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Boarding Kennel Stress in Dogs: Things Owners Need to Know!

Boarding Kennel Stress in Dogs: Things Owners Need to Know!

I originally wrote this article in 2014, it is now November 2018. I keep an eye on the stats and search terms and the number of views have increased greatly. In fact I would have to say “Boarding Kennel Stress in Dogs: Things owners need to know!” is one of my most viewed (181,966) and read articles to date.

The search terms, phrases and words have stayed, very consistent.  It goes without saying, the more traffic the more views but for people to seek out and read this article, does mean, people are still having issues and concerns over boarding kennel facilities and their dog’s welfare, worldwide.

In my opinion, one of the major problems, is anyone can open a boarding kennels or doggy day care, these people may have good intentions and love dogs but having a love of dogs isn’t enough. They need to understand dog behaviour, dog safety and do their research on how to set up and run a good facility. They also need to have a good training program in place for their employees, if they employ staff.

Pet parents on the other hand, need to do their research, and don’t take things for granted, after all they trust the facility will take care of their pets, while they are away. Pet parents should also do some work, by introducing their pets to a boarding facility, before they need to use one. Instead of leaving things to the last minute because dog/cats need to be acclimatized. Day or night stays are a great way of doing this. This also means pet parents will have an opportunity, to check out facilities. 

Below is the original article I wrote in 2014 

Again here is another aspect of Dog Safety that seriously needs to be looked at. For many these days, the word supervise means just keeping an eye on the dogs as they are walking around doing other things, which is not good enough!

Boarding kennel stress is real! Dogs become stressed the same as you and I and putting your dog into boarding kennels, can be very stressful for them. Imagine taking a young child to a strange place and leaving it with people it doesn’t know. The child will more often than not, become distressed and upset. The same thing can and does happen to dogs.

Even steady dogs can become stressed when confronted by new surroundings, change of diet and routine. Let alone being put into a kennel they are unfamiliar with, surrounded by strange smells and other dogs, some of which, maybe barking.

Often, owners don’t realize or it never occurs to them, that their dog may become stressed under these conditions, especially, if signs of stress aren’t noticed in their home environment or when they are out and about. A boarding kennel environment can be especially hard on nervy, fearful, anxious or dog aggressive dogs. It can also be hard on dogs from the same household, if they are not used to being separated, being alone or being away from their owner. Some dogs who have never been in kennels before in their life, find kenneling very restrictive. Then there are some dogs who just need more space than others. Separation related issues in dogs are on the increase and do impact on a dogs behaviour.

Many kennels these days and I do the same, ask if your dog has been in kennels before, if not day/night stays are recommended, prior to boarding. So start conditioning your dog early, be proactive, even if you are not going away, introduce your dog to a boarding kennel environment. Dogs need to have good experiences again a bad experience can impact on their behaviour.

Signs of kennel stress can manifest in dogs in many ways:

Aggression: often due to fear, dog cannot be handled by anyone other than the owner (may need a few short visits so your dog gets used to being handled by someone else)

Excessive barking & whining: it’s a sign the dog is distressed and it also very unsettling for the other dogs

Loss of appetite: not eating, due to stress and/or change of diet. Change of diet, may also cause vomiting and diarrhea

Constant licking of the lips: dogs do that to try to calm themselves down

Pacing & Depression: Some dogs who have never been confined before may try to break out by throwing themselves against the walls or door of the kennel.

What you the owner can do to make your dog’s stay less stressful and more enjoyable

1. 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 facility, doesn’t mean they understand dogs and 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. 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 there, someone physically present, “standing  & watching”, while the dogs are being exercised.

Even friendly dogs can fall out and a dogfight may ensue, also signs of stress, distress & bullying maybe missed, so it is important, that someone is standing there watching, with their Eyes Wide Open at all times. (Refer AsureQuality Ltd Kennel Code of Practice).

Also, ask if they exercise small and big dogs together in groups. Small & Big dogs should not be exercised together, they both should have their own exercise areas. Some big dogs may see small dogs as prey, so there is a possibility, they could chase and kill them.

Be aware some kennels leave dogs to run together unsupervised. In other words, there isn’t anyone watching them all the time, while they are out running around.

So don’t just ask, if the dogs are supervised while running together, ask if “someone is physically present,” all the time, while the dogs are being exercised.

Also, read the boarding kennel contract before you sign. Most state that they are not liable for anything that happens to your dog while in kennels. Which is fair enough because they are running a business but the risk can be reduced if there is someone watching with their Eyes Wide Open for signs of distress, aggression, stress etc if dogs are let out to run in groups.

After all, when dog and cat owners for that matter, place their pets in these establishments, they trust that they have their pets best interests at heart.

Click on the links below to read what can happen, when dogs are left unsupervised.

Auckland dog daycare shuts down following death

http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/9127003/Couple-furious-after-pet-mauled

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/cap-pelé-kennel-owner-negligent-after-dog-fatally-attacked-1.2793484

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 socializing your dog, the right way
Incorrect socializing 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.

