Kennel or Pet Sitter: Which is Best For My Dog?
Know Your Options and Which Is Best for Your Dog: Kennel or Pet Sitter.
Boarding and short term dog lodging facilities are a wonderful option for many humans when they decide to take a vacation or travel, These boarding kennels ensure that your dogs will be well taken care of with the same love and care that you provide. It's a comforting feeling to know that you can enjoy your trip while your furry friend enjoys their own little getaway.
But there is a dark side to boarding facilities, and it’s not always the facility itself - it’s the side effects on the dog’s psyche from being there.
So let’s talk about the environment that you would send your dog into.
Think about trying to gauge where you are and smelling hundreds of dogs - all the dogs that are there now and who have been there over the past couple weeks. IT’S OVERWHELMING and CONFUSING.
Majority of the dogs in a kennel environment are barking; some of the barks can be play, but some are fears, anxieties, and frustration. Your home doesn’t regularly have all these noises constantly going on so it’s a lot for the dog to just “deal” with all of a sudden, with no time to desensitize and/or habituate to it.
All dogs go through some level of separation from their humans; the more sensitive the dog, the harder it hits them. There are cases where dogs who never previously showed separation anxiety got dropped off at a kennel for a week, then came back with severe separation anxiety due to the fact that they just couldn’t cope.
As you know, dogs are very energy-oriented. Your dog may be very relaxed and easygoing, but if you put a high-energy, anxious, vocal dog right next to him or her all day and all night, your dog will go nuts and feed off that energy.
Now let’s talk about the fact you have a herding breed dog….
- Bred specifically for sensitivities
- High strung/energy
- Incredibly intelligent, which means they are over-thinkers
These breeds can do fine in a kennel environment, but it comes down to the dog’s personality and whether they can handle it or not. Which ultimately comes down to YOU making sure you know your dog and whether they are going to feel 100%, 50%, or 0% comfortable at a boarding facility. If at any time you feel your dog wouldn’t do well, you need to think of the consequences that can come of this decision.
This decision should never be made lightly when you have a dog that has one or more of the following behaviours:
- Dog–dog issues
- Fears & Sensitivities
These types of dogs that are already showing behavioural issues are more susceptible to stress, and there isn’t more stress for this type of dog than taking them away from their home and human and putting them in a situation where there is uncertainty and confusion.
Don’t Worry - Other Help Is Available!
This is usually available in almost any area. In home boarding, a professional takes your dog into their home and cares for them while you’re away, just like they would with their own. The beauty of this option is the dog has one-on-one care and love, so their stress is lessened.
This would be highly beneficial for any dog with the behavioural issues I mentioned above. The one-on-one care that the individual can give would be very good for your dog, as long as that individual and your dog are comfortable with one another.
This is where a person comes to YOUR home to take care of your dog in their own environment. This option is usually for dogs that have severe separation anxiety or other serious issues, OR if you have one lucky pet.
This is by far the best choice as it limits the stress on the dog because everything stays the same, with the exception of the humans leaving temporarily.
Tips to ease stress, if using a kennel
I understand that there are circumstances where kenneling/boarding are the only option (financial, time, special needs) and you should never feel bad about it. But there are things that you can do to make it easier for your dog if this is the only available option.
- Bring your dog’s own bed
- Bring your dog's own food
- Bring your dog’s toys
- Bring a blanket that has the humans smell on it (multiple to trade every couple days).
- Do preliminary visits, get your dog comfortable in the environment and with the staff.
Always do your reference checks for ANY Kennel or In-Home Boarding. Never leave your dog with anyone you don’t get a good feel for, though the biggest signal is your dog - how do they like the kennel or home?
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