Get Social! Tips
Find ways to create goodwill and hope in the community and in your workplace.
1. Encourage well-socialized pets, kids, and people.
Be an enthusiastic friend - make friends with people AND dogs.
2. Be nice, gentle, complimentary and tactful.
3. Exude Southwestern Hospitality - Mi casa es su casa!
4. Do one little thing every day to make the world a better place.
5. Be complimentary to life with honesty and integrity.
6. Create situations where everybody WINS!
7. Find a mentor - learn to emulate the people and situations you admire.
8. Be a lifelong learner- try books on CD, discussion groups, and classes!
Have a quote or testimonial that you'd like to share? We'd love to feature you on our website!
From Shelly Gilliam
Owner, C-C Doggie Dude Ranch, Inc.
Originally published on
"A pet-boarding kennel?!!! You play with dogs and cats all day?!!!" That's the response I get when I tell people that I own the Doggie Dude Ranch in Prescott . The next thing I hear is, "Ooooo-what a fun job!" And I always grin, because it is!
What's not so fun is picking a pet-boarding kennel for the first time. It's tricky to know what the best place will be for your pet. For some loving pet-parents, it can be nearly impossible for them to believe that Bubbles-the-Bichon, Molly- and Max-the-mini-pins or Fredericka-the-feline could ever enjoy themselves at a boarding kennel while mom and dad are away on holiday. At the Ranch, we know better, and we want you to know better, too. Which is the point of this article -- I'm going to give you some of the inside scoop on kenneling. You'll have more information to make you really dangerous! (Grin)
Okay, so, you need someone to watch Molly, Max, or Freddie for a weekend, a week or two or three, and you're just dying inside 'cause you just know Molly will miss you so much . There are lots of options besides a boarding kennel-pet-sitters, veterinarians' offices, the neighbor kid down the street. You'll need to determine which you feel most comfortable with and which will best serve your dog/cat. Pet sitters or the kid down the street can often pick up your mail, water your plants, and keep the dust at bay while you're out. Veterinarian offices are the best choice for pets that are ailing. At the Ranch, we specialize in boarding . This means we only board healthy pets. And we focus all our energy and expertise - 25 years' worth - on making sure your dog or cat has an enriching and enjoyable holiday while you're away.
Making the Choice
So how do you choose a boarding kennel? Okay, well, it's true confessions time-as the owner of the Doggie Dude Ranch (and because if I thought there was a better way to go about pet boarding - I'd already be doing it!), this article will be slanted a little . Okay, maybe a lot. But please bear with me because all this stuff is really helpful no matter what kennel you'll visit in any city you travel or move to.
1) Don't wait until the last minute to do research or make a reservation. The really good kennels (like the Doggie Dude Ranch) will likely be sold-out over every major holiday, whenever the kids are out of school, and a good portion of the summer. So try your best to plan 2-3 weeks ahead. But don't shy away from a last-minute call if you need us. Remember that a good kennel wants to maintain a long-term relationship with you, and will strive to find solutions that benefit you and your pet when life happens to you.
2) Do research online -visit the kennels' websites. Look through the pages that tell about the kennel and its team. What is the philosophy of that kennel? Seek out a kennel whose personality is suited to your own. Check out the rates page to see if the price range is comfortable for you. If Molly or Spot have some special needs, can the kennel give that type of care?
3) Go visit the kennel . If it's looking good, go and visit in person. But don't bring Molly or Freddie on this first visit-it often confuses your pet. At the kennel, talk with the staff-do they seem genuinely nice, caring, and knowledgeable? Take a tour-do the dogs/cats look happy and well cared for? Does the atmosphere feel good to you?
4) Ask TONS of questions. What services are included in the regular boarding rate and which are optional? Are the kennel runs indoor-outdoor or indoor-only? Are there play-yards for the dogs and do they seem safe and interesting? How often can the dogs go to the play-parks? Are the dogs walked on leashes? Is off-lead playtime offered? Are the kennels and cattery well-ventilated? Can the kitties come out of their runs and play/exercise? What precautions are followed to keep the cats safe? What should you bring for your pet and what should be left at home?
