I’ve been interested in dog obedience training since the early 1980s. Here is an interview of me on dog pack dynamics, second dog syndrome, and pros and cons of having two, three or even more dogs.
As an obedience and field trainer who trains dogs, what do you consider to be the three most critical considerations while kenneling many dogs?
The dog’s safety comes first. The second priority is the dog’s health and well-being, followed by assisting the dog in adjusting to his new surroundings. It is critical to have accurate records.
What areas do you believe create an additional issue when housing multiples?
Keeping dogs separate while keeping them safe. I never leave dogs unsupervised outdoors, and I never let two client dogs out to air in the same area. Even the most well-behaved dogs may get possessive at times. When there are females in season in the kennel, this rises significantly. During these moments, I must be extra vigilant.
Maintaining a clean and pest-free kennel.
Aside from training, give each dog some special attention throughout the day. Many of my clients’ pets are left in my care for months, if not years. These pets need to be treated as if they were my own.
Can you tell us about any symptoms or red flags that a dog isn’t adapting to living in a kennel or in an environment with numerous dogs?
Taking a dog to a kennel may be quite distressing for the dog. Some dogs (never a Labrador) grow melancholy and refuse to eat. Some people feel too aroused and attempt to flee if at all feasible. Some people get so anxious that they pass bloody stools. All of these symptoms may be alleviated by taking action to make the dogs more comfortable. I spend the first week with the new canines, assisting them in adjusting and assessing their behavior. Most dogs adjust fairly well with the right amount of TLC.
What features should a building/kennel house for several dogs include, such as a cooking space, etc…? What do you feel helps your job and the lives of the dogs flow more smoothly, and can you list any items that you use every day that are essential to keeping things moving well?
My office, kitchen, and whelping area are all housed in a 12×12 space. This multi-purpose space is a must-have for me. Of course, hot water is required for washing dishes and bathing. Airing yards that are fenced in and next to the kennel. I can run indoors and outdoors. Every other one of these runs has a drain. This greatly simplifies cleaning and hosing. We had pallets of dog food delivered to us. This saves me a lot of time. Every day, I clean with a disinfectant/all-purpose cleaner and bleach. To get my training equipment to the fields, I use a golf cart. I have a number of mechanical training equipment that saves me a lot of time. These are essential for teaching many retrievers.
What are some of the resources you have that you could not live without while caring for multiples?
Fortunately, there are numerous excellent veterinarians in my region. The one I depend on the most is just a 20-minute drive away. She has made herself accessible to me 24 hours a day, seven days a week. She is nice enough to come to the kennel and provide annual vaccinations. Several enclosed airing yards can significantly speed things up. , and Bleach
How significant is this after seeing your setup and recognizing how much room you have available both inside and outside your building? What are any excellent kennel-building tips?
Not everyone will need the space I have available. It all depends on how the kennel will be utilized. Most obedience practice may be done in my kennel. I have ample space for go-outs, leaps, and so on. When the weather is inclement, such as rain or snow, I may perform some basic training with the gun dogs indoors. Outside, near the kennel, I have flat spaces for outside leaping and retriever yard work. My training work necessitates enormous amounts of land and water. Consider what you want to accomplish with your kennel. Check the construction laws and ordinances in your county/city. My county has a no-bark policy. Call your insurance company. If you maintain client pets, you will require kennel insurance as well as liability insurance. Make certain that you have enough lighting. I utilize fluorescing illumination from above. Install enough electrical outlets to eliminate the need for extension cables. Drainage is essential. You must have a reliable water supply, such as a well or city/county water. Waste disposal (the least glamorous of my duties). Heating and cooling. Only my multi-purpose room is heated and cooled. In the summer, I utilize enormous floor fans in the kennel area. The kennel has thick walls, is well insulated, and has sufficient ventilation. In the winter, I use a kerosene heater with a thermostat (set at 45). Aside from the fact that it is too huge to heat and air, I am concerned about mechanical failure and dogs overheating in a small kennel. This occurred last year at a kennel in the south when an air conditioner failed. (If the thermostat failed, the kerosene heater would run out of fuel before the dogs overheated.)
Based on your expertise as an obedience trainer, how do you socialize each dog separately when you have numerous dogs? How can you tell if someone is slipping between the cracks?
My own dogs alternate staying in the home. The oldest is always present. I attempt to keep active in local dog groups. This allows me to take my own dogs out for socialization. Every dog in the kennel is trained on a daily basis. To keep track of how each dog is developing, I maintain a daily progress sheet. This is useful in determining how much time should be spent on each one. Some people need more time than others.
What are some of the most typical errors you see multiple owners make?
The most common error I see owners make is underestimating the amount of time required to care for several pets. I spend at least an hour each morning and evening feeding, cleaning, and airing the dogs. Food, immunization, emergency vet treatment (everyone needs it sooner or later), entrance fees, travel expenses, utilities, licenses……..the list continues on and on.
What are some questions we can ask ourselves as many dog owners to assist us to evaluate whether we are at a number that works well for the dogs and for ourselves?
- Is it possible that I am spending too much time away from my family and friends?
- Am I disregarding my obligations to my family and community?
- Do I have enough money to care for numerous dogs?
- Can I provide enough time and attention to each dog?
I hope I’ve been of some use in determining whether or not to house multiple dogs, whether your own or those of clients.
I’ve discovered that caring for animals is one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done, and I can honestly say that I look forward to going to the kennel and training every day.