If you're going out of town for a while and plan to leave your dog in a kennel, then you're probably worried that this situation will be hard on your pet. Your furry friend will be away from the family and in an unfamiliar location while you're enjoying a vacation! Luckily, there are some things you can do ahead of time to make an upcoming stay in the dog kennel easier on your pet.
Make sure your dog gets plenty of socialization time with other dogs.
There will likely be a lot of other dogs at the kennel with your dog. Some kennels walk multiple dogs together or let them outside to play together. If your dog is not used to this experience, it may be stressful for him or her. On the other hand, if your dog is used to socializing with other dogs, he or she will enjoy this aspect of kennel life. What you need to do now, before you leave, is get your dog used to socializing. It's best to start this process a few weeks before your trip.
A great way to get your dog interacting with other dogs is to visit an off-leash dog park. These dog parks are typically restricted to well-behaved pets, so you should not have to worry too much about aggressive or mean dogs. Your dog may be shy when other dogs first approach, but will get used to this quickly.
Send your dog for a shorter, overnight kennel stay before the big stay.
When you drop your dog off at the kennel, he or she will be less nervous if the place is familiar. Arrange to have your dog stay at the kennel for a short period of time -- perhaps just one night -- before the big trip. This way, the place won't be completely new when you leave for your long trip, and your dog will settle in more easily.
If you don't have time or money for an overnight stay, call the kennel and see if you can stop in with your dog for a quick visit. See if you can walk your dog where the kennel dogs are walked, and visit some of the outdoor play areas. This way, at least the place won't be completely foreign when you drop your dog off.
Get your dog used to watching you leave.
If you spend a lot of time with your dog, he or she may become sad and depressed when watching you walk away. You can get your dog over these feelings with some practice. Take your dog to a friend's house, and then walk out the door, leaving your dog behind. Wait a few minutes, and then come back. Repeat this exercise several times -- ideally at different friends' houses -- and your dog will get used to the idea of you leaving. He or she will also be reassured that when you leave, you always return. This may help keep your dog from becoming depressed when you first leave him or her at the kennel.
Pack up some items from home to send to the kennel with your dog.
A good way to make sure the kennel feels comfortable and like home is to send some items from home with your dog. Pack up his or her favorite bed or sleeping pillow, the food and water dishes, and a few toys. Most kennels are more than happy to let owners bring these things in, since they make the dogs so much happier.
Leaving your pet for an extended period of time is never easy -- for you or the pet. By following these tips, however, you can ensure the experience goes more smoothly.