When you leave town, choosing who will take care of your pets is one of the most important decisions you will make. Your pup will be safer and you’ll have better peace of mind if you choose a reputable boarding facility with experienced staff members who can make sure your pup has everything he needs. Here are some tips for finding the best dog kennel in Seattle.
There are lots of kennels out there, making it hard to pick just one of them. If you have friends with dogs, ask them where they’ve boarded their pets and what they thought about the facility and staff. You can also ask professionals like veterinarians and dog groomers in Seattle. They are sure to know about kennels that they’ll be happy to recommend.
Visit the Facility
A key step in choosing the right kennel is visiting it in person before you leave your dog there. Most kennels offer tours to the public, but be sure to call ahead to make sure you come at a convenient time. While you’re there, pay attention to the following:
Does the whole facility look clean and well maintained?
Are the kennels and fences secure?
Are the kennels set at a comfortable temperature?
How big are the kennels?
How much supervision do dogs have throughout the day?
Do kenneled dogs have access to an outdoor run or exercise area?
Skye sacked out after a long day of play
While you’re taking a tour of the facility, be sure to ask the staff members questions about daily kennel routines such as eating and potty breaks. If your pet is on medications, make sure there are staff members who can administer them as needed.
It’s also important to ask questions concerning the safety of your dog. For example, find out if staff members are certified in canine first aid and learn what their policies are in case of an emergency. Ask what vaccinations are required for your dog to board–these prevent your pet from picking up diseases during his stay and are required by any reputable kennel.
You can also find out what other services the kennel offers. Most offer basic services such as dog grooming in Seattle, so your pet can go home smelling fresh and clean. Many kennels also offer Seattle dog training. This allows a trainer to work one-on-one with your dog to master basic obedience or overcome problem behaviors.
Bring Your Dog
If you like what you see during your visit, schedule an appointment to bring your dog to meet the staff. This meeting is often required and usually includes a temperament test to make sure your dog doesn’t display any aggressive behaviors. If your dog will be attending doggie day care in Seattle during his boarding stay, this initial visit will also include a meet-and-greet with some of the daycare dogs to make sure everyone gets along.
Bringing your dog to visit the kennel is also a good way to get him used to the new environment before leaving him for an extended period of time. If your dog has separation anxiety or has never been away from home before, consider dropping him off for a half day of daycare before you leave in order to see how he does and reassure him that his stays at the kennel are only temporary. Ask the kennel staff if there’s anything else you can do to make his stay as easy and fun as possible!
I am fortunate enough to have the chance to meet many first time daycare clients, enthusiastically bringing their dogs in for their first day of daycare play with the excitement that their dog will play and they will get a much needed break when their dog returns home tired and happy. Most people know they’re making the right move with daycare, but they’re not always sure exactly why. The idea of their dog home alone all day or stuck in a kennel for long periods is certainly not appealing, but with so many options for dog care now “why daycare?” is a legitimate one.
And of course, like most things when it comes to your dog, this is a personal issue and depends a lot on your individual dog and lifestyle. However I would like to explain why I believe in dog daycare and how I think it benefits the dogs that come here from the perspective of someone who is a veteran to the dog daycare and boarding world as a dog trainer and manager of almost 15 years.
Building and maintaining social skills
This is the most obvious one as dog daycare usually evokes an image of a group of dogs exuberantly playing. And while that certainly happens here, play is only one part of a larger picture when it comes to social skills. Some of the other social skills that transfer nicely from daycare to home life are…
- A dog’s ability to read and respond to another dog’s communication, in and out of play.
- How to approach and greet other dogs smoothly, through casual, indirect, and fluid movements.
- Learning to accommodate for size and power differences. This is especially important for dogs that have younger human beings at home and involves a dog learning how to adjust their strength, power, and intensity to the individual they are interacting with.
- A gentle mouth. This is one of the most overlooked aspects of dog-dog interaction but is arguably the most important. A dog’s ability to use their mouth gently even when upset determines whether a dog is safe in and out of the home and in dog-dog interactions. And this is a skill that must be practiced to maintain.
- Overall comfort level around other dogs. Time spent in a group setting prevents strong or inappropriate reactions to other dogs from developing.
Fulfilling the needs that home care can’t
For your dog, time spent at home can be a good thing, but it can be lacking in fulfilling some core requirements for your dog, namely…
- Physical stimulation – an obvious one. In daycare your dog moves around, runs, and plays.
- Mental stimulation – engaging in play, greeting new dogs and people, engagement from staff
- Environmental management – most daycare facilities are, hopefully, built with the well-being of the dogs in mind. This means stressful, unpleasant, overstimulating, or risky experiences are carefully structured or prevented entirely. Unlike peering out a window at home, which can be a frustrating experience and build unwanted behaviors like barking or reactivity, those type of experiences are controlled in daycare so that they build better emotional control and better behavior for your dog at home.
Creating a comfortable environment
Not all dogs that benefit from dog daycare are dogs that play all day. For some dogs daycare or boarding in a group environment provides a low-stress home away from home, free from the isolation that many dogs feel alone at home or in a kennel environment. This is why dog daycare boarding is such a frequent choice for older dogs who no longer do well in a traditional kennel environment.
