Have you ever considered boarding anxious dogs facility for your dog?

For many people living with a reactive or anxious dog means never going away on holiday. It is not easy to find someone who you can trust to look after your sensitive pup. What about boarding anxious dogs facility?

Asking friends and family is awkward. It feels like your burdening them. Not many people can look after your special canine friend like you can. On top of that, you feel guilty about how the dog might feel, what they might think. Especially if they came from a kennelled rescue environment.

Will, your dog think you’re abandoning them? Sometimes it seems easier to just stay at home. Boarding anxious dogs is not on your mind at first.

Does it mean you can never go on holiday abroad?

Never do activities where your sensitive dog can’t join? What about times when you may just have to let someone else care for your dog. For example, if you were to spend time in hospital or if a friend or family needed you to attend somewhere where you can’t bring your fearful or reactive dog?

The good news is that with planning and preparation, the right boarding anxious dogs facility can be the right thing.

Boarding Anxious Dogs

Anxious Dog Making Friends

What to do first?

First, you need to find a high standard boarding anxious dogs facility.

You need to be upfront about the behaviour challenges, to avoid unnecessary stress to your dog.  Important is to avoid putting people and dogs at the facility at risk of getting bitten.

If the boarding business is happy to accept your dog, ask them how they would manage difficult situations, those triggers that worry your dog.

Would your dog be forced to endure things that frighten them? Would the team take the time to do things at your dog’s pace?

What would the consequences be for your dog if they resist handling, or participating in activities, or display aggression?

Therefore, you are looking for a place where your dog is supported rather than coerced. That place should have stress and pressure at a minimum.  And pain or fear used as punishment for unwanted behaviours is no option.

Boarding anxious dogs can be the best solution.

Boarding Anxious Dogs

Anxious Dog Feeling Calm and Safe

Finding out how experienced the staff is at handling dogs with anxiety or problem behaviours.

Go ahead and meet them in person, of course. Talk to them. Do they understand the emotional needs of dogs like yours? Most importantly, the need to feel safe, to have a predictable routine and predictable interactions with others. For instance, do they have space and time they need when handling, the need for good quality rest, enriching activities and company of familiar others?

Plenty of choices, especially with regards to what happens to them.

Go and see the facility, ask about daily routines and available add-on activities. Is it possible to add some fun-focused training, to help build your dog’s confidence and pleasantly stimulate their senses and mind?

Are enrichment activities available? Will the dog have access to exploring, mooching about and sniffing? Are there opportunities for companionship? Are you welcome to bring your dog’s familiar blankets and belongings?

Boarding Anxious Dogs

Anxious Dog German Shepherd With Care Team Member

Observe how the team are handling other dogs while visiting specific boarding anxious dogs facility.

Are they gentle and encouraging rather than rushed and forceful? Are the group activities well supervised and low in numbers? How are dogs assessed for their suitability to play with other dogs? Are the playgroups composed concerning size, age, confidence and play style?

Are there things in the play environment to interact with, that can break up the intensity of play? Things to sniff, climb on or under, lie down on etc? Are the site and the play area secure and well fenced? Are there other options for activities, such as walks off the site or brain games?

These are all the things you would expect from the ideal boarding anxious dogs facility.

Boarding Anxious Dogs

Anxious Dog Giving Kisses

Ok, so now that you found a boarding anxious dogs facility that inspires your confidence, its time to inspire your dog’s confidence too.

Could it be possible for your dog to be ok or even quite happy while in the care of someone else? When done the right way, the answer is often “yes”.

What you need to do is to familiarise your dog with this new environment and team in a gradual way. You want to build a positive association that’s free of fear and worry. Let the facility know that you would like to bring your dog for a short visit and ask when is the best time.

For the first time, the best time is usually when things are quiet. When you arrive, go to meet the reception without your dog first, and tell them that you would like to introduce your dog to the facility and learn more about boarding anxious dogs.

Then most importantly grab a handful of yummy treats, put your dog on a long lead, so they have plenty of choice with regards to movement and let your dog come in and explore at their own pace. Plenty of sniffing is good. If your dog pauses or hesitates, you should stand back and not put any pressure. The first visit for your dog could be a food trail and sniffing around the carpark area and maybe as far as the reception.

If you find that you need to coax and encourage your dog to move further, it probably means you are moving too fast. Slow down and stay behind your dog. Let your dog choose.

If your dog turns back towards the car, acknowledge that they need a little break in their familiar safe space (car) and allow them to walk back.

If you are struggling at this point and unsure what to do, you could probably do with some support from a professional trainer.  The trainer will show you how to do this step by step, without coaxing or luring.

Boarding anxious dogs need time and knowledge from professionals. Keep the first visit short and sweet, with all of the attention on your dog, plenty of choices and plenty of positive outcomes (food and sniffs) then hop back in the car and drive home.

Boarding Anxious Dogs

Anxious Dog Visiting Boarding Facility

Understand your dog when visiting boarding anxious dogs facility

You could repeat visiting the facility a few times, and enjoy seeing the progress your dog makes. After that, when you are ready for a longer visit the best thing is booking with a trainer at the facility. The trainer can prepare a fun-filled, confidence-boosting, trust-building session for your dog. In that way they are starting getting to know and understand your dog.

Repeat this as needed and gradually let your trainer take over your dog’s focus and explore the site further. The trainer should also help introduce the other team members to your dog. If after a few sessions, you see your dog happily engaging with the trainer and looking forward to meeting other team members, its time to move to the next stage: daycare or half-day daycare.

This will mean your dog staying all by themselves with their new friends in the place now associated with play and fun. You should expect clear and open communication about how your dog is getting on. In addition, established boarding anxious dogs facilities will also post daily photos of all guests during walks or group plays.

An overnight stay is a next step

From here, build up to an overnight stay and at last, you can have your well deserved holiday. Knowing that your beloved puppy is in good hands makes you travel more. Boarding anxious dogs facility is not a problem for your dog anymore.

All this is time and effort well worth investing. We all know trust takes time to grow. It gives you time to asses the situation as you go. Communicate and ensure that you are happy with the business you entrust your beloved dog with, at every step of the way.

Boarding Anxious Dogs

Anxious Dog and his Trainer Smiling

Written by: Aleksandra Borawska