Sometimes you can’t help the timing of adding a new, furry addition to the family. Whether you have been waiting on a breeder for a puppy or stumbled across the perfect pup at an adoption event, getting a puppy is an exciting time.
It also happens to be a stressful, hands-on time. For those that have had puppies in the past, you can be sure they will tell you that they bring a lot of joy, but also come with a lot of work. Puppies naturally don’t know to go “potty” outside or know the difference between chewing on a chew toy or an iPhone cable.
So what happens when you get a puppy right before going on vacation? It is one thing to ask a friend or relative to watch your trained dog, but asking them to watch your brand new puppy is asking for trouble. So another option is to board your puppy. But is this a good or bad idea?
I know you want a clear, black, and white answer, but the truth is that this all depends on a few factors.
How You Want Your Dog to Be Trained
Boarding your puppy is going to be a good or bad idea depending on the owner. Some owners like to have full control over training their puppies so that they have ease of command of them later on. For example, a lot of German Shepherd owners do thorough training for their puppies because of the dog’s intelligence. They want their puppy to not only be able to do the basic commands and doing their business outside, but they want them to be extensively trained. This certainly isn’t to say that owners of other breeds don’t want this training.
Other owners just want their dog to go outside to do their business, come when called, and sit. And that is totally okay! You don’t have to have a superdog to have a great family pet. It all comes down to personal preference.
That is why boarding may or may not be a good idea for your puppy. The puppy will get some great socialization skills while in a boarding facility, however, they may not get the custom training you would have given them yourself. Training a dog is much easier in the early stages of its life which is why puppyhood is such a crucial point in deciding how trained you want your dog.
The Boarding Facility
Another factor that plays an important role in if boarding your puppy is a good or bad idea, is the boarding facility itself. Many facilities provide the same standard of care, which includes a place for the dog to sleep, regular feedings, and regular playtime. However, some boarding facilities actually go above and beyond, providing extra care such as socialization, medical treatment, and a 24-hour staff.
Additionally, some boarding facilities provide support for learning puppies. The facilities are ideal for those who need to board their puppies. This way you can at least be ensured that your puppy will be learning proper behaviors and possibly even some new commands.
Submissiveness of the Puppy
Finally, your puppy’s temperament also plays a role in the decision of boarding or not boarding. If you haven’t quite figured out your puppy’s temperament, you should so as soon as you can. Bring the puppy to a dog park or to areas where there will be a lot of external influences. By bringing your puppy to the dog park, you can witness how he or she plays with other dogs. If your dog purposefully rolls onto its back to playing with another dog, it likely has a submissive personality. If it tries with all its might to be the dog on top, it is likely a more headstrong dog, with alpha personality traits.
Why is temperament important? Your dog’s temperament can directly relate to how easy it will be to train. Submissive dogs are generally easier to train because you are immediately seen as the alpha of the pack. Dogs with a more headstrong personality will try to beat you out for alpha. These are the dogs that may initially pull on leashes, sprint to make sure they are the first one out the door and try to take the comfiest spot on the couch.
Any dog can be trained but a lot of that depends on the person doing the training. For example, it can be a good idea to place a more submissive puppy in a boarding facility because it will be easy to train. The trainers there will have no issue working with your dog and then when it is time for your puppy to come home, you should have no issues either.
However, a headstrong dog will take a strong trainer. Many professional trainers at boarding facilities are very capable of establishing pack dominance. However, your dog may then see that trainer, and not you, as the alpha leader of the pack. This puts you in a struggle to establish dominance. This may sound over-exaggerated, especially when talking about your tiny, fluffy puppy. However, even the cuddliest, fluffiest, cutest dogs follow their natural instincts of a pack mentality.