Why Board?

There are several organizations popping up across the States that promote dog sitting and private homes as boarding options and are trying to convince dog owners to stay away from true boarding facilities. While there may be some very capable dog

sitters, simply promoting this concept Carte blanche is disappointing and uninformed.

It is understandable that, when going on trips, etc., owners may feel bad leaving their dogs behind. The organizations that promote dog sitting (or private home sitting) hope that the idea of leaving your dog in your own home or someone else’s home will ease that guilt. However, there are several things to consider before making the decision of where to leave your pet. Let’s look at some reasons NOT to leave your dog with a private party:

1. For most dogs, being at someone else’s home is not any different than being at a well-run boarding facility. Neither of them are home and dogs know this.

2. A private residence is not licensed like a boarding facility is. (In many counties, a kennel license is also required and most private-home caregivers typically do not bother with this). What is your recourse if something goes wrong?

3. Many of these organizations simply require someone to sign up – there is no background check, no home visit, no history taken and no reference check. Buyer beware.

4. Many pet sitters who sign up to care for dogs are merely dog lovers. They are NOT dog experts. There is a HUGE difference.

5. What happens to your dog when the care-taker needs to go to the store, or take another dog to the vet or run any other errand. Most likely the dog(s) are left alone – not a good idea in a strange environment.

6. If a dog sitter comes to your home, well, the additional risks go without saying especially if the person is not licensed and bonded. AND, if they are NOT spending the night, your dog will be left alone for most of the 24 hour period each day.

These are some important points to consider. This is not to say that just any boarding facility will do either. But a facility that has a well-trained and engaged staff, a dog-to-dog social program, an on-site attendant, a long-term reputation, and is expert in training and behavior, may be a better choice. A trained staff can attend to each dog’s needs, place them where they are most comfortable, match social dogs up with other social dogs in appropriate groups, and can handle illness or other situations that may arise. And, should you not be happy with something, an experienced facility is equipped (and willing) to reconcile the matter to your satisfaction.

Sure, we all want the best for our dogs and it may be tempting to think that having someone care for them in your home or putting them in someone else’s home is a good idea. But before deciding what to do with your best friend when you go out of town, do your homework. Ask for references, ask to see their business license, ask how long they have been in business, look at their web site, ask what their arrangements on should your dog get sick, check out their home or facility…..your dog has no voice and can’t tell you what goes on. It is up to you to decide with whom you will entrust his care.



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