Dog Training and Dog Care advice from UK Professionals

Dog Boarding Kennels

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A quick guide to choosing Boarding Kennels for your dog:

Dog Boarding Kennels When it is not possible to leave your dog with friends or family, the next option is to book them in at a boarding kennels.

You will need to find a reputable one, as although they all follow rules and regulations, some are most definitely better than others.

Boarding kennels can be found listed in your local phone directory or on the Internet.

However, to be certain that the one you choose is the best, you should ask around. Word of mouth is the most reliable way of finding the top kennels in your area. Speak to your local vet who will often have a particular kennels that they recommend. Also friends who have dogs or people at the local training club could tell you of the one that they use or if they have found others best avoided.

Once you have chosen a place or a short list of kennels, you must have a look around to ensure you are fully happy with the cleanliness and general care given. If the kennels that you choose tell you that “it is not possible to look around” then you should turn around and walk out. If they cannot show you where your dog will be staying, then there is something that they are hiding and I have known of kennels saying this, though they are rare these days.

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All good kennels will make their staff available to show you around immediately. As you walk round the kennels, the dogs will probably be making a lot of noise. Do not be worried by this as they are only barking because you are there and noise is normal in kennels.

Throughout the day kennels will be fairly quiet unless it is feed time or walk time – At this point your dog will probably be joining in! There is plenty of quiet time for your dog in the day and at night. Staff will be able to spot if your dog is not coping quite as well as others with noisy neighbours and will move your dog to a quieter kennel.

If you see mess in the kennels, do not assume the place is dirty, you may have come at a certain time of day when the staff are just about to go round and check for mess. However do ask about how often the kennel is cleaned. It should be at least a thorough clean in the mornings and any further mess cleaned as and when it is seen.

As the staff show you around ask them questions like these:

  • Do I need to bring my own food or is it provided? If it is provided, ask what brand of food it is and make sure your dog will eat it. If your dog is a fussy eater or has a sensitive stomach just bring your own food in.
  • How often do the dogs get walked each day and is there opportunity for off lead exercise? If the answer is that they don't need walking, do not use the kennels. Most dogs will use their kennel run to toilet if they really need to but there are the odd few that don't. Twice a day is the usual amount for good kennels. They cannot give your dog hour-long walks but can provide time to toilet and get rid of energy. A good kennel will have staff who exercise the dogs and play with them in a field or open space on site.
  • Will my dog be sharing a kennel? The answer to this should always be no. Obviously if you have two or more dogs you may request that they be kept together They should also be provided with a bigger kennel.
  • What are the daily charges for my dog? Compare these to other kennels. Do not choose the kennel because it is cheaper as the standards will certainly be lower. However they should be fair and in proportion with the amenities.

Staff should inform you that you would need to prove that your dog is vaccinated on arrival. This is for the benefit of your own dog. It is the kennel's policy that every dog must be vaccinated. I have a problem with this personally as more and more conscientious people are looking into the awful background and side-effects of the vacciness which are ever increasingly 'pushed' by vets who profit from their use. Unfortunately its unlikely you will get a kennel if your dogs are not vaccinated so it's a necessary evil (in my opinion) if you wish to have your dogs in kennels.

When the day comes to take your pooch in to the kennels, it is a good idea to take his bed or blanket and maybe some toys. The reason for this is that he can smell all the usual smells of home and will not be as stressed.

That tennis ball that your child plays with in the garden will hold their scent; your slipper or just his own blanket will reassure him. Be aware that although your dog may not chew at home he could decide to have a nibble at his blanket whilst in kennels. Do not take too many toys, so as not to restrict the dog's space.

When it is time to say goodbye, make as little fuss as possible. He will look stressed, he may bark and pull back but 99% of the time dogs are then fine when their owners leave. If you stand around telling him “ its ok, don't worry, mummy and daddy will come back soon” this will make him feel that something strange is going on, especially if you get emotional.

Again when you collect your dog you can either go with the staff or wait in the car park. If you wait for the staff to collect your dog, bear in mind that he will be pleased to see you when he comes through the gate, so do not encourage him too much as someone is still on the other end of the lead!!! There may be muddy paws if weather has been bad or a slight “kennel smell” to their coat (Some kennels bathe the dogs before handing them back, so make sure you tell them whether you want them to do this before you go away).

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If there is anything you need to know such as if he has been fed yet etc, the staff should tell you but feel free to ask.

Dogs generally do well in kennels, and those which don't usually have behaviour problems. If it's the first time you have left your dog in kennels, you might want to ask the owner of the kennels to let you drop your dog off there for a few hours before booking your holiday, just to ensure he will be ok whilst you are away.

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