Monthly Archive: May 2019

A Dog’s Day at Glencadia

A lot of people have been writing to ask questions about the day here. Here are some recent sample questions from people curious about Glencadia:

What is the daily routine/structure of their day like? Indoor vs outdoor time? Activity vs rest time?

We have at least two and at busy times (holidays, summer) as many as five people here in the morning to do clean up and feeding (remove all feces, clean floors, beds, feed, bowls). In this time, from about 7 in the morning to 11, all dogs also get some time in the big fields.

Depending on the mix of dogs, we might have a group of dogs go out to a field with a human – maybe 5 to about 15. Another group of about the same number might be in the yard closer to the building. While, say, I am out by the pond (Will), Vern is cleaning back in the house. Still, all the dogs are outside playing, digging, for the whole time if the weather is halfway decent.

In the summer or Christmas, plus a few other times, add some more people and more groups out, and more people cleaning.

By the time everyone has been out for a romp, the place is clean, everyone had breakfast, it might be 11 or 12 or even 1 in the afternoon, depending on how many people are working and how many dogs there are, and also the weather.

We have five 1+ acre fields (ranging from an acre to about seven), three with access to ponds, one with a woods, another with a sandbox kind of digging area, and then there is the driveway/entrance area. In addition, we have 12 smaller yards, but I’ll get to that one.

So, then there is midday, from about noon to maybe 3 or 4 in the afternoon. This is time when people and dogs are supposed to rest. Dogs would be broken up into small groups of say 3 to maybe 6. They will all have access to some kind of yard for most or all of this time.

The evening is very seasonal. Five o’clock feels like the end of the day in the winter and just the beginning of a long evening in the summer. Either way, we will mix up the groups a bit, head back out to the fields, do a light clean up, give a lighter meal, then put out more beds and blankets, turn up the heat or AC as needed, and eventually bring everyone in, most of the time. On a really fine summer night, I might leave the yard doors open so they can still go out at night. Or we could take some upstairs, close everything up. If it’s winter, we turn up the heat.

What are the sleeping arrangements like for the dogs?

We have as many at 48 different rooms, which vary quite a bit in size. Some are clearly only for one dog and others could have three. We have beds we think work great and the dogs seem to like them. If dogs are from the same house they will definitely be together. And a couple of super friendly dogs that have been together all day and are clearly enjoying each other’s company might also well share a room. Dogs seem much happier to share a space with someone than to be alone. I guess technically a dog that I have known to be nice for years could get in a fight with another dog I know for sure is nice, but it never happens.

Are they off leash the whole time?

We basically never use leashes. We don’t need them. We have double fencing all around and we can close up the entrance way and lead them all out to the fields without leashes. We use leashes in the van sometimes to make it easier to get everyone in for the night. Then we take them right off. Some dogs need a leash because they don’t listen and won’t come back or for some other special reason, but generally, almost all the dogs never go on a leash once they get into the Glencadia area.

Are the dogs always under human supervision? Is there any time when dogs are left unsupervised?

There is always someone around the general area but that doesn’t mean we can see every dog all the time. If I’m in the kitchen area, I can’t see the dogs in the field or on the north side. If I’m in and out of my house, I might not see every dog every minute. Someone is always around, though, and we check in on every dog regularly. They would almost never go an hour without seeing someone, except at night.

Are intact dogs permitted? (Heath is neutered.)

Yes. We don’t have many. And they may well not have as much freedom as neutered dogs. Some neutered males, for example, do not like intact males, if they were castrated over the age of two in fact. Otherwise, females in heat could be a problem, so we have to be aware of the possibility. So people do have to tell us!

Or dogs who are not good with other dogs and/or are dog aggressive?

Aggressive dogs are not allowed. Some dogs are unfriendly or just don’t like other dogs. We can isolate such dogs and they can be by themselves if they come in here.

Do you know of fireworks in the area for July 4th? Where are the dogs during this time?

Good question! We don’t have official fireworks but I can’t guarantee some clown is not going to shoot something off in the cornfield behind my place. A lot of dogs hate fireworks and thunder and when these loud booming noises break out, someone sits with the dogs and comforts them, and makes sure they don’t get desperate.

Dog Management

Not every dog has the same experience at Glencadia. We want all of them to be outside, playing, having fun, and socializing as much as possible, but these activities do not all happen instantly for every dog in the same way.

There are many variables that determine somewhat what the day of a dog here might look like. For example, some dogs have been here many times, know the ropes so to speak, or are just very comfortable in the new setting right away even though they have never been here. Other dogs are comfortable but have some health concerns. Some are nervous around new people or frightened by big open spaces or more than one dog at a time. Others, for whatever reason, do not seem to want to be with other dogs in a new setting. Others are young, excited, but maybe overzealous from the point of view of another more sedate dog.

There are dogs that come here for the first time and seem nervous. I can tell this is a great, friendly dog who will be a great buddy in a while, but isn’t sure about this new situation. This attitude might mean the dog is smart. I remember every one of these types of dogs since it usually takes some work, patience, and time for them to come around, and then when they do, and suddenly become friendly and ready to socialize, it’s a relief and feels like some kind of progress. Other new dogs show up, see the big fields, the other dogs, and are ready to party the first minute they show up.

Most of the dogs here at any given time have been here before and we know them. Vern has worked here for 10 years. I’ve been doing it for about 14. Garry, Julia, Aenne, Brooke: they know a lot of them too. We know that Woody likes to be in the front room and is fine right there. We know Bohdi likes the spot under the stairs. Some like to make a big hole in the yard. Ace gets jealous if you pay attention to KZ. Mystic likes to be sprayed with a hose. Clover loves the treats but doesn’t eat the kibble. Seymour doesn’t like new people coming to visit and has to say something to any new dog as well. Mickey will wreck any blanket you give him. Ginger likes to be the boss and isn’t great with another bossy female.

If we have a new dog that is nervous, sometimes one very relaxed old timer, or my dog Picasso, or Puppe, will help them see that there is nothing to worry about it. There is no doubt that they pick up each other’s moods and attitudes.

Sometimes I say we should all go for a romp by the pond or in another field before breakfast. Sometimes some have breakfast while others are still out with a larger group exploring and playing.

In the middle of the day, after breakfast and a romp around, if possible, some downtime is a fine idea for midday. Then evening, we do it all again.

This little post is far from comprehensive but might help to get a sense of how we interact and organize dogs. I’ll write about more specific issues in another post! Thanks for reading.