Posted on: 4 March 2015
If you've held off going out of town because you're afraid of how your new four-legged baby may react to being boarded, it's time to get you both used to some separation. Here are five tips for easing the transition to pet boarding, so your dog will love going to the kennel.
Crate training your dog gets it used to going into an enclosed space on command, which is necessary at most boarding facilities. Your dog will love its little "den," and entering the runs at the boarding kennel will be a breeze.
Having your dog used to a crate also makes it safer to travel in the car (you can throw a portable one in the back), and it's where many dog day cares hold nap time or time out (see below).
Try Day Care First
Everything is easier if you take it in little steps. Before leaving your dog overnight, try day care first, preferably at the same facility.
Your dog will get used to the staff and make some regular friends it will also encounter when boarding. The staff can get to know your dog's quirks and preferences too.
When you use dog day care on a regular basis, your dog quickly learns that you always come back, and this helps ease separation anxiety. Signs of canine separation anxiety include:
- unusual urination or defecation
- refusing to eat
- nonstop barking
- excessive pacing or repetitive behaviors
- inability to settle down or sleep
- depression and lethargy
- compulsive chewing, including inappropriate items
Bring Items from Home
Bringing items from home can help ease your dog's nervousness about being gone from home. Dogs are creatures of habit, so having their regular things around makes them more relaxed.
Try adding an old bathrobe or sweatshirt of yours, so your dog has something with your scent on it, which will be comforting at night. Also make sure it has something to chew on as an alternative to no-no items.
Another thing to bring from home is your dog's food. While many kennels offer their own kibble at no charge, this can be upsetting to your dog's stomach at a time when it most needs things to be stable. You want to minimize the number of changes in your dog's routine while you're gone.
Pack After Your Dog Has Left
Dogs learn your routines and rapidly make associations. Case in point: suitcases and you leaving. Even dogs who love their boarding kennel can get nervous when those bags come out.
Instead, take your dog to the kennel first, then pack. Your dog will hop in the car more willingly, and you'll be able to tend to your travel preparations unhindered.
Don't Feed Separation Anxiety
It can be tempting to make a big deal out of saying goodbye when you leave your dog at the boarding facility. But this just feeds separation anxiety in some dogs. Make your leaving as matter of fact as possible, and your dog will learn that boarding is no big deal.
If your dog has a hard time going with a staff person or watching you depart, a favorite treat can be a great distraction and a reward it associates with going to the kennel.
Leaving your dog for the first time can be tough for you both, but it doesn't have to be. Take the time to make your dog's experience with boarding as easy as possible, and soon your dog will be wishing you were going out of town more often. For more information, contact Daily Wag or a similar company.Share