Facilities and Trials

All dogs must come for a trial stay before we can accept them for boarding. The kennel environment is perfect for some dogs but doesn’t suit others.

We work hard to keep our facilities as calm and relaxed as possible, and it only takes one unsettled dog to stress all the others.

Trials are for 3 hours. If your dog is too noisy or unhappy, we will call you to collect them. We may suggest some training you can do to help your dog, or it may be that it’s just not the right environment for your dog, and you need to look at other options.

We are currently very busy, and we may have to decline your booking if we cannot fit in a trial stay.

Please remember it is your responsibility to prepare your dog for the situations you will put them in. We are happy to work with puppies and build their confidence here gradually.

Here are some tips on how you can prepare your dog:

One of the most common reasons dogs fail a trial with us is that they aren’t used to being shut away from their owners when they are around. Most of them are familiar with being left home alone, but if they are shut in a room or crate when people are around, they find it stressful and will bark or whine until they are let out. This behaviour transfers over when they are here, and they find it hard watching people walking past the kennel and moving other dogs around.

The good thing is that it’s possible to work on this, and with most dogs, you can turn it around and build this into a strong skill.

This is a skill that all dogs need, whether they need to go in kennels or not. It could be that you have visitors and it’s not appropriate for your dog to be loose, or because you have children and need to separate them at times, or maybe your dog gets injured or is spayed or castrated and needs restricted exercise for a while.

This skill helped to save one of my dogs last year. He had necrotising cellulitis, which caused a considerable amount of his skin to die and fall off. He was given a very low chance of survival, but thanks to a brilliant team, he is now living a normal life. One of the most important skills he had was sleeping in a kennel in the middle of a busy veterinary hospital and not being stressed at all. He was in there for six weeks. If he hadn’t been able to relax there, he would have had to be put to sleep because his body had so much healing to do it would not have been able to do it if he had been stressed. The nurses often said they had to wake him up to change his dressing.

It is up to us as owners to prepare our dogs for what may happen throughout their lives, and teaching them that it’s ok to be left in a safe, secure space not only when we are out but also when we are home is vital.

Here are some tips on how to do it:
(If your dog finds these steps too hard, it would be best to get help from a professional).

  • Find an area your dog already likes being in. Can you secure that area with a puppy pen, baby gate or crate
  • Prepare some long-lasting treats such as kongs, licky mats, snuffle mats, bones, antlers, horns etc. (Kongs stuffed with meat and frozen are a favourite here.)
  • Pop your dog in the safe space with their treat. You may need to stay near them to start with and aim to let them out before they have finished the treat.
  • Do this regularly and start to move around and get on with your day. If you are using a crate, you may be able to put it near where you are and gradually move it away.
  • Once your dog is happy to go in their safe space and settled once in there, try putting them in different areas to settle; maybe other rooms or move the crate around. The goal is that wherever you put them, they can settle straight away.
  • Take it slow. With some dogs this training will take a while, and rushing could make them worse.
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