have added this section to cover all bases when a consumer
decides to kennel their dog. This section is not only important
for the consumer monetarily but for the well being of the
dog. DOG FOOD: why would a kennel want to serve your dog
a different menu than what he or she eats normally. Everyone
knows that the digestive tract of dogs is very sensitive
to food changes so I ask again why would a kennel pursue
such a practice.
1. It saves them time and money. They (certain kennels)
can pick up garbage brand dog food (such as Rob Roy or whatever)
and not have to take the time and effort to figure out who
eats what and serve separate meals.
2. The kennel can then also get away with raising the prices
on the boarding because THEY ARE SUPPLYING THE FOOD.
Pretty simple math but the one who suffers is really the
dog. He comes home with diarrhea and no one can tell me
that is fun for the dog. It could take him weeks to unravel
what they did to his system
3. It also shows something about the kennel who subscribes
to a practice like that: either they don't know, which is
a really bad sign, or they don't care, which is really a
At our kennel the dog comes first. Bring his or hers normal
dog food so they have a wonderful experience without the
switcheroo and they don't have the repercussions when they
get home. You also save money because our rates are lower.
We don't mind going the extra distance (serving meals individually)
because we know what is better for the dog's welfare.
your pet at a boarding kennel is very serious business.
Not only for your peace of mind but for your pet's safety:
medically, emotionally, and for your pet's physical requirements
and social needs. Let's get past the smiles and polite conversation
that business people (boarding/kennel owners/managers) like
to jammer you with and get to the core of what they are
actually going to do for your pet.
a rule of thumb I personally would not make an appointment
to visit a kennel to check it out. A kennel should have
nothing to hide from perspective customers. The perspective
customers should be able to peruse their pets new environment
at any time the establishment is open (during normal business
hours). When you get inside the waiting room of the boarding
facility listen politely to what the owner/manager has to
say but do not let your guard down. Give careful scrutiny
to the goings on around you. You will be very surprised
at what information you can pick up. A reputable owner/manager
will proudly show off their establishment to a perspective
client. Pay very careful attention to what you are looking
at when you go for the tour.
to look for that are crucial to your evaluation:
1. Are the kennels where the dogs are kept in made of wood?
Wood retains disease because it cannot be readily cleaned
because of its absorbency. Even painted wood retains moisture.
Look for chew marks or pieces of wood missing, this is a
sign that the dogs that were kept in there were bored. The
chewed wood is also a dangerous situation because of splinters.
2. If the runs are made of cinderblock make sure that they
have paint on them. The paint should be the type that is
used on boats where no liquid can get through and it doesn't
chip. Check for peeling paint and chew marks on the paint.
Make sure the blocks are insulated so cold and heat are
not retained whereby your pet will be at comfortable temperatures.
Make sure the air conditioning/heating units are sufficient
to do a proper job. Remember doors for the dogs always leak
and to do a proper job this must be taken into account.
3. If there are notes attached to the pen doors which have
instructions on them, read them. For instance let us say
you saw a note on the door that stated "do not knee this
dog in the chest". This means to me that kneeing a dog in
the chest is acceptable in this kennel and this particular
dog, with the note on the door, was the exception. Always
be on the lookout for signs of physical abuse. If they are
there you just have to keep your eyes open to spot them.
4. Check out their system for getting rid of the defacatory
and urinary waste. If there is not proper waste disposal
this will impact your dog because your dog could get extremely
sick and also be exposed to parasites. Some kennels say
that they don't have a specific waste disposal system because
it is cleaner that way. Don't buy that bill of goods. Think
about it in your own home: what is cleaner you using your
toilet or having the mess on the floor and no way to dispose
of it. You trying to clean up a mess with a shovel or hose
doesn't cut it. But having drains whereby the offending
problem can be washed into it does. That's why the Roman's
5. An excellent gauge to determine the cleanliness of a
kennel is if you see waste matter that has not been cleaned
up in a timely fashion. Waste matter should be cleaned up
within almost immediately. If it is not cleaned up that's
a bad sign (depending on how many dogs are in the kennel-if
there are 50 dogs and the cleanup has started that's acceptable).
Also if the owner/manager would rather shoot the breeze
with you than direct someone to clean up the mess or do
it himself/herself beware. I would have more respect and
know my dog would be in better hands if the owner/manager
said to me "excuse me, I have to clean up a run please be
patient I'll be right back". Needless to say if there is
an odor that is not the right kennel for your dog!
