Guild of Shepherds & Collies

Kennels VS Pet Sitters: What’s Best for Your Herding Breed Dog?

kennels vs pet sitters

Understanding Which is Best for Your Herding Dog: Kennels Vs Pet Sitters

You wish you could take your canine best friend with you everywhere, but unfortunately that’s not always possible. Vacations and business trips take us away from our pet parenting responsibilities and while we’re traveling, we need to know that our dogs are safe, comfortable, and receiving the best possible care. When you leave your dog for an extended amount of time, you have two options: kennels vs pet sitters Today’s boarding kennels range from basic chain-link fence facilities to luxury doggy retreats, and when it comes to pet sitters, you have the option to hire someone to visit your home throughout the day or to live there full-time. Both kennels and pet sitters come with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages, and finding the right solution for your herding breed dog will take careful consideration. If you’re planning a summer trip, first consider these basic herding breed needs before making your decision.

Social Interaction

Herding dogs are social animals that love interacting with both humans and other dogs. A pet sitter will visit your home a few times every day to care for your pet’s basic needs and give him one-on-one personalized attention. Your dog will benefit from that social interaction, but unless you hire a live-in sitter, your dog will be left alone for most of the day and all of the night. If your dog is already used to staying home alone, this shouldn’t be a problem. Many herding dogs, however, thrive when they have the opportunity to socialize with other people and dogs. A kennel will not be able to provide your dog with the one-on-one attention that a pet sitter can, but most kennels schedule multiple play times throughout the day. If your dog enjoys playing with others, he’ll love the chance to make new friends and play with them on a daily basis.


The exercise needs for a herding dog depends on his specific breed, as each breed comes with different needs. Most however,  including Border Collies, German Shepherds, and Australian Cattle Dogs, need at least two hours of daily exercise to stay happy and healthy. If your Border Collie is used to joining you on your morning run and then playing a vigorous game of fetch in the evening, finding a pet sitter willing to provide that same level of activity will be difficult. Your pooch may have to settle for a quick walk around the block, and that built-up energy, combined with being left alone for most of the day, may lead to your dog getting bored - and a bored herding dog is a destructive herding dog. Kennels, in comparison, come with similar challenges, but you won’t have to worry about your dog getting bored and chewing on your furniture. Kennel employees are charged with the care of several dogs at once, and they don’t have time to take your pooch on extended walks. Letting your dog play freely with other dogs for an hour at a time, however, will often burn as much energy as a long walk. Most kennels also offer extra walks and playtime for an additional price.


One of the biggest benefits of hiring a pet sitter is that your pooch will be able to stay in the comfort of his own home and in most cases, keep his daily routine. Kennels are full of new scents, new people, and new experiences that can make some dogs anxious and afraid. German Shepherds, Belgian Tervurens, Australian Shepherds, and several other herding breeds, however, are known for exhibiting territorial aggression. The characteristic that makes them excellent guard dogs may put your pet sitter in a dangerous situation. If your dog doesn’t respond well to strangers entering his home, a kennel is your best option. Many dogs adjust quickly to spending time in a kennel, and many dog boarding facilities offer enough attention and amenities to keep them happy.


What if something happens while you’re away and your pet needs medical attention? Whether you choose a kennel or a pet sitter, you need to find someone that will know how to act in an emergency. Kennels have the advantage here, because when your dog is outside of his kennel, he is being constantly supervised, and many kennels keep a trained veterinarian either on staff or on call. With so many dogs in one area, however, contracting contagious diseases such as kennel cough, distemper, giardiasis, and coccidiosis is common. Your dog will need to be updated on all vaccines before entering the boarding facility.

No matter what option you choose—a kennel or a pet sitter—the most important factor to consider is trust. You need to be confident that the person or facility you choose will care about your dog’s well-being as much as you do. If you choose a pet sitter, you need to trust them with unlimited access to your home. Not all kennels and pet sitters should be treated equally. Take the time to research local options and make a thoughtful decision that will meet your dog’s social, behavioral, and health needs.

*Extra tips from Guild Evangelists and Staff:

“Take your own food if you kennel your dog & don't forget any medications & supplements.”
“I have a tupperware type container (more like one of those big ones for cereal) and I bring my dog’s food with her to our boarding place. I also clearly mark her name on the container in a strong marker. I find that labeling her leash and food container really helps.”

Article By:
Amber King


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