Copyright 2014

Elayne Hand

Zerobites Dog Training

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2018 in About

 

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Dog Training Classes, Ashhurst Palmerston North start Sunday 25th November @ 1.30pm, min class size 4, max size 6, means more time spent with you and your dog. “Book Now” to secure your place.

Dog Training Classes, Ashhurst Palmerston North start Sunday 25th November @ 1.30pm, min class size 4, max size 6, means more time spent with you and your dog. “Book Now” to secure your place.

Dog Training Classes with an expert dog trainer and behaviorist The course is very comprehensive and unlike others, covers more than just dog obedience & dog behaviour.

Small classes max no 6, Min 4, so you will learn more and I can spend more time with you and your dog. unlike some of the larger classes.

To secure your place, Book Now! Start: Ashhurst Domain, Palmerston North, Sunday 25th November 2018@ 1.30pm. Suitable for dogs of all ages.

Classes are kept, as age appropriate as possible. I will teach you how to handle your dog in real life situations.

The course teaches you: How to Effectively communicate With Your Dog & How Dogs Communicate With Each Other. Commands: Sit, Stay, Recall, Down, Social Walking (loose lead/heel) Stand, Leave It (visit Turid Rugaas link on this blog to gain a better insight on how dogs communicate, with each other). Covers Minor Behaviour’s Such As: Jumping Up, Digging Holes, Pulling On The Lead etc

My aim is to also promote dog safety & awareness so this class also covers: How to socialize your dog, the right way. Basic dog behaviour & safety around dogs & people/Dog bite prevention, Responsible Dog Ownership/Dog Control Act, Introduction to Canine Parkour (Urban Agility).

All dogs must be fully vaccinated.

Making a dog safety difference in 2018, most dog bites are preventable. It would be great if we could all in a small way help, turn the tide and try to reduce, through education, the number dog bites/ dog attacks in NZ.

Hopefully along the way, prevent someone from getting bitten and save a few dogs, a one way trip to the vet.

Course cost: $110 (FAQ sheets included) runs for 4 weeks (4 x 1 hour sessions) For more information visit: http://www.zerobitesdogtraining.com/BLT.html  or fill out the form below. Payment to be made, prior to commencement of class.

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2018 in About

 

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Kids, Dogs and the Holidays, Are you prepared?

Kids, Dogs and the Holidays, Are you prepared?

The Christmas holidays are nearly upon us, so are you prepared for Kids, Dogs and the Holidays?

Any gathering can be a cause for concern when dogs and kids are involved, it doesn’t just have to be around the holidays. 77% of dog bites are caused by the family dog or a friends dog. Statements such as “my dog wouldn’t hurt anyone” or “my dog is good around kids” really need to be taken with a grain of salt.

All dogs have the potential to harm, given the right situation and humans are no different, if backed into a corner. We can become verbal or physical, if necessary.  Dogs on the other hand, use body language to communicate their stress, distress, discomfort or they may even growl, then bite.

All too often people don’t see the potential dangers because they feel too secure and comfortable around dogs and are often oblivious to the potential dangers associated with inappropriate behaviour and not being aware.

Having a family gatherings or party, you can’t be watching both your dog and what is going on around you all the time, your dog needs a safe place to go where it won’t be bothered. Dogs can become very stressed and people can do stupid things.

Below is a very good graphic with tips and advice from Doggone Safe, these tips can be applied anytime, not just during the holidays. Also, take a look at, Dog Safety for all (not just kids), most dog bites are preventable!

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2018 in About

 

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Travelling with Dogs: Hot Days, Cool Dogs

Travelling with Dogs: Hot Days, Cool Dogs

Most of you will have heard by now about the new animal welfare regulations that came into force this month (Oct 2018) regarding people who leave dogs in hot cars. People can be now fined up to $300 for leaving their dog in a vehicle, on a hot day.

Dogs, don’t sweat, they rely mostly on their respiratory tract to keep themselves cool. (panting) Dogs such as Bullmastiffs, Pugs, Bulldogs and the like find it even harder. If you haven’t read the article click on the link below:

People who leave dogs in hot cars to face up to $300 fine

Many children and dogs die each year from being left alone in vehicles. Unfortunately, these deaths are very preventable.

I think everyone should read this article, I found on Bark Post written by Dr Katy Nelson

Here’s Exactly What Happens To The Body Of A Dog Left In A Hot Car

So if it is a very hot day it would be a good idea to leave your dog at home, with plenty of water and shade.

If you need or have to take your dog with you and depending on what travel set up you have, (not everyone has the same) I personally have a crate in the back of my ute. Holly has her bed, blanket and full water bowl in there and the side windows are open. If  I have to leave her in my vehicle, I switch on the portable fan and depending where I am parked and how long I am going to be, I throw a reflective cover (sun shade) over the ute canopy and attach it, with tie downs.

Here are a few things you can do, to keep your dog cool.

