If you travel frequently for work or just like to embark of fun get-a-ways a few times a year, then you may be facing the dilemma that many avid travelers face -- you would love to get a dog, but just don't know how one would fit into your busy, jet-setting lifestyle. Like many other dog lovers who are frequent travelers, you may even believe that the dog you would adopt would be "better off" in a home where the family is home most of the year. The truth is that on an average year, there are approximately 3.9 million dogs who enter dog shelters. Out of that great number of homeless dogs, only about 35-percent are adopted into "forever homes."
If you were a dog, would you prefer living in a loving, forever home where your owner travels a few times each year or in a shelter where only your basic needs were met? Of course, you would prefer to live with a loving "dog parent" who travels! What will you do with your dog when your travels lead to you staying in hotels where no pets are allowed? You can simply take your dog to a pet boarding service where he can embark on his own "doggy vacation" while you are away on yours.
While all dogs can stay in boarding facilities as long as they are not extremely aggressive and are caught up on all of their important vaccinations, read on to learn 2 tips for choosing a dog who will love staying in a boarding facility and how to train him to embrace the boarding process.
1. Choose a Shelter Dog Who Gets Along Well with Other Dogs
If you have not yet browsed the local dog shelters to check out dogs to potentially adopt, then you may be unaware of the fact that there is typically at least one shelter staff member who can tell you all about a dog's unique personality. Some shelters even have informative signs on the front of each dog's crate that teach you all about the dog's history, if known, as well as their "likes" and "dislikes."
There are two main types of dog boarding facilities: those where dogs remain in their own crates during most of their stay at the facility and "cage-free" boarding facilities where much of the dog's time there is spent in a large room playing and "socializing" with the other dogs and the staff. If you choose a dog who not only loves humans, but also gets along well with other dogs, he will be a great candidate for a cage-free boarding facility where he can have fun playing and interacting with other dogs while you are away.
However, don't worry if you fall in love with a dog and the staff tells you that he experiences "inter-dog aggression." While he would need to stay at a pet boarding facility where there is little interaction between the dogs at first, proper training can help him overcome his problem and learn to get along well with other dogs.
2. Plan to Adopt Him About 8 Weeks Before Your Next Trip
As you can imagine, your new dog could become very confused if you were to adopt him one day and then take him to a boarding facility a day or two later after he was just getting used to his new forever home. Once you adopt your dog, he will go through an adjustment period as he gets used to his new surroundings and new owner. Since most pet professionals agree that dogs typically take about 6-8 weeks to fully get used to a new home, it is best to wait until this adjustment period is over before leaving your dog at a boarding facility while you travel.
However, it is never too soon to begin looking into local pet boarding facilities to see which would be the "best fit" for your dog while you are away. You can even take your dog to meet the staff members before he even goes on his first "doggy vacation" at the facility, so when he eventually does stay at the facility for a longer period of time without you, he feels like he is staying with "old friends," which can help prevent dog anxiety.
If you travel frequently, yet are a dog-lover, then you may think that you wouldn't be "the perfect owner" for a shelter dog. Realize that as long you provide your dog lots of love, companionship, and the forever home he has dreamed of, he will be much happier living with you and staying in a boarding facility a few times each year than remaining homeless and in a shelter.