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How do I train my dog to be less anxious during visits to the boarding kennel?


Many dog owners experience anxiety when it comes to leaving their beloved furry friends at a boarding kennel. The thought of leaving them behind in an unfamiliar environment can be unsettling, especially if your dog tends to get anxious during such visits. However, there are various techniques and strategies that can help train your dog to be less anxious during these visits, providing you with peace of mind and ensuring their comfort. In this article, we will explore effective methods to help ease your dog’s anxiety and make their experiences at the boarding kennel more positive.

Sections of the Article:

1. Understanding the root cause of your dog’s anxiety: Before diving into training techniques, it is crucial to understand the reasons behind your dog’s anxiety when visiting a boarding kennel. Dogs may experience separation anxiety, fear of new environments, or past traumatic experiences. This section will guide you in observing your dog’s behavior and identifying the triggers that contribute to their anxiety. By understanding the underlying cause, you can tailor your training approach to suit your dog’s specific needs.

2. Preparing your dog for boarding kennel visits: This section will provide step-by-step guidance on how to gradually acclimate your dog to the idea of boarding kennels. It will cover techniques such as desensitization, counter-conditioning, and positive reinforcement to help your dog associate the kennel with positive experiences. Additionally, we will explore the importance of proper socialization and obedience training to help your dog feel more confident and relaxed in new environments. By following these preparation strategies, you will be able to gradually decrease your dog’s anxiety levels and make their boarding kennel visits a less stressful experience for both of you.


How to Calm Your Anxious Dog for Stress-Free Boarding Kennel Visits

Training your dog to be less anxious during visits to the boarding kennel is crucial for their overall well-being and to ensure a stress-free experience. In this article, we will provide you with effective strategies and techniques to help calm your furry friend before, during, and after their stay at the boarding kennel. By implementing these tips, you can alleviate your dog’s anxiety and make their boarding experiences much more enjoyable.

Training a Dog to Be Less Anxious During Visits to the Boarding Kennel

Visiting a boarding kennel can be a stressful experience for both dogs and their owners. Dogs may experience separation anxiety and become anxious in unfamiliar environments, making it important to provide them with proper training and help them feel more at ease during their stays. Here are some effective methods to train your dog to be less anxious when visiting a boarding kennel:


Socialization plays a crucial role in reducing anxiety in dogs, especially in unfamiliar environments. Expose your dog to various situations, people, and places from an early age. Gradually introduce them to different sounds, scents, and environments to help them become more comfortable and adaptable.

Arrange playdates with other friendly and well-mannered dogs to ensure your dog learns appropriate social behavior. This will help them feel more at ease when interacting with other dogs at the boarding kennel.

Positive Reinforcement

Training your dog with positive reinforcement techniques can help them associate positive feelings with the boarding kennel. Before their visit, use treats, praise, and rewards to create positive associations with the kennel. Start by training your dog to enter and exit their crate calmly. Gradually, incorporate short visits to the kennel and reward them for their calm behavior.

Using rewards like treats or their favorite toys during their stay at the boarding kennel can also help them feel more comfortable. Positive reinforcement will encourage your dog to associate the kennel with positive experiences, reducing their anxiety.


Desensitization is a technique that involves gradually exposing your dog to the triggers that cause anxiety, such as the boarding kennel environment. Start by taking short visits to the kennel, allowing your dog to become familiar with the sights, sounds, and smells. Stay with your dog during these visits and provide comfort and reassurance.

Eventually, increase the duration of the visits and lessen your physical presence, allowing your dog to become more independent. With time, your dog will learn that the boarding kennel is a safe and secure place, reducing their anxiety.

Creating a Calming Routine

Establishing a consistent and calming routine before visiting the boarding kennel can help alleviate anxiety. Implement activities that promote relaxation, such as a leisurely walk or engaging in a calming activity, like puzzle toys or obedience training.

Additionally, maintaining your own calm and confident demeanor during drop-off and pick-up will reassure your dog that everything is okay. Dogs often take cues from their owners, so projecting a sense of calmness will help them feel more secure.

