or Who do you love?
You get to meet all kinds of dogs when you do dog boarding, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept all dogs. All of the major dog boarding outfits will give you some options around the size and types of dogs you can take in. Here are some aspects to consider:
Kinds of dogs consideration #1. Size
Our profile says we accept all dogs over 20 lbs, so small-to-medium dogs, medium-sized dogs, and big dogs through giant dogs. It might seem like we are discriminating against the little guys. But since we do often have more than one bigger dog around, we don’t want to intimidate a potential guest of the diminutive variety. One of our very few terrible meet-n-greets was with a teeny-tiny dog, a Maltese who couldn’t have weighed more than a few pounds. She took one look at Cassie and became Cujo! That was a definite no-go.
In reality, we have taken several small dogs either through recommendation or because their human companion just didn’t look at our restrictions. And it’s been perfectly fine. We have a pair of Yorkies we’ve sat several times who were, indeed, intimidated by Cassie and the other dogs at first. Now they realize that, while small in size, they have the “weight” to push the bigger dogs around. Three cheers for being small and mighty!
Think about what your tolerance level is. While we may be more cautious about smaller dogs, owners of really big dogs (80 pounds plus) often have a hard time finding boarding placements. I love a big dog so I’m not deterred by a dog that weighs more than my son. If you are, that’s okay! Don’t feel guilty. Dog boarding has to work for you and your family. If your 90-year old mother lives with you, I wouldn’t welcome a pack of Great Danes to come stay with you. Find the size mix that works best for you.
Kinds of dogs consideration #2. Age
I’ll be honest, I didn’t give this one enough thought at first. On our profile, there was an option to choose whether we wanted to board puppies. I checked it off without even considering the fact that puppies may mean more accidents, more need to go out, more destructiveness, just plain more! I would still consider a puppy, but an older puppy, around six months of age. Hopefully by that age they will have gotten the hang of going out to pee. I would also want the puppy to be crate-trained so that our house wasn’t in danger every time we left the house…or the room! We have had great puppy guests like this adorable Golden Doodle, so I’m happy we accept them, but I might not accept every puppy.
On the other end of the spectrum, think about whether you want to take in older dogs. If your dog is super high energy and doesn’t take no for an answer when he wants to play, an older dog might not be suited to your home. We are so fortunate because Cassie truly does moderate her behavior to suit her guests. If your dog wants to play, she’ll gladly accommodate. More of a sleeper? Then she’ll just leave the pup be. Older dogs also might be incontinent or need to take medication. These are all things to consider.
Kinds of dogs consideration #3. Breeds
You will typically be asked if there are any dog breeds you don’t want to accommodate. While I would never encourage breed prejudice, you also don’t want to be uncomfortable the whole time a dog is staying at your house.
I love all dogs but I was somewhat anxious when the very first dog boarding request we got was from the companion of a pitbull. Please understand, I’ve known lots of great pitts, but for the very first time it gave me pause. I needn’t have worried – the owner never showed for the meet-n-greet. Since then, we’ve happily and successfully cared for several pitts.
Kinds of dogs consideration #4. Number of dogs
When you do your initial assessment of your home and your dog, you’ll also need to consider how many dogs you can reasonably accommodate. After our first couple of stays, Randy and I were gung ho. I think we would’ve taken a dozen dogs if we could have! We’ve come back to reality since then and adjusted our expectations. We generally try to limit our guests to two dogs plus our own little otterhound. At times we increase that limit for a variety of reasons. If we know all the dogs staying with us as well-behaved dogs who get along with everyone, we’ll expand our availability. We are also flexible around the start and end of stays since sometimes you may have a day where some are leaving and some are coming Until that shakes out you might have four or five guests in the house!
On New Year’s Day for the past two years we’ve welcomed a family of three dogs to our home just for a few hours while their family has a house party. That’s of course plus Cassie and any other guest dogs. We’ve ended up with seven dogs for a few hours! That’s a lot, but it’s worked beautifully because we’ve known all the guests and knew they could accommodate a crowd.
It’s still your house
At the end of the day, you have to remember that as the host, it’s up to you to determine the size, age, and breed of dogs you’ll allow. Don’t push your limits right from the start. Moderate your expectations and only do what you are comfortable with. You can always change later as you gain experience.