6. Look at the actual run areas where the dogs are being
kept. Are the walls high enough so the dogs have privacy?
Are the walls high enough on the outside of the runs whereby
another dog cannot jump into another kennel? When the dogs
are let out into the individual runs outside is every other
dog let out (staggered) or are all the dogs let out at the
same time? If they all let out all at the same time then
disease and worms can spread through the adjourning fencing
and also even though the dogs can't reach each other it
is a good way for dogs to fence fight. Some kennels say
that they stagger male and female even though they are next
to each other. This is a poor excuse. There still can be
fights and diseases transmitted through the fencing.
7. Evaluate the openings that the dog has to go through
to get to the outside run. If they are too small and the
dogs have to compress themselves to get through or they
just make it through with their shoulders that's no good.
8. Look at the dog's themselves. If they look unhappy or
bored no good. If they are barking their heads off then
they are also bored and not getting the proper exercise.
If they are sleeping because they have a good exercise program
or they are content playing with their toys that's a good
9. What is the exercise program for the dogs? If they are
just let out into the outside run that sure is a lonely
existence and not acceptable. If the handler/owner says
the all the dogs get individualized attention ask for examples
of what is done with the dogs. Does the handler/owner know
the dog's personality? Does the handler/owner know what
games makes the dogs happy so they can enjoy their exercise
programs to the fullest? If the same basic answer is used
for all the dogs that is not individualized attention and
10. Look for toys whether they be cow hooves, Kong toys,
etc. Are they in the runs to keep the dogs occupied between
11. Are the toys bleached before they are given to the dogs.
If not your dog can contract diseases and worms.
12. Is there a good ventilation system? For example pulling
air from outside and then pushed out through the roof.
Is there a trainer on the premises so he can evaluate the
dogs? The trainer's evaluation is extremely important in
keeping tabs on the dogs so they can get a good exercise
14. Is there 24 hour veterinary care? How far is the vet?
Will there be a vet on call when the primary vet is off?
15. Are the kennel's help hands washed when they go from
one dog to the next dog with antiseptic soap to kill germs
16. Check out the exercise area is it safe, is it spacious,
and are there things in the area for the dog to enjoy?
17. Is somebody qualified to exercise and care for your
dog or is it just somebody making minimum wage and doesn't
know squat about dog psychology?
18. Are the feeding and water bowls raised off the ground?
Raised bowls are more beneficial physically for the dog
so the dog does not ingest air and they also take the strain
off the dogs legs and feet.
19. Are the dogs in their runs laying on cold concrete which
causes arthritis and other bone deformities? If the bedding
is supplied by the kennel or you is it washed and cleaned
regularly so cleanliness is maintained and parasitic invasion
is kept to a minimum. If your kennel uses this "new
wave" ideas of having furniture
how is the material part kept clean? Does it disassemble
for cleaning and if it does than how often is it done?
20. How are the animals handled? Are they taken out like
they are a sack of potatoes and the end of a leash or are
they spoken and cared for with respect and social intercourse?
21. Does the boarding kennel have a fly problem? If so that
is a sign of unsanitary conditions. If the kennel has those
lighted electrical fly traps I would wonder why. If a kennel
is properly sanitized and cleaned then why would flies accumulate?
22. Check with your local veterinarian. He might have some
insight as to which kennels are unsanitary because of the
sick dogs he will get in from animals that have stayed at
23. What is used to clean the kennel area? Is it strong
enough to kill Parvo and other deadly diseases? How often
is the kennel hosed down with the antiseptic cleaner? Is
a power washer used to make sure the kennel is really kept
clean or is a sponge used which is not the proper way to
clean a kennel.
Are you, as a perspective customer, allowed to visit your
dog at anytime during his/her boarding. Some kennels refuse
to allow this because they claim it disrupts the animal
and other boarders. Rubbish!
24. When you go to a boarding facility and the owner/manager
tells you that their house is set up so the boarding animals
can go in there and be treated like a family member watch
out. You want your dog safe and mixing
and matching with other dogs no matter how docile this expert
says the dogs are can cause you nothing but grief. "I
have tested the dogs with a temperament test to determine
if they are compatible and can play together" says
the expert who boards and prescribes to these multiple dogs
playing together programs. Multiple dogs that are not from
the same household (even sometimes from the same household
even though rare) is an accident waiting to happen. It takes
a second for a major dog fight to begin, also nobody can
state for sure that the animals your animal will be associating
with are totally free of disease or worms. Sarcophtic mange
(is for life), worms, are among the few presents that your
dog can come up with after his/her stay at mom and pops.
