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Boarding your Dog

Author: Nicole Stewart | Date: August 31, 2012

Going on vacation is usually something to look forward to, but when your dog can’t join you, it can be stressful leaving them behind.

There are some things you can ask and check out before you decide where to board that can set you at ease when you leave:

  • Are the dogs crated at night?
  • How much are they playing during the day?
  • How often are the crated during the day?
  • Will they give medications?
  • Can you bring your dog’s own food?
  • How do they handle altercations?
  • What is the ratio of person to dogs in playgroups?

In my opinion, you want your dog to be crated at night and periodically during the day.  Dogs that are free to play all day can get overtired or over stressed, so it can be a benefit if a facility implements a “nap time” in the middle of the day.  I’m also a fan of places that stagger playgroups and match dogs up with others of the same play style during playtime.

Something to keep in mind is that when your dog spends time with other dogs, things can happen, much like when you send kids to pre-school.  They are more likely to come home with a mild injury or common canine illness.  This is not necessarily fault of the facility, just a matter of something that can happen when you have many dogs in a confined area.  It’s especially common for a dog who has never been boarded to be more susceptible to illnesses their first time in a group dog situation.  That doesn’t mean that you should expect your dog to weather major fights during their stay.  The staff should have policies and procedures for interrupting dogs BEFORE an altercation happens.

Once you have vetted your boarding facility of choice, it’s important that you give them any instructions that are specific to your dog (short picking out all the tan kibble from their food and only providing Fiji water for them) and you can request that your dog gets breaks even if it’s not something they do for all dogs.

Finally, you can expect that your dog will practice behaviors that wouldn’t be acceptable in your home while they spend a week really being a dog.

So, when your pooch comes home, they may be exhausted for a day or two, but once rested, they may try to play harder with you, you may have more jumping, barking, pawing etc.  My advice is to always go straight back to the house rules.  If they start pushing the boundaries, kindly and consistently reinforce habits that they had before they left and over a day or two, they will get the idea of how to be in your home versus how they can be during their stay at their “camp”.


I often wish I could stop people on the street who’s dogs are misbehaving and suggest they sign up for classes at AnimalSense.

Diane C. | View Client Testimonials


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