Why and How to Board Your Dog
BY ALEX CANTATORE
If you’re heading out of town, leaving your dog in the backyard may seem harmless. But boarding your dog is important for its physical and mental health, According to Lisa Moore.
Moore’s a certified professional dog trainer, a behavior counselor, and the owner of Top Notch Kennels, Inc. She says that many owners overestimate their dogs’ intelligence and capability to be left alone.
“Think of your dog as a permanent 5 year old,” Moore said. “Would you leave your 5 year old?”
Leaving a dog outside, alone, for even a single night could be catastrophic, she says. Dogs become uneasy when they’re removed from their normal environment.
The dog could just bark all night, frantic and upset. Or it could panic and run, potentially to its death.
“To me, it’s just not worth the risk,” Moore said.
It can be hard to find a good kennel, Moore admits. But following these five easy tips can make it easier.
- TRUST YOUR DOG
Sure, dogs are often nervous the first time they’re dropped off at a new kennel. But if you pay attention to your dog’s body language, you can get a great idea of how they feel about the kennel – and if they’ll be happy there“Dogs are really not capable of lying about their emotions,” Moore said.
- QUESTION: WHAT’S THE DOG TO STAFF RATIO?
At Top Notch Kennels, 35 people care for about 120 dogs. Many small kennels have just one or two employees watching dozens of dogs.The more employees, the more hands-on, personalized care your dog will receive.
- MAKE SURE YOUR PET GETS EXERCISE
Dogs are happier when they’re active. Sure, a stay at the kennel is a different routine, but there’s no need for an animal to go stir-crazy in its run.At Top Notch, every dog gets to stretch his or her legs outside its run, 20 to 30 minutes at a time, three to four times per day. And if they’re a good fit for group play, many dogs get additional time outside.
- LOOK AT A REPORT CARD
You can’t watch your dog while he’s at the kennel. But kennel staff should be paying close attention, tracking everything from how much food your dog eats to how they interact with other dogs.Many reputable kennels will convey this information to customers when they pick up their dogs, in the form of a report card.
- ASK FOR A TOUR
When you visit a kennel, you should expect a full tour of the property.
Keep an eye out for cleanliness and a nose out for odor – both could be a symptom of a poorly- kept kennel. And watch the workers, too; if they don’t look happy to be there, then your dog won’t be happy.
It’s a red flag if kennels won’t show you around. And no, it’s not against the law to tour a kennel, as some may say.
“We won’t hide anything because we have nothing to hide,” Moore said.
If you can’t go down to a kennel in person before boarding your dog, ask these same kinds of questions over the phone. Check social media and the internet to get a feeling for the kennel, and what kind of care it offers.
If you can’t find a kennel, hire a petsitter or ask a neighbor to check on your pet regularly.
One last tip – if you want a good kennel, book early. Some busy holiday weekends start booking up to a year in advance.
TOP NOTCH KENNELS | TOPNOTCH.COM 3302 BECKWITH COURT, MODESTO, CA 209-523-3138