5) Verify the health requirements. A safe, healthy kennel will insist on veterinary proof of vaccines for Bordatella, DHPL-P (Parvo combo), and rabies for dogs. Conscientious kennels will also require a topical flea/tick treatment to be administered not more than 2 weeks before boarding. For cats-FVRCCP-FELV and Rabies should be required. Note that sometimes your pet may not have need of a vaccination. If this is so, bring a document from your vet stating why, and the kennel will usually honor your vet's instructions.
Prepare Your Dog for Boarding
Really great pet-parents are sure to give their dog some good home-training. All parents want other people to think their kids are the best in the world. Dogs are a lot like kids-a little good home-training goes a long way in making a fine impression-for you and them!
1) Make a reservation for a play-day . This is a visit to the kennel about a week before you take your holiday. For just a few hours, Molly or Duke can come and check out the facility and learn that mom or dad will indeed be back to pick him/her up. (S)he will enjoy the play-parks, experience the kenneling buildings, runs, pools, and water troughs, see other happy dogs, and get to know the kenneling team.
2) Accustom your dog or cat to a travel crate -this is so your pet can be safely transported to/from the kennel or to the vet if needed. Did you know most cats happily prefer to play invisible in their travel crates (with an open-door, of course) for the first few hours when they are tucked into the cattery? They do! So, leave your kitty's crate accessible at home for exploration, hiding out, and enjoyable invisible time so she doesn't connect the crate with a car ride and develop an aversion.
3) Teach your dog to walk calmly on a leash so he doesn't pull the kenneling staff's arms from the sockets or knock them (or you) over.
4) Teach your dog to sit before her meal is placed before her. This prevents bites from food-aggression and spills from excitement.
5) Provide written instructions for any medications that your dog/cat will need. And stay with the front desk staff while you both go over your pet's medication instructions.
6) Pre-package all of your pet's food if you choose to bring your own. Put individual servings in zip-lock bags and label each bag with the date/time for that feeding. (Example: Mon. 8/23, a.m. feed) This will make you look like a pathetic over-achiever and the kenneling staff will LOVE you for it!
On Check-In Day
1) Give your dog(s) some exercise and fresh air to quell your nerves and his/hers/theirs before going to the kennel.
2) Have a matter-of-fact and cheery attitude when you drop of Molly, and leave the kids at home if possible. Limit hugs as they'll stress her out and absolutely no tears (you can cry if you must after Molly has gone to the play-yards/kennels to enjoy her fun holiday). Remember, she won't forget you and she'll be having a great time with us while you're away.
3) Tell the kenneling staff about your dog or cat-and be honest! If Molly is a playful girl and enjoys romping with other dogs, tell the staff. If she goes off her food, gets diarrhea easily, bites when her nails are trimmed, loves her own bed, overeats, loves to go swimming, or hates guys in baseball caps, tell the staff. Is your kitty a lover, say so-if he doesn't warm up to us in a few hours, we'll know something isn't right. If she is a feline-dissident that has the ability to fly and leap over tall kenneling staff in a single bound, tell us! A good kennel will have a thousand tricks to win over shy pets or redirect those with good hearts that sometimes run amok.
4) Call if your plans change. Call the kennel as soon as possible to cancel reservations-during busy times, helpful kennels like the Ranch, will maintain a wait-list for clients. Your conscientious cancellation can really make another client's day (and you'll be an unsung hero when we call and get their dog/cat in at the 11th hour!).
I hope this bit of kenneling-know-how gives you confidence in your visit to the Doggie Dude Ranch, or any other kennel, and starts you thinking and asking more questions-more knowledge gives you more choices. Please come on by the Ranch when you get a chance. We love visitors and we love to make new friends-canine, feline, and human!
CEO C Bar C Doggie Dude Ranch, Inc.
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