It’s warming up in Michigan and Spring Break has come and gone. Summer is coming, and many people are already making plans for summer trips. Vacationing can be stressful for fur parents if their dog does not have the best manners. If you’re traveling with your dog, training is key. I owned five dogs at one time in my life, and they all would go camping with me. We had our camper set up on a seasonal site in a pet-friendly resort community, and no one knew I had five dogs because they were well behaved, and they were quiet. Yes, this is possible – it just takes training and consistency. One of my rules for my dogs is “No Barking.” If you take control and communicate well, your dogs will not bark. All dogs need love, exercise and rules. If you provide them with these three key things and your dog will live a long healthy life. If you can’t take your dog with you, then you need to find someone to care for them while you are away. When I owned five dogs, boarding was not an option because of the cost so I needed to hire a pet sitter. There are professional pet sitters but I never used one. When we went on vacation, we had a co-worker or friend stay at our home and care for our dogs. It was much cheaper than using a boarding facility and the dogs were familiar with their caregiver. If you are thinking about hiring a professional sitter, make sure they are experienced, insured, and you’re comfortable with them staying in your home. Another option would be to have them drop by three times a day to let your dogs out, and to feed and water them. Make sure you know your dog – if he’s nervous or aggressive that may be an issue for the sitter. My niece once took care of a Great Dane while the owner was away. She planned to go to the house three or four times a day to let it out and do anything else necessary. She met the dog on a visit before the owners left for vacation and had no issues at all. Then, the first time she entered the house on her own, the dog bit her. I commended her because, even after that, she continued to go and care for the dog. He was never aggressive after that. If your dog bites someone, that can lead to a lot of problems such as medical costs, lawsuits, and the loss of your homeowner’s insurance. I have used boarding facilities when I only had a couple of dogs. Now that I own Adams K-9, my boarding is free. If you are going to board your dog, remember that different kennels have different rules. Typically, they want to know if your dog is dog aggressive. If so, you are limited in where the dog can board. We can deal with dog aggression, but if your dog is people aggressive, they cannot stay with us and probably won’t be allowed into other facilities. If the dog you’re boarding is an escape artist, jumps fences, or has allergies, please let the kennel staff know. We once boarded a dog whose ears were bleeding. He was shaking his head and blood was splattering everywhere. I called the owner, and they said, “Oh it’s his allergies acting up. Just tape his ear and giving him some Benadryl.” This piece of information would have been nice to know when they dropped off the dog. Visit the place where you want to board your dog. Use your nose. If it stinks inside, don’t use them. The boarding facility you choose should be a safe environment for your dog, and it should be clean. Our facility has individual kennels with concrete block walls so the dogs have some privacy. It also prevents the neighbor dog from peeing on them. Some kennels only have chain link fencing separating the kennels, so ask to have a tour of the place. Some pet boarding facilities house too many dogs that are all running around loose. I believe that is a recipe for disaster. Too many dogs, odor, not enough staff, all equals dogfights and sickness. Dogs do get kennel cough and there is a vaccine for it which is required for boarding. When school starts, I expect my kids to come home with sniffles, coughs and colds because they are in an environment full of other children. When you board, you are sending your dog to stay in a building with a bunch of other dogs. If your dog is social and is out playing with dogs, then they are swapping spit, drinking out of the same water bowl, and interacting. Don’t be surprised if they come home yacking. I had a friend board his dog at a large warehouse type of kennel in our area and they got a call one evening. They thought something was wrong. The owner asked them if their dog could sleep in bed with her – they were taken off guard and said “yes,” but thought that was a very odd request. Their dog also came home with kennel cough. My friend said they would never use that facility again. Now, my dogs go to work with me every day. They go out with the daycare group and I board them as well. My dogs have never come home sick from my facility, but we have had a few dogs go home with kennel cough. Maybe their immune system just wasn’t built up enough. Make sure your dog is vaccinated against it, but know that your dog could come home with kennel cough no matter where you board them. When I board my dogs at Adams K-9 I know they will be let out, fed, and have plenty of free time during the day. When I recently returned from vacation, both of my dogs were on their cots sleeping which tells me they were relaxed and not stressed during their stay. They were happy to see me and ready to go home, but I knew they were in good hands while I was away. My staff are all dog lovers, and they love what they do. If you need to board your dog in West Michigan, please give us a try. Your dog will love our place, especially the yard they get to play in. Please contact us at Adams K-9 for more information and availability.