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Thunder Ridge Kennels in Billings, MT offers all breed dog boarding and gun dog training in Billings. Read our informative dog boarding blog articles to learn more!

Dog Boarding & Training Articles

Looking for authoritative information about boarding and training dogs? Our BLOG is just the place to be. With well over 25 years of experience in training and boarding dogs, Leonard Houser is certainly an expert on the subject. We will be posting new articles about boarding and training dogs periodically, so be sure to check back for the latest expert advice from Thunder Ridge Kennels!

About the Author:

Leonard Houser, owner and operator of Thunder Ridge Kennels, has been training and boarding dogs for over 30 years. He is well known nationally for his expert training ability and getting excellent reults with all types and mannerisms of breeds, He is a well respected member of the field trial community and his success in both competition and traing dogs for others is outstanding in the field.

Boarding Kennel Stress in Dogs

 — Published 07-13-2018 by: Leonard Houser (Thunder Ridge Kennels)

Stress in dogs associated with being boarded in a kennel is fairly common. Although most dogs are perfectly fine, some will show varying degrees of stress which can be directly linked to the boarding experience. It can vary quite a bit from dog to dog in both intensity and duration. Some of the most common signs of boarding kennel stress include: excessive barking and whining, loss of appetite, pacing, depression, constant licking of the lips, diarreha, and vomiting.

Stress is most common in dogs which have not been boarded before. With first time boarding you can and should expect your dog to exhibit one or more of the symptoms listed above.

What causes Boarding Kennel Stress in Dogs?

There are a variety of factors which come into play here and, of course, just like people, different dogs react differently to new and unfamiliar places and things. One of the most common causes of stress in boarded dogs can best be described as seperation anxiety. Similar to taking a young child to a strange place and leaving them in the care of people he or she has never seen before, dropping your dog off at an unfamiliar place and then leaving can be expected to be stressful. Dogs get used to their surrounding and being somewhere new without the comfort of their people and/or other household pets combined with a new routine, strange smells, other unfamiliar dogs and different food will certainly cause some level of stress and anxiety.

Are All Dogs Affected?

No. Many dogs do just fine. Dogs that are accustomed to being boarded almost never show signs of stress and even some first timers do great as well. Dogs that are most susceptable to boarding stress include one which are: nervous, fearful, anxious, and even (beleive it or not) agressive dogs.

Minimizing Your Dog's Stress While Boarding

OK, by now you are probably asking 'Is there something I can do to minimize or eliminate my dog experiencing stress or anxiety while being boarded?'. The answer is, thankfully, yes. Although some dogs are more prone to stress than others and complete elimination of it is not always possible, it can most certainly be minimized if not eliminated.

Some of the best ways to minimize your dogs stress while being boarded include the following:

  • Take your dog along to visit the kennel, but take hime with when you leave.
  • Take your dog in for daycare a time or two before leaving him for an extended stay.
  • Visit with the kennel owner/operator before taking your dog in. Make sure your dog will be boarding with a knowledgeable and friendly kennel operator who understands dog behavior and is familiar with various breeds.
  • Take a familiar blanket or toy for your dog during his stay.
  • If possible, bring your own regular food. This is especially important in dogs that are finicky or have special dietary needs.

A good dog boarding facility will not only do their best to make your dog comfortable during his stay, but will have the knowledge and experience to identify signs of stress early and take steps to find and correct the cause whenever possible.

Choosing A Dog Boarding Facility

 — Published 04-16-2018 by: Leonard Houser (Thunder Ridge Kennels)

Choosing a dog boarding facility can be a nerve racking and daunting task. You certainly want the best for your dog and want to be sure that he will be in good hands and properly cared for during his stay at the kennel. Curious about just what to look for when making the decision on if and where to best board your dog? Keep reading for some excellent advice on what to look for when choosing a kennel to board your beloved dog.

Is boarding your dog a good choice?

The first thing you need to consider is, of course, whether you should or shouldn't board your dog in the first place. There are certainly pros and cons to both ways, so lets begin by taking a look at what they are so you can make an informed decision on what is best for your dog when deciding to board or not. Remember, your dog relies on you to take care of him, even when you are planning on being away and he is unable to accompany you.

Pros of boarding your dog:

When you leave your dog at a good dog boarding facility they are going to receive proper care and attention from trained professionals. A good dog boarding kennel will be able to provide your dog with excellent care, a comfortable private area to sleep and play, a good nutritous diet, and even play time and exercise out of the kennel. Some kennels even provide supervised social time with other dogs where appropriate.

If you choose the right boarding facility, boarding your dog has many benefits over alternate solutions such as leaving him with friends, hiring a dog sitter to visit him occasionally, or simply leaving him home alone.

Cons of boarding your dog:

Staying in an unfamiliar place, especially without your company, can be stressful to your dog. There is also the risk (although very small at a reputable kennel) of your dog getting sick from being in close proximity to other dogs. And, of course, there is the factor of cost and the possible inconvenience of having to drop off and pick up your dog from the kennel for his stay.

Weighing the pros and cons of boarding

All things considered, if you choose the right kennel the pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to making the decision to board or not to board your dog while you must be away. If you choose your dog boarding kennel properly most or all of the cons to boarding your dog will be minimized if not eliminated all together. So the biggest part of making the right decision is really what dog boarding facility is best suited to meet the needs of both you and your dog.

Choosing the right kennel

There are a number of things you should look for and consider before trusting your dog to the care of a dog boarding facility. While a completely exhaustive list is impossible to give because some dogs have specific needs, as a general rule you should carefully consider the following items when deciding where best to board your dog:

  • Is the facility clean and well organized?
  • Are they recommended by a friend or veterinarian?
  • How experienced is the staff?
  • Are kennels cleaned and sanitized daily?
  • Are dogs required to be vaccinated before being boarded?
  • Is fresh clean water available at all times?
  • Are boarded dogs fed a high quality dog food?
  • Can the facility deal with special needs dogs? such as:
    • Aggressive breeds
    • Overly shy dogs
    • physically challenged dogs?
  • Is outdoor exercise provided?
  • Are dogs closely monitored for health or other issues?
  • Are drop off and pickup times flexible enough to fit into your schedule?

In Summary

Before leaving your dog in the care of a dog boarding facility you should take care to ask about the above items. If possible, it is recommended to physically visit the facility before dropping your dog off. A well run dog boarding kennel should be easy to spot based on the above crtiteria. If you are unable to visit first, a phone conversation with the operators should give you a good idea of the quality of care your dog will receive during his stay.

You love your dog and he deserves the absolute best treatment available while you are away, Choosing the right boarding facility is an important decision and hopefully this article helps you make an informed decision.

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