Is Dog Boarding Right for Your Dog?
Dog Boarding Kennels: Is doggy boarding the right choice for your dog?
Gab Jimenez, B.A.
There are numerous factors to consider before boarding your canine companion.
Dog boarding may not be the best choice for every dog; some dogs can become overly
stressed when staying overnight at a dog kennel. For first-time boarding dogs, the
experience can be especially stressful and may even create a lasting negative association.
Your dog’s daily routine can determine how comfortable he will be in a kennel situation. Dog’s that are your constant shadow and are accustomed to always being around people will have a hard time with the reduced level of human interaction; this is especially true for dogs who live with parents who work from home, retirees, and stay at home dads or
For dogs, who are not confined when left home alone, the dog boarding kennel can
be extremely stressful and some dogs will even hurt themselves in attempts to escape their
kennel area. There are also many dogs who cannot handle the excitement of a boarding
environment being surrounded by unfamiliar sights, sounds, and especially dogs can be
overwhelming and over stimulating; this is often the case for dogs that have never been out of their own neighborhood.
If your dog happens to fall into one or more of the above scenarios then boarding will
likely be a difficult or even terrible experience for them. However, there are ways in which
you can help prepare your dog for a boarding experience.
1. Plan Ahead: the most important step is to give you and your dog plenty of time to
prepare. Planning for future vacations months ahead of time will ensure you don’t
add any extra stressors and will allow you to focus on giving your dog the time he
needs to be comfortable.
2. Change Your Dog’s Routine Gradually: consider which parts of your routine will
be the hardest for your dog to drastically change at a boarding facility. If you think he will
struggle most with the reduced human interaction then slowly start to introduce more alone time into his daily schedule providing him with ways to entertain himself. If your dog will have a hard time with the confinement, you can start to introduce the crate at first with very short periods of time. Lastly, start taking your dog to new places multiple times a week starting where your dog will be more comfortable such as empty lots, and working towards more stimulating environments like shopping centers. If you have any concerns or aren’t sure where to start find a professional dog trainer that understands your dog and your goals to help you get started.
3. Research: if you don’t already have a facility you love or are considering switching
there are important considerations to make when choosing a dog boarding kennel in the
Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati area. Think about what you want your dog to
experience while you are away. Some facilities are all-inclusive while others charge fees for
extra playtime and potty time. The type of activities offered are important, there should be a mix of physical and mental stimulation provided for dogs every day, but also plenty of rest time between to prevent exhaustion. Make sure to research with your dog’s needs in mind, especially when touring a potential facility remember to consider your dog’s perspective. A great dog boarding facility is willing and able to advise you on how to acclimate your dog and reduce his stress during stays at the kennel; some businesses will suggest or even require a test run to evaluate your dog’s comfort level.
4. Backup Plan: Even after you have changed your dog’s routine, and found the
perfect place it is still important to have a backup plan. This backup plan should include
what to do if your facility is full, if your dog becomes overly stressed and needs to leave
early, or if you decide your dog is not ready for a dog kennel yet. If you don’t have a family
member or friend that is capable of helping out you may also need to consider dog home
boarding such as an in-home pet sitter. If you find that boarding is not the right choice for
your dog, or you have a longer trip planned and you don’t think they will remain comfortable, in-home pet sitting is an alternative to consider.
It is important to know you have someone that you can trust your best furry friend
with during a vacation or an emergency situation. Knowing your dog is in the right hands
whether through a boarding kennel or at home will give you the confidence you need to
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