Behaviour Changes That Should NOT Happen After Dog Boarding | Dog Boarding Canberra
Whether you have a spritely bundle of furry energy or a chill, relaxed four-legged buddy, your dog will always react to a change in environment. Socialisation is key to preventing skittishness and lessening anxiety when they are faced with other humans but it’s also definitely understandable if there are minor changes in their behaviour when they’re in dog boarding. Canberra-based services advertise a home away from home for your pooch but why do some have negative effects on them?
Drawing the line—what’s normal?
Being away from their beloved humans can be nerve-wracking for some of our four-legged friends—it does feel like it’s the end of the world as they know it. They don’t know why you’re going, and when you’ll be back. All they know is that you’re gone and it feels like forever.
There are common behavioural changes that occur for some dogs during or even after boarding, as long as they do not persist or escalate to more extreme symptoms:
- Whining and crying
- Disinterest in food and toys
- Light sleeping (waking up to the slightest sound or movement)
- Low energy
- Less name recall, less response to common obedience cues
Depending on the kind of socialisation your furry one has had throughout his or her life, they will react to separation in various ways. Minimise Fido’s anxiety by doing the following before you even need to get him to dog boarding in Canberra:
- Practise time away from you. Your pooch may be rattled like crazy if he’s only used to being with you 24/7. And while it may be difficult for him (and let’s face it, you), it’s prudent to get him used to not being with mummy or daddy for a period of time.
Start with playdates in friends’ homes, visits to trusted family members or ‘borrow’ sessions with other dog parents who have well-mannered pets of their own. Making the experience positive with treats and playtime will strengthen his confidence and ease separation anxiety.
- Build trust with other humans. Like with practising time away from you, learning to socialise with other humans is important for your dog. Belladonna will need to realise that there is a source for her basic needs and comfort other than you.
It breaks the heart a little, yes. But don’t worry—it’s not about completely throwing your bond out the window. You can retain that special relationship with your pooch and get her ready to interact with other humans. It’s just a matter of exercising the art of letting go a little bit—for both of you.
- Acclimatise him or her to new surroundings. Letting go 101 also involves learning to adjust to new environments. Your usual walks around the neighbourhood and play sessions at the park are a great start. If done regularly, Rocky will start looking forward to trips to new places. And instead of feeling apprehension over new smells and sights, he’ll see it as a fun opportunity to explore—under supervision, of course.
- Establish familiar associations. If you foresee a lot of trips without your pooch in the future, this can help a lot with easing your dog’s transition from home to boarding. Maintaining a form of consistency even with changes in environment is important—and it can be as simple as always remembering to bring his favourite toy, bowls and bed.
Some pet parents also provide their own clothing or blankets so their furbaby can still ‘smell’ home. The scent provides a sense of security and keeps little Buster calm while thinking of his favourite person.
What’s bad, and what’s really bad
There’s no one who knows your dog better than you. Pet parents have a hawk eye when it comes to changes in our pooches’ physical and mental condition and it can get quite alarming. Worse, it can affect their health and have an irreversible impact on their psyche.
Spending time away from home can stress any animal out but there will be times when other factors—such as incompatible facilities, neglect or even outright abuse—can do a lot of damage.
Kennels are specially-built to cater for dogs and the PIAA Standards & Guidelines for Boarding Facilities provides guidelines on how to minimise stress and prevent any untoward or inhumane incidents in the facility. But the environment itself, accommodating several animals at a time, can be overwhelming for some dogs.
A certain number of staff may be required to ensure round the clock care for the boarders but, even then, having multiple guests to care for means having to change a lot of your pet’s routine. That can trigger a lot of stress-related symptoms and prolonged staying in such a setting may have adverse effects on some home-raised pooch.
This is why pet parents prefer the house-based, personal and customised care of dog boarding. Canberra has a number of agencies and companies that can recommend the nearest and most suitable minder for you but it always pays to do your research. Even with the dog-friendlier setup you never know if the ads are exaggerating quality of service especially if the minder and their home have not been inspected by the service.
Whether you choose kennelling or boarding, you will need to be extra observant about how your pooch takes the whole experience. Aside from the normal separation anxiety and signs of distress listed earlier, there are more extreme and worrisome effects that raise red flags:
- Extreme depression
- Aggression towards the minder or caretaker
- Flinching, whimpering or any fearful reaction to the caretaker’s touch or voice
- Unusual territorial behaviour
- Lethargy / complete lack of response to any stimuli
- Lick granulomas (injuries caused by excessive and chronic licking)
When your pooch is cared for by a reliable, fully-screened minder (both by you and by the service you have chosen) they are much more likely to have a stress-free, enjoyable experience.
Prevention is better than a distressed dog
No one wants any of the scenarios mentioned here—and no one will pay for that! Trusting your pooch to another person is a huge deal—and a big responsibility. Meeting up with your prospective minder and seeing the home where Rufus will be staying is essential as it allows you to assess the type of care he will be receiving when you’re gone. It’s also worth checking that Rufus will be the only guest dog staying with that minder when he is there so that he isn’t suddenly boarding with another dog who takes a dislike to him and so that he receives plenty of attention from the minder.
Checking for other clients’ testimonials and reviews will also assure you that you’re choosing the right service to do the job of arranging your pet’s temp-parent. What advertisements and poster online won’t tell you, past customers will. Trust other consumers and learn from their experience so you and your precious dog will have a stress-free, positive experience—even while away from each other.