Dog Boarding facilities and Kennels are a popular choice for a lot of families when they go out of town. They're not always the best option for every dog, however.
Before we started Whoa Doggy!, at the time of our wedding, Erica and I knew we were not going to be able to give our dog the attention he usually received. We just had Cody at the time, and he was our baby! We were so used to taking him with us everywhere we went, so we never really looked at options for caring for him. We didn't want to ask friends to help with him, because they'd all be at our wedding as well!
Whoa Doggy! wasn't even an idea at the time, and we were less than thrilled with some of the pet sitting options we found. So we decided to give boarding a try. Why not? Cody is an incredibly social dog, and a true rockstar at the dog park. We thought he'd love it! So we set off to schedule the required temperament test at a local dog boarding facility.
We had a hard time leaving him there, but we thought we'd get over it once we saw that he was having fun, so as soon as we got home we logged into the boarding facility's website to watch Cody in action via their amazing "nanny cam". We were shocked to see Cody trembling in the corner with his tail between his legs. That was it for us. We caved and asked our friends to stay at our house.
Certainly there are dogs who will thrive in that environment, and that makes Dog Boarding a suitable alternative for those dogs. You know your dog best, so you can decide what works for him!
Here are the top reasons why dog boarding did not work well for us:
- There's no place like home. At home, a dog has his own bed, his own sofa, his own toys, all the familiar smells that give him peace and comfort. A dog misses you deeply when you're away, but when you take them out of their home at the same time, it can be a traumatic experience for some.
- It was really loud in there. Dog boarding facilities are usually large warehouse-like buildings, and with all the dogs in there barking, it creates quite a loud echo. It was the first thing we noticed when we walked in with Cody for our temperament test. We think this probably contributed to his stress.
- It was really smelly. It's not the boarding facility's fault. Put a bunch of rowdy dogs in the same place, and they're bound to mark their territory. This particular boarding facility was very clean, and we were impressed with their professionalism, but you can only clean so much in a day. Cody came home smelling like pee, and we bathed him as soon as we got home - yet another traumatic event that day for the poor guy! :)
- We didn't get updates. True, we could watch our dog on their webcam, but sometimes he wasn't in sight of the camera. And it wasn't always easy to pick him out of the pack, either. He's a black dog among many other dark colored dogs, and webcams aren't exactly HD. We wanted to know how he was doing, and we could have called, but we didn't want to be those overbearing parents.
- It was stressful. We really didn't see that coming. We thought he'd love it, and based on that, we felt pretty good about it. But when we heard how loud it was in there, and smelled the place, and then saw the look on Cody's face, it was clear that it was going to be stressful for him and Erica and me.
- Rescue dogs might not feel comfortable in that environment. We rescued Cody, but he didn't spend much time in a cage or a kennel before he found us. That's not always the case with rescue dogs, however. If your rescue dog spent serious time in a kennel, or bouncing around between foster homes, then a boarding facility (or any pet care arrangement outside of your home) might be a very traumatic environment for your dog. That's an important consideration.
So there you have it. Lots of pros and cons to weigh when deciding what's best for your dog.
This is what prompted us to start our own Pet Sitting company. We wanted to provide a wonderful in-home pet sitting solution for families with pets just like our Cody, and we've never looked back!
What are your thoughts on boarding your dog?