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Bark All About It!

Getting Ready for Boarding Your Dog

May 28, 2015

With summer coming up, we’re getting ourselves ready for the surge of customers who are heading out on the open road or getting on a plane, and need to board the furry members of their family. If your pup comes here often for doggy daycare, then chances are that he or she will handle an extended stay with us just fine. However, if it’s been a while since your dog has been away from home, then it’s a good idea to start preparing your dog ahead of time. Here are a few things to take care of before vacation day arrives, in order to make your dog’s stay with us a comfortable one.


Practice your goodbyes and hellos

If you aren’t often away from home, even for short periods of time, then you need to get your dog used to being away from you. Every day, for a couple weeks before you leave, find a reason to get out of the house for at least half an hour or so.

When you go to leave, watch your tone of voice and body language. Be casual and conversational, as if you were just walking into the next room for a moment. Be positive, but don’t get hyped up either, otherwise your dog will match your mood, and will then be more likely to become upset. Try and shoot for a tone of voice somewhere around the verbal equivalent of a fistbump. Casual and brief. “Hey pup, just going out for a moment.” You don’t even just have to say anything—your dog is pretty skilled at letting you know how he feels without saying a word, right? Body language can “speak” as loud as your words.

When you get back, don’t make a big deal of it. Be just as calm and casual coming in the door as you were when you walked out. No squeaky voices or excited shouts. Once you’ve been home for a few minutes, then you can play or get rowdy with your pup if you like. The important part is that you don’t want your dog to associate any part of the departure process with heightened emotion. When a toddler trips and falls, they look to mom or dad to see if they should be upset or calm, right? The same goes for your pup. They’ll mirror you. So… be placid and peaceful.

Get your pup used to a change of routine

Check in with your boarder of choice a couple weeks before you leave, and find out what their exercise and feeding schedule is like. Then, adapt your pup’s home routine to be similar to the boarder’s schedule. This will go a long way towards minimizing the amount of initial confusion and concern he feels when you take him to be boarded.

Do a day or two of doggy daycare as a practice run for your vacation

This combines the benefits of practicing your goodbyes and hellos, and getting your dog used to the change of routine, as well as you being away. Additionally, he or she will have a chance to adjust to the sights, sounds, and smells of the facility and its staff. Just a couple of short stays can significantly reduce the stress of a long stay. This is a good opportunity to make sure that those hello and goodbye skills you’ve been practicing are effective.

Get your dog’s shots up to date

When you have a lot of dogs in one place, the risk for germs and viruses being transmitted rises considerably. For your dog’s safety, and the safety of the other dogs at the boarding facility, make sure that your dog is up to date on his vaccines at least 10 days before you board him. Many boarding facilities require proof that a dog has been adequately vaccinated before they’ll accept them, so don’t let this slide.

Notify the boarder of any medical or behavioral issues

If your dog has a tendency to become anxious or aggressive in certain situations, it is extremely important that you provide detailed information about these issues to your boarder. This helps guarantee the safety of your dog, the other dogs that are boarded there, and the boarding facility’s staff.

Emergencies, although rare, can happen. Provide a list of any medications your dog is allergic to, contact information for your veterinarian, as well as that of a local friend or family member who will be available while you are away.

There’s nothing quite like going on vacation with peace of mind. Do the above to make sure your dog is prepared, and chances are good that you’ll come home to a happy, stress-free pet. 

Category: Training

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