Choosing a Kennels for Your Dog
Boarding for the First Time
Ultimately, your decision will be based on a mix of factors, principally whether you are prepared to trust these people to care for your dog. Take him to the kennels for an overnight stay, preferably mid-week when there will be less coming and going. This is your best test of how your dog has coped; if he looks cheerful then all has probably gone well. If neither he nor the kennels owner look happy then it hasn't been a good fit.
Don't necessarily blame the kennels for your dog not settling; think about his personality and work out what would suit him best. Dogs are like people in that personalities vary hugely; he may be the equivalent of an Ibizan clubber or he may be more of a hill-walking type. Find him the type of kennelling that suits him best.
Finally, if you have a dog that is liable to bite accept that though you love him dearly his daily boarding fee won't even cover a course of antibiotics and the kennel is perfectly entitled to decline to take him.
When Should I Start Boarding Him?
Try and start boarding when the dog is young, say six months or so. This will make kennels a perfectly natural experience for him, just another new thing in his life. Leave it until he is five or six years and it will be much more difficult, and don't think about boarding an elderly dog for the first time. He won't understand and will be utterly desolate.
Remember the Kennel Staff
Most Boarding Kennels are open all year, weekends, Bank Holidays, Easter, Christmas and New Year. Few jobs are more demanding in terms of time, commitment and responsibility. So if you want to be a favoured client who will always be found space, say for an overnight stay in the busiest week in August, when everyone else is being turned away, treat the kennel owners with consideration:-
- Don't expect them to be open when you know they are closed "because you're here, anyway, so I didn't think you'd mind".
- Don't phone on Christmas morning to ask how he is because you feel guilty at leaving him.
- Don't make bookings for the busiest times of year so you're covered in case you can't persuade the neighbours to feed the dog and then make a feeble excuse for cancelling. Kennels have a list of repeat offenders and they may well share it with other Boarding Kennels in the area.
If you do need to cancel - and the majority of cancellations are for good reasons - give the kennels as much notice as possible so they have an opportunity to re-let the kennel.
Leaving a dearly loved pet with strangers is a wrench, which is why a trial stay is such a good idea. In fact, we think it is so valuable that we don't charge for it in our kennels because we know what an immense difference it makes to both dog and owner. Do your homework well and there's no reason why your dog should not board well and happily.