Boarding Kennel Stress: Be proactive, you may have a great time away but your dog may not.
I originally wrote this article back in January 2014, I monitored the number of views and for 2014 I received a total 10844 views on both of my articles “Boarding Kennel Stress in Dogs: Things owners need to know!” & “Tips for boarding anxious/nervy dogs” there seems to be a lot of concerned owners out there. Dog Owners need to be proactive when it comes to boarding their dog, you may have a great time away but your dog may not.
Unfortunately, even now, it still never ceases to amaze me, how many dog owners ring and ask if I have room to board their dog and their dog has never been in kennels before. (since writing this article, I no longer board dogs)
Dogs need to be introduced to a kennel environment early on, not at the last-minute a few days before you go on holiday. Separation Anxiety and related problems are on the increase. I am personally seeing more & more dogs with these issues and they unfortunately can be one of the hardest behaviour problems to fix.
All too often dogs are treated like babies and can become over reliant on their human family, that goes for big dogs as well as small dogs. Dogs like children, need to become independent and be able to happily function on their own. If you have a multiple dog household the same applies. Dogs should be equally happy to hangout with each other or be on their own. Again, same as people.
So be proactive and introduce your dog to a kennel environment early on. Below is a list of things, dog owners need to do, to help their dogs stay in kennels, be a happy one.
1. If your dog has never been in kennels before condition your dog to going into kennels, day stays at a boarding kennel are a good way of getting your dog used to it. If you have a kennel and run at home or some other form of containment, such as a garage, small bedroom or a dog crate, use it.
2. If you are a multi dog household make sure your dogs are independent of each other and can cope on their own. Separate kenneling or confinement goes along way, in helping with that. Doesn’t mean that they can’t hangout together, just means they are ok with being alone. The same goes for dogs who are too attached to their owner, they too need to be made independent.
3. Visit facilities, talk to the kennel owner, are they knowledgeable and friendly do they understand dogs and dog behaviour. Just because they run a boarding kennel, doesn’t mean they understand dogs or dog behaviour.
If you have a nervy, anxious or dog aggressive dog or a dog who just needs space. Ask if the kennel owner is experienced in handling these types of dogs and can accommodate them. Introducing these dogs to kennels may take a bit more time on the part of you the owner and the boarding kennel owner. (Ask how they go about introducing these types dogs to a kennel environment) Some kennels may not take them because they are not set up to do so. Also certain breeds of dogs, may not be welcome.
4. To make your dogs stay less stressful and more comfortable, ask if you can bring a blanket or toy etc of theirs.
5. Ask how your dog will be exercised, some kennels walk the dogs, others let them out to run in large compounds with other dogs. If they are let out to run with other dogs, ask if they are supervised in other words is someone physically present, while the dogs are being exercised. Even friendly dogs can fall out and a dogfight may ensue, Also signs of stress or distress need to be watched out for, so it is important that dogs are supervised, at all times.(Refer AsureQuality Limited, Pet Boarding Establishments,Kennel Code of Practice).
Click on the link to read what can happen if dogs are left unsupervised: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/9127003/Couple-furious-after-pet-mauled
Be aware some kennels leave dogs to run unsupervised.
If your dog is Nervy, anxious, dog aggressive or a dog who just need some space, ask if your dog can be individually exercised.If your dog is anxious or nervy, please read tips for boarding anxious/nervy dogs
6. If your dog is on a special diet or needs medication ask if the kennel will feed the diet required or dispense medication.
7. Also ask what food the kennel feeds the dogs and ask if it would be possible for you to bring your own dogs food, so his/her diet remains the same.
8. Read Socialising your dog, the right way
Incorrect socialising even in a boarding kennel environment can and does lead to behaviour problems in dogs, such as aggression or timidness.
I hope the above information helps you the dog owner to make an informed decision.
November 29, 2015 at 4:32 pm
Thank you for the informative blog, I really wish I had read it in advance before boarding them at a cut rate place where I am now wondering if they fed them the food I left. One of my dogs are vomiting dark yellow bile with a ting of blood in it. The other dog did the same the night before. I gave them 5 cans of expensive dog food along with dry individually wrapped. Much more than they needed and when I picked them up all food was gone and bowls (water) looked as if they were not touched. My question at this point is does the state or animal control not regulate these places?
Zerobites Dog Training
November 30, 2015 at 2:02 am
Hi Margaret, Thank you for your message. Anyone can open up a kennel or doggy day care. Here in NZ there are regulation guidelines but it is a bit loose, a kennel can for example choose to be accredited or not. Many are not. So long as a kennel meets the basic requirements and standards. I assume in the US every state has a different code but I am not sure about that. Unless there is obvious signs of neglect and people complain. The chances are nothing will be done. People often just don’t use that kennel again but won’t complain. Unless its something really bad, eg dog attacks, which do happen.