This mom and pop attitude of sharing their house with the
animals or allowing strange dogs to play with one and another
allows for to many variables that can go wrong.
personal opinion is when you go to a kennel and it is stated
that their policy is their boarding guests will be temperament
tested and then they will be able to "PLAY" with
other dogs sends up a red flag to me. I believe that are
not considering the horrible outcome that can come from
a mix like this. I can only come to a couple of conclusions
as to why they do it:
1. they don't have the proper amount of land area to be
able to initiate a safe and workable exercise fields
2. they are lazy and want the dogs to tire themselves out
by themselves so their job is easier
3. they don't have the expertise to be able to pull this
constant switching of animals from kennel to safe area back
to kennel again
4. they don't care or know what they are doing or the ramifications
of such actions
It really doesn't matter what the reason is but the fact
that there is a right and happy way for your dog to be treated
or the wrong way whereby harm can come to your dog.
The last point I have to make is very important. Do you
know how many people over the years have told me that they
were breeders, dog trainers, and on and on. I have found
very very few people throughout my career know very little
about dog's minds and how they work. How many dogs have
they trained? Have they ever dealt with sharp/shy animals
and how did they rectify the problems? Do they know when
it is proper to initiate use of a pinch collar? Now for
the piece de resistance-how much attack work or tracking
work have they done? How does this
impact on Rover your couch potato? Very much
because one cannot understand the the full psyche of a dog
unless one is able to eclectably draw from many disciplines.
Tracking and protection work lays bare the dog psychology
and one can draw inferences and information from those experiences
to evaluate other dogs personalities whether they are working
animals or not. The owner/manager of the perspective kennel
you are thinking of using: WHAT ARE THEIR CREDENTIALS-WHAT
HAVE THEY REALLY DONE AND SEEN? DON'T BE AFRAID OF
ASKING THE HARD QUESTIONS BECAUSE IT IS YOUR DOG THAT WILL
SUFFER IF THE QUESTIONS ARE NOT ASKED. I personally
have trained over 20,000 dogs and I have barely scratched
the surface in what I know about dogs. I have trained in
every discipline that is imaginable and I am still learning
about dogs and their psychology. DON'T BE AFRAID, ASK
have to commend Jim Heverly and Aldo's Acres. I have witnessed
him over the years breaking his back from early morning
(5 AM) to late at night (10 PM), 7 DAYS A WEEK, running
constantly putting dogs in separate fields for exercise.
Caring for every one of their needs, passing their kennels
after exercise period is over and giving them homemade cookies,
chicken, steak, (which by the way he personally cooks for
them) and other goodies so they never know that they are
alone. So they always know that his place is friendly and
they are loved.
Aldo's Acres every dog is rotated to an individual field
at least twice a day. This is so they can have the freedom
of exercise and when they return to their individualized
kennel area they are tired and they get a restful sleep.
When they wake up and they are ready to go out again and
play they again are taken to their own exercise area. You
never ever hear Jim's dogs barking out of boredom, running
the fence line, chewing fences, or trying to escape. This
goes on all day at Aldo's Acres, the dogs are catered to
and they have so much fun they are never home sick. No chances
here of catching worms from another dog, no chances of fighting
over toys, individualized exercise and no accidents. Nobody
except God can predict when there will be a dog fight. No
testing in the world can determine this. It can happen over
a blade of grass and no one is fast enough to stop it. Who
would want to, every dog is precious and should be protected
as best as humanely possible. Aldo's Acres is the only kennel
I have ever seen where the dogs literally try and break
the windows of the cars they come in to get back into the
kennel. Incredible!!. I personally have seen people come
in to drop their dogs off and inadvertently the dog has
escaped from the car, and run as fast as they can into Jim's
kennel. As far as I am concerned the dogs have given Jim
a 5 star rating with their actions.
by no means is a complete list of items to look for or question
from the perspective boarding kennel you are thinking of
using. But it is sure a good start. Above all use your common
sense. Check out at least three kennels before you make
your decision. Use comparison shopping methods and remember
above all keep your dog's well-being in mind. If you have
questions or concerns do not hesitate in emailing
Due to the controversial issues presented in this article
all opinions are expressed by Neal Seaman. Aldo's Acres,
Jim Heverly, will not he held responsible for what is written.
Written by Neal Seaman