Most moments of dog ownership are pleasurable, however the prospect of how the canine member of the family spends its vacation (while you're on vacation) seems to push most people's anxiety levels beyond normal limits. If you have chosen the boarding alternative, take the time to research the possible providers. Your bet or groomer may offer boarding, but while most boarding kennels may drive some income from the sale of supplies, grooming or training, their primary source of revenue is boarding. If they do not keep their boarding clients happy, they will soon find themselves out of business.
When deciding on a specific kennel, phone ahead to compare prices and services available. Ask if the kennel permits visits to the facility prior to boarding and, if so, at what hours. Some kennels may not permit visiting the facility during feeding or cleaning times. Please remember that their primary responsibility is to the animals already entrusted to their care, and strangers present during feeding times may distract dogs from their meals.
When visiting, ask to see the areas in which the animals will be housed. The area should be clean and well maintained. Most reputable kennels place cleanliness as a high priority and even though some odor may be present, the overall impression should be one of basic cleanliness. Many boarding kennels offer runs or large enclosed exercise areas in addition to your pet's primary enclosure. they may also offer extra exercise/attention packages for an extra charge above the basic boarding fee. Ask about feeding routines and whether or not you will be expected to provide food and/or medication for your pet. Does your kennel have a good working relationship with area vets? Is a reservation advised, especially during the peak periods of summers and holidays?
Take time to talk to the owner or manager and try to gauge their response to the animals. Do they seem to know the dogs in their care as individuals and do the employees seem responsive to their charges aside from just providing basic food and water? A warm attitude toward the pets is worth more than the shiny, deluxe, new facility when it comes to how happy your pet is at the kennel.
Please remember that most kennel owners live on the premises and are entitled to a measure of privacy. Respect kennel hours and you will find a boarding professional willing to bend those hours when you have a bona fide emergency.
The greatest single task before you to prepare your dog for the boarding experience is to raise your Norfolk not to be too dependent on you. The dogs who have the most difficulty with boarding are those who pine for their owners. Never fear that your pet will like the kennel more than you. Remember ... there's no place like home.
ANTIC, Spring, 1992
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