The opportunity to socialize with other dogs will make the boarding experience more fun and pleasant for your dog and less anxious next time. However, if you want your dog to have the full experience at a boarding kennel, you must make sure he is well socialized. A dog that's fearful of other dogs will be more anxious about the experience than one who sees it as a place to play and have fun. Here are three tips on how to get your dog better socialized for boarding.
Go for walks often:
Go for walks where your dog is exposed to a variety of people and other dogs. If your dog is fearful, then just focus on the walk, at first, and not on introducing him to any dogs. Be sure to use a means of control that is effective, but will not hurt your dog such as a harness and a non-retractable leash. If you fear your dog may nip or bite, then you may want to invest in a muzzle until he becomes less anxious. Once your dog is comfortable, you can work on introductions. Try walking different areas every day to give your dog maximum exposure.
Distract your dogs with treats and toys:
Each time your dog shows aggression or anxiety distract his attention with a treat or by playing with him with his favorite toy. Each time he looks away from you, stop giving him treats or playing until he brings his attention to you again. You can also try giving extra treats when he does not show aggressive behavior when he otherwise normally would. This way, he associates seeing other people and dogs with pleasant things rather than something that should be feared.
Take your dog to training:
If you find that training your dog yourself is not getting any results, then you can take him to a training class. The trainers in these classes are very experienced with a variety of dog behaviors and can usually tell what motivates your dog. They can help customize your training regime to your dog so that it is more effective. Plus, in the class your dog will also be exposed to other dogs and people, too. Some classes specialize in training aggressive dogs and keeping them calm and under control.
When your dog is well socialized, he will have a much better experience during boarding and won't need to be isolated and alone. Plus, it's easier on the staff as well as your dog will be more eager to be there and less likely to get aggressive with people or other dogs. If you are planning to board your dog, try doing a single day board or a short overnight board at a place like Animal House Veterinary Hospital so that your dog will know what to experience when you need to take that long trip.