In-Home Boarding. Why choose a professional?

This topic has become very important to me. When I started this business, I had no intentions on boarding dogs or cats. I was strictly going to do pet sits in the owners homes. I did well with this, but I consistently had others asking if I board. After many discussions with my husband and planning, I decided to try this concept with a few dogs that I was familiar with. My house is small, so I knew I would be limited to the number of dogs I could take in. I did this successfully and have several regulars that love to board their babies with me. Why is this service so sought after? It's the next best thing to actually staying in the dogs home, which I do occasionally but only in special circumstances. The dogs are in a home atmosphere and are in constant contact with people. I always ask that the owner to send their food, bedding and favorite toys to make them feel even more comfortable. So the question, "why choose a professional" is actually what I want to talk about today. When you home-board, all the dogs are in a close proximity of each other, usually in the same room. Do all dogs get along with each other? Absolutely not! You cannot, I repeat, cannot just throw a new dog in a room with a strange dog and expect them to become BFF's! It doesn't always happen that way. So how do I introduce new dogs to my  home with other boarders? First I do the meet and greet with the owner and pets either at their home or mine. That gives me important info about the pets and the owners. I ask many questions about habits, past behavior, medical, reactions to other pets and many more. The other thing I do is watch and evaluate behavior. Of course these pups will act different in front of their owners than they do in a strange place, but I can tell by a dogs demeanor how they may react to new surroundings.  I am studying dog behavior to obtain my certification in dog training so it now comes natural for me to observe all dogs. If I feel comfortable with the dogs and vice versa, then we discuss dates, and other specifics. But one very important thing I do at this time is look at my schedule to see what other dogs I may already have on the books at the times the current owner is requesting. If I already have a dog booked that I think will be a problem with the new dog, then I either come up with another solution or figure out another way to accommodate but separate these particular dogs from each other. Once it is decided to board at my home, the day of the arrival, I put my current boarders behind a puppy gate. I allow the new dog into the house and give it the room to investigate. I am by the gate at all times in case I have to quickly move dogs away from each other if there is any aggression. This works very well for me because they will either sniff, wag, roll over on tummy or seem disinterested. Those are the perfect scenarios! If aggression is shown by either side, then I know I will either have to keep these dogs separate from each other, or continuously introduce them through the gate in hopes that they will eventually become comfy with each other. I have spent full days doing this at times. I will never risk injury to my boarding dogs, me or my pets that I own. Once I see accepted behaviors between the gate, then I move them into the playroom. Its a larger room that gives them room to play and interact. If there are signs of aggression there, its back to the gate, or permanent separation for duration of stay. But usually, it always work. For one thing, during the MnG, if it is mentioned that the dog has aggression towards others, I will either choose other options, or have to decline my services. I have to say, there is nothing like peace and harmony when all the boarding dogs relax and get along well with each other. I am able to breathe! But during the stay, I consistently keep an eye out for any latent aggression. So THAT is why it is so important to hire a professional pet sitter! Knowledge is crucial, and even somebody knowing first aid in case a disagreement comes about!! I take this very serious. I do my homework. Safety is number one!  

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