the Right Kennel
© By Charlotte Mielziner
Professional Member, APDT
Certified in Canine Behavior, Purdue University
Certified Private Trainer, ABTA
Rally Judge, AKC and MBDC
For a worry free vacation, the right kennel can set your mind
at ease knowing your border collie is safe and well taken care
of. Kennels have evolved from a cramped cage to luxurious condos
where you check the online doggie cam and watch Fluffy nap in
her cot while 101 Dalmations plays on the TV. Your holiday should
be so good. Whether or not your dog needs fresh baked gourmet
treats after a massage is up to you. However, there are several
basics you should watch for when selecting the right kennel.
Check to make sure they are a member of the Pet Care Services
Association (PCSA), formerly known as the American Boarding Kennel
Association (ABKA). This group promotes professional and ethical
standards of care and safety and even inspects and accredits
facilities and has a certification program for the operators.
Look for these certificates and any state licensing that may
apply. For more information, check the PCSA website.
Asking friends and neighbors for a referral is a good start,
but make sure to ask the experts. Contact groomers, veterinarians,
dog trainers and kennel clubs for the name of a quality kennel
they recommend. Get details. Ask them what they particularly
like about the facilities.
Visiting the kennel ahead of time is a prudent step. Some pet
care facilities have online virtual tours that you may wish to
see first. Upon arrival, look around. What is your general impression?
Is the building and grounds clean and well maintained? While
there is at least a tinge of doggie odor in the cleanest of kennels,
is it overpowering or reeks of old urine? Refrain from visiting
in the first or last hour of the day. Kennels are bustling at
these times feeding the animals, cleaning runs, receiving guests
and your visit may inhibit the workers and overly excite the
dogs. Fridays and Mondays are usually the busiest days. If you
are not allowed into the kennel area, consider it a good sign.
Visitors can arouse the dogs and potentially carry diseases.
Bringing your own feed and/or treats will minimize the digestive
upset of a change in diet. The right kennel will note the type
and amount for your border collie on an information card and
mark the container of feed specifically for your dog. If you
feed your dog once per day, it is a good idea to go with twice
per day if that is what the kennel does. The stress on your dog
seeing and smelling other dogs getting dinner may cause additional
Allowing you to bring
your dog’s bed and perhaps a few
favorite toys is a sign you have found the right kennel. Border
collies need more activities than most other breeds. You may
even want to bring along a towel or old T-shirt you have used
to comfort your dog with your smell. Make sure the bedding and
toys are clean.
The right kennel will
ask about any health or behavioral issues and be willing and
able to administer the correct medicines.
Make sure dosages are labeled and easy to read. Some kennels
charge for this service, others say they don’t want owners
to decide whether to include their pet’s medications based
Your Border collie may need additional physical outlets while
you are gone. Exercise minimizes stress, behavioral problems
and relieves boredom. Look for a kennel that offers some level
of exercise for your dog in either a secure run, or on walks.
This may also involve an additional charge at some kennels. View
the exercise pen. Is it well maintained? Are toys and water available?
If dogs are let out together are there enough workers to oversee
and maintain safety?
In some states kennels are required to refuse service to dogs
that are not current on vaccines. Basic vaccines are rabies,
DHLPP and Bordatello. Up to date vaccines protect not only your
dog, but others as well. The kennel should make note of the expiration
dates and ensure that there is compliance. The right kennel will
also be able to transport your dog to your veterinarian if urgent
care is needed. You should leave contact information with them
in case your authorization for services is needed.
The workers in the right kennel truly love dogs. Watch them
as they work. Are they energetic and thorough? Do they pause
a moment to make each dog feel special? The right people caring
for your dogs can make all the difference in his stay.
The right kennel is
not always the most convenient to your home and may not be
the least expensive, but it is the kennel that
cares for your border collie as if he were their own. It’s
like summer camp for Fido. They are overjoyed to see you again,
but return home healthy and happy. When you have found the best
facility, stick with it. Give them your support by recommending
their service to your friends. Travel at peace, knowing your
pet is in good hands.
are welcome to use this article but please give credit to
Mielziner and Mo-Kan Border Collie Rescue. Please let
us know by emailing us!