Boarding a dog can be stressful both for the pet and its owners. However, there are several things that can be done to help your canine family member adjust to a boarding facility when you find that need to place your furry friend with a temporary caregiver.
Socialize Your Dog
Before leaving your pet at a boarding facility, make sure he is well trained to get along with people and other animals, and obeys control commands to simplify management by others. A friendly dog will be welcome and will acclimate more readily than one that is not used to being around other people or animals. If your dog has tendencies to get nervous around others, or nip and growl at unknown people, explain this to the boarding staff so they can prepare accordingly rather than be caught off-guard by your pet’s behavior.
Prepare in Advance
Provide the boarding kennel with a list of verbal commands and any special instructions that may be needed for your pet. Take your dog for a short visit and tour the premises, if possible. Dogs can quickly pick up new scents and process them as welcoming or threatening. Staying upbeat as you stroll around the kennel and the outdoor exercise area will help to facilitate your dog boarding experience when you leave your pet there alone.
Provide Personal Belongings
In addition to supplying your dog’s collar and leash, you might want to give the boarding kennel your dog’s feeding dish, play toys, and a familiar nap cushion. Providing links like these from home will help to reduce your pet’s anxiety about being in a new environment. You may want to include a sweater or other personal belonging that has your scent on it. Your dog can cuddle with the item and feel close to you even during your absence.
Stay in Contact
In addition to leaving your contact information for the kennel staff, you might want to provide a voice recording for your dog that can be played at designated naps, such as bedtime, or if your pet becomes uneasy or anxious. A photo of you with your pet might also help, although it’s more likely to comfort you than it is to comfort your dog. However, a video with movement is more likely to attract a dog’s attention. If the facility has the means, you could call and talk to your pet for a few minutes or even have a brief video chat, using cell phones.
Like kids, dogs need help getting used to being away from their owners. Take steps like these to ease your pet’s discomfort when separated from you at a boarding kennel.