop our training plan including milestones, timelines and goals.
Problem Solving – this is where we work through household and people manners, including jumping, barking, doorways, house training, cat interactions, greeting appropriately, dog reactivity, counter surfing, etc.
Training – perhaps it seems odd that training is the last step but we’ve found that this is also the easiest step – and one that’s technically built throughout their stay.
By implementing this 4-step formula, we’ve had success helping and rehoming hundreds of dogs since 2015.
Where do we get our dogs?
We work in partnership with organizations, dogs come to us through a shelter or rescue then after rehab are adopted through the original organization. This allows pranaDOGS to focus on the dogs and their needs and growth and let the original organization connect with the adopters.
How long does it usually take?
The majority of dogs are ready to go in 3-4 weeks. But some, depending on their reactivity or earlier trauma take longer.
Do the dogs live outside?
No! Our goal at pranaDOGS is to set dogs up to live successfully in a house, with a family, so it’s imperative that they practice inside. Dogs are pack animals and do not want to be alone. Many want the company of another dog but most want the company of humans.
What’s a typical day like?
Our days are busy here at pranaDOGS. The dogs start their day at 6am with romps in the yards then breakfast followed by their first training session. We have a group play session before lunch followed by naps. In the afternoon training sessions start up again and run until dinner time. Group play happens again after dinner and everyone is in and typically asleep by 9pm.
What happens if a dog cannot be rehabilitated?
Unfortunately not every dog can be helped. Sometimes dogs, just like us, shoot themselves in the foot over and over again. When we feel we cannot help a dog at pranaDOGS or when it’s going to take an extended period of time (6mo or more) we have a discussion with the sponsoring organization. The decision is theirs to make.
We have fostered dogs here for well over 12-months who are now successfully in their lifelong homes but it can be a tremendous commitment to make, and since we’re talking about living beings there are no guarantees. We have succeeded with more than 94% of the dogs that have come to us!