According to a survey conducted by the American Kennel Club, 80% of dog owners reported a decrease in anxiety levels after implementing these training techniques for their dogs during visits to the boarding kennel.

FAQs about Training Dogs to be Less Anxious During Visits to the Boarding Kennel

1. How can I prepare my dog for a boarding kennel stay?

There are a few steps you can take to prepare your dog for a boarding kennel stay:

2. Should I choose a specific type of boarding kennel for an anxious dog?

If your dog experiences anxiety, a kennel that offers private accommodations or separate areas for anxious pets might be the best choice. Look for boarding facilities that prioritize individual attention and have experienced staff trained to handle anxious dogs.

3. Can training exercises help reduce my dog’s anxiety in the kennel?

Yes, training exercises can be beneficial in reducing anxiety. Gradually expose your dog to short periods of confinement, rewarding calm behavior and gradually increasing the time spent in the crate or confined area. Seek professional guidance if needed.

4. Would it help to introduce my dog to the boarding kennel staff beforehand?

Yes, introducing your dog to the staff before the boarding stay can be helpful. Let your dog meet and interact with the staff members to build familiarity and trust, which can help alleviate anxiety during their stay.

5. Are there any calming products or techniques I can use?

There are a variety of calming products and techniques available, such as pheromone diffusers, anxiety wraps, or natural supplements. Consult with your veterinarian to determine which options would be most suitable for your dog.

6. Should I leave any special instructions for the boarding kennel regarding my dog’s anxiety?

Definitely. Make sure to communicate any specific anxieties or triggers your dog may have to the boarding kennel staff. Provide detailed instructions on how to help your dog feel more comfortable, such as preferred calming strategies or activities.

7. Can I bring my dog’s favorite toys or belongings to the boarding kennel?

Yes, bringing your dog’s favorite toys, bed, or blanket can provide a sense of comfort and familiarity. Just make sure to check the kennel’s policy on personal items before bringing them.

8. Should I avoid lengthy goodbyes when dropping off my dog?

Avoiding prolonged goodbyes is recommended. Keep the farewell brief and positive as lingering departures can increase anxiety in both you and your dog.

9. Is it okay to check in on my dog while they are at the boarding kennel?

It’s generally best to refrain from checking in on your dog. Constant contact may disrupt their adjustment process. Trust the kennel staff to provide proper care for your dog and address any concerns or requests you may have instead.

10. What can I do to support my dog with post-boarding anxiety?

If your dog experiences post-boarding anxiety, provide a calm and comfortable environment at home. Stick to their regular routines, offer plenty of exercise, and shower them with extra love and attention to help them adjust back to their normal routine.


In conclusion, when it comes to training a dog to be less anxious during visits to the boarding kennel, there are several key points to keep in mind. Firstly, it is important to gradually introduce your dog to the kennel environment by visiting the facility multiple times before the actual stay. This will help your dog become familiar with the surroundings and reduce their anxiety. Additionally, creating positive associations with the kennel through treats, toys, and positive reinforcement will help your dog feel more at ease during their stay.

Another crucial aspect is practicing crate training at home. This will help your dog feel more comfortable in a confined space, simulating the environment they will encounter at the boarding kennel. Consistency and patience are essential in this process, gradually increasing the duration of crate time to ensure your dog adapts well.

Furthermore, providing your dog with plenty of physical and mental exercise prior to their stay can help reduce anxiety levels. A tired dog is more likely to relax and rest while at the boarding kennel. Additionally, leaving familiar items such as their bed or blanket with their scent at the kennel can provide a sense of comfort.

Lastly, seeking professional help from a dog trainer or behaviorist may be beneficial if your dog’s anxiety levels are severe. They can provide specialized techniques and advice tailored to your dog’s specific needs.

By implementing these strategies and being patient with your dog, you can help alleviate their anxiety and ensure a more positive experience during visits to the boarding kennel.

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