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Hello all!

Looking for some input here...

We adopted a dog in December. He's a very social 2 year old labradoodle who suffers from separation anxiety. He is MUCH better than he was when we first got him. I would say he is about 90% better.

We are planning a Hawaiian vacation in October and want to acclimate him to a boarding kennel so that we can leave him without worrying too much when we go. Although people have offered, I do not want to leave him with friends or family because he tore our house up in his first weeks here and I am worried that it could happen to their houses too.

There are two boarding kennels in our town. Both are just out of city limits in the country. The first was very clean and well-maintained. There was no odor at all. Each dog had a kennel with heated floors and an elevated platform on which to lay. They had separate runs about 5 feet wide and about 15 feet long. The dogs did not have contact with each other other than through the fence between the runs. Contact with people seemed pretty limited. The kennel required current rabies and kennel cough vaccinations and checked out documents. When he stayed there he was at the worst of his anxiety problem so he had a rough time there.

The second kennel is a much smaller operation and we tried it for a day this weekend. The woman who operates it also does grooming, so she is around all day and interacts with the dogs frequently. (A big plus for a dog with separation anxiety) She required current rabies vaccination and suggested kennel cough. She did not check out documentation on either. The exterior kennel spaces all each held about three dogs and they all seemed to get along well. There was feces on the floor of all the kennels. The interior area was accessed through a series of gates and we did not see the inside area. It is heated and air conditioned. Our dog is an escape artist and when we picked him up, she commented that he did really well once she found an inside kennel that could hold him. She commented that she has several kennels that need to be repaired and he was able to find the weak spots in all of them and got out into the common area. She also has a large fenced area where she lets the dogs run together if they are social and come when called. Our dog loves to run with others, so this was a nice feature. When we went in the home/office to pay the urine smell was overwhelming and we noticed that our dog smelled pretty bad when we put him in the car to bring him home.

OK... so here is where I am looking for advice. From a sanitation and security standpoint it is an easy decision. The first was much cleaner and more secure. From a human contact standpoint, the second was much better. The second also allowed him to have more contact with other dogs.

As I wrote this all out, it became clearer that the second place is probably not a good situation, even though she was very good to the dog and he was in very good spirits when we picked him up.

Is there anything else I should look for in a boarding kennel? Any suggestions for how to make the experience better for the dog in the first kennel? There is still a lot of time between now and October, so maybe we can make enough progress to leave him with my brother or something too.

Thanks!
-Mike-
 

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i, personally, would not leave my dog/s at either one of the places for the same reasons/concerns that you have.....why not decide on a friend or family member that will watch him and start now w/ acclimating to their home....i'd start w/ home visits w/ the 2 of you and let them do some play and treating w/ him, then move up to leaving him there for say an hr, then 2-3, and so on....if they know his background and are willing to work w/ him it will be much better for the dog....but then, i'm not fond of boarding kennels, myself....
 

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I've found that even though the smaller kennels are a little more ran down, they are often ran better and the dogs are better taken care of in them. The kennel I use is also a Pit Bull Rescue. It is run down, but heated/AC'd and they only take on 15 dogs at a time, with 3 staff members on the grounds every day. Kennels are cleaned everyday, but the runs are almost completely dirt.

From the outside POV it looks horrible. Me and a friend boarded both of our dogs and 2 different kennels. She did the "best of the best" while I did the "run down shack" as she called it.

Her dog was skinny as heck when she picked him up, shaken up, and acted like she never saw a human the week she was there. My dog came back FAT. I had only had him about 1 month and 1/2 and he was still underweight when I took him in. He wasn't whenI brought him home. He was the same old dog that he was when I left, and he isn't like that if I took him and left him over at a friends house for a day.

Everyone takes their dog to the "best of the best" kennel in town, and I always hear how their dogs come back "skinny' and "scared" but at the run down kennel I always get back a well fed down and an even better trained dog (since he is so lovable they give him extra love and care no cost to me).

Talk to the people in town and see what they reccomend. Just make sure to read inbetween the lines about what they are saying.
 

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I see your dilemma. Both have their downpoints. Are there any other options? I take my dog to a doggie daycare that also does boarding. It's great because he can play with other dogs all day before kenneling up at night. If that's available to you, even if it's further away, I would definitely consider it.

Otherwise, I like Darkmoon's suggestion about asking around about both. That's what I ultimately did. My sister told me about this doggie daycare--it wasn't the one I was leaning toward because they have a kind of cheesy website. But the facility and the people are great.

It's great that you are looking into this so far in advance.

