Dog boarding is a big business with hundreds of thousands of people depending on boarders to take care of their pets while on vacation or business. If you are planning a trip, you may very well be considering boarding as well, but is your pet ready? Let’s make sure that they are. Here are some tips to get them prepared.
1) Train Your Dog To Eat On A Schedule
A kennel will be feeding your pet at a certain time every day. Make sure that your pet is used to eating on the same schedule that a boarder will use. This is particularly important if your puppy is used to free feeding. If they are not prepared, they might go hungry until they adjust.
Once your dog gets home, they can go back to free feeding if you like, but there are some benefits to feeding on a schedule. The biggest benefit is that it helps to regulate their bowel movements which can be an asset in potty training.
2) Socialize Your Pet
Unless you want your puppy to spend all of their time in the kennel, you need to socialize them. Most boarders will have group play times where they let the dogs mix it up a bit. This is a great way for them to get out a lot of pent up energy and will likely make their time much more enjoyable.
If you are unsure about how your dog will do with others, take them to a dog park. Start at off peak hours with fewer pets and gradually work up to more crowded times. Make sure that you find a good dog park that separates dogs by size. You wouldn’t want to intimidate your little Maltese puppy by making them mix it up with Great Danes.
3) Teach Them To Be OK Without You
You want to make your puppy feel comfortable without you there. The best way to do that is to not make a big deal of coming and going. When you leave, simply say goodbye and go with no big routines. The same goes for when you get back. Do not make a big deal about it, because if it is a big deal for you, it will be a big deal for them.
4) Make Sure They Respond To Others
Your dog likely responds to you, but do they respond to others? Take some time to teach your dog to come to others when their name is called. This will make life for your pet and the boarding staff a lot easier.
Accomplishing this is easy, just make use of friends and family. Have them call your pet and reward your dog when they respond. Simple positive reinforcement works every time.
5) Look At Boarding Alternatives
Some pets just will not respond well to boarding. If this is the case with yours, consider a boarding alternative.
One alternative is to simply allow them to stay at home and hire a dog walker. For not much more than the price of a kennel stay, you can use a service like Rover to hire someone to walk your pooch three times a day. That would allow them to stay in their own home, likely easing their stress level.