So there you have it: why daycare might be a good fit for your dog and why I support daycare for a wider range of dogs than might meet the eye initially.
Most dog owners have to go out of town from time to time, and it isn’t always possible to take the family dog. What do you do with your beloved four-legged family member when you can’t watch him yourself? Choosing someone to care for your dog is an important decision that can have a huge effect on him, so it’s important to choose your dog boarders in Seattle wisely. Here are 4 advantages of boarding your dog at a kennel. (more…)
If you have to start taking your dog to doggy daycare in Seattle–either on a daily basis or just for a few days while you go on a trip–you should avoid just dumping them and leaving. You need to prepare your dog for this new environment so they don’t experience extreme anxiety. Here are a few quick tips for doing just that. (more…)
Doggy day care is a great option when you have to leave home–whether you’re away at work or on an extended vacation. Instead of leaving your dog home alone, your pup can play with other dogs and socialize with people all day long. This typically makes for more content dogs, although it can be difficult for some dogs to make the transition at first. Here are 5 ways you can help make the separation less stressful for your canine friend. (more…)
Dog day care is a life saver for many pet owners who don’t want to leave their pups alone all day long. It also provides dogs with important socialization and gives them an outlet for their boundless energy. Choosing the right dog day care in Seattle is a must in order to provide your dog with a safe place to meet new people and dogs. Here are some of the most important things to look for. (more…)
A couple of decades ago, boarding your dog meant confining Fido to a crate with minimal time spent outdoors and almost no one-on-one attention. It’s no wonder people were reluctant to leave their dogs when they went away. Times have changed, and dog boarding is no longer something to dread. In fact, doggie boarding in Seattle is something your four legged friend can look forward to. Here are reasons to opt for dog boarding services. (more…)
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In this edition of the Central Barker, we are gearing up for Bark to School! Kids head back to school in the next couple weeks which means the dogs that have been staying at home with the kids during the summer are now going to be home alone during the day. For some dogs this is great: more naptimes and less bribing the kids for extra treats; but for some pups this is just means more unsupervised time to cause mischief!
So parents when you’re buying all the school supplies for your kids, let’s also think about gearing our four-legged kids to get ready for their ‘bark’ to daycare!
If your pup has never gone to daycare, there’s a couple additional steps you should be aware of. Most daycares require some sort of behavioral evaluation or interview for new dogs before they can come in. Plan ahead of time for this and call ahead to set up an appointment as well as know the requirements the daycare has. These tend to book out 2-7 days ahead of time so keep that in mind when you’re planning.
For both ‘freshmen’ and ‘senior’ daycare dog goers it’s important to make sure they are up-to-date on all vaccines, flea preventative and/or fecal tests. Call the daycare ahead of time to make sure they have all the records and if something is missing call your vet to get it taken care of. There’s nothing worse than dropping your pup off for the day and then learning they cannot play due to an expired vaccine.
Now you’re ready! Your pup rocking their new collar, ready to make some new friends or see some old ones. There might even be a teary goodbye the first day but you’ll be reassured when your pup is passed out on the car ride home that they had a blast at daycare!
Memorial Day has finally arrived, kicking off the summer vacation season! We have been revving up for weeks and are ready for the start of summer which means a lot of doggy sleepovers. With this in mind, we want to share with you some tips you may not of thought of for boarding your dog. Whether its your pup’s first time boarding or the thousandth time we always want to make sure their sleepover stay is the best it can be!
Vegas tucks himself into bed every night!
1. Add a Yummy Incentive
- Sometimes dogs can be a bit pickier than usual about eating meals; the dog who gobbles up everything in sight at home, may choose to not eat meals during a boarding stay. Adding just a small amount of a ‘high value’ item to every meal will make them more likely to eat all of them. The ‘high value’ item can vary between treats, wet food, raw food, chicken broth, yogurt, etc. The idea is to add something special the dog doesn’t normally get everyday to encourage them to eat. This isn’t a fail safe trick, there are always the extremely picky eaters who won’t eat even with their incentive but it works with majority of dogs.
2. The T-shirt Trick!
- Bring a shirt/article of clothing that you have slept in so it smells like you that can be put in their kennel with them at night. This can be in addition to their favorite bedding and favorite toy too
Donald & Sadie soundly snoozing on their bed from home.
3. Short ‘Dry Run’ Boarding Stays
- If your dog is not an experienced boarder and you have a long trip planned, the best advice would to plan short 1 or 2 night stays over a couple weeks before the long trip to help acclimate them to boarding. It’s not mandatory of course but it will lessen the stress on your pup and ease them into the long boarding stay.
4. Check in on them
- This might sound obvious but you should always feel welcome to check up on your pet while they are boarding.
5. Time for a Bath
- Ask for a bath or nail trim to be done before you pick up your dog. If your dog is a big player they will be a tad stinky from consecutive days of playing with other dogs.
We want to hear from you!! What do you do to help you dog have a smooth boarding stay? What’s a good tip for dog owners new to boarding?