As a side note, I hope you enjoy Hawaii. I just came back from there, and it was beautiful.
 

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little late, but i firgured i would chime in.

neither of those places sounds suitable for your dog. darkmoon mentioned that it may not be as dirty as it seems. there should really never be any feces or urine, nor any smell of it, at a clean kennel that is cleaned daily. I work in a interactive kennel, with dogs running around all day. our customers always comment on how nice it smells inside and out.

there is just no excuse for the level of cleanliness you described. and with dogs loose and together, it is downright irrresponsible to not require shot records for at least rabies and bordatella. sickness spreads very quickly, even with immunizations, and she is obviously not taking the extra step to ensure the dogs' safety.

and a dog with seperation anxiety never does well in a kennel that require them to be caged 24/7. at our place, we have 2 yards, the dogs are alwayd in that yard. escape artists are not a problem, b/c we have people outside at all times, and 6 foot high fences (yet some dogs are talented enough to jump those). even if a dog jumped, we would have them back in seconds.

since you're not leaving until october, now is the perfect time to start getting him used to it. what area are you in? i would suggest you keep looking
 

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I thought I'd jump in here to tell you about an incredible kennel/boarding camp in my area called Dogs at Camp Cookstown. It's a 45 acre property and my dogs have tons of place to run around when we send them there. Check them out and you'll see what I mean. Very high class place! :)
 

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Since I own an operate a kennel and I am only person who takes care of the dogs have enough experience in this program. There is absolutely no excuse for feces all over the floor and also no reason for you not to see the inside of area. If lady was out there giving all the human contact just think about it she should have been picking up feces while she was giving all the human contact. I don't ever allow 2 dogs together in one kennel run as people sometimes get angry when picking up their dogs that have been injured by other dogs. To me this is a no brainer, do not always believe what person tells you about how much time they spend with your dogs. With that much time out there the kennels should be spotless. Also what kind of idiot does not check out shot records.

You will enjoy Hawaii though we have been fortunate in visiting the islands, Aloha.
 

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I completely agree - it's sad that those kinds of places are even allowed to be open. Can anything be done to stop people from operating this way?
Yes there is, when people look at feces all over the floor they say something like "Oh look at all the feces on floor, I don't like that. I'm going elsewhere to spend my money" I have an older kennel, I purchase new fence panels as needed, new furnace last fall and new air conditioner shortly. People get confused when given a line of absolute bull from a kennel operator that has a gift of gab but not of work.
My job is to keep dogs from injury, keep them warm in winter, cool in summer, clean all the time with fresh water and food. It's not my job to socialize them and play ball with them. I leave that to the owners of the dogs. I also love the must board dog at my Vet's program. They think that the Vet is taking care of their dogs personally and not the after school 16 yr old who just had an argument with boyfriend/girlfriend and comes in to clean up their dog's crate/kennel etc. To say nothing of when OP gets to Hawaii to instead of hotel/condo just stay in hospital with sick people all around. I'm so sorry minor vent I have seen too much bu*ls**t
the years from so-called cutesy talking kennel operators. As usual my opinion only.
 

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Instead of leaving your dog at someone's house, maybe offer your home for them to stay and doggie sit? I always think this is the best way to go. Or perhaps leave your dog in your home and have someone drop by everyday to walk them?

If your friends and family have offered and they know what to expect, then why not? If they are okay with the risk... I guess it depends on how well you know the person they're going to stay with. I wouldn't have a problem leaving my dogs at say, my sister's house, but I wouldn't want them at my friend's house even if they knew their things may potentially be torn up.
 

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I think if I absolutely HAD to board my dogs, I'd do it at a *competent* doggy daycare type place. I'd prefer that my dogs got proper care, but also AT LEAST human contact on a regular basis. I'd prefer a smaller, less populated place to the large one because there's usually less stress, but I also wouldn't leave my dog in a filthy place. At my last job, poop HAD to be picked up. IMMEDIATELY. Kennels got cleaned several times per day. The play yards had to be kept spotless (if the owner spotted any poop lying around, you got written up).

That said, I'd prefer leaving my dogs with friends or family than at a kennel anyway. I guess I'm just paranoid. >@[email protected]<
 

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I recommend finding a responsible college student, preferrably one who lives with their parents, to come stay at your house. That was the best arrangement I ever had. This young lady loved having her own place away from the folks and siblings, yet she was responsible enough that she could be trusted with my pets and home. Check with co-workers, they probably have a young adult they'd love to be rid of for a few days! If you choose to go this route but you don't know the person very well, be sure and let your neighbors know what's going on so they can keep an eye on things too. ;)
 
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