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Adapting to Kennel Life

We are big fans of Pippa Mattinson and this is an extract taken from Pippa Mattinson’s “The Labrador Handbook” (published by Ebury Press – it is a great read and I would urge you to buy it along with her book “Total Recall”) – Thank you Pippa for letting us use this.

Boarding Kennels

“Good Boarding Kennels are always full at peak holiday times, so make sure you start looking several weeks, if not months in advance.  Your dog will probably need an up-to-date vaccination certificate from your vet, so make sure this is in hand well before you trip.  Some kennels may be willing to accept a recent titre test result.

You may like the idea of your dog being walked outside the kennel grounds, but I wouldn’t recommend this.  I prefer to know that my dogs are secure within the kennel compound at all times.  There is so much potential for things to go wrong when several dogs are taken out to a location they do not know and supervised by a person they do not know.  Your dog will not come to any harm by not being walked for a week or two, provided he has access to a secure compound outdoors where he can trot around and stretch his legs.  If your dog is friendly, he will be able to exercise / play with other friendly dogs.

It is a good idea to visit the kennel of your choice well in advance.  Ask to be shown around and to see where your dog will sleep and be exercised, and where his food will be prepared.  When you visit, think about security.  Is the kennel double gated at every possible escape point?  Do the staff make sure the external gate is closed before they let you in through the internal gate?  This simple precaution is woefully ignored in some kennels.  Don’t worry too much about the décor.  It doesn’t matter if the paintwork is a little shabby provided that the dogs are safe, well cared for, clean and happy.

Most happy, healthy dogs adapt quite well to kennel life and don’t suffer any long –lasting effects from being left for a week or two, but the whole experience may be less traumatic for your dog if he can have a sleepover at the kennel before the real thing.  Instead of being left in a completely strange place for two weeks, he is then in a familiar environment with people he has met before, and confident that you will return.  This will really help prepare you both for the separation.  It will also give you a better feel for the way the kennel is run.

No matter how upset we feel about leaving our dogs, the fact is, most dogs have a perfectly nice time in kennels.  Try not to worry, enjoy your holiday- he will almost certainly enjoy his.” 

Visit Pippa Mattinson’s excellent website: www.thelabradorsite.com