Many dog owners worry that their fur babies can have really bad separation anxiety during kenneling, this is a valid concern.
When a dog is experiencing separation anxiety at a kennel, they may exhibit the following behaviors:
- Not eating
- Not sleeping
- Sad and crying
- Howling in the middle of the night
- Destroying things
So…What can be done?
If your dog is exhibiting separation anxiety at home, that is, the dog cannot deal with the owner going to work and leave them alone for a certain period of time, kenneling is actually not a good solution in the short term. Read here to learn more.
Most of dogs will experience some level of separation anxiety which they are able to manage themselves, but it will take some time for the dog to familiarize itself with the new environment, getting to know the new people, and get use to our daily routine before they bond with us. This process will generally take about 0.5 – 3 days. Puppies and well raised dogs adapts much quicker, yet senior dogs and dogs with more challenging backgrounds can be much slower.
Socialization help a lot! Finding your dog a buddy or get involved in dog parties will greatly improve the case. This interaction can “bridge” them into learning and understanding the environment much faster. The whole concept is like a kid going to kindergarten for the first time, leaving Mum and Dad’s side can be quite painful, but once the kid got to know the teacher and had some fun with fellow boys and girls, he would adapt quickly and start to enjoy himself.
A few tips for the parents:
- Arrange pick up or drop off the dog at kennel BEFORE packing. Your pup will see you packing and become immediately stressed, we don’t want to link that or compound the feeling even before departure.
- Do a weekend getaway before the long holiday. Have your dog stay with us for a night or two and they would understand that the kenneling process has a beginning, a fun middle, and an end that is being met again by “Mum and/or Dad”.
- When dropping off the dog at the kennel, tell your dog firmly that you will be back in a couple of days and be a good boy/girl, and then leave. Please do not do longwinded emotional farewells, these are 100% guaranteed to stress out your dog more.
- Believe or not, our regular doggie clients are very happy to be back, they understand it’s a vacation filled with outdoor fun, they jump up and down when they see parents packing up their beds and food.
Stress and Fear
Post trauma and very timid dogs will exhibit unwanted behaviors which originates from stress and fear and can be compounded with separation anxiety. We have seen many rescue dogs who first came to The Chateau with a lot of aggression towards strangers and gradually re-established their confidence and opened up again. It is however a very slow process that requires lots of patience from both the owner and the Chateau team. Stress and fear caused behaviour include:
- Aggression towards dogs and humans
- Resource protection
- Territory protection
- Unwillingness to interact
- Not eating
- No pee or poo for days
What can we do?
In PTSD / High stress situations, our team will “start small”. To start with we will spend just a few minutes many times a day sitting in the dog’s room without physical or eye contact. Initially, the dog will stay as far away as it can and possibly growl, but gradually it will understand after multiple contact opportunities our team member isn’t a threat. Then the dog will get closer over time and we would throw a small treat without physical or eye contact into a open area, the dog can get to the treat without getting too close to the person. As the dog further relaxes each time, the treat was thrown closer, then the dog will eventually have the opportunity to sniff the person.
Genuine animal desensitization to trauma is a complex art-form that requires time and patience. Small wins matter and need to be built upon in a systematic and controlled fashion. Boarding/Kenneling facilities that do not have appropriate layouts or have multiple dogs always in the same space together are unable to achieve real results.
Canine (Kennel) Cough and its transmission
Kennel Cough (or Canine Cough) is an upper respiratory infection caused by both a bacteria and a virus. It is also known as Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC) and Canine Infectious Tracheobronchitis as it affects the dog’s lungs, windpipe and voice box. Just as human colds may be caused by many different viruses, canine cough itself can have multiple causes. One of the most common culprits is a bacterium called Bordetella bronchiseptica m, which is why kennel cough is often called Bordetella. See pet.webmd.com for more details here.
Unfortunately many kennels and boarding facilities in China, including those “premium providers” servicing the English speaking market, suffer from regular outbreaks and transmission of canine cough. These breakouts generally stem from the following reasons:
- Poor sanitization of the facilities and equipment.
- Poor facility design, stacking the dogs crates on top of and right next to each other allowing for direct transmission (dogs don’t cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze)
- Putting all dogs together in one large room (without doing blood tests, you can’t tell if a dog is sick unless they are symptomatic)
- Putting multiple dogs from different families in one small room (without doing blood tests, you can’t tell if a dog is sick unless they are symptomatic)
- Handlers with no animal medicine education or training
Chateau Canine is proud of its history of never having a disease outbreak in any of its facilities. We have achieved this by:
- Excellent standards of sanitization of the facility and equipment.
- A unique layout and design that gives every guest plenty of personal space and privacy that mitigates disease transmission risks.
- A well trained dog management team all with an education background in animal medicine or animal science who can identify health issues early and accurately.