  • Take plenty of water with you, a bowl or bottle, whatever your dog likes to drink out of. Along with a couple of towels (microfiber are good but any towel will do)
  • Cool mats are also a good option to take with you, there are different sizes available. (also good for humans too)
  • Drive with your windows cracked, not all the way down or use your vehicle’s air con.
  • Depending where you are travelling to, stop every hour or so and let your dog out for a pit stop and a walk around. Keep an eye on your dog, for signs of distress and over heating, (Heatstroke).
  • If you have to leave your dog alone in your vehicle, park somewhere in the shade if no shade is available, here some options for keeping your dog cool in your vehicle, whether in the shade or not.
  • 1. Portable fan, there are a variety of battery/rechargeable fans available. You may have to train your dog to get used to the fan. (with the windows cracked open it will help with air flow as well).
  • 2. Keep the windows cracked but not enough so your dog can try and jump out. Also remember there are a lot of idiots out there, who have no sense and when they see a dog and may try to put their hand through the window, to pat your dog. Its a Dog bite waiting to happen. Some may think, “too bad if they get bitten, its their fault,” which it is but think about your dog.
  • 3. Put the cool mat on the seat if you have one or a damp towel will do fine. Not a great idea, if your dog is a chewer. A bit of training may be need, here as well.
  • 4. Leave some water, not too much, again training maybe needed to get your dog used to having water, on tap. There are a variety of bottles available you can teach your dog to drink from. There are also a lot of car storage accessories, drink holders and the like that can be modified, for this use also.
  • 5. Sun shades, many of us put our sun shades on the inside of the vehicle and while they may reduce the temperature slightly and keep the dash from getting too hot. They don’t reduce the temperature enough, when placed on the inside of a vehicles windscreen.  It is better to place the sun shades on the outside of the windscreen as they will reflect the sun and heat away, before it hits the screen.
  • 6. Now you can go one step further and put an reflective tarp or aluminet over the roof of your vehicle. Sun shades shouldn’t be pulled and attached too tightly because there needs to be, some air flow.
  • If you are worried someone may steal your sun shades, you can always go the cheap DIY route, grab 3-4 windscreen shades and duct tape them together, to make one large sun shade, then tie them down with bungy cords or the like.

Lastly, keep all of your gear for your dog, permanently in your vehicle, if you use some water, fill the container up, if you need to recharge or replace batteries, do so then put them back in your vehicle. By doing this, you will not forget anything, on your next trip.

Travelling with dogs: Pet First Aid

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2018 in About

 

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Your puppy needs to be fully vaccinated, before attending class. What does this mean?

Your puppy needs to be fully vaccinated, before attending class. What does this mean?

I am not going to go into the pros & cons of vaccinating your dog and what it entails, as there is plenty of information out there (do your research) and if you are not sure about something, ask your vet.

I train dogs in the Ashhurst Domain and other public areas, the Domain for example, is open to the public 24/7 as are many other parks and reserves. It is also a high traffic area, meaning people, dogs, (vaccinated or not) vehicles etc, can come and go as they please.

In other words it is not a controlled environment. So the risk, of your, not fully vaccinated puppy contracting something, is greater.

If you do decide to take your puppy out, it may or may not contract something but that is the risk you take and the choice, you make.

What does fully vaccinated mean? it means by the time your puppy reaches 14 – 16 weeks of age, it should have had, all its shots and be fully vaccinated. Of course, as with anything, there are exceptions.

Now I hear you say, what about socialising, or my puppy is doing this and that, what do I do?

Well if you know someone who has a fully vaccinated dog and the dog, is mellow and chilled, you could introduce your puppy to him/her OR you could attend a puppy pre-school, where you will find puppies of similar ages, up to 4 months.

Puppy pre-schools are often run by your local vet but look around and see what is available in your area.  These classes are held in a “controlled environment” and the puppies your puppy will meet, will be at various stages, on their vaccination schedule.

I hope the above has helped clear up any confusion some people may have had, regarding the term “Fully Vaccinated” and what it means.  Many obedience classes, boarding kennels and the like, require dogs to be fully vaccinated.

Are puppy classes enough?  There are no quick fixes when it comes to training your dog

A poem from an untrained puppy  Socializing your dog

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2018 in About

 

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Smart Dogs, Committed Owners

Smart Dogs, Committed Owners

I often see on social media and the like, articles and videos portraying dogs, doing incredible things. Whether it be in some canine sport, obedience or tricks, the list is endless.

Many comments, of admiration and praise are left by people who are impressed by the dogs achievements and rightly so.

What is not often mentioned, is the dedicated time and commitment these dog owners have put in, many on a daily basis. The ups and down they have had along the way, its not all smooth sailing.

Patience, time, dedication, understanding, commitment, routine, failure, repetition plus great sense of humour, all have a part to play.

So next time you view a video or read an article, take moment to think and maybe praise the owner as well, after all, it takes two.

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2018 in About

 

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Boarding Kennel Stress in Dogs: Be a proactive dog owner, Things Dog Owners need to do, to help make their dogs stay, in a boarding kennels, a happy one

Boarding Kennel Stress in Dogs: Be a proactive dog owner, Things Dog Owners need to do, to help make their dogs stay, in a boarding kennels, a happy one

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 me 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). Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions.

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.

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2018 in About

 

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