Get­ting dogs ken­nel ready

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - MARK VETTE

Many of our ca­nine pals are sent to stay at ken­nels over the break, so here are some tips on how you can pre­pare your dog for the ex­pe­ri­ence to make it as smooth and stress-free as pos­si­ble.

You’ll want to know your fur child is go­ing to be well looked af­ter, so get to know your ken­nel op­er­a­tor and how they run their place. Go and check it out be­fore you book - talk to man­age­ment and staff, look at the dogs’ quar­ters, en­quire about feed­ing and ex­er­cise rou­tines and see how the peo­ple there in­ter­act with your dog.

Dogs don’t nat­u­rally like be­ing away from their fam­ily, un­less they’re well-ad­justed to do­ing so. If your dog hasn’t yet been to ken­nels, take them for a visit be­fore their stay so they can get to know the place and the peo­ple who work there. You may even want to ini­tially or­gan­ise a short stay of a night or two, so they be­come fa­mil­iar be­fore you leave for a longer pe­riod of time. anx­ious when sep­a­rated from us - this is es­sen­tial to solve be­fore your dog goes to ken­nels. Ad­dress­ing this is­sue in­volves build­ing con­fi­dence and in­de­pen­dence, by im­ple­ment­ing a de­sen­si­ti­sa­tion train­ing plan which in­volves grad­u­ated de­par­ture.

Take your dog out to so­cialise with new dogs reg­u­larly be­fore your trip, re­ward­ing them for good ‘‘meet and greets’’ and nice be­hav­iour. The dog ‘‘hand­shake’’ in­volves both dogs sniff­ing each other’s groin ar­eas so this should be en­cour­aged, in turn en­cour­ag­ing your dog to meet and re­spond well to other dogs while at the ken­nel.

Dogs can lose weight while stay­ing at ken­nels, so you may want to in­crease the amount you are feed­ing them the week be­fore you go.

Re­mem­ber to re­main calm and pos­i­tive when you drop your dog off. Some peo­ple find it very up­set­ting to leave their dog be­hind, but your dog will sense your emo­tions and re­act to them - so the calmer and hap­pier you are, the calmer and hap­pier your dog is likely to be!

Mark Vette is a lead­ing an­i­mal psy­chol­o­gists and be­haviourists.

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