Boarding life management and exercise - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 11:40 AM Thread Starter
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Boarding life management and exercise

Hello guys,

I am in a job no that requires me to be two days outside of the city for the next 6 months.

My question relates to boarding Rex (male 1.5 years intact) for two days a week. The boarding facility is really top notch and the teams there are on top of their game. No dog is allowed there unless they pass a full day assessment. Also, at that boarding, the dogs get 3-4 hours of play with each other per day (related to the exercise question below).

My first question is if I board him for two nights a week, what are the chances that this affects our relationship and bond? Would he start prefer hanging out with the dogs rather than me? Also, would he pick up bad habits? What are the considerations for doing this? If they are bad, I will drive back these two days but the commute will be a killer.

There is a part of this that I think is a clear positive. We are now in the hot months of Dubai where it is very hot and very humid. And exercising is becoming limited in time. So I am thinking that this will give him 6 to 8 hours of exercise per day since the facility is huge and they have a large indoor play area.

Many thanks for your feedback...
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 09:33 PM
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Something to consider is if the facility offers individual exercise time. There is currently another thread about a similarly aged dog that has been refused at 2 facilities because of what I consider common GSD behavior in daycare/boarding play yard environments. I'm not saying boarding your dog 2 days a week at a reputable facility is a bad idea. I'm suggesting you inquire about the 3-4 hrs of "play time" with other dogs. I think you will find this is not the type of situation that will work out well overall. If they can offer some training and/or one on one play time with staff or a single dog opposed to all group play that would likely be a better option. This breed is not generally know for getting along well in group play with many strange dogs.
I would talk to them about more individualized care. What will they offer if your dog doesn't play well with others. I don't like the idea of boarding facilities that rely only on group play for exercise and interaction. That said I wouldn't go with a place that keeps dogs crated all day except for a couple of potty breaks either.

Ziva 03.07.2013
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 07:29 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Springbrz View Post
Something to consider is if the facility offers individual exercise time. There is currently another thread about a similarly aged dog that has been refused at 2 facilities because of what I consider common GSD behavior in daycare/boarding play yard environments. I'm not saying boarding your dog 2 days a week at a reputable facility is a bad idea. I'm suggesting you inquire about the 3-4 hrs of "play time" with other dogs. I think you will find this is not the type of situation that will work out well overall. If they can offer some training and/or one on one play time with staff or a single dog opposed to all group play that would likely be a better option. This breed is not generally know for getting along well in group play with many strange dogs.
I would talk to them about more individualized care. What will they offer if your dog doesn't play well with others. I don't like the idea of boarding facilities that rely only on group play for exercise and interaction. That said I wouldn't go with a place that keeps dogs crated all day except for a couple of potty breaks either.
Thank you for the feedback Springbrz.

Form all the facilities here, this one is the best. The rest I would not trust.

I inquired as you suggested. The dog get one hour in their individual rooms and one hour play, alternating this throughout the day. So they get 4-5 hours of play per day. Rex's room would be length: 10 feet by width 4.6 feet and height 6.3 feet. That is the Deluxe Suite as they call it

No individual play possible. They put the dogs in groups taking into consideration (size, breed, sex, intact or fixed). The group at 8 to 10 dogs depending on the amount of dogs they have on a particular day. When you pick your dog up, they give you a written report on how the dog interacted.

There is a live camera all the time in the play area which you can see live all the time as a client. I will be watching it this time around.

My concern is that the play with 8-10 dogs somehow affects his behaviour and training with me.

Again, thank you for the feedback.

Best
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 07:53 AM
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If you like the facility, staff and how it is basically run, can you try it out for a one or two weeks including the live feed while you are home. This would give you the ability to pull the plug immediately if you don't like what you see.

Since he probably has a good foundation of obedience to you and a good bond, with good solid temperament, I would think that outside a traumatic experience it wouldn't shake up what he has already learned from you. Also, if you go this route and have the time, I would acclimate him to the facility for a day or two as a day client only then try the stay over.

If it works out it would be a good backup in case you ever need to leave him for emergency reasons.

Just a thought.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 10:36 AM
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Thank you for the feedback Springbrz.

Form all the facilities here, this one is the best. The rest I would not trust.

I inquired as you suggested. The dog get one hour in their individual rooms and one hour play, alternating this throughout the day. So they get 4-5 hours of play per day. Rex's room would be length: 10 feet by width 4.6 feet and height 6.3 feet. That is the Deluxe Suite as they call it

No individual play possible. They put the dogs in groups taking into consideration (size, breed, sex, intact or fixed). The group at 8 to 10 dogs depending on the amount of dogs they have on a particular day. When you pick your dog up, they give you a written report on how the dog interacted.

There is a live camera all the time in the play area which you can see live all the time as a client. I will be watching it this time around.

My concern is that the play with 8-10 dogs somehow affects his behaviour and training with me.

Again, thank you for the feedback.

Best
It's good that they break up the play time. Gives the dogs a chance for down time preventing being over stimulated for long periods or fatigue grouchiness that can lead to scuffles. Live feed cameras are a definite plus.

Heartandsoul's post is spot on.

Ziva 03.07.2013
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the valuable feedback.

I want to note that Rex has already boarded there when I went on a couple of small vacations. All seemed in place and he was very much "him" when I picked him up.

I will see how a more regular boarding will ensue. The exercise is a major draw. We just went out on a 25 minute walk. And it is really hot and humid and probably dangerous to exercise him meaningfully.

Thanks
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 04:15 PM
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Our dog boards at a kennel with a similar set-up and his behavior towards us, his humans, has not changed at all. He loves and adores us.

However I have noticed that his behavior towards other dogs (if we meet them) has changed:

- He is much more socially-savvy about greetings (he used to try to sniff their privates right away and get growled at, but now he is very laidback and polite)

- He is more indifferent about meeting other dogs on leash. The other dog may be going nuts with excitement, but he walks by like "meh".

- He is very quick to anticipate and react - for instance, another dog moves to jump playfully on him and before he can even start the jump, my dog is growling and has cut him off. He used to just get jumped on. So, I guess he is better at anticipating and handling interactions.

It sounds like you have had good experiences so far, and I think getting the written report and having live camera feed is great! I mostly get nervous about my dog getting into fights, but they group the dogs according to "mellow older dogs", "running playing crazy younger dogs", "small dogs" etc (the majority of the boarders are large dogs). My dog is in the "mellow older dog" group so that makes me feel better.

Rumo ~ rescue shepherd/husky mix
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