All dog’s need to come for a trial stay before we are able to 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 of the others. Trials are for 3 hours, if your dogs is too noisy or clearly 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. 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 there confidence here gradually. Here is a bit of info to help prepare your dog :
One of the most common reasons dogs fail a trial with us is that they aren’t used to be shut away from there owners when they are around, most of them are used to being left home alone but if shut in a room or crate when people are around they find if stressful and will bark or whine until they are let out. This then transfers over when they are here and they find it hard that we are walking past the kennel and moving other dogs around.
The good thing is owners can work on this and with most dogs they can turn it around and build this into a strong skill.
We believe 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 your dog and children at times or maybe your dog gets injured or is spayed or castrated and needs restricted exercise for a while.
This skill actually helped to save one of my dogs last year, he had necrotising cellulitis which caused a huge 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 being able to sleep in a kennel in the middle of a busy veterinary hospital and not be stressed at all. He was in there for 6 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 that they had to wake him up to have dressing changes.
It is up to us as owners to prepare our dogs for what may happen throughout there 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 are home is key.
Here are some tips on how to do it, if your dog finds these steps too hard then it would be best to get help from a professional.
Find an area that your dog already likes being in, can you secure that area with a puppy pen, baby gate or crate?
Prepare some long lasting treats, this might be 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 there 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 really happy to go in there safe space and settled once in there, try putting them in different areas to settle, maybe different rooms or move the crate around. The goals 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.