If you are leaving your dog in kennels for the very first time, you are undoubtedly a little apprehensive about the whole ordeal. It is understandable to feel worried or nervous about being separated you’re your dog no matter how times you may have had to place him in the temporary care of someone else. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to help train and prepare your dog for boarding which will help make his experience much more successful and enjoyable.
• To come when called
It is the most basic training in the book, but your dog’s ability to come when called, even to someone he doesn’t know – in this case a staff member working at the boarding facility that you have chosen – is very important. Unless you have specified (and probably paid) for your canine pal to be kept totally separate from other dogs for the duration of his stay, chances are that he is going to enjoy some supervised social or exercise time with other pooches.
However, when it comes to getting your dog to come back to heel, for example after a walk or play time, or in the unlikely event of a fight, the stronger his recall when he hears his name the better. This is much easier if your dog has a clear name with a strong ending as this tends to prick up a pup’s ears. Names like Rex and Jack with firm consonants at the ends are great choices. However, even if your dog has a softer name, you can still teach him to have great recall skills.
• Crate training skills
Your dog will almost certainly spend a large amount of time in private accommodation when boarded. This type of set-up is very similar to being in a large crate, and you can help her adjust to this this confinement by ensuring that she is crate-trained before you board her.
Crate training is something that many owners do when their dogs are puppies to help teach them to hold their bladder, and to prevent them from destroying the house when they need to go out. If you have previously crate-trained your dog, you may just need to revise this ahead of his stay. However, even crate-training from the beginning is fairly simple. You must build up the amount of time you leave your furbaby in the crate fairly slowly, but he will soon learn to tolerate hours in there without becoming stressed or frustrated.
Again, unless you have specified that your dog is to have no contact with others during their stay, you will probably find that your canine is allowed to roam fairly freely during the day. However, for this to go well he must be fairly well socialized. Like humans, dogs all have different temperaments and yours must be able to adapt to get along with the various personalities she may be housed with – or sensible enough to stay away from those which she might not.
Many communities have puppy or dog socialization classes that you can attend, but alternatively take your furbaby to a local dog park and let her meet and greet others. The more socialized she is, the better she will cope with the noise and business of a popular boarding kennel.
• Eating at set times
Your boarding kennel will feed your dog at set times, and if your furbaby is used to free feeding this could come as a bit of a shock and even cause him to go hungry if he doesn’t realize his food will soon disappear and delays eating it. Help him get into the habit at eating at set times before you go and you won’t need to worry so much about him becoming hungry or not eating enough.
• Make sure he is ok with you leaving
Actually saying goodbye is invariably the hardest part of the entire process. The key is not to make a fuss and just treat leaving your dog the same as you would as if you were going to work or on the school run. You can help prepare your dog for this by building an uncomplicated farewell routine that you can follow at home for a number of weeks before your canine goes into boarding. Keep it simple, tell your dog that you are going out and now and will ‘be back soon’ every time you go out. Give him a quick pat on the head or tickle behind the ears as you do so and leave without looking back. When you perform this same routine when you leave your dog at kennels, he will be far less unconcerned than if you stage a huge, emotional farewell which could leave him feeling stressed and anxious.
For more information, do not hesitate to contact us at Block House Creek Animal Hospital in Cedar Park, Texas.