By Karen A. Soukiasian
Many dogs have a hard time adjusting to doggie motels if they are not desensitized properly. Most are full of activities and plenty of noise. If your dog is not accustomed to being left alone, or around a lot of hub-hub, it may be overwhelming at first, not to mention, they may feel abandoned by you.
Reputable boarding facilities are sensitive to these issues. They understand what your dog is going through, and are willing to help you, help your dog to adjust. Remember, it makes their jobs easier in the long run, if your dog is happy during their stay with them!
6 Steps To Help Your Dog Happily “Survive” Their Stay At The Doggie Motel
1. Find a facility YOU are comfortable with. Ask friends whom they recommend. Look for one that offers lots of fun activities to keep their guests busy.
2. Take your dog there a number of times, merely as a “field trip”. Make it a fun, positive experience. When you get out of the car, give your dog a treat. Walk around the parking lot a few times. Let your dog sniff all he wants. Continually give your dog treats as he explores the parking lot. Get back into the car; give your dog a treat for handling it like a champ, and leave.
3. When your dog is relaxed and comfortable with exploring the parking lot, the next step is to get them inside. Repeat Step 2, but this time, go inside, keep giving your dog treats. Arrange for the staff to meet him and give him treats. Let him walk around, sniffing all he wants. Let him interact with the staff. While he is still interested, it’s time for you both to leave. Repeat this step, until your dog is relaxed and comfortable inside the facility.
4. Next, it’s time to leave him there for a few hours. Most boarding facilities also have a doggie daycare section. Bring a few things he is familiar with, such as chew toys, balls, his bed, or crate. Leave him there for a couple of hours of doggie daycare fun. Do not make a big deal about leaving. As a matter of fact, don’t say a word! Just leave! (Be prepared to pay for the time your dog is there!)
5. Repeat Step 4 until your dog is relaxed and comfortable with being at doggie daycare. Odds are, by now, he feels quite at home. Now, it’s time to try an overnight or two stay, before the long one. Don’t let your feelings be too hurt, but he probably won’t even notice when you leave.
6. Try not to make a big deal out of it when you pick him up after your vacation. Act like you just left a few minutes ago. No doubt, he will be happy to see you.
BOTTOM LINE: By desensitizing your dog in a positive manner, with short, fun visits, he will soon equate the kennel as a fun place to be, where his friends, new and old, are waiting for him. Most likely, he will look forward to his next stay.
Remember: bring things he is familiar with, especially his regular diet. It helps keep things familiar.
NOTE: Many boarding facilities offer poochie-cams 24/7. If yours does, while on vacation, you can go to their web site and in real-time watch how much fun your dog is having with his new friends. Be prepared to be pleasantly surprised!
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